In winning the American League Central, the White Sox perhaps over-achieved in 2008, but they did so without playing their best baseball either, weathering injuries to some players and underachievement from others. Still, they come into 2009 with a chance to cement their place in the division, with hopes of another division crown.
#1 Overall Chicago White Sox: Carlos Quentin (LF) – Fantasy Baseball 2009
2008 Stats: .288 BA, 36 HR, 26 2B, 100 RBI, 7 SB, 96 RS
Perhaps one of the better stories of 2008, Quentin turned into an absolute steal for the White Sox, after having been acquired for minor leaguer Chris Carter. Quentin went on to claim the starting left fielder position in Chicago, and was most likely the leading candidate for the American League MVP when he suffered a broken right wrist and missed the final thirty games of the season. Still, his numbers showed the potential he had in Arizona and gave fantasy owners a preview of what to expect in 2009, somewhere in the neighborhood of .290, 42 home runs, and 120 RBI.
#2 Overall Chicago White Sox: Alexei Ramirez (SS) – Fantasy Baseball 2009
2008 Stats: .290 BA, 21 HR, 22 2B, 77 RBI, 13 SB, 65 RS
For such a small and wiry player, Ramirez fit right into the White Sox line-up in 2008 and was a fantastic sleeper pick-up for fantasy owners. With a move to shortstop in 2009, plus a full season of at-bats, Ramirez will likely become all the more valuable. A middle infielder who qualifies at second base and shortstop goes a long way on draft day, especially one that pops out 20 plus home runs and knocks in close to 80 runs in a season. Expect mild increases to a batting line of .300, 25 home runs, 90 RBI, and 20 stolen bases in 2009.
#3 Overall Chicago White Sox: Jermaine Dye (RF) – Fantasy Baseball 2009
2008 Stats: .292 BA, 34 HR, 41 2B, 96 RBI, 3 SB, 96 RS
Another quiet, yet productive year for the veteran outfielder in 2008 saw Dye rebound from a sub par 2007 season and regain some credence among fantasy owners. Continuing to play his home games in the launching pad in Chicago will continue to do him wonders, but recent rumors of him being on the trading block, as well as being 35 at the start of the 2009 season will probably lead to some decline, somewhere more in line with the .254, 28 home runs, and 78 RBI he put up in 2007.
#4 Overall Chicago White Sox: Gavin Floyd (SP) – Fantasy Baseball 2009
2008 stats: 17 Wins and 8 Losses, 3.84 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 145 SO
2008 was a huge step forward for Gavin Floyd. After years of being labeled as “unrealized potential” Floyd finally stepped up and grabbed a hold of what had been expected of him all along and broke out, being perhaps the most consistent pitcher on the White Sox staff in 2008. Still only 26, Floyd has many years ahead of him and the White Sox are hoping that he continues to improve. The win total might not increase, but his peripheral stats (strikeouts, WHIP, and ERA) are likely to get better in 2009.
#5 Overall Chicago White Sox: Paul Konerko (1B) – Fantasy Baseball 2009
2008 Stats: .357 BA, 5 HR, 12 2B, 16 RBI, 8 SB, 34 RS
At 32, Paul Konerko shouldn’t be considered washed-up, but there are many who saw last season as a sign of things to come. His home runs have declined each of the last three seasons, his batting average each of the last two, and he has failed to drive in 100 runs in both of those campaigns. Still, Konerko is a professional hitter, hitting in one of the most hitter friendly parks in all of baseball, and he has a potent line-up around him, so he’s likely to revert back to his form in 2007, putting up numbers in the neighborhood of .265, 32 home runs, and 85 RBI.
MLB Standings, MLB.com
MLB Team Stats, Hitting, MLB.com
MLB Team Stats, Pitching, MLB.com
Carlos Quentin, Baseball-Reference.com
Alexei Ramirez, Baseball-Reference.com
Jermaine Dye, Baseball-Reference.com
Gavin Floyd, Baseball-Reference.com
Paul Konerko, Baseball-Reference.com