The biggest Sox comeback seasons in the last 20 years


The biggest Sox comeback seasons in the last 20 years

The White Sox had three players put together outstanding comeback seasons this year, but none of them won the AL Comeback Player of the Year. Alex Rios, Adam Dunn and Jake Peavy can thank Rays closer Fernando Rodney for breaking an MLB ERA record, netting him the honor.

Jim Thome won AL Comeback Player of the year in 2006, the second year of the award's existence. Generally, the honor goes to a previously-established player who's coming off an injury-plagued andor down year and rebounds to a successful level, which pretty well describes Thome's 2005 and 2006.

But looking through the last 20 years, Thome's bounce-back in 2006 wasn't the best among White Sox players. That title goes to the guy who arguably had the best case of the trio of Sox players to win the award this year.

Below is a list of players who have rebounded from down years with the White Sox. We're going by Baseball-Reference's WAR here, and cutting things off at 3 from one year to the next. Young players who had breakout years -- like John Danks in 2008 -- and journeymen veterans who did the same -- like Esteban Loaiza in 2003 -- aren't in this conversation.

With all that in mind, here's the list:

Alex Rios, 2011-2012: 6.3 WAR
2011: -2.1
2012: 4.2

Rios went from .227.265.348, 13 home runs and below-average defense in center field to .304.334.516, 25 home runs and above-average defense in right. His resurgence didn't get the attention of Dunn's 40 homers or Peavy's Cy Young bid, but it was just as -- if not more -- important to the success of the White Sox in 2012.

Albert Belle: 5.1 WAR
1997: 1.9
1998: 7.0

Belle became the highest-paid player in baseball when he signed a five-year, 55 million deal after the 1996 season, but turned a major down year by his standards in 1997. He regained his status as an elite hitter in 1998 and left as a free agent after the year, invoking a clause which gave him that right if he wasn't one of the three highest-paid players in baseball at the time.

Jose Valentin: 4.7 WAR
1999: 0.0
2000: 4.7

The White Sox run to an AL Central title in 2000 couldn't have happened without the shrewd trade to acquire Valentin and Cal Eldred from Milwaukee for Jamie Navarro and John Snyder. Valentin only played in 89 games in 1999, but was healthy in 2000 and hit 25 home runs with 19 stolen bases.

Jim Thome: 4.5 WAR
2005: 0.1
2006: 4.6

Thome actually won comeback player of the year honors in 2006, his first year with the White Sox after being displaced by Ryan Howard in Philadelphia. After nagging injuries limited Thome to 59 games in 2005, he hit 42 home runs with a 1.014 OPS for the 90-win White Sox in 2006.

Jermaine Dye: 4.3 WAR
2007: -1.9
2008: 2.4

Despite being banged up and struggling a bit at the plate, Dye was the subject of plenty of trade rumors as the Sox floundered in the summer of 2007. But the Sox signed him to a two-year extension that August, and he rewarded the team with a solid 2008 to help the Sox win the AL Central.

Jake Peavy: 4.1 WAR
2011: 0.9
2012: 5.0

In the final year of his contract, Peavy turned in his best year since winning the NL Cy Young in 2007. He started 30 games and threw 219 innings with a 3.37 ERA after posting a 4.92 ERA over just 111 23 innings in 2011.

Adam Dunn: 4.0 WAR
2011: -3.1
2012: 0.9

While 2012 didn't turn out to be vintage Dunn -- his OBP was just .333, 48 points lower than his 2001-2010 average -- he did hit 41 home runs and looked far more together at the plate than in 2011, which looks like one big aberration at this point.

Mark Buehrle: 3.9 WAR
2006: 2.0
2007: 5.9

Buehrle was lit up in 2006, allowing 36 home runs and finishing with a career-worst 4.99 ERA. But he was back to his usual self in 2007, posting a 3.63 ERA over 201 innings.

Frank Thomas: 3.8 WAR
1999: 2.0
2000: 5.8

Thomas finished second in AL MVP voting behind Jason Giambi in 2000 -- something which still has plenty of White Sox fans sore -- after setting career highs with 43 home runs and 143 RBIs. The year before, though, Thomas hit a then-career-low 15 home runs and failed to drive in 100 runs for the first time in his career.

