Season Long – All Sports

2024 Chicago White Sox Preview

2024 Chicago White Sox Preview After winning the AL Central in 2021, the White Sox had a sharp decline in play over the past two years. They finished 61-101 last season while giving up 200 more runs than they allowed. […]

2024 Chicago White Sox Preview

After winning the AL Central in 2021, the White Sox had a sharp decline in play over the past two years. They finished 61-101 last season while giving up 200 more runs than they allowed. From 1994 to 2019, Chicago made the postseason only three times, with a World Series win in 2005. Our 2024 Chicago White Sox Preview analyzes if the Chi Sox can turn around those struggles.

The White Sox finished 29th in runs (641), 20th in home runs (171), and 29th in RBIs (617). They had the worst on-base percentage (.291) in baseball. Their baserunners stole 86 bases on 108 attempts. Chicago posted a 4.87 ERA (26th), with the same ranking for their bullpen (24 wins, 38 losses, 28 saves, 4.88 ERA, and 597 strikeouts over 591.2 innings).

In the offseason, the White Sox signed C Martin Maldonado, SS Paul DeJong, SP Erick Fedde, SP Chris Flexen, and RP Tim Hill. They traded for 2B Braden Shewmake, SS Nicky Lopez, SP Michael Soroka, and SP Jared Shuster in their deal with the Braves. Chicago parted ways with RP Aaron Bummer. The White Sox didn’t resign C Yasmani Grandal, 2B Elvis Andrews, SS Tim Anderson, SP Mike Clevinger, and RP Liam Hendriks.

The foundation of their offense has upside in five slots in their lineup – 1B Andrew Vaughn, 3B Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, and OF Oscar Colas, but the trusted window is running out on a couple of these players. 

There has been talk of Chicago moving SP Dylan Cease, leaving their starting rotation in rebuild mode. RP Gregory Santos has the first shot at saves. 

Starting Lineup

OF Andrew Benintendi

When at his best in 2017 and 2018 with the Red Sox, Benintendi hit .280 with 187 runs, 36 home runs, 177 RBIs, and 41 stolen bases. After a decent season in 2021 (.276/63/17/73/8 over 493 at-bats), he has been a losing investment in the fantasy market. 

His average hit rate (1.361) now ranks among the lightest hitters in baseball, and Benintendi has a sharp decline in his contacting batting average (.311 – .365 in 2022) in 2023. Surprisingly, he hit well with runners on base (RBI rate – 18), but his RBI chances (286) declined for the second consecutive year despite a three-year high in at-bats.

Last year, Benintendi had the same empty success against righties (.261 with two home runs over 440 at-bats) and lefties (.262 with three home runs over 122 at-bats). He never scored more than 15 runs a month or drove in higher than 10 runs. 

His strikeout rate (14.3) was the best of his career while posting a league-average walk rate (8.4). Benintendi finished with a new bottom in his exit velocity (86.6 – 88.3 in his career), with one of the worst hard-hit rates (27.0 – 38.7 in 2022 and 34.9 in his career) in baseball. In his best seasons, he barreled 31, 33, and 36 balls (only 14 last year).

Fantasy Outlook: His ADP (497) in mid-January in the NFBC puts Benintendi in the free-agent pool in all formats. Last year, the White Sox gave him 484 at-bats in the first or second slot in the batting order. As bad as his profile looks, he may be serviceable in some counting categories with a slight rebound in power. Benintendi signed a five-year contract in December of 2022, so pay attention to his bat in spring training with an eye on his exit velocity and power…

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Season Long – All Sports

2024 Toronto Blue Jays Preview

2024 Toronto Blue Jays Preview The Blue Jays have been one of the better teams in the AL East over the past four seasons, leading to three trips to the postseason with a .557 winning percentage. Their last division title […]

2024 Toronto Blue Jays Preview

The Blue Jays have been one of the better teams in the AL East over the past four seasons, leading to three trips to the postseason with a .557 winning percentage. Their last division title came in 2015. After winning the World Series in 1992 and 1993, Toronto missed the playoffs for 21 consecutive years. 

They ranked fourth in ERA (3.78). The Blue Jays’ bullpen posted a 3.68 ERA (8th) with 33 wins, 24 losses, 51 saves, and 606 strikeouts over 557.0 innings. Toronto underachieved expectations in runs (746 – 14th), home runs (188 – 17th), and RBIs (705 – 17th). Their base stealers finished with 99 steals over 133 attempts (75.0%).

Toronto parted ways with 1B Brandon Belt, 3B Matt Chapman, 2B Whit Merrifield, and SP Hyun Jin Ryu. They signed P Jordan Hicks and IF Isiah Kiner-Falefa. 

The combination of SS Bo Bichette, 1B Vlad Guerrero, and OF Daulton Varsho had a step back in production, leaving the Blue Jays with no difference-maker bats in their starting lineup. Toronto should sign another bat or two by the start of the season.

SP Kevin Gausman, SP Jose Berrios, SP Chris Bassitt, and Yusei Kikuchi gave the Blue Jays 742 winning innings, but their expected ace (Alek Manoah) was one of the worst pitchers in baseball. CL Jordan Romano handled himself well in the ninth inning.

Here is our 2024 Toronto Blue Jays Preview.

Starting Lineup

OF George Springer

Springer ranked 30th in FPGscore (3.99) for hitters in 2022 despite missing 29 games with forearm, ankle, elbow, and knee injuries. Coming into last year, he missed 113 games over the previous two seasons. 

In 2023, Springer had his best opportunity (613 at-bats) since 2016. Unfortunately, he finished with a step back in runs (87), home runs (21), and RBIs (72), leading to him sliding to 54th in FPGscore (1.39) despite a career-high in steals (20). His average hit rate (1.570) was well below his previous career path. Springer came to the plate with 405 runners on base but a poor RBI rate (13). His walk rate (8.8) remains an asset while regressing for four consecutive years. Springer continues to have a favorable strikeout rate (18.3).

His bat lost momentum vs. lefties (.242/20/4/14 over 124 at-bats). He struggled in April (.225/14/3/105 over 111 at-bats) and July (.191/10/2/7/1 over 89 at-bats). Springer had his lowest hard-hit (39.9) and exit velocity (88.3) of his career. His flyball rate (35.4) is trending lower, along with his HR/FB rate (12.1) and launch angle (12.0).

Fantasy Outlook: At age 34, his best days appear to be behind him. The Blue Jays have him under contract for the next two years. To have a rebound season, Springer needs the bats behind him in the starting lineup to play much better. His ADP (123) in the early draft season in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship in mid-January ranks him as the 71st hitter. I can’t trust his speed, but the rest of his profile has a chance to beat the league average with a rebound in play…

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