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Rambling Before Opening Day

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I was going to sit down and write a top 10 list -- Top 10 reasons to watch the White Sox this season, or something like that -- but it looks like Jim beat me to the punch with his 10 post-spring training concerns.

As I noted in the comments section over there, I would have added Bobby Jenks to the list. We spent much of our time prior to the '06 and '07 seasons discussing Jenks' lack of spring velocity and conditioning, only to have him come through with solid seasons even without the 100 MPH heater that he swears he still has. It's almost all superstition that has me wanting to add Jenks to the list, but there's a little bit of me who's worried about those poor spring peripherals.

Anyway, no Top 10 list for me. I'll just do some 14-hours until first pitch rambling and call it a post.

Ramblin' time

  • Let's start with optimism... With the exception of his penultimate spring outing, John Danks has taken a step forward. The cutter seems to have added the groundball to his skillset, and if he can throw strikes, he'll have a surprisingly good year. Surprising in that he beats all projections and ends up as an average or better pitcher.
  • The same goes for Jose Contreras. He's got more velocity than he's had since May '06. He's coming over the top more. His fastball seems to have more movement than it did last season. It just looks like he's returned to being an asset instead of a liability. I expect either he or Danks is going to have a very good year, a solid #3 type year, with the other falling into the solid #4 category of average innings eater.
  • With Buehrle and Vazquez as known quantities atop the rotation, that leaves Floyd, whose spring has caused me to lose some of my optimism. He had a much better spring than last year, and he doesn't seem to be afraid of the zone. But that still doesn't seem like enough to be anything more than below average starter who gets hit too much and gives up too many HRs. Of the three question marks in the rotation, Floyd seems the most likely disappoint.
  • Nick Swisher is leading off and playing left field (unless Ozzie changes his mind, again) against Cleveland Monday. Last year it was Pablo Ozuna. I'd say that's an upgrade.
  • I've got a bad feeling that Alexei Ramirez will have a .270 OBP after 120 at-bats before the Sox start to question their decision to bring him north.
  • I've got a worse feeling that those at-bats are going to come at the expense of Brian Anderson and Carlos Quentin, each of whom seem on the cusp of reaching their once highly regarded potential.
  • Charlotte has too many major league caliber players, which wouldn't be a problem if Chicago didn't have too few.
  • This post contained no mention of Nick Masset.

I could go on. And I probably will later. But we're a little more than 13 hours from first pitch, and I need some sleep. Go Sox!