The White Sox were something of a surprise winner in the AL Central last season, as the expectation that the "1,000-run" Tigers and the sabermetrically savvy Indians would be dueling for the honors went spectacularly unfulfilled. Even so, with the team only a few short months removed from that neat feat, we're already predicting a fold-up as dramatic as the one we projected for the team in 2007, when we pegged the Sox to win 72 games, and despite their preseason outrage on the subject, they won 72 games. This time around, we're initially pegging them for 73 wins, which seems like a pretty major step back for a division-winning ballclub.
So, what gives? Well, we really don't have it out for the Sox, but when you look at what they're walking into camp with, this is a team with a lot of question marks as far as who's in the lineup and in the rotation, additional questions about the performance levels of key veterans in the near term and sort of more fundamental questions about how well it all comes together -- or not.