SCOUT’S TAKE ON THE SOX: Third or fourth in Central
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com March 30, 2013 12:36AM
Veteran captain Paul Konerko still has plenty of firepower to offer the Sox, our scout says. | Mark Duncan~AP
Updated: May 30, 2013 5:27PM
We wanted to know how the experts size up the White Sox on the eve of Opening Day 2013, so we went to a major-league scout who followed the team in 2012.
On condition of anonymity, the scout agreed to assess the lineup, rotation and closer. He views the Sox, who finished second behind the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central in 2012, as a third- or fourth-place team.
‘‘I think they’ll get passed by Kansas City this season,’’ he said.
Alex Rios, RF: “We’ll see who he really is this year. Because he was awful [in 2011]. He turned everything around the way he played the game last year. Was a real problem before that, didn’t play hard. Last year, he played hard and did everything. He looked like a star. I want to see it again.’’
Alejandro De Aza, CF: ‘‘A great pickup [a 2009 waiver claim from the Florida Marlins]. Not a star, but he’s steady, and he’ll get better. Hitting first or second in the lineup, a good table-setter-type guy. Average defensively.’’
Dayan Viciedo, LF: ‘‘I like him. He has a chance to hit for average and power. I think they took him off third base too soon. I think he could have been their answer at third for many years. He’s still young. An average defender.’’
Alexei Ramirez, SS: ‘‘Very steady defensively. Enough ability to be one of better shortstops in the league offensively and defensively, but for sure defensively. At the very least, a solid, major-league every-day regular.’’
Jeff Keppinger, 3B: ‘‘I like him, but I think he’s more of a platoon guy on a good club. He’ll hit for average and might hit for a little more power at U.S. Cellular. A good pickup, but he’s a second-division-type regular because of his lack of power.’’
Gordon Beckham, 2B: ‘‘One of the best defensive second basemen in either league, and his bat is a mystery. I still like him. Still has a chance to be a better-than-average major-league player, but it still boils down to his bat. Has to find an approach and stay with it. Fiddles around too much.’’
Paul Konerko, 1B: Leader of that club, by example. Just when you think he’s done, he’s still turning on above-average fastballs. One of the best shorter swings in the game. A winner. He’ll still be a clutch go-to for the next year, possibly two.’’
Adam Dunn, DH: ‘‘Power bat. Big, raw power, as much as anybody in the game. Very hot and cold. Very inconsistent and strikes out too much, but a lot of power hitters strike out. Power is hard to find. Swings through a lot of pitches.’’
Tyler Flowers, C: ‘‘I don’t think Flowers is an every-day major-league catcher. But he has power, and he’ll hit mediocre pitching, and he can hit it a long way. Don’t think he’ll hit for average. Improved but average defender at best with an average arm. I question whether he can play every day because of his size. You don’t see guys that big moving well. I think he’s a backup catcher. I could be wrong. Only time will tell.’’
Chris Sale, SP: ‘‘One of the best in the game. Made me a believer. He knows how to pitch, has good stuff. Poise and confident, he pitches like a veteran. Will be around for a long time.’’
Jake Peavy, SP: ‘‘One of the best competitors in the game. I worry about his health more than anybody’s because of his effort. Don’t think he’s better than a solid No. 3 starter, but a major-league third starter is still pretty good. Not what he was, but he’ll give you innings. Can be a 12-15-game winner.’’
Gavin Floyd, SP: ‘‘He’s a mystery. Good stuff, classic underachiever. He’ll look great for five innings and in the sixth inning . . . might be one of worst nibblers in game. Gets himself in trouble. A fourth starter, and gets paid better than that.’’
Jose Quintana, SP: ‘‘A back-end starter, probably a fourth starter at best. I like him. He pitches with poise. A good pickup.’’
Dylan Axelrod, SP: ‘‘Swing man, fifth starter at best, and he prepares himself best as a starter. Good guy to have around. Can pitch in the middle or long [relief], but best used as a starter.’’
John Danks, SP (on DL): ‘‘I saw him in spring training, and he isn’t the same guy right now. He’s lost a lot of confidence. He’s more of a back-end guy than anything else.’’
Addison Reed, closer: ‘‘Got better as the year went on. Thrown into a tough situation, young arm closing for a contender. One–pitch guy early in the year but his changeup, breaking ball got better. Best years ahead. He’ll be better than he was last year.’’