Rank the most important White Sox

Gearing up for the start of the season, I started working on a project ranking the 40 most important members of the White Sox this season.
Then, I thought, “Why keep all the fun to myself?”
Below, you can rank 40 members of the White Sox in order from most important to the 2010 team’s hopes, to the most irrelevant to the immediate future.
Now, “importance” is kind of a nebulous term, but let me try to explain my methodology. Basically, I’m attempting to sort out who has the most responsibility resting on his shoulders.
Jake Peavy should be near the top of everybody’s list, if not No. 1. If he meets his considerable potential, only Justin Verlander can match him (edit: on AL Central contenders). If he suffers another injury, the Sox’s one true strength is greatly sapped.
Now, compare him to Freddy Garcia. Garcia could add value to the team as a fifth starter, but he hasn’t pitched a full season since 2006. I might pencil him in for 110 innings of a 5.00 ERA, which, to me, seems like a compromise for quantity and quality. The drop-off from him to Daniel Hudson isn’t much, so Peavy is far ahead of Garcia on the list. And some of you might even put Hudson ahead of Garcia, should you think Garcia has only 70 innings in him. If that.
Another example: Some might think Tyler Flowers will need to produce as the DH when Andruw Jones and Mark Kotsay falter. Others may think Flowers will spend the entire year in Triple-A no matter what happens. That would create a huge difference in rankings.
That’s the jist of it. I started doing it myself to figure out who’s really under the gun due to this team’s strange roster construction, and realized that opinion on a handful of players could vary wildly.
If you have some time, give it a few minutes. I arranged the names in tiers to reduce the amount of rearranging — for instance, Carlos Quentin would have probably required 27 clicks to get him near his rightful position on the original list.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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matt

I’ll play your game there Jimbo… but I’ll only list my top 15 in hopes of keeping this relatively clean.
1]Jake Peavy
2]Alex Rios- The contract alone makes him important.
3]Mark Buehrle- Not as important potentially as Peavy, but if he’s gone for an extended period of time, that’ll hurt.
4]Carlos Quentin
5]Paul Konerko- The only member of the lineup with power that’s without significant questions.
6]John Danks
7]Gavin Floyd
8]Bobby Jenks- Probably too high, but if he’s right he helps set the pen.
9]Matt Thornton- And if Jenks isn’t, then here’s plan B.
10]Gordon Beckham- Him and Alexei should be above Jenks. I did this too fast.
11]Alexei Ramirez
12]Mark Teahen- So… is he gonna produce or be a black hole of suck at a position where you don’t want a black hole of suck.
13]A.J. Pierzynski- For the love of God, stay healthy.
14]Juan Pierre- No one’s outside of the organization seems to be expecting a lot here, but there’s a chance that he has a great season and really gives the Sox something at the top of the order.
15]Tony Pena- Tied with Putz and Linebrink. Someone needs to step up from this group.

knoxfire30

Great idea of debate Jim, my initial overview has you putting AJ way to low, he should be around 5 not 12. He is backed up by Ramon Castro who couldnt play on my softball team (hey he is no chris widger) and tyler flowers who is a top prospect but has never hit at the big league level and certainly we wouldnt feel great about him handling the staff and defensive duties of a catcher every day.
The other one that caught my eye was carlos torres at 23??? He would be about 38th on my list, I can find that guy on the street. Well atleast on someone elses waiver wire or in a rule 5 draft, ect ect he has little to no value, he may define replacement level.

LS_SoX_FN

Id place both Q! and Rios right behind peavy in terms of importance.
1. Peavy
2.Quentin
3.Rios
from 4 on id put the rest of the starting rotation and whoever ends up in the 8th inning role besides thornton.
My feeling is that clearly Peavy has the most riding on his shoulders. If Peavy meets his potential, we have one of the best staffs in baseball and will most likely remain in contention.
But beyond that, if Peavy under performs, Quentin and Rios are our most talented veterans at this point and need to take over the reigns of consistent offensive production.
Sox pitching staff minus Peavy is last years staff and we probably win 80 games. Staff – Peavy + Rios/Quentin hitting= 85 or so wins and contention

