The 2015 Chicago White Sox were the unquestioned winners of the offseason.
While Blue Jays, Marlins and Dodgers fans will be quick to point out that is no guarantee of success, there is little doubt the White Sox will be better in 2015.
Despite all of the newcomers this season, the most intriguing players for fantasy may be the ones returning from last season.
We took the projected lineup, rotation and bullpen fromRosterResources.com.
Projected “Go-To” Lineup:
- CF Adam Eaton
- LF Melky Cabrera
- 1B Jose Dariel Abreu
- DH Adam LaRoche
- RF Avisail Garcia
- 3B Conor Gillaspie
- SS Alexei Ramirez
- C Tyler Flowers
- 2B Carlos Sanchez
White Sox Starting Rotation:
- LHP Chris Sale, LHP
- RHP Jeff Samardzija, RHP
- LHP Jose Quintana, LHP
- LHP John Danks, LHP
- RHP Hector Noesi, RHP
White Sox Bullpen:
- RHP David Robertson (closer)
- RHP Zach Putnam (setup)
- RHP Jake Petricka (setup)
2015 Chicago White Sox Fantasy Studs
In Chris Sale’s career as a starter, Sale owns a 2.80 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 4.63 K/BB rate. Sale has improved every season as a starter, and at age 26, it is possible he still has some room to grow. His 2.57 FIP and 2.83 xFIP indicate his 2.17 ERA was a bit lucky, even so, he is at worst a top-10 starting pitcher heading into 2015.
Pinning down Jose Abreu’s Fantasy value is really difficult. Last season, Abreu led all qualified hitters with a 26.9 percent HR/FB rate and was fourth with a .356 BABIP. Abreu is not a speedster like the other BABIP leaders, so his BABIP will almost certainly regress, but we have little way of knowing just how much.
Abreu smacked 36 home runs last season, despite hitting few fly balls. Of the 11 players to hit 30 or more home runs last season, Abreu’s 31.2 percent fly ball rate was by far the lowest with Victor Martinez is next at 38.1 percent. While Abreu’s HR/FB rate will probably decrease a little bit in 2015, I suspect his fly-ball percentage will increase. In the end, I think we can expect another 35 home runs with a batting average around .290. That would make Abreu a solid late first-round pick.
— Jim Sannes (@JimSannes) January 23, 2015
Breakout Candidate: Avisail Garcia
In 141 big league games, Garcia is batting .272 with 14 home runs and seven stolen bases. If he can just match those numbers in 2015 he will be a borderline top-30 outfielder. Health is a concern after Garcia played just 72 games in 2013 and 46 in 2014, but anyone can get injured. Garcia will turn 24 in June, and there is little reason to believe the once highly touted prospect can’t improve at the plate with consistent health and playing time. It is easy to picture a scenario where Garcia bats .280 with 20 home runs and 10 stolen bases and is a Draft Day steal.
Sleeper Candidate: Tyler Flowers
Flowers is the closest thing the White Sox have to a sleeper, as everyone else on the roster is either going too early in drafts or does not have any upside. He is no longer a prospect, but he hit 15 home runs in 127 games last season, despite the lowest fly-ball percentage of his career. Flowers has an outside chance to hit 20 home runs this season from the catcher position.
Bust Candidate: Jeff Samardzija
After spending his entire career in the National League, Samardzija was traded to Oakland in June, where the shift to the AL was softened by landing in a great ballpark with a very good defense. Now he faces a full season in the American League in a decidedly unfriendly ballpark. Samardzija‘s 2.99 ERA last season was nearly a full run lower than his previous best as a starter, helped by a dramatic decrease in his walk rate. I’m not willing to bet on a repeat of 2014, though, I do think he can throw more than 200 innings with more than 180 strikeouts.
Top Rookie: Micah Johnson, Carlos Rodon
The dude is fast. He stole 22 bases in 102 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season. Johnson probably isn’t the next Dee Gordon, but he can be a difference-maker if he can get on base enough to use his speed. With only Carlos Sanchez standing between Johnson and regular playing time, there is a pretty good chance Johnson breaks camp with the White Sox and never looks back.
Rodon was the third overall pick in June’s amateur draft, and he was impressive in his brief minor-league career. The White Sox have never been shy about promoting their prospects — Sale had just 10.1 minor-league innings before his big league debut –and the White Sox certainly need help in the rotation with John Danks and Hector Noesi penciled into the last two spots.
It is impossible to read too much into seven minor-league appearances, but 13 walks in 21.2 innings is a huge red flag. If Rodon makes the rotation out of camp, he will be worth adding for his immense upside, but the potential for him to be the next Trevor Bauer cannot be overlooked.
— Comcast SportsNet (@CSNChicago) January 24, 2015
What Should We Know About the 2015 Chicago White Sox?
|2015 Team Previews: AL Central|
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Adam Eaton has never hit more than 12 home runs in any season, at any level. In the last two seasons, between the majors and minors, Eaton has 32 stolen bases in 940 plate appearances. He has 22 stolen bases in 918 plate appearances in the big leagues. Fantasy players seem to be operating under the assumption Eaton has this great power/speed potential, but we haven’t seen much evidence to support that belief. Eaton’s .281 career batting average is encouraging, but I think his upside is overstated.
Check out all of our Fantasy Baseball team previews in our“Fantasy 30 For 30″ series!
Chris Sale Photo Credit: Dustin Nosler
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- 2015 Chicago White Sox Team Preview: Fantasy 30 For 30 - January 30, 2015