One thing is for sure, the 2014 season can not be worse than the 2013 season was for the White Sox. It’s impossible right?

While Sox GM Rick Hahn thought the 2013 team could find a way to relive a little bit of the magic they captured during the 2012 season, they couldn’t even come close. The Sox began 2013 on a fast start, going 4-2, and ending the season’s opening week home stand on a Dayan Viciedo walk off HR.

Everything seemingly went down hill from there for the 2013 Sox, including Dayan Viciedo’s hope for a repeat of his 2012 success.

What was, statistically, one of the best teams defensively in 2012, turned into one of the worst in 2013. The potentially dynamic double play combo of Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez, who flourished in 2012, collectively laid an egg in 2013. Ramirez committed the most errors by any short stop in 2013, and Gordon Beckham made bone head mistake, after bone head mistake.

Sox fans frustration with Beckham hadn’t been higher than it was in 2013. What was once Beckham’s strong suit, defense, had become a liability. Couple that with less than average production at the plate, Beckham may finally be labeled a bust if things don’t change in 2014.

Add Alejandro De Aza’s poor defense in center field, and even worse base running mistakes to the mix, and you have four previously crowned “core” players for the White Sox whose potential has not come to fruition.

The good thing is, almost everyone else on the White Sox 2014 roster will be new to the mix. Sure, there’s Paul Konerko, and there’s Adam Dunn. Konerko who, understandably, was displeased with the 2013 Sox campaign as well his own. I would have rather seen Paulie ride off into the sunset and bring his career to a close. But, I understand his desire to come back for one last hurrah. I just don’t think the Sox should have saved a roster spot for an aging veteran who doesn’t have much to left give. But that’s just me.

Dunn will put up 25-30 HR’s and 85 or so RBI again in 2014, but his act has certainly worn thin on the south side of Chicago. 2014 will mercifully be the last season here for Dunn.

And yes, Tyler Flowers and Josh Phegley aren’t “new” guys either, but I’m hoping Adrian Nieto or a soon-to-be-acquired catcher (Jose Lobaton?) can provide some relief behind the plate going forward. This is one position that still really worries me.

But everywhere else you look around the diamond, all you see are new and young faces for the White Sox. And that’s exciting. Rick Hahn has somehow been able to infuse this organization with young, promising, salary-controlled players, in less than a year’s time.

I’m not sure who I’m more excited about. The young Cuban slugger Jose Abreu who has superstar potential?  Maybe Adam Eaton, acquired in a 3 way trade from the Diamondbacks, who has the potential to be an on-base machine and catalyst for the White Sox offense for years to come? Or is it Avisail Garcia, the potential 5 tool player Rick Hahn managed to acquire from their intra-division rivals, the Tigers?

And though Matt Davidson, acquired from the Diamondbacks for Addison Reed, may start off 2014 in Charlotte, he has the potential to be a offensively potent 3rd baseman for the Sox for many years.

Put all of these new faces together with a pretty solid pitching staff, and you have the potential for a very fun team to watch for quite a while. Chris Sale is a star. José Quintana is a solid 2-3 starter in almost any rotation. John Danks will be two years removed from shoulder surgery and should be much improved from last year. Erik Johnson comes highly touted and really impressed in 2013. Felipe Paulino is coming off Tommy John surgery, but could be a low-risk, high-reward signing by Hahn.

Add some new veteran relievers into the bullpen in Scott Downs, 
Ronald Belisario, and Mitchell Boggs, and combine them with the young Nate Jones and Daniel Webb, and pitching should be a strong suit again for the Sox in 2014. Potentially. 

Potential can be a scary word for a baseball team. But potential is also very exciting. I can’t remember the last time the Sox had so many “potentially” good, young players. One thing is for sure, Rick Hahn seems to have this organization going in the right direction, and quickly. Potentially.

Brian Madsen

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