Things are looking just a tad brighter on the South Side, at least as far as the rotation goes. I am not expecting great results with the current White Sox starting pitching, although there is reason to hope for the future with the back end of the rotation.

 

Starting Pitching Rotation Analysis

Chicago White Sox

AL Central

 

 

Projected Rotation

Pitcher

IP

W

K

ERA

WHIP

ADP

Chris Sale

196

13

205

3.26

1.13

48

Jose Quintana

171

10

133

4.05

1.31

294

John Danks

154

8

104

4.79

1.38

400

Erik Johnson

150

8

115

4.68

1.46

*

Felipe Paulino

81

4

75

4.33

1.37

390

 

Potential Rotation Alternatives

Pitcher

IP

W

K

ERA

WHIP

ADP

Andre Rienzo

80

4

60

5.18

1.58

*

ADP designated by * indicates no reported ADP as of date of publication. Projections are based on a compilation of several sources (ZiPS, Oliver, Steamer, RotoChamp), given equal weight.

The question everyone seems to ask about Chris Sale is whether or not he can continue to pitch 200+ innings per season. To his credit, he has not hit the DL yet in his major league career through 500 innings, but there have been health concerns, notably his elbow and shoulder, but also regarding his blood sugar levels. If he puts up another 200 inning season, expect elite K/9 numbers, and excellent peripherals. It is only the fear of injury that drops his stock in drafts, albeit to a small extent.

Jose Quintana may be the number 2 starter on the White Sox, but he should be relegated to a SP4/5 role in fantasy. He surpassed 200 innings in 2013, but due to his offensive offense, he only came away with 9 wins for his 33 start effort. He has 4 effective pitches- fastball, curve, cutter and changeup- but none are considered dominant. He also strikes out nearly 3 batters for every free pass he issues, which helps maintain his WHIP and ERA at acceptable levels. Take him in the later rounds, to shore up your rotation.

John Danks stunk up the joint last season, coming back from shoulder surgery after two months of the season had been played out. His fastball clocked in at a career low 89.4 MPH, and while he exhibited excellent control, it wasn't enough with his lack of strikeouts and a HR/9 spike (1.82) to translate into fantasy value. He is under contract for through 2016, so expect him to remain in the rotation, unless he demonstrates that 2013's results are now his norm.

Erik Johnson is the top pitching prospect on the White Sox, but like a lot of young pitchers, he is still working to develop his poise and command. He uses a mid-90s fastball, slider and developing changeup to keep hitters off the base paths, but expect some mid season regression as batters develop the book on him. Don't expect him to become an elite MLB strikeout artist despite his success in the minors, but also don't discount his potential value as a sleeper pick, especially in a dynasty or keeper league.

Felipe Paulino may end up in the fourth rotation spot, as the White Sox will want to keep as much pressure off of Johnson as possible, but make no mistake, he is not someone that you want to be drafting except in deep mixed leagues or AL-only leagues. Coming back from Tommy John surgery, he has not recovered his full control, although his fastball velocity is similar to what he possessed before surgery, someplace in the mid-90s. He is also working on a cutter with pitching coach Dan Cooper, which he just unveiled against the Brewers with success. If he feels comfortable throwing it in regular season action, it may be a case of resurrection by the addition of new skills. He is best left to the wire in your standard redraft leagues.

Andre Rienzo is interesting as a potential high strikeout pitcher, but in 10 games with the team last season, he struggled to throw his hard breaking curve for strikes, allowing hitters to tee off on his fastball at a .324 clip. He is behind in the race for the fourth and fifth starting slots, and thus may end up back in Triple-A to work on his control. At present, he is fantasy irrelevant for redraft leagues, and only a flier in keeper or dynasty leagues.

Once you get past Sale in your drafts, you can have your pick of White Sox starting pitchers, but you most likely will want to avoid them. That is, unless you believe in Erik Johnson's potential, and have a spot to stash him for spot starts. Quintana will give you innings and acceptable peripherals, but Danks is a huge risk, and Paulino is a work in progress at this point.

If you disagree with my assessments, or just want to discuss starting pitching, I can be reached at ia@fantasyalarm.com. I enjoy comments and am more than willing to engage in discussion about fantasy baseball, so feel free to write.

 




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About Ivar G. Anderson

I have actively played fantasy sports since 2004, when I was roped into competing in an auto-pick football league on Yahoo. My devotion, and number of teams has continued to grow to the present. I began writing about fantasy sports for FantasyGameday in 2008, and was recruited to join the FantasyAlarm team in 2011, where I cover Starting Pitching on the baseball side of things, and publish a weekly IDP Report and NFL Weather Report weekly during the football season. I can be reached by e-mail at: ia@fantasyalarm.com and my Twitter handle is: @johnwhorfin

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