Final grades: White Sox pitchers

Chris Sale was impressive in 2013. - David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, the pitching staff will get the support they lacked all season long

The White Sox pitchers had a lot of obstacles to overcome this season. The offense wasn't equipped to score runs and the defense wasn't equipped to prevent the other team from scoring runs. That makes for a pretty dangerous situation. The White Sox pitchers, for the most part, were able to overcome those obstacles and have a pretty good season. The success of the starting pitching leaves a sliver of hope that maybe they can turn things around quicker than anyone expects. I graded the positional players earlier today, now lets get to the pitching.

Chris Sale - 11-14, 3.07 ERA, 226 strikeouts, 214.1 IP. Sale followed up his successful 2012 campaign with an even better one in 2013. His numbers would have been even better if it wasn't for the meddling Cleveland Indians. Sale exceeded the 200 inning mark and led the league with four complete games. The 2013 All-Star is one of the best pitchers in the American League. Final Grade: A

Jose Quintana - 9-7, 3.51 ERA, 164 strikeouts, 200 IP. Quintana proved that last season wasn't a fluke and that he is a capable Robin to Sale's Batman. On a team with a mediocre offense, Quintana is a 15-game winner this year. Our offense wasn't mediocre though, so he settles for nine. It will be interesting to see if Quintana is dealt for a bit of offensive help this upcoming off-season. Final Grade: A

Hector Santiago - 4-9, 3.56 ERA, 137 strikeouts, 149 IP. Santiago jumped into the rotation on a regular basis for the first time in his career and he did well. He needs to limit his walks to reach his ultimate potential, but in a year where he increased his innings pitched by more than double, some bumps were to be expected. He struggled down the stretch, but that can again be attributed to his workload. Barring a trade, Santiago will find himself right in the middle of the White Sox rotation in 2014. Final Grade: B

John Danks - 4-14, 4.75 ERA, 89 strikeouts, 138.1 IP. On one hand, Danks had a successful season. After undergoing season ending shoulder surgery last year, he was able to come out and be a regular starter once he arrived. He also had some good games in there. Unfortunately, the long ball haunted him as he gave up 28 round-trippers. Danks will probably never reach the levels that were expected of him when Mark Buehrle left as a free agent, but you could do worse for a back-end starter. Final Grade: C

Dylan Axelrod - 4-11, 5.68 ERA, 73 strikeouts, 128.1 IP. Axelrod started out pretty well, but by the end of the season it was extremely hard to watch him pitch. The league caught up to him and it was bombs away. If Axelrod logs this many innings next year, something will have went terribly wrong. Final Grade: F

Jake Peavy - 8-4, 4.28 ERA, 76 strikeouts, 80 IP. Peavy did well for the Sox this year. His higher ERA can be traced to a couple of bad games, one in which he was pitching with a broken rib. That rib injury could have been a disaster, but Jake was able to get back on the hill before the trade deadline and performed well enough to be traded to the Red Sox. In exchange, we got our most exciting young position player in quite a while in Avisail Garcia. Final Grade: B

Andre Rienzo - 2-3, 4.82 ERA, 38 strikeouts, 56 IP. Rienzo struggled in Charlotte early this year, but picked things up in a big way in June and July. This allowed him to be called up when the Peavy deal was imminent and he did well the first couple of starts. Then he started throwing too many pitches, walking too many batters and giving up too many home runs and finished the year with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP. He does have good stuff though. His curve ball is one of my favorite pitches to watch. He will be in the conversation next year when the White Sox rol' out their starting rotation. Final Grade: C

Erik Johnson - 3-2, 3.25 ERA, 18 strikeouts, 27.2 IP. One of the lone bright spots in the White Sox farm system was given five starts at the end of the season. He did OK. He worked himself into trouble often, but was able to work his way out of it on most occasions. He will need to strike out more batters, but it was a successful tryout for Johnson, who figures to be in the rotation next year. Final Grade: Incomplete at MLB level, but A for the entire campaign.