LS_SoX_FN

oh btw Jim, bought the Outsider and received it monday. It looks really great and i am really looking forward to getting some time to read it this weekend. great job!

brent

1. Quentin
2. Peavy
3. Konerko
I agree with Matt’s thinknig. With Dye and Thome gone, that HR ball has to come from somewhere. If Konerko tanks for a half year like he has in the past, we may be in trouble.

bigfun

“If he meets his considerable potential, only Justin Verlander can match him.”
I think White Sox fans need to temper their expectations a bit. Peavy probably won’t put up Greinke/Verlander/Halladay-type numbers. He’s on a tier below that.
I put Quentin at #1. If he’s closer to 2009 than 2008, there is no way this team will score enough runs. Single most important guy.

striker

I disagree with you. I think Peavy is still an elite pitcher and his name belongs with that group.

knoxfire30

Peavy has done as much if not more then Greinke so im not sure why Greinke would be in the group and Peavy wouldnt.
Peavy can prove it once and for all this year pitching at the cell if he is a true league ace, or a 1b type guy.

bigfun

Peavy did it in the NL in the most pitcher-friendly park in baseball. He’s still a good pitcher, but look at his home/road splits.
He’s going to one of the most hitter-friendly AL parks. I would be extremely (pleasantly) surprised if he was even close to Greinke (whose best season (last year) was also better than Peavy’s best season (three years ago)).

knoxfire30

all very true but grienke also did all his damage on a miserable kc team for a last place team in a market noone cares about, grienke is a headcase i wouldnt trust him but we will see if he strings a couple more amazing years together
peavy like most pitches was better at home then on the road and certainly the park effect and facing a dh is gonna change his numbers but… i still think his stuff translates we will see!!!!!!

bigfun

Greinke was hurt by being on that KC team with its horrible defense – not helped. And Peavy’s splits are much worse than the average pitcher’s – about a full point in ERA for starters. The average pitcher last year was only like half a point. Most or all of that difference is because of Petco.
He’s still good, but he’s not Greinke good.

grinderintraining

Went Quentin, Rios, then the big 4, Beckham, Jones (I figure if he’s good, that means Kotsay doesn’t play which is huge so he’s pretty important), Konerko, Jenks, Thornton.
After that the regulars, Alexei, AJ, Teahen, Pierre.
I figure if Quentin, Rios and Jones are all good, the White Sox will have a very good team.

arrow

Most important is Kenny Williams, who had better find some more offense somewhere.

duke

I’m not sure of how to rank them…is the list of people who are most likely to vary in impact, and thus their being at the high point of that impact is most useful? Or is it the list of people who are expected to contribute the highest impact on the club? (I think it’s the latter, but the list makes more sense to me as the former).
For example–Peavy is clearly our #1 (or #2, or #1a or #1b) starter. And our starting pitching is going to carry our club. So he’s very important! And in the second sense I gave, he ranks very high.
But (maybe contrary to other people), I’m very confident in Peavy this season. I think it’s extremely likely that he has a very good season and is one of the top 3 pitchers in the AL Central (maybe THE top). Thus, while he will expected to provide a large impact I don’t think you need to worry about whether he WILL provide that impact; he will. Contrast that with Freddy Garcia, who even at his best isn’t going to provide near the impact Peavy will. But there’s a much greater chance that he doesn’t, so the chance of a loss in impact is greater with Freddy Garcia. So I would rank Freddy Garcia as more important than Jake Peavy, even though he’s clearly not contributing as much. I guess this would be “important to care about”.
I dunno. Does any of this make sense? I’m not sure I can come up with a list for the second way, but if you don’t want a list for the first way then I guess I shouldn’t bother?

bigfun

I don’t get the Jones variance. I was a big fan of that signing because of the cost, but his ceiling isn’t all that high. Even if he beats the projections (which I think is very possible) he’s only like a league-average hitter.

The Cheat

That’s how I formulated my response, which had AJ as the least important regular. (Other years he would have been among the most important, but Flowers presence has softened the blow of a possible AJ injury.)

duke

Hrm. Well, okay. I’ll give it a shot.

knoxfire30

40th Teahan, is he leading that cause he is doing nothing again today to prove othrwise???