To preview the 2012 Chicago White Sox season, I’ll be breaking down each position starting with the starting pitchers. The rotation has been a strong point and the backbone of this team for the past several seasons, but is now a question mark with the departure of longtime ace Mark Buehrle. After signing with Miami Marlins, it was thought that the second man in the rotation, John Danks, may also be taking his talents elsewhere, but the Sox quelled all those rumors by locking him up for five more years with a $65 million dollar extension. Behind Danks, there remains uncertainty going forward, but all is not lost as the young guys look to build on their 2011 campaign. What remains to be seen is how much Buehrle leaving will affect this team and if Danks can step in as the new #1 and lead this rotation to success in 2012. Only time will tell, but optimism is high as the pitchers have reported for Spring Training.
John Danks – Entering his fifth year in the majors, Danks is now being looked upon to lead the White Sox young and inconsistent rotation. The 26 year-old has proven that he is more than capable of being a leader in and out of the clubhouse and it’s now time for him to be the man on the mound for the Sox. He has a career ERA around 4.00 and can give this team quality starts and possibly be a 20-game winner with enough run support. He is a great pitcher to build a rotation around.
Jake Peavy – The former Cy Young Award winner hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the White Sox in 2009. After a fantastic start to his career, the injury bug has hit him hard as he hasn’t pitched in more than 20 games in a season since 2008. When he’s on his game, he is one of the most reliable and effective pitchers in the game and the Sox will need that if they have any hopes of competing in the AL Central this season. He’s said to be “as healthy as he’ll ever be” this year, so this may finally be the season where he shows Sox fans why he was brought to this organization. He will be a key factor for this team going forward.
Gavin Floyd – Since his breakout year in 2008 with the Sox that saw him win 17 games in 33 starts, Floyd has been the epitome of inconsistent on the mound. He has shown that he is more than capable of being a valuable third spot in the rotation, but maintaining his level of consistency will be the key for Gavin in 2012. He must keep his fastball under control and avoid getting behind batters early as walks have been a killer for him over the past two years.
Phil Humber – Coming off his first full season in the majors where Humber posted a 9-9 record and an ERA under 4.00, the Sox will look for more of the same from the 29 year-old. After being acquired from the Royals, many were unsure of what Humber could bring to the Sox, but Sox fans saw his potential early on in the year and he remained a reliable back-end starter throughout the season. Humber will look to build on last year with another solid 2012 campaign.
Chris Sale – Sale joins the White Sox rotation after two seasons where he seen briefly in the bullpen. Drafted 13th overall by the White Sox in the 2010 MLB Draft, Sale was widely regarded as one of the best starting pitching prospects coming out of high school. After seeing him in relief appearances the past two years, it’s easy to see why he was so highly rated. He doesn’t have a large arsenal of pitches, but he does have a nasty delivery that leaves batters shaking their heads after they leave the batter’s box. Sale is confident in his ability and looks forward to joining the rotation and being a big contributor. He’ll likely get close to 200 innings this year. The big concern with Sale is his delivery. It’s reminiscent of Randy Johnson’s old side delivery. Sox fans are hoping he can avoid injuries and be the next great young pitcher in the MLB.