1. Chris Sale, P: He has been the most dominant pitcher in baseball the past month. The young lefty has allowed just three runs in his last four starts and has won five straight outings. Sale at this point could easily be the American League’s starting pitcher at the All Star Game on July 10 in Kansas City. The 23-year-old Sale makes use of four quality pitches that he is throwing for strikes. One AL scout told me that although there is concern about Sale’s mechanics, he is so long and lean that changing his delivery would be a mistake. Although Jake Peavy is the ace of the staff, Sale is the future of the White Sox.
2. Alejandro De Aza, CF: One of the most underrated leadoff men in baseball, De Aza has been the catalyst for the Sox offense all season. Give White Sox brass credit for putting their money on De Aza getting the job done on an everyday basis. He was 10-for-26 with an amazing 13 runs scored last week. De Aza goes into the St. Louis Cardinals series as the hottest player on the team (9-for-15). Defense has also been a strong aspect of a guy who gets little publicity outside the Sox clubhouse.
1. Philip Humber and Gavin Floyd, SP: This double headed trouble spot has GM Kenny Williams up at night contemplating trading for another starting pitcher. U.S. Cellular Field has been unkind to both of these fly ball pitchers who get shellacked at the home run-friendly ballpark. Both starters have picked up their strikeout ratio as of late, but have fallen into a pattern of throwing an average of less than six innings. This type of performance not only puts the team in line for a loss but wears out the bullpen. Humber and Floyd have allowed a combined 11 home runs in their last two starts (Floyd 5 and Humber 6). Both pitchers have ERAs approaching 6.00 -- a scary number for a team counting on them to throw valuable innings the last 100 games of the season. One or both could be replaced in the rotation by the All-Star break.