3 CHICAGO WHITE SOX

April 03, 2011

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE WHITE SOX

The White Sox have got lots of power—and in their ballpark, it's big power. . . . Chicago has also always been a very righthanded club, so Adam Dunn brings balance. He'll strike out, but he's a threat to make something happen every time he's up. He is going to get on base and score a lot of runs. . . . Gordon Beckham had a nice spring. He's a good two-hole hitter who puts the bat on the ball. After his rookie season, pitchers have adjusted to him; now it's his turn to adjust. He's been hitting the ball hard this spring. . . . He could be a little more patient, but Alexei Ramirez is just bubbling over with ability. He has a chance to be a star—an offensive middle infielder with pop. Defensively his hands are great, he throws well, and he gets to a lot of balls. . . . At 35, Paul Konerko is getting old, but a good hitter like him is going to get his hits. Still, to expect him to have the kind of year he had last year? I just can't go out on a limb like that. . . . You could argue that three guys in the rotation are No. 1 pitchers: Mark Buehrle, Jake Peavy and John Danks. . . . All of Danks's stuff is above average. He cuts and sinks his fastball, curve and change. . . . The bullpen is good. Chris Sale has the stuff to close games. That breaking ball, that's a strikeout pitch. And he's got a big fastball too. . . . Sale and Matt Thornton are very similar. This is just my thinking, but Thornton has been very good as a setup guy, so why would they take a chance on moving him? He gives the team a safety net behind Sale.

THE LINEUP

WITH 2010 STATISTICS

MANAGER OZZIE GUILLEN

8TH SEASON WITH WHITE SOX

[originallink:10873936:1008473]

ROTATION W L ERA WHIP
LH MARK BUEHRLE 13 13 4.28 1.40
RH EDWIN JACKSON 10 12 4.47 1.39
LH JOHN DANKS 15 11 3.72 1.22
RH GAVIN FLOYD 10 13 4.08 1.37
RH JAKE PEAVY 7 6 4.63 1.23
BULLPEN W SV ERA WHIP
LH CHRIS SALE 2 4 1.93 1.07
LH MATT THORNTON 5 8 2.67 1.01
NEW ACQUISITION

PROJECTED PAYROLL $125,200,000

THE NUMBER

16.8

Percentage of at bats in which the White Sox struck out in 2010—only the Royals fanned less frequently. New DH Adam Dunn may be in for a bit of culture shock. He struck out 35.7% of the time last year with the Nationals, the second-highest rate in the game.

MODEST PROPOSAL

Chris Sale is the domestic version of the Reds' Aroldis Chapman. Both fireballing lefthanders were signed in 2010—Sale as the 13th pick in the draft, out of Florida Gulf Coast University, Chapman as an amateur free agent from Cuba—and both blasted their way to the majors late last season. Like Chapman, Sale was a starter as an amateur and has worked exclusively out of the bullpen since reaching the majors, striking out more than a third of the batters he faced in 21 late-season appearances. The debate over Sale—should he start or close?—leaves out the best option: Use him as a multiple-inning reliever. His experience as a starting pitcher means his endurance shouldn't be a question, and his stuff is good enough to retire righthanded and lefthanded hitters. (It was a limited sample, but his OPS against righties last year, .454, was far lower than his .694 mark against lefties.) Sale's power arm would be a major mid- to late-game weapon for manager Ozzie Guillen in what will be a tough, three-team AL Central race.

PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (DUNN) PHOTOJED JACOBSOHN (SALE)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)