Starting Pitching Key: Jake Peavy
Peavy has been an anomaly since he got to the majors. Looking at his mechanics, it was a matter of time before the all-out, all-the-time delivery blew out his elbow or shoulder. He stayed remarkably healthy for the first six full seasons of his big league career. In 2010, he suffered from an injury—a torn lat muscle in his back—that was unheard of for a pitcher. No one knew whether he’d come back at all, let alone pitch effectively. He was mediocre in 2011, but in 2012, he threw 219 innings and had a hard-luck record of 11-12 when he conceivably could’ve won 18 games. He appeared to have lessened his intensity with every single pitch last season which could translate into better durability as he ages.
Relief Pitching Key: Addison Reed
The White Sox are not in a position where they’ll have a great deal of margin for error and if their closer blows games they need to win, it could send them into a spiral.
Reed has occasional meltdowns where he surrenders crooked numbers. For the most part, however, he was reliable in 2012 in his first season as the White Sox closer.
Offensive Key: Tyler Flowers
Flowers has put up big offensive numbers in the minors with great plate discipline. In the big leagues, in 317 plate appearances, he has a slash line of .205/.307/.388. Is he a 4-A player who’s too good for Triple A but not good enough to be an everyday Major League player? Or was he waiting for an opportunity to come into camp knowing he was the frontrunner to catch the majority of the time? Much of the basis for Flowers being the heir apparent to A.J. Pierzynski as the White Sox starting catcher is that they don’t have anyone else, but players have gotten opportunities and thrived for far worse reasons than that. He’s getting his chance and he has to hit from the get-go.
Defensive Key: Flowers
Not only does he have to hit, but he’s got to handle the pitching staff from behind the plate as well. Pierzynski didn’t throw particularly well, but he was a veteran the pitchers would listen to in the trenches. Flowers doesn’t have that luxury and the pressure on him is exponential in needing to hit, be competent defensively, and keep the pitchers comfortable and happy. With veteran pitchers, that’s not always easy. He has to be tough, but not overly difficult and he can’t let them bully him. It’s a fine line he has to tread and he needs to do it on his own.