The last team to be seen this Spring Training is the Chicago White Sox and as the season has grown near, there are those making MLB picks on the AL Central who like their chances to possibly win the division.
Many sportsbooks opened the White Sox as fourth-best team their division according to the MLB odds, however, they were all bunched together tightly. In the last week, Chicago has closed the gap on front-running Detroit and leap-frogged Kansas City and is either tied or slight ahead or behind Cleveland for second place.
Chicago – Projected Win Total 81 wins – Tied 2nd in the AL Central
Normally, the White Sox franchise is not known for roster upheaval. But this past offseason, with the blessing of ownership, GM Rich Hahn made a big splash and brought in several new faces, all designed to make Chicago an immediate contender in the AL Central. Keep your eyes on this team when placing MLB picks.
With Detroit no longer an automatic choice, the timing was perfect (and let’s be honest, all the headlines about the team from the North Side of the Windy City being up and coming played a part in this decision) and Hahn acquired a first base glove and DH (Adam LaRoche), a terrific No.2 hitter (Melky Cabrera), a starting pitcher (Jeff Samardzija) and a trio of hurlers to revamp the bullpen in David Robertson, Zack Duke and Dan Jennings.
Add in possibly a new second baseman in rookie Micah Johnson, outfielder J.B. Shuck and veteran backup catcher in Geovany Soto and you have a completely different White Sox squad.
Add these players with behemoths Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia, plus productive shortstop Alexei Ramirez and the up and down run production of last season for manager Robin Ventura suddenly is less an issue.
Besides Samardzija, Chris Sale will return after missing a start or two due to injury to be the ace of the staff, but most MLB handicappers will be watching more closely the results of the other starters, namely Jose Quintana, John Danks and Hector Noesi.
Ventura managing style has been to allow his players to find their comfort zone which he believes gives them the best chance for success. Can the White Sox win the division, yes they can. Can the White Sox finish fourth in the AL Central, yes they can. That is why in my opinion the win total is what it is and with sports picks, probably best to pass at this time.