Two years after climbing the proverbial mountain, the White Sox are all but forgotten in the baseball landscape. Most prognosticators have them as a top-ten team, but give them hope to finish no higher than third last year. I assert that most preseason predictions are made to sell magazines, newspapers, and get hits to Web sites. Because of that, the creators of said predications have a tendency to laziness. Most successful 2006 teams are predicted to do the same in 2007. Heck, the White Sox were considered one of the top contenders to win the World Series last year. No one would predict that their starting pitchers had been overtaxed in 2005 and that some of the key contributors in the bullpen would succomb to injuries and suckage.
Of course the Sox didn’t spend bajillions in free agency, the only way that teams get bumps in season previews. Look at the Cubs. They spent more than $300 million, most of it unwisely, and went from last place to second in the Central in most experts’ eyes.
There are too many variables to accurately predict how teams will do when you have a 162-game schedule, 25 roster spots, and a division in which every other team appeared to get better.
I have no idea how Scott Podsednik will return from groin surgery. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a bad surgery to have. It’s especially bad when your only above-average major league skill is speed. The Podster has four years of ML service. In the odd years, he’s hit nearly .300. In even years, it’s more like .252. He’s stolen at least 40 bases the last four years. What’s odd is he hit 21 home runs in his first two years and three in the past two. You’d think that he would have more doubles the past two years but that number has remained steady. In Milwaukee he played 154 games both years. In Chicago he’s averaged 134 games a year. Can we expect more than that this year?
The Sox really don’t have another potential leadoff guy. Pod’s the guy. Darin Erstad seems like a fossil, but he’s younger than me (ouch) and might be the next option. OK, this first installment hasn’t left me feeling too optimistic. We’ll see what happens next time when I continue through the offensive lineup.