There aren't many other teams that have the number of upper level fantasy players as the Chicago White Sox. It is quite possible that they will produce seven top tier players in 2007. This is of course contingent upon healthy seasons for these players, but based on their track record, they will get you a lot of fantasy points. The only thing is that, for the most part, this is not the youngest team in the majors. If you are going to get some Chi-Sox on your team, do it this year; it may be your last chance to score big as well as their last chance at another World Series run.
(Stats listed as HR/RBI/BA and Wins/Strikeouts/ERA)
Paul Konerko - 1B - 35/113/.313 - Konerko is officially in what is referred to as the consistent zone. Since 1999, "Paulie" has averaged 30 HR, 97 RBI, 28 Doubles, 82 Runs, and 1 Stolen Base. Okay well not so much with that last stat, but you get the picture. When the season begins, he will have just turned 31 years old, so there is no sign of him slowing down; he is definitely in his prime and will continue to post big fantasy numbers so get him if you get the chance. The crazy thing is that because he is a low profile type guy, he is one of those types that could slip a round or two in the draft.
Jermaine Dye - OF - 44/120/.315 - Dye put it all together last year and it showed with his MVP Caliber year. I do not expect him to go beyond these numbers but he will come close. The problem is that his production is contingent upon other players. He gets great looks due to who is hitting around him in the order. So as long as everyone else has a healthy season, Dye will produce. Don't get me wrong, he had some awesome years on some awesomely rotten Royal teams in 1999 and 2000 so even without protection, he will still give you great fantasy numbers.
Jim Thome - DH - 42/109/.288 - I am going to go out on a limb and say the Jimbo will have one more great season before starting to decline. He is 28 dingers away from the magical 500 number so he will get that and more this season. But the slugger just has a whole lot of miles on his cleats so if you can get him take one last ride and hope for health.
Jon Garland - SP - 18/112/4.51 - It is as though it really hasn't happened at all; Jon Garland's success has been as quiet and unremarkable as a seventh inning stretch. Somehow, this guy has won 72 games over the last five seasons including consecutive 18 win seasons in '05 and '06. Chances are, though, if you are not a fan of the Chi-Sox, you don't know who he is. Fantasy players do though and so should you since there is every indication he is only going to get better the next few years.
Bobby Jenks - RP - 3/80/4.00/41 Sv - I am putting Jenks in the top tier based on what he has done and not his potential. He has the potential to continue to put up the numbers he hit last year, but he also still has the potential to turn into baseball's version of John Daley. He is a young gun who still has some immaturity as well as the potential to re-injure his elbow. The coaching staff is keeping their eyes on him, so I am betting he will not implode. Additionally, at 6-3 and a cheeseburger under 300 pounds, weight could be an issue. Lastly, the Sox resigned Mike MacDougal who was a closer with the Royals, so saves could get spilt a bit in the bullpen. But if he is the primary closer, you can't look away from that 100 mph fastball which not only got him 41 saves in 45 chances as well as 80 Strikeouts in only 67 innings pitched.
Joe Crede - 3B - 30/94/.283 - Honestly, Crede should be in the top tier section but I am going to base his spot on his previous performance and not his potential. Most of his offensive numbers have increased the last four seasons, and he is only going to get better as the years go on. He is quiet and unassuming but his bat is like his obnoxious alter ego. Expect 35 HR, 100 RBI, and a .290 Batting Average and you will be on the mark. That ranks him among the best 3B in the American League.
Mark Buehrle - SP - 12/98/4.99- I guess it had to happen; after five straight seasons of all-star numbers, Buehrle finally had a bad season. Whatever the reason, it is safe to assume he will come back this year and have another Buehrle-like season so I would pick him up. Additionally, I would suspect that you will be able to find him in the lower rounds of your draft based on last year's performance. In other words, he might be the steal of the draft this year.
Tadahito Iguchi - 2B - 18/67/.281- Iguchi could do so much more; he is that type of player. But he is a team player first so he gets on base and scores runs, which isn't the worst thing in the world. It just doesn't score a lot of points for your fantasy team. Regardless, a 15-20 HR season for a Second Basemen is not too shabby either and that is probably what you will get from him as he enters his third season in the Majors. There are a lot worse options to pick for your fantasy team's second baseman, that's for sure.
Javier Vasquez - SP - 11/184/4.84 - Vasquez is the consummate 10 Win, 200 Inning, 175 Strikeout healthy innings eater. Every year, regardless of the team or the team's record, he is going to get you just those numbers. Over the last seven seasons with the Expos, Yankees, Diamondbacks, and now the White Sox, he is Mr. Consistency so pick him up and you can expect the same numbers as last year. He'll be a nice starting pitcher to have on your roster.
Scott Podsednik - OF - 3/45/.261/40 sb - I am honestly surprised that the Sox did not go get another player to take Podsednik's spot in the batting order. He has had a decline in his offensive numbers the last few years and last year was about as far down as the Sox would like to put up with. He is still the starter though and chances are he can't get worse so 40 or so stolen bases and 80 - 100 runs scored is a good bet, but again, he may be replaced before the season begins so keep an eye on his status. The White Sox are close to signing Darin Erstad, who is a very similar player.
Juan Uribe - SS - 21/71/.235 - Other than his low batting average, Uribe puts up better than average numbers for the SS position. The question mark is based on his legal issues back home so he may not be playing this year. If he is cleared to play, then he will most assuredly put up points for your team.
Jose Contreras - SP - 13/134/4.27 - One of the reasons I have Contreras listed as a question mark is I honestly think he is around 50 years old. Well, maybe not that old but he is definitely older than his listed age. Based on that, I feel one of these years he is going to break down with injuries. I would say pick him in the later round of the draft and then keep an eye on him.