We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 White Sox Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Bill Mahoney from Can I Get A Few Minutes?.
1) One of the biggest stories in the White Sox offseason was the signing of Jose Abreu. Grey is giving him a projection of 78/26/88/.268/2. Without any MLB at-bats to refer to, do you think he can match that projection?
Yes, it was a huge deal when the Sox outbid everyone for Abreu, but who are they getting? I don’t know. I’d like to think they got a cross between Cespedes and Viciedo–well a little more Cespedes, but who really knows. Abreu looked solid in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but it was against guys just getting their arms straightened out and guys who will get as close to the bigs as IÂ will.
His big chance against a career minor leaguer (Loek van Mil) in a big spot only produced a fly out. Not a big fly, a fly out. It may seem like I am down on Abreu, but lets just say I am holding myÂ breath. Viciedo was supposed to be the guy to lead the Sox, and he did–in unfulfilled expectations. So excuse me if I don’t jump on the Abreu band-wagon just yet. I see more of a 80/17/65/.265. line. He is going to be given every chance to succeed, but with learning a new league, culture and expectations, not to mention the rest of the teams that’ll expose any weakness he may have, I will keep expectation in check. My fingers will remain crossed though.
2) Will Adam Eaton rebound in Chicago and be what we were thinking he would be in Arizona, which is a player capable of leading off and stealing bases at a nice clip? How many steals would you predict for him in 2014?
On the other side the coin, I think Adam Eaton is the real real. I do think there will be a few growing pains, but I think in the long run he will be everything and more. The man breathes fire on and off the field, and the baseball hungry Sox fans will eat him up. In his 88 game big league trial Eaton has just two more stolen bases than home runs. That is gonna change. Watching him with the D’Backs I saw a kid with the ability to be great. He has what I like to call an, “IT” factor. He has the chance to be the leader of this team for the next 10 years. About his stolen bases I would say pencil him him for 30. A low number yes, but remember he’s gotta a lot of learning to do.
Ah, getting Garcia in the Peavy deal was a stroke of genius. Garcia is gonna explode like Eaton will in the future, Abreu might and Viciedo never will. I remember seeing this guy a couple years back beat out a ball hit to the shortstops back hand and thinking, “those Tigers have another stud on their hands.”
Now that hand belongs to the Sox. This guy is a baby at 22 years old, but is a monster at 6’4, 240 pounds. Wait till be matures! I may be reaching, but I see him as a bigger Magglio Ordonez. I wouldn’t sleep on this guy. To me he’ll be a perennial all-star. He may even be one this year. By October his line will look like this: 145/28/88/.285. The Tigers are gonna regret letting him get away.
So trading away a live arm like Reed is never advisable, I think the Sox soured on him during last season’s up and down year. Especially at the end of the season when he allowed 7 runs in his last 7 innings. 69 saves in two years is nothing to sneeze at, but I will give the Sox credit, they know when to trade closers (Santos anyone).
Now to Davidson, who I saw mash balls in Reno last year. My thought is, “What do the Sox have to lose?” Do you want to see Keppinger, Semien, Gillaspie man the hot corner for the immediateÂ future–me neither. Although I do like Gillaspie for his versatility and limited pop. Davidson was a consistent 20 home run guy in the minors, and I don’t see any reason why he can’t be that guy and more in the Majors. He did have 3 home runs in 76 ABS in Arizona last year. My problem is his fielding, where he admitted he isn’t the strongest. If he is hitting one out, then letting one back in that won’t work. However, I like him to start the season at 3rd for the Sox, mainly because of the alternatives I mentioned previously. Look for .245 BA with 19 home runs and roughly 70 RBI.
5) Which scenario is most likely for the White Sox in 2014?
A) Hawk Harrelson kills it with another #TWIW-esque internet meme.
B) Jose Abreu launches 35 homers
C) Paul Konerko takes his new player/coach role too seriously and starts bringing a clipboard into the batterâ€™s box and making himself do windsprints for chasing curveballs
This year could be a struggle for the Sox. I don’t see them losing 99 games, but I don’t see them winning 99, or 90, or 85 or 80-wellÂ maybe 80. I think 77 is better number. With that in mind expect some Hawk Harrelson blow ups—-make that epic explosions. Hawk is old school, and at 72 years young not one to hide his opinion either. There will be a time with the Sox struggling that Hawk will have had enough and…..KA-BOOM!! Umpires, commissioner, ball boys be damned. He will go off on a rant that will bring smiles to the faces of the Sox faithful and make the rest of the baseball world cringe. What do you expect from a guy that eats, breathes, sleeps Sox baseball. I, for one, can’t wait.
Now to that Konerko manager thingee. As far as I know Robin Ventura isn’t signed past this year, and either is the Captain. It’s reasonable to think that at the end of the year Ventura steps away, and Konerko steps in? Need precedence? The Sox hired Ventura without a lick of coaching experience. Konerko would be taking over a team devoid of leadership, and age (especially with Dunn jettisoned some time in 2014). Plus, he already knows the teams strengths and weaknesses. Add that to the respect he already has within the organization and I see a perfectÂ marriage.