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 2013 title for all 30 teams.
The Chicago White Sox have once again climbed the mountain and reached the peak, winning the World Series with a second-year manager at the helm and an old, highly-paid roster full of players that were looking for one last playoff run.
A lot of things went right for the White Sox in 2013 after a lot went right for them in 2012. John Danks returned to his previous form after only making nine starts in 2012, throwing 189 innings with a 3.57 ERA. Jake Peavy celebrated his new contract by throwing 211 innings of 3.37 ERA baseball, striking out 190 hitters in the process. But the performance by the two veterans pales in comparison to that of Chris Sale, who threw 203 innings in 2013 with a 3.01 ERA and 210 strikeouts, winning the AL Cy Young award for the pale hose.
Offensively, Alex Rios thankfully didn't have a regression in 2013 for the White Sox, homering 27 times and stealing 24 bases to achieve his third 20/20 season in the last four years. The seemingly immortal Paul Konerko hit another 28 homers with an .877 OPS, and Adam Dunn mashed 43 homers, walked 110 times, and struck out 209 times. It was a typical Dunn season.
Some of the new faces in Chicago also had solid years. New starting catcher Tyler Flowers, replacing long-time Sox backstop AJ Pierzynski, hit 23 homers as the full-time starter. Jeff Keppinger was brought in to replace Kevin Youkilis at third, and he hit 12 homers while batting .302 and getting playing time all across the diamond. The "disappointing" Sox players in 2012 had varying degrees of success in 2013. Alexei Ramirez bounced back to hit 16 homers with a .733 OPS and Gold Glove defense at short. Gordon Beckham continued to struggle at second, posting yet another sub-.300 OBP with middling power.
Chicago's bullpen was once again good in 2013. Closer Addison Reed rebounded from a bit of a rough 2012, saving 33 games with a 1.83 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 59 innings. His main setup man, Matt Thornton, had a 2.03 ERA in 71 innings. Free agent signing Matt Lindstrom had a solid year, posting a 2.78 ERA in 55 innings, striking out 49. They weren't dominant, but did their job.
The White Sox didn't collapse in 2013 like they did in 2012, holding off the Tigers to win the AL Central. In the ALDS, Chicago took on a broken and beaten-down Yankees team, and swept the Bronx Bombers in three games. The White Sox faced off with the A's for the AL pennant in the ALCS, and cruised past Oakland in five. Finally, Chicago took on the Cardinals in the World Series, and beat their fellow Central division team in five to return to the promised land.
Chicago's success in 2012 defied all logic and expectations, and their continued success in 2013 opened some eyes and showed that this team can never be counted out. With an older roster, it's unlikely that 2014 will bring more success for Chicago, but you never know.