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2012 Fantasy outlooks: Chicago White Sox

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Though the White Sox never fully recovered from a 10-18 April last season, they managed to hang around the American League Central race into mid-August before falling out of contention. For the most part, it's been an offseason of rebuilding for the Pale Hose, as Mark Buehrle and Juan Pierre were allowed to leave via free agency and Carlos Quentin, Sergio Santos and Jason Frasor were traded. However, general manager Kenny Williams sent mixed signals, as he re-signed lefty John Danks to a five-year deal and did not trade away nominal ace Gavin Floyd as expected.

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Not only will the Sox have to fill the holes left by Buehrle, Quentin, Santos and others, but they will need Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham to rebound from abysmal seasons if they are to compete this year. The rotation appears to be set, as Chris Sale will move up from the bullpen to fill the vacancy left by Buehrle, who signed with the Marlins. Santos' successor has not been named, but lefty Matt Thornton and rookie Addison Reed are the strongest contenders. Paul Konerko will anchor the offense once again, and Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza will take over the outfield corners formerly occupied by Quentin and Pierre.

Perhaps the most notable change this season will be in the dugout, as controversial skipper Ozzie Guillen departed to manage the Marlins. Robin Ventura, who has no managerial experience at any professional level, will take over the club's reins. While Guillen tended to favor aggressive baserunning, it remains to be seen what impact Ventura will have on speedsters like De Aza and Rios.

With many of the familiar faces gone, it may look like a bleak year ahead for the White Sox. However, with their pitching staff largely intact and Quentin as the only major offensive force missing from last season, they could make things interesting in a division that may be weak aside from the Tigers. A lot will have to go right, from a resurgence for Dunn to a healthy campaign for Jake Peavy to a breakout for Viciedo. The pieces are there for a respectable season, if not a playoff berth, but there are plenty of questions as to how sturdy and reliable those pieces will be.

Late-round flier...Alejandro De Aza, OF

With Pierre gone, De Aza will get his first real chance to be an everyday outfielder for a whole season. As a slap hitter, the 27-year-old won't take advantage U.S. Cellular Field's homer-friendly dimensions, but he has a history of using his speed to leg out base hits. De Aza should produce enough steals and a high enough batting average to help owners in Rotisserie leagues, and he is good enough at avoiding strikeouts and hitting doubles to be of use in Head-to-Head formats. His lack of home run power prevents him from being even a middle-round option in standard mixed leagues, but he does enough things well to be worthy of a late-round pick.

Bust...Matt Thornton, RP

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Thornton got the first crack at the closer's job last season, but after blowing each of his first four save oppotunities, he was demoted to a set-up role. He recovered well enough to post a 2.95 ERA from April 18 on, and that has positioned Thornton as the likely frontrunner to succeed Santos in the ninth-inning role. Despite the respectable ERA there is no shortage of warning signs for another implosion. For the second season in a row, Thornton's control eroded as he threw fewer strikes and issued more walks per nine innings. When opposing hitters have gotten ahold of one of his offerings they have increasingly been able to hit him ... hard. Thornton's line drive rate ballooned to 24 percent, which contributed to a 64-point increase in opponents' batting average against him. Thornton still gets his fair share of strikeouts, but his trends are all running in the wrong direction, making him a risk to count on for saves this season.

Head-to-Head hero...Philip Humber, SP

As a pitch-to-contact hurler, Humber doesn't have much appeal for owners in Rotisserie leagues, but over the last two seasons, he has developed a special talent that should endear him to Head-to-Head owners. Humber has developed a much stronger command of the strike zone, which was first in evidence at Triple-A Omaha (in the Royals' system) in 2010, and it translated to his first season with the White Sox last year. More strikes have meant more efficient outings, as Humber went through plate appearances with a tidy 3.69 pitches on average, and he averaged nearly 6 1/3 innings per start. Humber's place in the Chicago rotation should be more solidified this year, so his potential to rack up innings is even greater. While Humber should go undrafted in most mixed Rotisserie formats, he is a worthwhile pickup late in standard mixed Head-to-Head drafts.

