The White Sox have 4 good starting pitchers and have 4 talented youngsters battling for the #5 starter job in the rotation. 28 year old righty Jon Garland has been the leader the last two seasons for the White Sox as he’s compiled a 36-17 record over those years. Last season Garland started 32 games and he was 18-7 with a 4.51 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. Garland has really improved his control the last two seasons and that has paid off but he did allow 247 hits last season in 211.1 innings. Garland will need to miss more bats this season if he wants to win 18 games again. Look for Garland to win about 15 games with a ERA around 4.50 in 2007.
35 year old righty Jose Contreras had another solid season for the White Sox in 2006 as he was 13-9 in 30 starts with a 4.27 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. Contreras has great stuff as his fastball is still in the mid-90’s and his split is an unhittable pitch. It seems like sometimes Contreras has problems with making the big pitch on occasion so he will need to do that if he ever wants to have his production equal his stuff. Look for Contreras to win 14-16 games and have an ERA around 4.30 in 2007.
28 year old lefty Mark Buehrle had a bad season for the White Sox last season and they need him to rebound this season. Buehrle started 32 games last season for the Sox and he was 12-13 with a 4.99 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. He allowed 247 hits and 36 homers in 204 innings last season and those numbers were by far the worst in his major league career. Batters were running up to the plate against him as they hit .305 against him last season. Still, Buehrle is in his free-agent season so look for him to be very focused and productive. After all, between 2001-2005 Buehrle had a record of 81-52 with a 3.61 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Write last season off as a bad year and watch Buehrle bounce back and win 15-18 games with a sub 4.00 ERA as he will be motivated by the $.
31 year old righty Javier Vazquez will be the #4 starter for the White Sox this season. His first season with the White Sox was up and down as he wound up with a 11-12 record with a 4.84 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. Vazquez still throws very hard as he whiffed 184 batters in 202.2 innings but their just seems to be something missing with this guy. Despite having great stuff Vazquez is only 100-105 in his career with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. Look for Vazquez to win 10-13 games with around a 4.50 ERA for the White Sox in 2007.
24 year old Gavin Floyd is the favorite to win the #5 job in the White Sox rotation. He had a rough season with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2006 as he started 11 games and was 4-3 with a 7.29 ERA with a 1.88 WHIP. He allowed 70 hits, 14 homers, walked 32 batters and allowed a .315 batting average in only 54.1 major league innings last season. The White Sox really hope that Floyd’s head matches his talent and arm.
23 year old righty Charlie Haeger will also be vying for the #5 starter job in the rotation for the White Sox. He’s a knuckleballer so that would provide a nice change up for the White Sox as the rest of their starters all have really good arms. Haeger pitched in 7 games (1 start) for the White Sox last season and he was 1-1 with 1 save and a 3.44 ERA with a 1.36 WHIP. He whiffed 19 batters in only 18.1 innings so his pitch has a lot of movement, and he only allowed 12 hits. Still, he will need to work on his control as he walked 13 batters and that could be a huge problem for them. Haeger was really solid in the minors as he was 14-6 with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP in 26 games (25 starts). Look for Haeger to be solid for the White Sox if he wins the job. He could be the next Tim Wakefield.
Soon to be 22 year old lefty John Danks was acquired from the Texas Rangers in the trade for Brandon McCarthy. Danks has an electric arm as he whiffed 154 batters in 140 innings pitched last season in AAA+AA ball. Danks wound up pitching in 27 games (26 starts) and he was 9-9 with a 4.24 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. Look for Danks to start the year in AAA ball and be the first guy called up if he proves he’s ready.
21 year old lefty was a pitcher that GM Ken Williams liked so much that he re-acquired him one season after trading him to the Phillies. Gonzalez also has a really good arm just like Danks does. He pitched in AA last season and he whiffed 166 batters in 154.2 innings and that shows his arm strength. He started 27 games last season and he was 7-12 with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP so he has some work to do before he’s ready for the majors. He will likely start the year in AAA ball for the White Sox and could get a September call up if he’s earned it.