The White Sox outfield is returning all three starters from the 2012 season and none of them seem to be in danger of losing any playing time, given the lack of experienced and/or talented depth behind them. That means we can focus primarily on their overall fantasy value rather than what they must do to maintain their current status on the depth chart. Obviously, should someone completely tank it, we can visit the ‘what if’, but at this point, that doesn’t seem necessary or productive.
As always, let’s start with the current depth chart and we’ll go on from there, beginning with the starters…
|Starter||Back-Up||Reserve||On the Horizon|
|Left Field:||Dayan Viciedo||Jordan Danks||DeWayne Wise||Blake Tekotte|
|Center Field:||Alejandro De Aza||Jordan Danks||DeWayne Wise||Jared Mitchell|
|Right Field:||Alex Rios||Jordan Danks||DeWayne Wise|
Left Field: While there’s always hope for improvement given the fact that he’s only 24-years old, if you’re looking for a wildly-swinging hacker with great raw power but poor contact rates, then Viciedo is right up your alley. His swing rates, both in and out of the zone, coupled with a 12.2 SwStr% make it awfully hard to trust him in your fantasy outfield, but the 25 home runs can be tempting given how far he is falling in drafts right now. He’s been on a downward trend over the last few weeks and currently has a 204.47 ADP (14th round) in NFBC drafts and a mark of 184.07 which, if you’re figuring for a 12-team league, is an early 16th round pick. Grabbing that kind of power that late is nice, but with the rate fluctuation we saw from him last year, it’s tough to think that he was learning along the way. He did add a leg-kick to his batting motion which is supposed to give him a little more reaction time in the box and he is currently 5-for-16 with a home run and just one strikeout, but he also hasn’t drawn a single walk yet. Without real evidence of improved plate discipline, he is best left where he is in drafts. Should he falls into your lap late, then great, but if someone ends up grabbing him before you, it’s really not that big a deal.
Center Field: In his first full season as the Sox’ starting center-fielder, De Aza’s sporadic hot streaks made him look a little more valuable than he actually was to fantasy owners in 2012. Overall, his numbers were, more or less, average for a leadoff hitter. He showed a little bit of pop with walk and strikeouts rates fairly close to league average and his 26 stolen bases were helpful. However, at 29-years old, it’s doubtful that he develops more power and while the steals were okay, he was caught 12 times as well, giving him just a 68.4-percent success rate which doesn’t exactly instill much confidence in a manager to keep the green light on. His runs scored, batting average and steals makes him a slightly better overall option than his aforementioned teammate, but he’s not going much further ahead of him in drafts, nor should he really.
Right Field: Rios is probably the most often debated talent in fantasy baseball circles. People either love him to a fault or avoid him like the plague. There’s no questioning the fact that he has incredible, natural talent and is capable of being a five-category contributor, but his lack of year-to-year consistency makes him one of the most frustrating players in the fantasy realm. And to make matters worse, predicting when the good Alex will show up is a near-impossibility. Sure, you could always go with the “every other year” theory, but there’s really no evidence to substantiate it. You could cite the declining walk rate and the rise in strikeouts, but he still managed a 20-20 season with a career-best .304 average. He is an enigma, shrouded in mystery and surrounded by an array of questions. Personally, I avoid him because the price, to me, is a little too high for a guy who could easily post a .250 average with just a dozen home runs and barely double-digit steals. But you might feel differently and given some of his better seasons, you might be fine with the level of risk that comes with drafting him.
Jordan Danks — Minimal power, minimal speed and currently dealing with an elbow injury as he fights for a bench job this spring. Could win the job simply based on a lack of other options, but nothing you want on your fantasy roster this season.
DeWayne Wise — Known more for his dramatic, game-saving catches than he is for his offensive production, Wise will likely sit on your waiver wire all year unless there is a massive injury problem. He has almost no power and he’ll be lucky to swipe a dozen bases. Move along. Nothing left to see here.
Jared Mitchell — He had much more promise before a broken ankle wiped out his entire 2010 season and he hasn;t shown as much promise since coming back. He’ll probably spend most of the year at Triple-A and really doesn’t project as anything more than a fourth outfielder.
Blake Tekotte — Showed some promise at the lower levels in the minors but struggled to hit well while playing in the hitter-friendly PCL. Strikeouts are an issue as well as poor contact rates, so don;t even think you’ve got some dark horse candidate here; because you don’t.