2012 Chicago White Sox Fantasy Outlook
Projected Lineup Pos. Projected Rotation
1 Alejandro De Aza LF 1 Gavin Floyd RH
2 Alexei Ramirez SS 2 John Danks LH
3 Paul Konerko 1B 3 Jake Peavy RH
4 Adam Dunn DH 4 Philip Humber RH
5 Dayan Viciedo RF 5 Chris Sale LH
6 Alex Rios CF Alt Dylan Axelrod RH
7 A.J. Pierzynski C
Bullpen Breakdown
8 Brent Morel 3B CL Matt Thornton LH
9 Gordon Beckham 2B SU Addison Reed RH
Top bench options RP Jesse Crain RH
R Kosuke Fukudome OF RP Jhan Marinez RH
R Brent Lillibridge 1B/OF RP Will Ohman LH
Rookies/Prospects Age Pos. 2011 high Destination
1 Addison Reed 23 RP Majors Majors
Reed will contend for the closer's job this spring, though he may start out in middle relief. He rose all the way from Class A to the majors last year.
2 Nestor Molina 23 SP Double-A Double-A
Acquired from Toronto in exchange for Santos this offsesaon. Molina broke out in Class A last year and could reach the majors later this season.
3 Simon Castro 23 SP Triple-A Triple-A
Castro's command was absent in Triple-A last year, earning him a demotion to Double-A. Gets a fresh start after getting traded from the Padres in the Quentin deal this winter.
4 Tyler Saladino 22 SS Class A Double-A
Saladino has power and patience, which make him attractive as a future Fantasy shortstop. He could arrive in Chicago next season.
5 Dylan Axelrod 26 SP Majors Majors
The soft tosser has good enough control to thrive at the back of the White Sox's rotation. He could settle in there sometime this season.
Best of the rest: Trayce Thompson, OF; Jacob Petricka, SP; Keenyn Walker, OF; Jhan Marinez, RP; Juan Silverio, 3B; Ozzie Martinez, SS; Hector Santiago, RP; Kevan Smith, C; Andre Rienzo, SP; Erik Johnson, SP; Jared Mitchell, OF; Charlie Leesman, SP; Gregory Infante, RP; Jordan Danks, OF; Deunte Heath, RP; Brandon Short, OF.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
RP Justin Germano signs with Korean team
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:31 pm ET) Reliever Justin Germano, who opted out of his minor league contract with Seattle last week, has signed with KT Wiz in Korea, per MLB.com.

Germano has pitched in only two major league games over the last three seasons.


Report: Rangers seeking to unload SP Wandy Rodriguez
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:27 pm ET) The Rangers are receiving some feelers in their openness to trade starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez, per Fox Sports, which is claiming he could be gone in the next few weeks.

The team is seeking a trade that would allow them to bring in a top-of-the-line pitcher for its rotation in an attempt to remain in playoff contention.

Rodriguez could fetch a fair price, but his recent performances aren't driving up his value. He has allowed 19 runs in his last 19 1/3 innings pitched and hasn't managed a quality start in his last four outings.

His ERA has soared from 3.03 to 4.23.


Dodgers OF Andre Ethier hits safely in five of last six games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:11 pm ET) Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier had two hits, including his eighth double, and one RBI during a 10-7 win Monday against the Phillies. He also had one run and one walk.

Ethier has hit safely in five of his last six games. He is batting .471 (8 for 17) with one home run, two doubles, two RBI, four runs, four walks and two strikeouts in that span.


Royals SP Jason Vargas set for simulated game Wednesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:07 pm ET) A simulated game scheduled for Royals rehabbing left-hander Jason Vargas has been pushed back from Tuesday to Wednesday, per Sports Radio 810. He will throw about 60 pitches.

Vargas has been sidelined for a month with a left flexor strain. He won five of seven decisions and posted a 4.10 ERA before going down.


Cardinals LF Randal Grichuk out of lineup for Game 1 Tuesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:42 am ET) After 16 straight starts in left field, slumping Randal Grichuk is out of the lineup for the Cardinals in the first game of a Tuesday doubleheader against the Cubs.

Tommy Pham will slide over from center to play that spot.

Grichuk is batting .050 (1-for-20) over his last six games, though he did slam a two-run double in the ninth inning Monday that could get him going again.


Phillies' Galvis extends streak, ties season high with three RBI
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:38 am ET) Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis homered Monday against the Dodgers to extend his hitting streak to eight games. 

Galvis connected for a two-run homer off Yimi Garcia in the second inning. He added a sac fly in the seventh inning to tie a season high with three RBI. It was the second time he had three RBI.

Galvis is batting .467 (14 for 30) with one double, one home run, six RBI, three runs, three walks, six strikeouts and one stolen base during his eight-game hit streak.


Scuffling Cardinals 3B Matt Carpenter gets afternoon off
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:37 am ET) Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter is catching a break in the first game of the Tuesday doubleheader against the host Cubs. He is out of the lineup as Mark Reynolds will man the position instead.

Carpenter has been in a slump. He is hitless in his last two games and has just seven hits in his last 48 at-bats. His .271 average is at its lowest point since the second game of the season.


Phillies OF Odubel Herrera off to blistering start in July
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:29 am ET) Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera homered for the second time in three games during a 10-7 loss Monday against the Dodgers. He parked his fourth home run in the fourth inning -- a solo homer off Eric Surkamp.

Herrera is off to a great start in July. He has hit safely in his first six starts this month. He is batting .400 (10 for 25) with two home runs, three doubles, five RBI, three runs, two strikeouts and one stolen base in that span.


Rays remove RP Preston Guilmet from 40-man roster
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:24 am ET) In order to activate DH John Jaso from the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday, the Rays needed to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. To make that happen, the team opted to designate reliever Preston Guilmet for assignment.

Guilmet was optioned to the minors Thursday. He has made three relief appearances for Tampa Bay this season, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings. He also has five strikeouts.


Rays activate DH John Jaso from 60-day DL
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:20 am ET) Rays DH John Jaso was activated off the 60-day disabled list prior to Tuesday's doubleheader against the Royals. He has been sidelined since early April due to a wrist contusion.

Jaso spent eight games on a rehab assignment with Class A Charlotte and Triple-A Durham. He hit .250 (7 for 28) with one RBI, two doubles, two walks, three runs and four strikeouts.

Jaso played in five games at DH, two games in left field and one game at first base during his rehab assignment.


 
 
 
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