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Chicago

Chicago White Sox

ESPN Fantasy

SLEEPER Brian N. Anderson is a lot better than his rookie season shows. He's a solid all-around athlete who can bounce back, but right now, doesn't have a job.

BUST That could change, because Darin Erstad is neither durable, nor is he fast or powerful anymore.

prospects

HITTER TO WATCH: Ryan Sweeney, OF Sweeney will be forgiven if he ends up in a sanitarium after losing out to Scott Podsednik and Darin Erstad this spring; he's a solid defensive center fielder who can hit, will take a walk, and it looks like his power is about to arrive.

PITCHER TO WATCH: John Danks, LHP Danks, the main return in the Brandon McCarthy deal, is a polished lefty who pounds the strike zone but needs to keep the ball down to succeed in Chicago's homer-friendly park.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.

ESPN.com Predictions

  • Peter Gammons
    Gammons

    89-73
    3rd in
    AL Central

  • Jayson Stark
    Stark

    87-75
    4th in
    AL Central

  • Jerry Crasnick
    Crasnick

    79-83
    4th in
    AL Central

  • Buster Olney
    Olney

    84-78
    4th in
    AL Central

  • Rob Neyer
    Neyer

    78-84
    4th in
    AL Central

  • Tim Kurkjian
    Kurkjian

    87-75
    3rd in
    AL Central

  • Steve Phillips
    Phillips

    92-70
    3rd in
    AL Central

  • Keith Law
    Law

    80-82
    4th in
    AL Central

  • Jim Caple
    Caple

    85-77
    4th in
    AL Central

  • Eric Karabell
    Karabell

    85-77
    4th in
    AL Central

 

Magazine

FIXED Last spring, reliever Matt Thornton's first outing with the White Sox was a total mess: a couple of walks, a big fly. Afterward, the ex-Mariner was worried about the wrath of his new manager, but Ozzie Guillén told him, "That's the way to throw the ball, kid." Says Thornton now, "I looked at him and thought, Are you really that crazy?" Thornton couldn't throw strikes with Seattle, but after one piece of advice from Sox pitching coach Don Cooper -- stride as far as you can and throw to the glove -- the hard-throwing lefty cut his walks from 42 in 57 IPs in '05 to just 21 in 54 IPs last year. Way to throw the ball, kid.

NEEDS FIXING After dealing CF Aaron Rowand to Philly in late 2005, GM Kenny Williams gushed about young Brian Anderson. But after the rookie hit only .225 in '06, Williams signed veteran Darin Erstad -- perhaps for the bench, but more likely to take Anderson's job. "He just doesn't look comfortable," one AL advance scout says of Anderson. "He presses a lot, and they put some pressure on him." With Williams and Guillén around, that won't change.

MIDSEASON FIX "I don't know if I should disclose that information." -- Aaron Rowand, when asked on a Philadelphia radio show if GM Williams told him he'd try to bring him back to Chicago.
-- Buster Olney

ESPN SPORTSNATION

Attendance was up close to 20 percent at U.S. Cellular Field, as the Sox drew more fans than any other time during their history (2,957,411). Of course, a lot of bandwagon fans come out of the woodwork after 88 years, especially to see a team whose payroll more than doubled since 2003, ballooning to over $102 million. But Sox fans aren't just getting Windy City bragging rights in the W/L column.

More Ultimate Standings

MyESPN

"The White Sox are in the toughest division in baseball. But they are absolutely capable of being the best team in that division. We'll have to see how they play coming out of the gates but I expect them to be right with Detroit leading the division most of the way."
-- seantunney

More Sound off on the White Sox


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