With the holidays now behind us, it's time to look forward to another fast-approaching baseball season. Hard to believe that pitchers and catchers report in just over a month. With that in mind, let me take a look at the pitching staff of the 2013 Chicago White Sox. The Pale Hose may have a couple moves left, but I'm talking about right now–early January.
The Sox rotation is Jake Peavy, Chris Sale, John Danks, Jose Quintana and Gavin Floyd. On paper that looks pretty good, but as we all know, the game is played on the field. The first question I need answered is how will last season's innings affect Sale and Quintana?
Sale threw an astounding 192 innings in 2012, which is almost 100 more than he threw in his first two seasons combined. In his first 95.1 innings last year, Sale's ERA was 2.27, while allowing 68 hits. In his final 96.1 innings his ERA was 3.83 and he gave up 99 hits. I also wonder if his (very) lean body is capable of throwing 200 or more innings every year? It's unfair to say he'll be like former Sox lefty Mark Buehrle, who's twirled 200+ innings for 12 straight seasons. But for the Sox to contend, Sale will have to get close to the magical 200 inning mark. And it's not just the pitching that Sale will have to deal with, he'll also have to contend with raised expectations from media and fans. I promise you he'll have a camera or pad shoved in his face every day in the spring. Also, don't think for one minute that the league won't make adjustments to his unorthodox style of pitching. From the intensity standpoint, Sale is a miniature version of Jake Peavy so he has the mental strength to persevere. I think Sale will win 14 games.
Jose Quintana is an even bigger question mark. The guy came out of nowhere in 2012 to post numbers that not even the most astute baseball pundits could have predicted. He finished 6-6 with a 3.76 ERA, and he kept the Sox in most games until the end. It's those last six starts that concern me. In the thick of a pennant race, Quintana posted an ERA of 7.23 in just 31.1 IP. Quintana also allowed 41 hits and 19 walks in the same span. Was he just tired, or did the league catch up to him? I'll admit, he did pitch a whale of a game against the Detroit Tigers in early September, and a decent one against the fading Los Angeles Angels, but you and I have to be concerned. I'll also point out that the left-hander pitched 184 innings (combining Charlotte stats with the Sox)–which is just 67.1 innings less than he pitched the previous 5 seasons. Can anyone guess how he'll fare in 2013? I don't think so. One part of me wants to say his magic will continue in 2013, but there's an even bigger part that thinks he'll be back in Charlotte by June. If pitching coach Don Cooper does what he always does, Quintana could win eight to ten games.
Spin it how you want, but the White Sox rotation is good
White Sox Gab | Jan 17