Well, as I've taken some effort to discuss, the fate of the White Sox this season will rest a great deal upon Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Mark Buehrle maintaining their performance levels into their mid-30's...an age I can only imagine in my darkest nightmares.
But there are a few more things to watch out for as far potential regression goes with the ChiSox.
He's already no great shakes because, as close-minded as it seems, it's
really hard to be a good offensive player when you pose no threat
to ever hit a home run....especially if your home park is U.S. Cellular
Field. Still, for the
game that Juan focuses his time and energy on, there is potential for
Why he might be on the downslide: Just the simple fact that
Pierre's game is based on speed. He steals bases, he has exceptional
range on defense, he runs out more than the average amount of grounders, and all of
this is based on speed. A fair amount of know-how and skill is involved (Example: Beckham is fast, but steals bases like Frank Thomas), but it all
collapses without speed. Juan Pierre is 33. A noticeable and steep
decline in foot speed isn't necessarily coming now, but it's coming sometime, and
he's approaching the age where it can expected at any time.
Why this is crazy-talk: Other than visual assertions that he's
lost a step, Pierre ran more than ever at a success rate consistent with
the rest of his career in 2010, covered the field as good as ever, and
finished the season on a hitting tear that confirmed there's really no
hint of him declining, it's just that all measures of aging in baseball suggests he will at some
Carlos Quentin's Defense
Ever since his MVP-caliber season in 2008, Quentin hasn't just
failed to recapture his destroyer-of-world status as a hitter, but has
morphed into crippled-Jermaine Dye in the outfield, culminating in 2010,
where according to UZR, he did the second-most damage to his team defensively out of all of the major leagues. Thaaaaaat's pretty worrisome.
Why he could be on the downslide: Even if he wasn't, costing the
team over 20 runs a year in the field (while only playing 100 games!) is
pretty unsustainable. Quentin had a pretty solid offensive year in
2010, but still managed to cancel out to a 0.0 fWAR. A while back,
before Obama was a nationally relevant figure, CQ was an above-average
defender. Even in 2008, he was acceptably middling. However, in
2009, he was beset by a tidal wave of foot injuries, and since then,
being a passable outfielder has been a struggle for him. The steady
drop in his UZR combined with the continued bump & bruises he
accumulated in 2010 hint at an even more hobbled CQ in the future, which
is shudder-inducing now that the DH spot he was born to play is occupied
for at least three more seasons.
Why this is crazy-talk: If Quentin's troubles are indeed
injury-related, then the possibility of recovery have to enter in as
well. He's most certainly injury-prone, and there's always the chance
he's permanently hobbled. But to write off CQ as a permanently abominable
defender before he turns 30 is to assert that he'll never really be
Which is certainly a possibility.
Why he could be on the downslide: Because we don't know the long-term effects of his injury. Also, he been dinged up since 2007.
Why this is crazy-talk: Because we don't know the long-term
effects of his injury. And despite all his dings, when he finally fell
into his groove at mid-season, he was Peavy.
You can't really run a three-day long series on the possibility of
regression without being labeled as fear-mongering, or worse, trolling.
The fact of the matter is that the 2011 White Sox fortunes are resting on the back of a lot
of veterans that other teams might question investing in for more than a
year or two. The Sox took that risk, with the assumption that their
investment would at least pay off big in the immediate. Hence the
"all-in". A noticeable dip in production is likely to occur in at least
one of these candidates, but I don't think anything disastrous will
occur by 2011, because I think the Sox are going to win.
J.J. reacts to drastic words coming from Alex Rios and Kenny Williams.
Colin from South Side Sox breaks down projections for AL Central hitters...let's hope we pitch like the wrath of hell this season.
Melissa Miller tries to examine the enigma that is Carlos Quentin, which is kinda hard, as he is an enigma.