It was much easier this April to watch the White Sox, especially since they played at a .500 pace and their offense led the league in runs scored. May hasn’t started out all that great, but here a few reasons to be optimistic and a few to be worried.
I never really believed one player could make that much of a difference, but Jose Abreu has changed my mind. His calmness and professionalism on the field is years ahead of what one would expect for a first year player from Cuba. His presence and offensive numbers are proof Rick Hahn knows what he’s doing. At the moment the Sox got a deal on Abreu.
Despite a rough outing on Friday, John Danks looks to have returned to form in his five starts this season. He’s able to locate his pitches and his fastball looks a little livelier each outing.
Besides Abreu impressive rookie start, the White Sox offense as whole has done a 180 this season leading the league in runs in April and occupying the top spots in the AL in batting average; Alexei Ramirez, Tyler Flyers, and Dayan Viciedo. Add in the high-flying talents of Adam Eaton in the leadoff spot and the Sox have the balanced line-up they’ve had in a long time. Runs are not only coming on home runs this season.
It’s no secret that the White Sox bullpen has been a mess this season, and even though it looks like they are on the mend, the fact that the mend is reliant on rookie call-ups worries me. It 2012 worries me, in that the Sox have the ability to hang around, but all those youngsters arms will be tired by September.
The starting rotation was the least of my concerns at the start of year, but now is of great concern. Chris Sale has made his annual trip to the DL, Erik Johnson was set down to work on consistency, and Felipe Paulino has been nothing short of a disaster. The 29-year old rookie, Scott Carroll, has been a nice story but I’m not sold. That leaves Jose Quintana to try to go out and go 7-plus consistently. Not a good story at all.
I said at the beginning of the season that the Sox would be a .500 team this year, but I said that not expecting Abreu and the offense to perform at the level they have. If the Sox can get healthy in the pitching department they might make some noise in the AL Central before the year is over.