With Opening Day looming, it’s time to take a look at the competition in the American League Central for 2014. I’ll be previewing each team, finishing with the Minnesota Twins. First up, the Chicago White Sox.
2013 Record: 63-99
After a second place finish in 2012, the White Sox fell to last place in 2013 with a record of 63-99. The White Sox shipped off a lot of their team mid-summer, including Jake Peavy, Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Alex Rios. The new look offense is still a bit dull, but newcomers Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton should provide some pop. Despite his poor win-loss record a year ago, Chris Sale leads the rotation and is one of the top pitcher’s in the division, as well as all of baseball. This team, while still not great, should be an interesting group to watch.
Who to watch for:
Abreu serves as the White Sox biggest acquisition of the offseason and will be relied on as a middle-of-the-order threat. Only playing in 42 games last season in Cuba, Abreu had a .322 avg with 13 HR and 36 RBI. He was also featured in last year’s World Baseball Classic, where he finished with a .383 avg, 3 HR and 9 RBI in Cuba’s six games.
As mentioned earlier, Sale’s 2013 win-loss record does not demonstrate just how good he was in Chicago’s starting rotation. Sale finished last season with a 3.07 ERA with 226 strikeouts in 214.1 innings pitched.
Eaton was traded from Arizona to Chicago this offseason in a three team deal. Eaton suffered an injury in spring training a year ago, and only played in 66 games last season. At age 25, he should be a solid bat for Chicago.
Konerko signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal to remain with the White Sox for at least one more season. If he does indeed retire, and it is his last season with Chicago, it should be fun to watch. I’ve always enjoyed Konerko and will miss watching him.
Can the Twins beat them?
They should be able to. We’ll find out during the Opening Series next week.
2014 Predicted Finish: 5th place, AL Central