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A.L. Central

“That’s Amore!” Chicago White Sox 2016

People that know me may find it interesting that I’m doing a team preview of the Chicago White Sox. Interesting because I root for their rivals on the opposite side of town. That being said, I have no ill words for the White Sox organization. I respect them as I do the St. Louis Cardinals.

Cubs SoxA little over a decade ago I had the privilege of attending the crosstown rivalry of the White Sox and Cubs. I thank my uncle, who is a huge White Sox fan, for taking me to the game. Not only was the game entertaining, but being in the stands was entertainment of its own. Fans going back and forth, Southside hooligans tossing dollar bills at Sammy Sosa, and the eruption of the crown each time either team scored. It was a great atmosphere, one that could only be compared to Red Sox vs. Yankees, Packers vs. Bears, Red Wings vs. Blackhawks, or Inter vs. Milan in the Milan Derby.

Abreu2015 was a brutal season for the South Side. 10 years following their last World Series Championship there were high expectations for the Robin Ventura-lead White Sox. Many predicted them to win the AL Central and make a deep push into the playoffs. That wasn’t the case as the White Sox would finish fourth in the division with a 76-86 record. There were a few bright spots as Jose Abreu continued his bright career hitting 30 home runs while slashing .290/.347/.502. Adam Eaton figured things out after a slow start to finish with a .287 average, 98 runs, and nearly 20 stolen bases. The much anticipated arrival of Carlos Rodon was successful as the rookie went 9-6 with a 3.75 ERA, 1[39:71] K:BB, and nearly 9 K/9.

Moving forward to 2016, the White Sox look like the team to beat as they revamped their offense with many key acquisitions. After Chris Sale, Carlos Rodon, and Jose Quintana the back end of their rotation is up for grabs. Erik Johnson, Jacob Turner, and Mat Latos will battle for the last spot of the rotation. John Danks seems locked at the fourth spot, but has battled a number of injuries and had a forgettable season that saw him go 7-15 with a 4.71 ERA. My early favorites for the fourth and fifth rotation spots John Danks and Mat Latos.

Notable Off-Season Moves:

November 25 – Agreed to terms with C Alex Avila on a one-year contract.

December 4 – Agreed to terms with C Dioner Navarro.

December 9 – Acquired INF Brett Lawrie from Oakland. Agreed to terms on a one-year contract on January 15.

December 16 – Acquired 3B Todd Frazier from Cincinnati in three-team trade.

February 9 – Agreed to terms with RHP Mat Latos.

February 22 – Agreed to terms with INF Jimmy Rollins on a minor league contract.

March 6 – Agreed to terms with OF Austin Jackson on a one-year contract.

Projected Batting Order:

RF – Adam Eaton .282/10/80 20SB
2B – Brett Lawrie .261/18/65
1B – Jose Abreu .287/35/110
3B – Todd Frazier .269/33/101
DH – Adam LaRoche .240/19/63
LF – Melky Cabrera .282/10/63
CF – Austin Jackson .264/7/43
C – Dioner Navarro .260/8/33
SS – Jimmy Rollins .250/12/42

Projected Pitching Rotation:

Chris Sale (LHP) 17-8/2.79/259K
Jose Quintana (LHP) 13-10/3.37/177K
Carlos Rodon (LHP) 10-8/3.73/176K
John Danks (LHP) 8-9/4.55/131K
Mat Latos (RHP) 7-9/3.98/140K
Zack Duke (LHP) [Setup] 3.55/24 Holds/64K
David Robertson (RHP) [Closer] 2.62/39 Saves/91K

Minor League Maestro Spotlight:

Carson Fulmer, RHP

ETA: 2016

Many projections have Fulmer not getting a call until September or 2017, but I suspect he will arrive to U.S. Cellular earlier than many predict. He handled his first season in the minors well with a 1.96 ERA and 26:9 K:BB in 23.0 IP. His fastball sits in the mid-to-high 90s with a power curve, and decent changeup. Once his changeup becomes more fluid and he shows the ability to consistently get Major League-ready hitters out it won’t be long before Fulmer earns himself a spot in the White Sox rotation. In September, the White Sox will be there and Fulmer could make a significant impact out of their bullpen.

Tim Anderson, SS

ETA: 2016

The addition of Jimmy Rollins is a temporary band aid after the loss of Alexei Ramirez. The only thing holding Anderson back his hit shoddy footwork. He will need to correct this if he wants to play shortstop at the Major League level. 2015 was a big season for Anderson in which he hit .312 with 5 HR, 46 RBI, and 49 SB. He did great grabbing XBH with 21 doubles and a whopping 12 triples. White Sox fans better know the name “Tim Anderson” as he will make as big, if not bigger, an impact as Ray Durham once did.

Spencer Adams, RHP

ETA: 2018

Adams was the 44th (second round) overall pick in the 2014 draft. Only 19, Adams has all the time to develop into a dynamite starting pitcher. He brings a mid-90s fastball, solid slider, and developing changeup and curve.  When it’s all said and done, the righty will have a plethora of pitches to mow down opposing hitters. In 24 2015 starts, Adams went 12-5 with a 2.99 ERA and 96 strikeouts to only 18 walks.

Fantasy Outlook:

FrazierChris Sale, along with many out White Sox starters, failed to get a lot of run support. General Manager Rick Hahn made huge strides to fix this with his off-season acquisitions. Sale is primed to be one of the first three starting pitchers drafted in leagues. 2016 looks like another season in which he will lead the American League in strikeouts. Adam Eaton is a solid option for a fourth outfielder or utility spot in many leagues. In MLFS leagues, Eaton carries a lot of value in terms of steals and runs scored. Each season Jose Abreu becomes more popular. There’s no conversation of top fantasy first baseman that can be had without Abreu being mentioned in the top-three. Of course, there’s the big acquisition of Todd Frazier. He’s a great clubhouse guy and will fit perfect in the hard nosed, blue collar organization that are the White Sox. Look for Frazier to build off a huge 2015 season by playing for a playoff contender. He will easily cement himself as a top-five fantasy third baseman. At the end of your fantasy pitching staff look no further than David Robertson. 2015 was rough for Robertson, but he’ll have renewed motivation playing for the 2016 White Sox. Robertson is a lock for top-10 in fantasy saves.

Season Projection: 91-71 (1st in AL Central)

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(Click the RED link below to listen to the show)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join Corey D Roberts on Sunday March 13th, 2016 from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of the Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show. We are a live call in radio show so we encourage callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We begin the division by division break downs with everything fantasy and MLB relevant in the A.L. East.

Our guests this week are Zak Sauer and Hernan Batista. Zak is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com. Hernan is a key owner in our leagues and will be a regular guest on our shows this year.

Come join a lively debate!

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(Click the RED link below to listen to the show)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly Show: Join Lou Landers and Kyle Amore live on Thursday March 10th, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #4 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly. We will discuss player positions and help prepare you for the coming draft season. This will run every Thursday as a live broadcast that will take live callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will discuss the short stop and 2nd base players to target or avoid in 2016.

This week’s guests are Marc Foster and Nick DeSisto. Marc was a writer with us in 2012 and 2013. He is one the original 8 core members who has been playing in our leagues since 2008 and he will be a frequent guest on our shows this year. Nick is going into his 3rd year as an MLFB owner and he will also be a frequent radio guest this year.

Come join a lively debate!

I'm a former collegiate and semi-pro baseball player. Chicago sports are the love of my life [Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls] as well as European football. I promise Cubs fans that if Theo can't bring a World Series, I will knock down all doors until I work my way up to GM and bring home a World Series to the Northside of Chicago!

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