The 2014 season is beginning soon, so naturally we’re all looking for reasons to be excited about what we’re going to witness for the next six-to-seven months. Baseball being a hailstorm of variance and results only encourages optimism that short-term goals can be reached.
But the thing about the variance of the season, and everyone having a puncher’s chance at a playoff bid, is that teams are aware of this in their planning. And when they decide that it’s a must-win season, teams often try to mitigate risk and uncertainty by acquiring known entities.
Surely White Sox fans can recognize this practice; acquiring 30-something corner outfielders and designated hitters to produce rather than trust for a position player to hit or develop on the spot. This costs more, but it’s supposed to prevent relying on the 2006 Brian Anderson‘s of the world from being in a position where they have to carry the team.
That’s not what the White Sox are doing right now.
Three of the Keith Law’s list of top 20 impact prospects of 2014 were on the White Sox (Matt Davidson, Erik Johnson and Marcus Semien). Along with Adam Eaton, Dayan Viciedo, Avisail Garcia, Jose Abreu, and maybe even John Danks, if you think about it, the Sox roster is littered with players who figure to be parts of the organization, but are total flips of the coin when it comes to whether they can be significant players in 2014.
And that’s leaving out a bullpen that likely sees former-barely-a-prospect Nate Jones become a closer and a pack of undervalued, flash-less veteran sinkerballers fill out the late innings.
The point of this season is figuring who deserves to stick around and who can help. If it turns out that the answer is “everyone,” then things will get exciting very quickly. At a certain point, discussion of a regular season’s possibility have to move beyond the top 5% of results.
Like it or not–and the White Sox surely don’t–but we’re in a period of trusting the process, and just because it’s plain to see that Rick Hahn has done a good job, doesn’t mean it’s anywhere close to being finished.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan