Chicago White Sox Favored To Win Division

May 30, 2011
American League Central
by Ken Lund

In 2005, the Chicago White Sox won the World Series. Last year, the Sox finished in second place with 88 wins behind the Minnesota Twins who won the American League Central Division with 94 wins. While the Twins lost the majority of their bullpen to free agency over the winter, the south siders have made several key additions which they feel position them for another run at a World Series title.


In 2005 and for several seasons, Sox slugger Paul Konerko was protected in the lineup by left handed future hall of famer Jim Thome. Thome matched Konerkos home run and run batted in output and provided a formidable duo in the middle of the lineup.


Left fielder Carlos Quentin again battled injuries last season but provides exceptional power when healthy. He finished 2010 with 26 homers and 87 RBIs but is capable of even more. Shortstop Alexi Ramirez provides a spark at the top of the order and even shows occasional pop despite his diminutive stature. A. J. Pierzynski provides stability behind the plate but may soon be pressed for playing time by impressive youngster Tyler Flowers.


So this past off season, Williams signed left handed slugger Adam Dunn, formerly of the Nationals. A consistent 40-45 homer a season hitter, its feasible that Dunn could even hit 50 plus homers in homer friendly U. S. Cellular Field. Dunn pairs with Konerko, who hit 39 homers last year, to once again give Chicagos American League team a thunderous middle of the order tandem.


Getting on base in front of Dunn and Konerko are center fielder and speedster Juan Pierre who will once again lead off. In the second slot is shortstop Alexi Ramirez who shows occasional power and good speed at the top of the order. Right fielder Alex Rios had a solid season in 2010, hitting . 284 with 21 homers, 88 RBIs and 34 steals.


While the Twins suffered the losses of most of their bullpen in the off season, the Sox feel they improved their bullpen. Key to that improvement is the acquisition of Jesse Crain from the rival Twins. Chris Sale, in his second season after impressing in his rookie campaign last year, will serve as a set up man to closer Matt Thorton. The Sox let former closer Bobby Jenks leave to go to the Boston Red Sox. They also lost Scott Linebrink to the Atlanta Braves. But with Sergio Santos, Tony Pena, and Jeff Marquez, the Sox feel that their bullpen will be a strength as the season goes on.


While the Twins lost Jesse Crain to the White Sox, Matt Guerrier to the Dodgers, Jon Rauch to the Blue Jays and Brian Fuentes to the Athletics, Williams and Guillen feel that the addition of Crain makes them stronger, despite their bullpen losses. Bobby Jenks left for Boston and Scott Linebrink signed with the Atlanta Braves, but the Sox think spectacular rookie Chris Sale will be a solid set up man to new closer Matt Thorton.


The additions of Dunn and Crain have Chicago White Sox fans excited about the 2011 season. With the solid leadership of manager Ozzie Guillen and General Manager Kenny Williams signed to extensions, the pair lead a solid mixture of exciting youngsters along with proven veterans. Though they will likely battle Minnesota and the Detroit Tigers for the division, the Sox seem poised to make it an exciting summer in the Windy City.

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