Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rosterbation: Premature Prognostications

I wasn't planning on doing this until spring training began next week, but that was because I wasn't expecting the White Sox to make any roster moves before then. So with Kenny going and signing Kosuke Fukudome on Tuesday, I figured now was just as good a time as any to start.

Rosterbation is just a childish name for a feature we'll be running from time to time this spring while we try and figure out what the 25-man roster will look like on Opening Day (not what we want it to look like). As certain players surprise or struggle during the spring, we'll update our predictions.

And by we, I mean me, because NotHawk is no fucking help at all. He just turned in a roster that had Yaz written down 24 times. The 25th name was Catfish Hunter's.

Anyway, let's get to the rosterbating.

Starting Rotation
  1. John Danks
  2. Jake Peavy
  3. Gavin Floyd
  4. Chris Sale
  5. Phil Humber
Bullpen
  1. Zack Stewart
  2. Brian Bruney
  3. Gregory Infante
  4. Will Ohman
  5. Jesse Crain
  6. Addison Reed
  7. Matt Thornton - Closer
Starting Lineup
  1. Alejandro De Aza - CF
  2. Alexei Ramirez - SS
  3. A.J. Pierzynski - C
  4. Paul Konerko - 1B
  5. Adam Dunn - DH
  6. Alex Rios - RF
  7. Dayan Viciedo - LF
  8. Brent Morel - 3B
  9. Gordon Beckham - 2B
Bench
  1. Tyler Flowers - C
  2. Kosuke Fukudome - OF
  3. Brent Lillibridge - OF
  4. Eduardo Escobar - IF
Personally, I'd like another bat on the bench because I'm not sure who can back up Morel at third base, but I'm guessing that with Chris Sale making the transition to starter and Jake Peavy's always perilous future, the Sox are going to want to start the season with as many pitchers on the roster as possible.

And, yes, the idea of A.J. Pierzynski batting third doesn't make me tingle, but I can see it coming. If nothing else it'll ensure that A.J. leads the league in double plays grounded into should De Aza and Ramirez get on base ahead of him consistently. Still, I see Robin choosing to go left-right-left in the middle of the order to break things up a bit, and Pierzynski batting third is probably better than Rios hitting fifth. I mean, with runners on base last season, A.J. did hit .312/.358/.434.

Plus you don't want to start Viciedo off with so much run-producing responsibility, though that could change if he kills the ball this spring.

I also foresee a lineup in which Fukudome starts over Rios and bats second against righties, allowing Alexei to move down in the order to more of a run-producing role. It's just I'm not sure the Sox will go straight platoon between Fukudome and Rios to start the season.

Though continuing with Rios for a minute here, I do have an idea that's so crazy it just might work. Did you know that in his career, Rios' highest batting average, OBP and slugging percentage have all come in the second spot in the lineup?

In 330 plate appearances at that spot, Rios has hit .333/.364/.577 with 14 home runs and 59 RBI. Could it be that putting Rios in a spot where he's going to see a lot more fastballs could help him return to form a bit?

Because if it did, I'd much rather have Alexei's bat lower in the lineup where he can focus on driving in runs.

Just something to think about as you Rosterbate.

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