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White Sox Fri Oct 05 2012

Sox Players Peak Prior To, After 2012

Sox_200.pngAs we lay to rest the White Sox 85-win 2012 season, I had a thought come to me late the other night. I realized that the team only has one active player in the prime of his career: Gavin Floyd.

And we all know how much that means.

But back to my point: Everyone is either past their prime, or not at their best years yet. For "prime," I define it loosely as a player who has been in MLB for at least 3-5 full seasons, who is 26 to 30 years old roughly, and who is as good as he will ever be.

Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, AJ Pierzynski, Jake Peavy and Kevin Youkilis all have had better days (though they still are good, productive players). Alex Rios is so inconsistent from year to year that I'm not sure he's ever had a prime. Dayan Viciedo, Gordon Beckham, Chris Sale, Addison Reed, Nate Jones and Jose Quintana aren't in that age range yet.

This was Alejandro De Aza's first season as a regular. Francisco Liriano was great in 2006 and 2010, but has had injury issues his entire career. Alexei Ramirez, Dewayne Wise, Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton and Brett Myers are all non-stars in their 30s. You can't say this about anyone on the roster: "He is playing the best ball of his career, and he is at the peak of his athletic powers."

That tells me two things: One, Robin Ventura deserves some credit for making this all work. He was dealt a team that was an odd mish-mash of young and old, and somehow, he milked this club for a winning season.

Two? No wonder the Sox faded down the stretch. Over this long, grueling, 162 game season, both the rookies and veterans slumped toward the end. Meanwhile, the Tigers finished strong, and they have three players (Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera) in their primes. Surely can't be a coincidence.

Of course hindsight is 20/20, but this is another core reason why the White Sox aren't in the postseason, and why major roster changes are likely for 2013.

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