Finally, the season is nearly here. I had hoped to get a couple of preview-y type posts up this weekend, but a combination of warm weather, schoolwork and just general procrastination looks to have killed those. I'll attach abbreviated versions of those posts at the end of this screed.
As you've no doubt noticed over the off-season, my schedule has limited the time I spend posting here. Unfortunately, that will continue until the meetup. What does that mean for the site in general? Hopefully not too much.
For those of you who are kinda new to the site, we fall into a pretty predictable pattern as the games get rolling. A gamethread will appear about a half-hour before game time, and subsequent threads will be opened as needed during the game. I have, in the past, been the main recapper, writing a game recap following the game (usually just before I head to bed) that adds to what you've already witnessed and/or read in the morning dailies. My recaps will be more limited in the first two months this year, but hopefully we'll have enough editors and regular posters alike to pick up the slack. I know HSA has indicated she wants to take on a greater role in the editorial this year.
I promise to do a much better job of letting both the editorial team and you guys know when I won't be available to recap. For right now, I'll be posting Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. I technically have Fridays and Saturdays free as well, but we've always been a little lighter on the weekend recaps.
We should have you well covered with recaps, notable quotes, breaking news, gamethreads and random silliness. U-God owns the Catching Up with the Opposing Clubs beat. Colin will pop in every now-and-then with some sabermetrics, probably in the form of a breakdown of the opposing starter. Larry will have the minors covered filling in the weekend lull. And HSA will bring some much-needed female perspective to the site. My hope is that, thanks to you and the editorial team filling the site with great content, in another 6 weeks (right around the time my self-imposed moratorium on bashing the DHydra expires) I'll be able to delve into some meatier posts that I enjoy writing (and I hope, you reading) more than the daily recaps.
I had hoped to get a couple of listicles, as Gawker would call them, up this weekend. But no dice. So here's a couple of abbreviated lists/posts I had floating around in my head.
5 Reasons to be Optimistic About the White Sox Chances
- The Rotation -- I don't need to tell you the Sox have the best rotation in the AL Central (on paper). In addition to the lead four, they've got Daniel Hudson waiting in the wings to take over once Freddy Garcia keels over.
- Most Complete Lineup 1-through-9 since '06 -- I know I've bashed the DHydra all off-season, but realistically, the Sox have a more complete lineup (read: fewer gaping holes) than in previous years. Last season, you'll remember, started with Dewayne Wise at leadoff/CF and featured Getz and Fields prominently. The Sox didn't add a whole lot of OBP, or even guys with big offensive upside, but they've filled out their lineup with the type of solid-average Major League players that they used to roll through '05.
- The Lackluster Central -- The Twins, whose off-season reminded me of that '05 squad with perfect missing puzzle pieces falling into their lap, were the easy pick for the Central crown prior to Joe Nathan going down. But now they've got a question mark at the back of their bullpen, and Nicky Punto at 3rd. There's not a team in the division without a major question mark scheduled to get serious playing time.
- The Offensive Core -- The Sox are counting on bounce-back seasons from their "new" offensive core (Carlos Quentin, Alex Rios, Mark Teahen and to a lesser extent Alexei Ramirez), who are all in their prime offensive years. It seems like a lot of guys to be hoping on, but the fact that they're all right in the middle of a time when you'd expect them to put up career highs makes it easier to imagine it actually happening. Also, Gordon Beckham; he's good.
- Jones and Kotsay don't LOOK terrible -- You're never going to get me to admit that going with a DH made up of bench players is a good idea, but damn if Kotsay and Jones don't seem to be out to prove me wrong, particularly Kotsay. If I was a scout who had never seen Kotsay prior to this spring, I would have written up some glowing reviews based on his time in a Sox uniform. His stroke is quick and compact, and looks like it should be better than the results he's posted over the last few seasons.
5 Storylines to Watch This Season
- Sox on the Bases -- For the first time in his career as manager, Ozzie has a team that could almost be classified as athletic. With the exception of Quentin, Konerko and Pierzynski, I expect all of the Sox batters to have a near permanent green light on the basepaths (for better or worse). I just caught a piece on CSN in which Ozzie was praising Teahen's aggressiveness in making the first out at 3rd base, which should give you an indication of where I think this one is headed (at least initially)
- How Long Will the DHydra Last? -- If both Jones and Kotsay flop, I think it will take the Sox 6 weeks to make a move (be it internal or external), so I'm giving myself a 6 week period in which I'm promising not to make any snide comments about the DH situation in the recaps/updates. The Sox supposedly already have contingency plans in place for their (inevitable?) failure, so I'm not too worried about them absolutely submarining the Sox chances. No, my fear is that they remain just mediocre enough to keep getting at-bats while still remaining a poor option at DH.
- Ozzie and the Front Office -- Related to the first two points... Ozzie and Kenny have obviously had internal battles over the makeup of the club, as well as a public battle over social media. The Sox are the subject of a MLBN show that is set to follow the club from spring training through the trade deadline. I can't wait to see the inner workings of the Sox front office, warts and all.
- Reinforcements From the Farm -- There are really only two members of the Sox farm system who figure to have any impact on the '10 club, Tyler Flowers and Hudson. Flowers, despite his poor spring, is atop the internal list to replace or join the DHydra should they fail, while Hudson figures to be there to catch a falling Freddy (or force his way into the Sox pen). Keep an eye on their progress at Charlotte, because they'll be here sooner rather than later.
- Rebounding Regulars -- No real need to repeat myself here. This is the same as #4 in the previous list. The Sox are expecting a good number of regulars, 5 by my count (counting the DHydra as one), to post significantly better seasons than their '09 numbers. (Quentin, Teahen, Rios, Ramirez, Jones/Kotsay)