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Grading the 2014 White Sox: Pitchers

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There is a serious achievement gap when it comes to White Sox pitchers.

Chris Sale. I like the hat.
Chris Sale. I like the hat.
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, I gave out the grades for the White Sox offense. Today, I will hand out the grades on the pitchers for the 2014 season. This season, we saw an achievement gap on the White Sox staff. You had a couple of the better pitchers in all of Major League Baseball and you had more than a couple of guys that shouldn't be on a Major League mound unless they won some sort of contest to throw out the first pitch.

Chris Sale -- 12-4, 2.17 ERA, 208 strikeouts, 174 innings. Sale was in the Cy Young conversation until a poor late season start kicked him out of it, but he will still finish in the top five even though he missed a little more than a month with an injury. He was dominant this season as he lead the league in strikeouts per nine. He is a true ace. Grade: A

Jose Quintana -- 9-11, 3.32 ERA, 178 strikeouts, 200 1/3 innings. Quintana made 32 starts and tossed 200+ innings for the second time in a row. He was very consistent throwing six or seven good innings each and every time out. I would like to see him get a little deeper into games once in a while, but there is no doubt that Quintana is a solid number two starter. Grade: B+

John Danks -- 11-11, 4.74 ERA, 129 strikeouts, 193 2/3 innings. Danks made a bit of progress as he made all 32 of his starts, but the results in those starts fluctuated. He threw some really nice games, but also threw a lot of stinkers. He gives up a lot of home runs and doesn't strike out a lot of hitters. He's not going to be a top of the rotation guy...heck he may not even be a middle rotation guy... but at the end of the rotation he can still be useful which isn't a total loss I suppose. Grade: C-

Hector Noesi -- 8-11, 4.39 ERA, 117 strikeouts, 166 innings. Hector was picked up after the White Sox absolutely destroyed him on Easter Sunday. They must have seen something in him after they hung a seven spot on him in one inning of work. I thought they were joking when they announced he'd be starting on April 30th, but he made another start against the Cubs and got the win. He stayed in the rotation the rest of the season and he wasn't half bad. He ate 166 innings and did so pretty successfully. After the Erik Johnson and Felipe Paulino debacles, thank God that Noesi pitched as well as he did. Grade: C+

Scott Carroll -- 5-10, 4.80 ERA, 64 strikeouts, 129 1/3 innings. I didn't know who Scott Carroll was when he made his debut on April 27th, but Carroll pitched outstanding that day and held on to a Major League job the rest of the season. That is a great development for the 30 year-old career minor leaguer. He ended up getting 19 starts and had a few successful ones, along with a few debacles, but it could have been much worse. I don't think Carroll will get 19 starts in a season ever again, heck I'm not sure he'll get one start in a season ever again, but it was a good story and Carroll wasn't Rienzo bad. Grade: D+

Andre Rienzo -- 4-5, 6.82 ERA, 51 strikeouts, 64 2/3 innings. Speaking of Rienzo, here is a guy that had every opportunity to take a spot in the rotation and run with it, and he completely crapped the bed. Not only in a starting role, but even worse out of the bullpen. It got so bad for Rienzo, that after he was sent down in early August, he never received the call back up. Grade: F

Jake Petricka -- 1-6, 2.96 ERA, 55 strikeouts, 73 innings, 14 saves. Petricka pitched fairly well out of the bullpen and was their man in pretty much any late inning, high leverage situation. He had some bad ones in there, but for the most part was pretty successful in his role. He is probably the one guy that was in the bullpen this year that is a sure thing to make the roster next season and is sure to throw you off in 20 years on your sporcle quiz of White Sox yearly saves leaders. Grade: B+

Daniel Webb -- 6-5, 3.99 ERA, 55 strikeouts, 67 2/3 innings. I was a believer in Webb at the beginning of the season, but he lost me somewhere along the way. He just walks too many people, which makes it hard to bring him in during a tight game. Assuming the Sox add multiple arms to the bullpen this off-season, like I expect them to do, Webb is going to have to prove he can throw strikes during Spring Training if he is going to make the club next year. Grade: D

Ronald Belisario -- 4-8, 5.56 ERA, 47 strikeouts, 66 1/3 innings, 8 saves. Belisario had a very rough season. He started out struggling, then seemed to settle the bullpen down in his seventh or eighth inning role, but then Matt Lindstrom got injured and all hell broke loose. Belisario was put into the closer role, and his combination of not being able to strike guys out on the regular and really awful luck turned the fans against him. He eventually lost the closers job and brought the bad luck with him in the middle innings role he inhabited the rest of the season. It wouldn't surprise me completely if Belisario had a nice season next year, but I am not convinced it will be in Chicago. Grade: F

Zach Putnam -- 5-3, 1.98 ERA, 46 strikeouts, 54 2/3 innings, 6 saves. After not making the Opening Day roster, Putnam received the call up in mid-April and went on to have a very good year. After a shaky June, he was pretty much lights out from mid-July on, as he only gave up two earned runs the rest of the way. He will probably make the squad next season, unless he has a really horrid spring. Grade: B+

