Chicago White Sox

Target Thornton For White Sox Saves

Sox Machine has the rundown on the battle to close in Bobby Jenks' absence:

Barring an outrageous matchup (three straight lefty-mashing righties), Thornton, a.k.a. Easy Heat, should be first in line with the ninth inning rolls around, with Dotel next in line.  At this point, Linebrink should be working the seventh.

Carlos Quentin Off To Hot Start

25 year-old White Sox left fielder Carlos Quentin is off to a blazing start with a .312/.454/.623 line in 77 at-bats.  Roto-wise, that's .312-6-20-20-2.  Using a complicated projection method  (multiplying everything by six) we get a season line of .312-36-120-120-12.  Fantasy baseball gold!

Seriously though, is the kid for real?  Let's start with the batting average.  He has a respectable 84.4% contact rate and a fantastic 14.4% walk rate.  (And six HBPs to further boost that OBP).  Though he admittedly played in hitters' parks in the minors, he did hit .312 in 379 games.  He can probably hit .280-.290.

Does he have 30 HR power?  I'm thinking more like 22-25 but Baseball America did note above average power in their '06 handbook.  Doesn't hurt that his home ballpark inflates right-handed homers by 26%.  He's batted sixth and seventh, making 100 ribbies a long shot.  Think 85-90 though.  Quentin's not much of a base-stealing threat so be happy if he sniffs double digits.

All in all a quality roto pickup who could put up Jeff Francoeur-like numbers, maybe a few less RBIs. 

A Look At John Danks

Is White Sox lefty John Danks for real?  Let's attempt to figure it out.  The early returns:

4 starts
23.2 IP
5.92 IP/start
3.04 ERA
1.01 WHIP
6.08 K/9
2.66 BB/9
2.29 K/BB
6.46 H/9
.250 BABIP
0.00 HR/9
0.0% HR/flyball
48.5% groundball rate (up 13.7% from '07)

Many factors have come together for his hot start, which is comprised of three stellar outings and one bombing at the hands of the Twins. 

Danks' control wasn't horrible last year at 3.5 BB/9, but this is a nice improvement.  He matched his current walk rate in April, July, and August of last year.  It's hard to say if he can keep it up all year.

His .250 BABIP is off his team's .303 mark, but not ridiculously so.  Danks was at .317 last year, but he would've given up more than a hit per inning even adjusting for that.  Best case is probably 8.5 H/9 or so.

It's the home run rate that's truly unsustainable (obviously he will be homered upon at some point).  This was a huge problem for Danks in '07 and his home park didn't help.  The greatly increased groundball rate says he can be at least league average in this regard.

Qualitatively, we know that Danks has a new cutter this year.  In a Baseball America profile from '07, they rated his changeup and curve as above average and noted number two starter potential.  He is only 23 and has often been young for his league.  Maybe '07 was his adjustment period and he really has arrived.

I can see Danks posting a 3.90 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP this year.  One consideration is that he was cut off at 139 innings last year and is unlikely to exceed 170 this year.  In a ten or twelve team mixed league Danks is worth using as one of your last starters.  I'm more interested to see what he can do with 200 innings in 2009.

Mark Gonzales Interview

Mark Gonzales is the Chicago White Sox beat writer for the Chicago Tribune.  This week Mark was kind enough to do an interview for  Check out Mark's well-informed, sometimes surprising answers below. 

RotoAuthority:  Should the White Sox use Brandon McCarthy as a starter or a reliever for the playoffs?

Mark Gonzales:  I believe McCarthy should have been on the roster. Simply, he deserved to be on the roster. If the Sox plan to add him to the ALCS roster should they make it that far, he will have no game action for at least nine days and probably two weeks.

RA: Does Carl Everett deserve his reputation as one of baseball's biggest jerks?

MG:  Speaking for myself, Carl Everett has treated me very well. He's good with his teammates. Sure, he has strong opinions on certain topics. But he knows how to play the game. He slides hard and clean into second base to break up double plays. He once pointed out to us early in April that Tadahito Iguchi would have to learn quickly that base runners aren't as gentlemanly as those in Japan and would have to adjust accordingly. All I can tell you is that Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News liked covering Carl, and Shea Hillenbrand appreciated learning from Carl during his days in Boston.

RA: Anything interesting about Ozzie that the general public might not know?

MG: He's very committed to his charity work, yet he doesn't let the whole world know about his efforts.

RA: Can the White Sox lineup score enough runs to succeed in the playoffs? Why do you think the team doesn't recognize the importance of OBP?

MG: Even after a 14-run performance in Game 1, the jury is still out on the offense. But they seem more relaxed and confident now that Scott Podsednik is getting on base more often. The White Sox are what I call a tools organization. They'll take their chances with Juan Uribe, A.J. Pierzynski and Joe Crede because the upside is so great.

RA: Your 2005 White Sox MVP and why?

MG: Paul Konerko is the granite of this team. His defense has gotten better, but his bat is the biggest plus.

RA: Will Ozzie really retire if the Sox win the World Series?

MG: I don't think so. Ozzie is too young to step away from this (as well as three more years guaranteed).

RA: What is the chance of Frank Thomas returning for 2006 at a reduced rate?

MG: It all depends on Frank's ankle. If it heals by spring training, I think you'll see him back. But keep in mind that the Sox have to find a spot for Brian Anderson somewhere in the lineup. He's done enough at Triple-A Charlotte, and Carl Everett also is an option (perhaps at a reduced rate).

RA: Has Bobby Jenks shown enough to be anointed the full-time closer in 2006? Or do you think Ozzie will just play the match-ups and the hot hand when choosing late-inning relievers?

MG: A lot depends on Bobby's ability to put some tail in his fastball and Hermanson's health. Ozzie hasn't been afraid to use the hot hand, so this could be a work in progress again.

RA: Let's say you replace Kenny Williams. What size and length contract would you offer Paul Konerko this winter, if any?

MG: Four years, $44 million. The man deserves it, based on his production and durability.

RA: What free agents do you expect the Sox to pursue this offseason? Will A.J. Burnett or Nomar Garciaparra be in the mix?

MG: Ken Williams realizes the free agent market is thin. It might be best to re-sign Konerko and add a "swing" pitcher who can start and relieve.

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