Addison Reed - 5-4, 3.79 ERA, 40 saves, 72 strikeouts, 71.1 IP. It is pretty tough to save 40 games for a team that only wins 63, but that is exactly what Reed did this year. He had his bumps in the road, most of which came late in the season, but Reed pitched with little room for error. He handled the workload pretty well, including a stretch where he saved six games in a row. Final Grade: B

Nate Jones - 4-5, 4.15 ERA, 89 strikeouts, 78 innings. After the trades of Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain, Jones was given the setup role. He didn't fare as well as he did as the bridge man. He strikes out a ton of batters, though, and will have a big role in the bullpen again next year. Final Grade: C

Matt Lindstrom - 2-4, 3.12 ERA, 46 strikeouts, 60.2 IP. Lindstrom was brought in to be a solid arm out of the bullpen, and that's what he was. He wasn't spectacular but he did his job, until September, when he was only used for 6.1 innings of work. He has a $4 million option for next season. My guess is the Sox take the $500,000 buyout instead. Final Grade: B

Donnie Veal - 2-3, 4.60 ERA, 29 strikeouts, 29.1 IP. Veal was supposed to be the No. 2 lefty out of the bullpen this season, but failed as he walked too many batters and struggled against left-handed hitters. After Thornton was traded, Veal became the top lefty option. He was better in the second half, but he failed to give himself good footing in the major leagues. Final Grade: D+

Jesse Crain - 2-3, 0.74 ERA, 46 strikeouts, 36.2 IP. Crain was awesome before his injury. He made the All-Star team, which is tough to do for a set-up man. Unfortunately, 2013 White Sox Luck set in and Crain hurt his shoulder. He was dealt to the Rays at the deadline, but has been unable to pitch for them. Maybe they'll send us a box of balls for the return. Final Grade: A (for his time here), F (for his trade value).

Ramon Troncoso - 1-4, 4.50 ERA, 18 strikeouts, 30 IP. Troncoso deserves an A for the effort he put in to solidify the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft, but his time on the mound here was awful. He did get a little better after his scary heart ailment. I hope he recovers well from that. I do not hope to see him in a White Sox jersey next year. Final Grade: F

David Purcey - 1-1, 2.13 ERA, 23 strikeouts, 25 IP. Purcey did well in his return to the major leagues. He walked a ton of batters and I wouldn't expect him to compile a 2.13 ERA again. He also let a lot of inherited runners to score, which isn't a good thing. He ended the season with a strained ulnar collateral ligament, but if he avoids surgery he will probably be in the competition for a roster spot next season. Grade: C

Jake Petricka - 1-1, 3.26 ERA, 10 strikeouts, 19.1 IP. Petricka also had a decent ERA for his first shot in the majors. When you look behind that, you see trouble may be ahead. He needs to strike out more hitters, but unlike Deunte Heath, at least he did enough to show that he could possibly be the 12th man on a pitching staff. Grade: Incomplete

Charlie Leesman - 0-0, 7.04 ERA, 13 strikeouts, 15.1 IP. Leesman got some major league experience but he is behind Veal and Purcey on the depth chart for 2014. If you are behind Veal and Purcey, you probably didn't do too well. Final Grade: Incomplete, but not looking good.

Daniel Webb - 0-0, 3.18 ERA, 10 strikeouts, 11.1 IP. Unlike the other cup-of-coffee relievers, Webb showed me something. I was impressed with his stuff. Granted, it was only over 11 innings pitched, but he looked like he belonged here. Grade: Incomplete, but looking up.

Gavin Floyd, Brian Omogrosso, Deunte Heath and Simon Castro can be found in the midterm grades.

Rick Hahn - He was dealt a bad hand to begin with. Keppinger proved to be a bad sign and I'm not sure why guys like Casper Wells were on the major league roster for so long. Gillaspie was an OK find and Lindstrom did what he was supposed to do. It hurt losing A.J. Pierzynski, especially when Tyler Flowers proved to be ineffective. The trade of Peavy was a good one. I think he botched the Alex Rios trade by asking too much and then was just happy to dump his salary. The Thornton move was about what I expected and Crain didn't help matters by getting injured. It will be interesting to see how Hahn proceeds in the offseason. It is tough to give a final grade with so much more left to be done and it could change but for now... Grade: C

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