The White Sox have nothing but flame throwers in the bullpen for 2011. 34-year old lefty Matt Thornton has graduated to the closer’s role in 2011. He pitched in 61 games (0 starts) for the White Sox last year and he was 5-4 with 8 saves, a 2.67 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. He only gave up 41 hits and 20 walks in 60 2/3 innings while whiffing 81 batters as he was just plain nasty last year and that’s the reason why he was selected to the American League All-Star team. Thornton has now pitched in 336 games (0 starts) in his first five years with the Pale Hose and he is 25-17 with 17 saves, a 3.19 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. I have a feeling that Thornton is going to be a very, very successful closer for the White Sox in 2011.
21-year old lefty Chris Sale comes into this season as the White Sox’ #1 prospect according to Baseball America. Sale pitched in 21 games (0 starts) for the White Sox last year and he was 2-1 with 4 saves, a 1.93 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. He only gave up 15 hits in his first 23 1/3 innings in his major league career in 2010 and he whiffed 32 batters as he was downright nasty. Sale also pitched in 11 games (0 starts) in A+AAA-ball last year in which he was 0-0 with a 2.61 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Sale will also likely be working late in games for the White Sox in 2011.
29-year old righty Jesse Crain will likely be the top set-up man from the right side in 2011. Crain pitched in 71 games (0 starts) for the Twins last year and he was 1-1 with 1 save, a 3.04 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. He has now pitched in 376 games (0 starts) in his first 7 years in the majors and he is 33-21 with 3 saves, a 3.42 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Crain has really good stuff and he should do a good job for the Pale Hose in 2011.
27-year old righty Sergio Santos exploded onto the scene for the White Sox in 2010. Santos pitched in 56 games (0 starts) for the White Sox last year and he was 2-2 with 1 save, a 2.96 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. He whiffed 56 batters in only 51 2/3 innings which shows what kind of stuff he has, but he also walked 26 batters which is too many. Santos is still learning how to pitch as he was a position player until just recently.
29-year old righty Tony Pena pitched in 52 games (3 starts) for the White Sox last year and he was 5-3 with a 5.10 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. He has now pitched in 87 games (3 starts) in his first two years with the White Sox and he is 6-5 with 1 save, a 4.74 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP. Pena will be the long man in the pen for the White Sox and he’s a lot better than he showed last year.
29-year old righty Brian Bruney had a rough year in 2010. He pitched in 19 games (0 starts) for the Nationals last year and he was 1-2 with a 7.64 ERA and a 2.32 WHIP. Bruney has now pitched in 249 games (1 start) in his first 7 years in the majors and he is 17-12 with 13 saves, a 4.52 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP. Bruney needs to just improve his control a big to be an effective reliever because he has really good stuff.
31-year old righty Josh Kinney pitched in 56 games (0 starts) in AAA-ball last year and he was 3-4 with 17 saves, a 1.80 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. He only gave up 42 hits in 60 innings in AAA-ball last year as he really looked good. Kinney has pitched in 45 games (0 starts) in his first three years in the majors and he is 1-0 with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. He might be able to help the White Sox in the early innings in 2011.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE WHITE SOX RELIEVERS IN 2011: B