To repeat the surprise competition the White Sox put forth in 2012, the 2013 incarnation will have some work to do. With what proved to be roughly a league average offensive team, the Pale Hose very nearly pushed their way into the postseason. But of the players that contributed above average performances according to Fangraphs’ wRC+, A.J. Pierzynski and Kevin Youkilis have moved on, Paul Konerko is about to participate in his age 37 season, and Alex Rios can hardly be counted on for consistency. That leaves Adam Dunn and Alejandro De Aza; the latter of which has not yet established a track record that allows us to relax and expect a repeat performance. The (mostly) young pitching staff is a year older, John Danks is looking to bounce back healthy, and it’s largely a team of the same talent as last season. By that logic, shouldn’t the White Sox be fringe competitors yet again?
OUTFIELD – Alejandro De Aza, once thought to be on his way to a career fourth outfielder will have the opportunity to solidify his position as quality starting center fielder. De Aza avoided arbitration for just over $2M entering the season, and if his production looks anything like it did in 2012, he will be a steal. Alex Rios spent 2012 showing many of the skills that earned him a seven-year contract worth nearly $70 million; skills that had been largely absent since arriving on the South Side. Perhaps the most important piece for the White Sox regarding the future beyond 2013 is left field incumbent Dayan Viciedo. Viciedo is not worth a whole lot defensively, though has managed to show himself more competent than originally thought. The main concern is the development of his bat, which has the potential to inflict much damage. He struck out in 22.1% of his plate appearances in 2012, and even more glaring are his platoon splits (.350/.391/.642 vs. LHP and .225/.271/.380 vs RHP). Unless he can figure out how to survive against same handed pitching, he will turn into a rather expensive platoon player with no glove. Reserve outfielder Jordan Danks has a chance to experience the most major league activity of his career as a defensive fill-in and occasional lefty bat.
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