For the next four or five years, Chicago may be home to the best pitching rotation in baseball.
During this past season, White Sox GM Kenny Williams made a brazen move to acquire Jake Peavy from the San Diego Padres. This transaction gives the Sox a solid top four pitchers with Mark Buehrle, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd and John Danks. With the way the AL Central is playing out for the future, it looks like the White Sox could be taking over.
The Tigers are a solid team but their roster is filled with aging veterans. Their window to dominate this division is closing quickly. They are relying on players like Brandon Inge, Carlos Guillen, Maggilio Ordenez and Placido Polanco whose careers are all beginning to wind down.
They have a solid core with Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander and Curtis Granderson but they have mortgaged the future lately in trades, especially the trade for Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis.
Now I know what you are thinking, what about the pesky “piranhas” on the Minnesota Twins? The Twins have a lot of talent, especially in Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, but they haven’t been able to produce any of their pitching prospects, like Francisco Liriano.
Liriano was supposed to be the next Sandy Koufax, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy enough to get anywhere near that comparison. Other than Liriano, their arms in the rotation are Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn and Carl Pavano. Although, they have been serviceable thus far, they aren’t top-tier pitchers, and to expect that kind of production from them is ludicrous.
The White Sox have started to accrue talent at almost every position. There are several key position players the Sox have developed for the future.
The first is freshly brought up catcher Tyler Flowers. He was acquired during the last offseason for Javier Vazquez and he has unlimited power potential. Although he hasn’t gotten his first MLB base hit yet, he has shown his potential on his surge through the minor league system.
Another future contributor to the Sox will be Jordan Danks in centerfield. His older brother is the aforementioned Sox pitcher John Danks, but he doesn’t just get his accolades for his bloodline. He has earned his stripes in the minors and is currently playing for the Double A Birmingham Barons.
The final piece to the puzzle is third baseman Gordon Beckham. If you have lived under a rock this past summer, Beckham has broken out as one the premier young hitters in baseball.
He had hit around .300 until a recent slump lowered his average, but for a period of time he was one the hottest hitters in baseball, including the entire month of July in which he hit .330. But Gordon isn’t just a slap hitter with a good average – he has shown a lot of potential as a doubles hitter with 25 doubles through three months of play.
With these pieces in place, and many more like Dayan Viciedo, Jared Mitchell, Carlos Torres and Daniel Hudson, the White Sox will have aspirations to achieve great things. The summers will be captivated by strikeouts and long balls, good baseball will return to Chicago soon enough.
Bill Hopkins is a sophomore sports communication major from Oswego. He is the Scout sports editor.
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