Robin Ventura: 3.6 WAR
1997: 1.9
1998: 5.5

A gruesome ankle injury limited Ventura to 54 games in the year of the white flag trade, but he put together a fine campaign (21 HR, .263.349.436) in 1998 to close out his playing career with the White Sox.

Roberto Hernandez: 3.6 WAR
1995: 0.4
1996: 4.0

A decent 1995 gave way to one of the best years for a reliever in White Sox history, as Hernandez compiled a 1.91 ERA and only allowed two home runs in 84 23 innings.

Carlos Quentin: 3.4 WAR
2009: -0.8
2010: 2.6

After a breakout year in 2008, a banged-up Quentin struggled in 2009, posting a .779 OPS. But he played in a career-high 131 games in 2010 and hit 26 home runs, pacing the White Sox' torrid stretch in June and July.

Javier Vazquez: 3.4 WAR
2006: 2.5
2007: 5.9

Vazquez turned in his best year with the Sox in 2007, posting a 3.74 ERA with 213 strikeouts in 216 23 innings. That was, however, sandwiched between ERAs of 4.84 in 2006 and 4.67 in 2008.

A few others: Kevin Tapani (3.3, 19951996), Darrin Jackson (3.1, 19931994)

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

Despite the Cubs ending their 108-year World Series drought, Miguel Montero made offseason headlines for all the wrong reasons when he complained about his role in the Cubs' 2017 championship campaign.

Montero criticized Maddon's communication skills, catching rotation and bullpen decision-making after the team's Grant Park celebration. Maddon brushed off the criticism, and last week at spring training Montero said he hadn't spoke with the Cubs' skipper.

That tension appears to be all but a thing of the past, as Montero posted this picture of him and his manager sharing a drink together sporting nothing but smiles.

It's safe to say Montero would describe his relationship with Maddon now as: #WeAreGood.

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Minnesota Wild tonight on CSN and streaming live on Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Road warriors.

The Blackhawks have won six straight games away from the United Center, and are looking to make it a seventh in Minnesota tonight. They've scored the game's first goal in four of those wins, and in the other two, overcame 1-0 deficits to beat Dallas 5-3 and Edmonton 5-1, the latter of which they scored five unanswered goals.

2. Corey Crawford vs. Devan Dubnyk.

Crawford hasn't quite been the same since undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Dec. 3, but he turned in probably his best outing since then in the Blackhawks' last meeting against Minnesota on Feb. 8 when he stopped 35 of 38 shots in a 4-3 overtime win. He essentially stole two points, and prevented the Wild from picking up the extra one. Across from him tonight will be Dubnyk, who leads the league in wins (32), goals against average (1.97) and save percentage (.934).

3. Jonathan Toews on fire.

After a tough offensive drought earlier in the season that lasted longer than expected, the Blackhawks captain has six goals and 10 assists in his last 12 games, and upped his point total to 37, which now ranks fifth on the team. In the last meeting against Minnesota two weeks ago, Toews had a three-point night and scored the game winner in overtime. 

4. Mikael Granlund among league's most underrated players.

File Granlund under the category of players who don't get enough attention. He has 17 goals and 36 assists in 58 games this season, and his 53 points is tied with Jeff Carter and Artemi Panarin for 13th in the NHL's scoring race. The next highest point total on the Wild is Eric Staal with 45, an eight-point gap between him and Granlund. The 24-year-old forward registered his first career hat trick earlier this month, and also had a 12-game point streak just two weeks ago.

5. Ryan Hartman's closing in on 15 goals.

In Saturday's 3-1 loss to Edmonton, Hartman defended his teammate by fighting an Oilers defenseman that was practically twice his size. He called it a "no-brainer" to stick up for Tanner Kero and did well in the scrap, but it led to an Oilers power play and 10-minute misconduct which didn't do the Blackhawks any favors. He responded in a great way Sunday by scoring the game's first goal that helped his team win 5-1 in Buffalo. The next goal he scores will be No. 15, which would give the Blackhawks six 15-plus goal scorers on the year. They had only four a season ago.

- Check out the latest stats and standings to make sure you’re ready for action

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

- NBC Sports App FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Blackhawks: All of the most recent news and notes

- See what Blackhawks fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Blackhawks Pulse