By David Schuster-

GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) There’s an adage in baseball that you’re only as good as your bullpen. If that’s the case, then the White Sox have a chance to prove a lot of the so called experts wrong.

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Many believe the Sox have no chance in the AL Central, but their bullpen last year was one of the reasons they were in contention all season. On paper, it looks even better this time around.

With a year under their belts, Nate Jones, Donnie Veal and Addison Reed all should be better and more relaxed. And it’s not like any of those three got rattled last season as they showed poise beyond their age. Veal will definitely be the left handed specialist and it was remarkable the success he had last year against left-handed hitters. Jones probably ran out of gas towards the end of last season, but should benefit from that experience and his 100 miles-per-hour fastball hasn’t gone away. Reed admits he is still a work in progress, but for a work in progress he is awfully skilled and has the perfect mentality for being a closer.

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Throw in veterans Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and newly acquired Matt Lindstrom and the Sox have a bullpen that is loaded with both youth and experience, as well as arms that can get batters out from both sides of the plate.

Early in the season, the pen will especially be expected to carry the load because Robin Ventura won’t want to burn out his starters. But the starting staff is more then capable of going deep into games, which will also help as the year goes on.

The national pundits may not have high expectations for the White Sox, but Southsiders should again be in contention all season long — because of the bullpen.

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For more White Sox spring training coverage from Glendale, Ariz, click here. Find all of David Schuster’s spring training blogs here and follow him on Twitter (@schumouse).