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WSI News - Season Features

 2000 CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON
Editor's Note:  Written in February, 2000, here's a look at the prospects for the team as they entered training camp in Tucson.  Who knew what would follow?!

Sox Roster 2000:  A Perspective

by David Marran

Here’s one man’s opinion on the White Sox 40-man roster heading into spring training:

PITCHERS

 James Baldwin: A lock to make the club.  The only battle for him in spring training will be with Mike Sirotka for the Opening Day start.
 Lorenzo Barcelo: Dark horse to make the club.  Coming off arm surgery.  Well thought of by Baseball America.  Will most likely start the year in Triple-A.
 Kevin Beirne: Starter.  Good minor league numbers.  Will have to make a big splash in Tucson to make the club.
 Chad Bradford: After a solid rookie year of 1998 (2-1, 3.23 ERA, 1 save), the sidewinder made just three appearances with the Sox in ’99.  Will battle the likes of Castillo and Davenport for a spot in the pen.
 Carlos Castillo: Could wind up being an integral part of the staff as a swingman.
 Pat Daneker: Will be battling the likes of Eyre, Garland, Beirne and Sturtze to make an impression in Tucson. … Probably ticked for Triple-A rotation.
 Joe Davenport: Chicago native was unscored upon in three outings covering 2.1 innings for the Sox last year after saving 10 games in 40 outings for Birmingham. … A candidate for long or middle relief in 2000.
 Cal Eldred: Great guy, great competitor.  He will battle for the fifth spot in the rotation.
 Scott Eyre: The fact that he is left-handed is his saving grace.   He may win the left-handed reliever’s job by default.
 Keith Foulke: Was there a better middle reliever in baseball last year?  Considering he was the only one to get a Cy Young vote the answer would have to be no.
 Bob Howry: Tremendous potential.   He is the closer of the present and the future.
 Sean Lowe: A solid set up man in the tradition of Barry Jones and Donn Pall.
 Aaron Myette: The curveballing Canadian should be given a shot to win a starter’s job in the spring.   He is the first Canadian since McCaskill and only the second since Claude “Frenchy” Raymond in 1959 to play for the Sox.
 Jim Parque: Lefty will probably be the under the microscope in Tucson considering he finished ’99 winless in his last 13 starts.
 Jesus Pena: Will contend for the southpaw spot in the bullpen.   Showed flashes of both brilliance and flakiness last year.
 Jason Secoda: Righty showed promise at Birmingham in ’99 (8-7, 3.44 ERA, 115 IP, 100 H, 39 BB, 94 K). … Struggled at Triple-A (2-5, 5.28 ERA 7 starts).
 Bill Simas: Versatility makes him a valuable member of the pen.   A red flag? Performance dropped off in ’99 in wins, ERA, hits allowed, walks and strikeouts.
 Mike Sirotka: Stylish lefty may be on the brink of becoming another Billy Pierce.
 Tanyon Sturtze: Made a strong impression at Triple-A in 1999 (8-4, 100 K, 95.1 IP) and then tossed six shutout innings for the Sox in the season finale.
 Kip Wells: Only a titanic Tucson tumble will keep him from venturing to Chicago in April.   Should contend for AL Rookie of the Year honors.


CATCHERS

 Brook Fordyce: Showed he could hit in ’99.   Must improve on throwing out baserunners. He ranked 10th in the AL last year at 22 percent (17 for 78).
 Mark Johnson: First half of rookie season was disappointing  (.188) but he showed potential in the second half hitting .264 after the All-Star break.   Emerged as Sirotka’s personal catcher.
 Josh Paul: Sox like his leadership and defensive abilities.   Injuries have been a problem in the minors.  Will most likely start the year at Triple-A.


INFIELDERS

 Mike Caruso: After last year’s disappointment, this could be a make or break spring for the 22-year old shortstop.
 Joe Crede: Third baseman is considered one of the Sox top prospects.   Should get a good long  look in Tucson.
 Jason Dellaero: Strong-armed switch-hitting shortstop may have boosted his stock with a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League (.279).
 Ray Durham: Based on his production and potential, he may be the best second sacker in the game.
 Paul Konerko: Here’s hoping he can at least duplicate his fine ’99 (.294, 24 HR, 81 RBI).
 Jeff Liefer: Should battle for the left-handed bat off the bench job a la Warren Newson.   Hopefully he can display his minor league power (62 HRs since 1996) in the majors (0 HR in 171 AB in ’99)
 Greg Norton: Had a tough year with the glove at third but the fact that he’s been a productive hitter (16 HR in ’99) and a switch-hitter should keep him around.
 Frank Thomas: There is no reason why he can’t return to the Frank of 1993 and 1994.
 Jose Valentin: Figuring he was a switch-hitting shortstop with power, he was worth the gamble.   Should push Dellaero and Caruso at short.
 Craig Wilson: Jack of all trades in the tradition of Craig Grebeck.


OUTFIELDERS

 Jeff Abbott: Remember him? May become a victim of the numbers game in the outfield.
 McKay Christensen: Centerfielder hit .226 in 28 games for the Sox at the outset of ’99 and then hit .290 in 75 games at Birmingham.   With Chris Singleton and Brian Simmons on the roster he may be bound for Triple-A.
 Carlos Lee: Offense should continue to progress after a solid rookie year.   Defense in left will be under the microscope.
 Magglio Ordonez: Popular right fielder is on the cusp of an MVP-type campaign.  Should be at the forefront of the Sox charge to contention.
 Brian Simmons: Switch-hitting centerfielder has power, speed and a good glove.  Should push Singleton in Tucson and may make a run at the starter’s job.
 Chris Singleton: Centerfielder came out of nowhere to become one of the AL’s top rookies in 1999.  It will be interesting to see if he is visited by the “sophomore slump.”


OTHERS
 Here are some non-roster invitees to keep an eye on:

PITCHERS:
 Mark Buehrle: Made Sox top 10 prospects list in Baseball America.   May get a look-see in Tucson because he is left-handed.
 Jon Garland: Starter may be on the fast track to Comiskey Park.  Began ’99 at Class-A Winston-Salem and ended it pitching for Charlotte in the Triple-A World Series.
 Kelly Wunsch: Former Brewer top pick may get a shot at a pen job because he is left-handed.

POSITION PLAYERS:
 Esteban Beltre/Liu Rodriguez: They’re back!   Will they be given a shot to challenge Wilson for the utility job?
 Aaron Rowand: Sox fans will get a chance to see one of the organization’s top outfield prospects in Tucson. … Hit 24 HR with 88 RBI at Class-A Winston-Salem in 1999.


Editor's Note:  David Marran is the sports editor for the Kenosha News.  He's also a native Chicagoan and Sox fan, who has the pleasure of working part-time at the dream job of every Sox fan -- scoreboard operator at Comiskey Park.  "It's a Dinger!"

 

Back to 2000 Champions!

 



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