Javy Guerra -- 2-4, 2.91 ERA, 38 strikeouts, 46 1/3 innings, 1 save. After a terrible 2013 season with the Dodgers, Guerra was on the outs with L.A. and was placed on waivers in late March. The White Sox claimed him, and it was his turn on the bullpen carrousel in late May, when he received his call up. He wasn't awful with the Sox, but issued 25 walks in just over 46 innings, which isn't a recipe for success. He limited the damage this year and wasn't completely terrible, so he'll be in the mix for a spot in the bullpen next year. Grade: C

Matt Lindstrom -- 2-2, 5.03 ERA, 18 strikeouts, 34 innings, 6 saves. Lindstrom started the season as the closer and recorded a save on Opening Day, but then gave one up later in that first series. He pitched ok until he hurt his ankle on May 19th and was put on the shelf until he came back in mid-August. After a successful first outing on August 13th, he got tagged for six runs over his next inning and wasn't really used in high leverage situations after that. He was supposed to be one of the mainstays in the bullpen this year and wasn't able to accomplish that. Grade: D-

Maikel Cleto -- 0-1, 4.60 ERA, 32 strikeouts, 29 1/3 innings. The White Sox picked him up off of waivers at the start of Spring Training, and Cleto did well enough to earn a job on the Opening Day roster. After looking good in his first few outings, his control problems started to become an issue, as he walked way too many guys for a late inning reliever. After he gave up five runs to the Cubs on May 8th, the Sox seen enough and sent him to the minor leagues, where he'd stay until August 5th. Upon his return, he improved a bit. There were still some issues with the base on balls, but he did strike out an awful lot of people which is something the staff needed badly. Rick Hahn mentioned his name in his interview with Jim on the Podcast, so he'll probably be given a shot to compete for a job next Spring, he just has to overcome the control issues which have always plagued him. Grade: D

Eric Surkamp -- 2-0, 4.81 ERA, 20 strikeouts, 24 1/3 innings. Surkamp was given the call in late June and was terrible through the beginning of August. From August 7th on, he wasn't so awful as his ERA dropped from 7.94 down to 4.81 at seasons end. He was the only useable lefty for most of the season. He still walks too many people to be considered anything more than a long shot for next season. Grade: D-

Erik Johnson -- 1-1, 6.46 ERA, 18 strikeouts, 23 2/3 innings. Johnson was one of the organizations top prospects heading into the season and was given a spot in the rotation out of Spring Training. He started five games for the White Sox, throwing one decent one against Boston and one sloppy but successful one against the Rangers, but he was shelled in the other three outings, and it wasn't just a case of bad luck. Johnson's fastball had obviously lost it's velocity and he knew it. That caused him to try to be too fine with his pitches, resulting in a lot of walks and high pitch counts. Johnson was sent down after his debacle on April 25th against Tampa Bay and never returned the rest of the year. Grade: F

Felipe Paulino -- 0-2, 11.29 ERA, 14 strikeouts, 18 1/3 innings. The Sox saw something in Paulino before his injury in 2012 and brought him in on the cheap in hopes he could rebuild his career. It didn't happen. He got thrashed in three of his four starts. After the fourth one, where he gave up 10 runs in just over three innings, the Sox abandoned that plan and sent Paulino to the minors, where he got re-injured and Hector Noesi took over in the cheap usable starter role. Grade: F

Scott Downs -- 0-2, 6.08 ERA, 22 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings. Downs was signed to be the main lefty out of the pen for the White Sox, but things didn't go as planned as he couldn't retire many of the lefties he was brought in to face. He received his release after giving up runs without recording an out on June 24th and 25th against the Orioles. He has since been picked up by Kansas City. Grade: F

Chris Bassitt-- 1-1, 3.94 ERA, 21 strikeouts, 29 2/3 innings. Bassitt made five starts for the White Sox down the stretch, and he didn't embarrass himself. He threw a few nice games against playoff teams in Oakland and Detroit down the stretch. He put himself in position to not be forgotten about next season. Grade: C+

Donnie Veal, Taylor Thompson, Frank Francisco, Charlie Leesman and Scott Snodgress for the White Sox on the carrousel of pitching and all received F's for their effort.

Nate Jones didn't record an out this year, when he was supposed to be the main man out of the bullpen. He's probably out most of next season as well. Bad break for him and the team. Grade: Incomplete

Rick Hahn is going to have to improve the quality and the quantity of arms this off-season so this mess doesn't happen again. Plans went awry at the beginning of the year with Jones and Lindstrom's injury and Johnson,Paulino and Downs' ineffectiveness. It was very tough for Robin Ventura to be able to go to his bullpen and have any kind of confidence in any of his pitchers until the very end of the season when Petricka, Putnam and Guerra were all serviceable, and even then he didn't have a lefty to count on. I expect a massive restructuring of the bullpen and probably a three or four starter so if plans go awry again, you're not counting on guys that they counted on this season.