Worried about White Sox rebuild misery? Look to Astros for inspiration
White Sox fans have no reason to impatient during rebuild as history has shown it takes time for a franchise to turn its fortunes around.
The 2018 season got just a little bit worse for the White Sox this past Wednesday. Adding to a very underwhelming season, the New York Yankees rolled into town and dismantled the Sox in a very lopsided and humbling three-game sweep. The Sox were outscored 6-21 and had their most promising prospects falter in front of a larger national audience at home and on television.
This three-game sweep came off the heels of a promising four-game winning streak but overall, the sweep showed how far the White Sox are from contending. The Sox record being more than 30 games under .500 at 42-73 is currently being converted into a .365 winning percentage, currently the fifth-worst mark in franchise history.
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With a winning percentage of .365, the Sox are on pace to lose more than 100 games. This would be the first time the Sox lot 100 or more games since 1970. They’ve actually only lost 100 games four times in franchise history. But regardless of where they finish, the Sox are having one of their worst years as a Major League Baseball team.
But there’s always a silver lining and at the same time an awkward certainty of the current rebuild. Looking at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, the Houston Astros are well on their way to another long postseason run and perhaps even a chance to repeat as World Series champions. But it wasn’t very long ago that were in the same position that the White Sox find themselves in. It might’ve even been worse for the Astros too.
2011 was the first year the Astros were the laughing stock of MLB. And yes believe it or not, they were the laughing stock of the MLB. They went 56-106, a winning percentage of .346. That was the first season Jose Altuve played in MLB.
The next season was not any better. The Astros lost even more games, well one more, with a 2012 season record of 55-107. And the next season, they hit rock bottom, going a whopping 51-111 with a .315 winning percentage.
In 2014, they were a bit more respectable, losing less than 100 games but still losing 92, going 70-92. Then in 2015, the Astros arrived. They went on to go 86-76 in 2015, 84-78 in 2016, and 101-61 in 2017, en route to the franchise’s first ever World Series Championship.
This season, the Astros almost have an inverted Sox record (73-44). They are leading the AL West by 4.5 games and currently have the second-best record in Major League Baseball. But it didn’t happen overnight. And it’s not going to happen overnight for the White Sox either.
The Astros had to endure four seasons of terrible baseball to enjoy this run of success, but it did happen. After going 232-416 (.358) in four seasons, they went 344-259 (.572) in the next three and half seasons.
The White Sox might not have to endure that much suffering but this season might not be the worst to come. The only player on that 2011 Astros team to still be on the team now is Altuve. The Sox arguably have more MLB-ready players at this stage of the rebuild, which is promising, but that has not translated to wins.
The lesson to be taken from the success story that is the Astros is losing is a necessary part of the rebuild and that losing might not stop any time soon. But in retrospect, because of their continued misery from 2011 to 2014, the Astros were put in the position to draft George Springer (2011), Carlos Correa (2012), Kyle Tucker (2015), and Alex Bregman (2015). All were and still are vital cogs in the Astros dominant machine.
The White Sox might be miserable now, and might continue to be miserable for a little while longer, but all you need to do it look at the Astros for a little inspiration.