Photo Courtesy of Keith Allison.
Chicago White Sox – Predicted Finish: Third Place, AL Central
The Chicago White Sox are an interesting team for fantasy purposes. They have a few burgeoning younger talents in Alejandro De Aza, Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo. They also have two of the more bankable older players in recent history with Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn and they also boast a guy that has always teased us with superstar potential, Alex Rios.
However, none of these guys are a slam dunk as a solid contributor for your team next year. To paraphrase Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, “The Chicago White Sox are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”
These guys have certainly had some ups and downs in production the past few seasons, and none of them grade out as Top 3 round talent. These are guys that I would wait on, every one of them, even down to my superstar pick, whom I will reveal at the bottom of this article. The key to early rounds is getting guys that you can really build around, they need to be a little more bankable than these guys will be next year. This even goes for the pitchers who are listed below, Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, Addison Reed and company are solid with great potential for next year, but they are SO much more valuable if you can get them past the fifth round
Timing is everything when it comes to the White Sox players, trust me.
White Sox Offense:
|Alejandro De Aza||CF||29||L||529||89||11||56||26||.294|
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: De Aza, Rios, Konerko, Ramirez, Dunn, Viciedo
The one guy to note here is Dunn. He might be a good source of power once again, but you’re really going to have to gear your team to compensate for his batting average.
White Sox Pitching:
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Sale, Peavy, Reed
Danks and Floyd are typically very good stream options or worth rostering in deeper leagues.
Fantasy Star: Rios
Alex Rios is a guy that constantly toys with his fantasy owners, as he has shown flashes of brilliance along with some very forgettable seasons. With what we saw from Rios last season, and given where some of the possible alternatives are with this team, Rios is the logical guy to hit third.
Given that opportunity with some of the burgeoning talent on this weirdly old club, Rios could pay big dividends to fantasy owners. Perhaps 30/30 is a little out of reach for Rios these days, however, I would certainly hope and plan for him to provide somewhere around 25/25. It may take a lot of help from his friends, but if Rios can build on last year with another good season, he could provide somewhere around a 95 runs,25 homers, 100 RBI, 25 steals, and a .300 average (all closer to ceilings, not expectations for him), that would be a pretty darn good season from a guy that should be available around $12-15 or in rounds 6-7 in most 12-team drafts. This makes him a steal!
Fantasy Bust: Dunn
Adam Dunn had a bounce back in the power department last year, rewarding the owners who nabbed him for a dollar or in the last round of a draft. However, the season prior to this showed us exactly the damage a guy like Dunn can do if he has a bad year. He decimates your batting average while providing no power, that is a recipe for disaster. The fact is that Dunn is another year older, his bat is a little slower, and he is not worth the pick or money he will cost if people are paying for a 35+ home runs for.
That being said, if you are drafting with like-minded people and Dunn falls into the rounds past 15-16, I would take a chance on him in case he does have a little powder left in the barrel. Who wouldn’t like an additional 30 or so home runs from a guy that late in the draft? However it is not so much the rounds or even the money you would spend on Dunn as much as it is the guys that are still available that are similar.
If guys like Adam LaRoche, Carlos Pena or Justin Morneau have fallen late into drafts, I would take each of these guys over Adam Dunn. Essentially these guys are all about the same type player at this stage in their careers. Although Morneau has held a much higher batting average in his good seasons than the rest, and LaRoche has been on a steady incline the past three full seasons he has played. Those two are a slam dunk over Dunn, Pena is much more of a toss up, but still a better pick than Dunn
Fantasy Sleepers: Vicideo
He could be a steal late in drafts, although he should be on more radars after his 2012 campaign, as he hit 25 home runs at 23 years of age. Viciedo could very well end up hitting out of the heart of the order, although he needs to work on his contact and average to be very effective from that spot. This team is aging, and there are very few options with power on this team, and his even his .255 average last year was .051 better than Adam Dunn.
If we look at what DV posted as batting averages in the minors, he hit over .280 total and over .300 in that short stint in the show during the 2010 campaign. Now, dating back to his call-up in 2011, he has hit a lean .255, which is fine if his power increases to the 35 homer range. As it stands I would be hopeful for a 30+ homer season with the chance at Viciedo hitting closer to .275.
It might be a little optimistic, but when you consider this guy could much later or for much less than guys like: Nick Swisher, Nelson Cruz or Garrett Jones and you could end up with similar or better stats, that’s what I call a sleeper.
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