What else can baseball fans do in January but dream of October? In You May Say I’m a Dreamer, the Outside Corner staff will imagine the route to a World Series in 2012 title for all 30 teams.
It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Chicago White Sox. The team lost multiple players this offseason, and slashed payroll by $30 million. But yet, like Kenny Williams’s teams usually do, the White Sox overachieved. In fact, they overachieved to the point that at the end of October, they were hoisting the World Series trophy.
The White Sox got surprise boosts from many players this season, players that had been left for dead after awful 2011 season. Right fielder Alex Rios had an .875 OPS and went 30/30 for the year, living up to his filthy contract that paid him $12.5 million in 2012. Designated hitter Adam Dunn, who was just so vile to watch last season, hit 44 homers and made his signing last winter look like the good move that many projected it would be upon his signing. Second baseman Gordon Beckham got back on the right track, posting an .821 OPS and falling one homer shy of going 20/20 for the season.
Two established White Sox star hitters weren’t surprises in 2012, but they did have fantastic years. Shortstop Alexei Ramirez had a .907 OPS and was the All-Star starter at shortstop for the AL in the All-Star game. First baseman Paul Konerko continued to hit a ton, smacking 34 homers for the White Sox, with 19 of those coming after the All-Star break. Young left fielder Dayan Viciedo had a .797 OPS in his rookie year, and showed signs of major improvements late in the season after struggling out of the gate in April and May.
Like usual, Chicago’s pitching staff helped the team out immensely. After dealing Edwin Jackson last July, letting Mark Buerhle walk in the winter, and dealing closer Sergio Santos for a questionable return in the offseason, the White Sox pitching staff was a giant question mark. Once the season got underway, it was clear that the staff would be much better than many expected. Gavin Floyd and John Danks were a fantastic front-end of the rotation, combining to win 34 games. Each pitchers also had an ERA under 3.30 as well. The vastly overpaid Jake Peavy managed to make 29 starts over the course of the season, and pitched to a 3.47 ERA. The back-end of the rotaion, last year’s breakout start Philip Humber and the young Zach Stewart, were both solid. Humber had a 4.05 ERA and won 12 games, while Stewart won 10 with a 4.23 ERA.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the White Sox bullpen. Rookie Addison Reed took the lead in the race for the closer’s spot early in spring camp, a lead he wouldn’t relinquish. He saved 37 games and struck out 84 hitters in 67 innings, finishing third in the AL Rookie of the Year race in the process. His set-up men were also aces, with Matt Thornton and Chris Sale (who lost a battle for the fifth starter’s spot to Stewart in the spring) both having ERAs under 2.00 and striking out more than a batter per inning. The auxiliary pieces were good as well, with Will Ohman and Jesse Crain keeping their ERAs under 3.00.
No one expected the White Sox to go all the way in 2012, and yet, they did. While it’s great to win the whole damn thing, some White Sox fans just kept complaining about their farm system as the season inched on with Chicago still in contention. Getting the last pick of the first round in the 2013 draft won’t help things a ton, but I don’t think fans are going to be complaining, given the result of the season.