Sep 27, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Fans cheer as Chicago White Sox designated hitterPaul Konerko
bats during the third inning of their game against the Kansas City Royals at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
3: Chicago White Sox (85-77)
The White Sox were certainly expected to be “buyers” following a dismal two-year stretch where the club went 136-188 (.419) because they were shedding some big salaries following the 2014 season in retiring captain Paul Konerko and trading slugger Adam Dunn in the month of August.
A burgeoning youth movement highlighted by Adam Eaton, Avisail Garcia and Chris Sale, and an owner willing to open the checkbook, gave way to a very optimistic fan base for 2015. The team’s massive overhaul in the offseason included adding David Robertson, Jeff Samardzija, Zach Duke, Adam LaRoche, Melky Cabrera and others.
A projected rotation of Sale, Samardzija and Jose Quintana give the White Sox a top-three that ranks up near the top of the American League. Robertson and Duke add reliability to the bullpen. LaRoche and Cabrera complement a lineup with reigning Rookie of the Year and MVP candidate Jose Abreu and Silver Slugger Alexei Ramirez, who will improve the offense.
This is arguably the most improved team in baseball (the San Diego Padres can make that same claim), but no one knows how this collection of talent will play together. That, in addition to the question marks at the back end of the rotation, lead the White Sox to finish in the middle of the division.