Latest PECOTA predictions are unfavorable to White Sox especially the team’s starting rotation despite development in 2018 from certain players.
The White Sox finished 2018 with its first 100-loss season since 1970. There have many additions made this offseason to improve the team going into this upcoming season. However, it doesn’t appear those additions will be enough to get the Sox anywhere near finishing 2019 with a winning record.
At least of course according to predictions made by PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus. PECOTA’s predictions for the White Sox have been written about previously over the last two years here at Southside Showdown. In 2017, PECOTA predicted the Sox would finish that year with a 76-86 record and in fourth place in the American League Central division.
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The Sox actually finished with a 67-95 record and in fourth place in the AL Central in 2017. Last year, PECOTA predicted a third-place finish for the Sox and a 73-89 record. Unfortunately, PECOTA was very wrong as the Sox finished 2018 with a 62-100 record and in fourth place.
For this upcoming season, PECOTA is predicting a 71-91 record for the Sox, good for fourth place in the AL Central. Although that would be a good improvement over the Sox 62-100 record from 2018, it won’t be enough to get the team to finish this season with a winning record.
However, when you look deeper into the PECOTA predictions for the Sox in 2019, you can see the Sox starting rotation is predicted to have a poor season. Despite a strong season in 2018 from Reynaldo Lopez, the young starting pitcher is predicted by PECOTA to finish 2019 with a 9-11 record and a 4.99 ERA.
In fact, PECOTA doesn’t predict any current Sox starting pitcher to finish this upcoming season with an ERA below 4.39 or with more than nine wins. Lucas Giolito is predicted to have a better season in 2019 than in 2018 but not by much. In 2018, Giolito finished with a 10-13 record and a 6.13 ERA. For 2019, PECOTA predicts Giolito will finish the year with a 9-11 record, 4.89 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP.
Carlos Rodon is predicted to have a 9-10 record with a 4.42 ERA, 149 strikeouts, and a 1.39 WHIP. Ivan Nova is predicted to be the team leader in innings pitched with 160 being predicted by PECOTA. Nova is also predicted to end his 2019 campaign with a 9-11 record and a 4.99 ERA.
PECOTA’s predictions might have been unfavorable to the Sox starting rotation, but it wasn’t favorable to the team’s bullpen either. Alex Colome and Jace Fry are the only relief pitchers who are predicted to have a solid 2019 season. Colome is predicted to pitch 55 innings for the Sox with 16 saves, a 3.50 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. Fry is predicted to have a 3.25 ERA with 62 strikeouts through 49 innings pitched.
Dylan Cease, who might not get promoted to the Majors until much later this year, also has some predictions for 2019 from PECOTA. The Sox second top pitching prospect is predicted to make eight starts this upcoming season and finish with a 4.16 ERA through 56 innings with 68 strikeouts and a 3-4 record.
Although PECOTA was mostly unfavorable to the Sox pitching, those were just predictions. There’s no guarantee that any of the aforementioned players will come close to any of those predictions set for 2019, good or bad. The Sox could very well finish this season with a much better or worse record than predicted by PECOTA. For now, these predictions are nothing more than numbers. The real baseball will be played soon and each player on the Sox will get their chance to prove the predictions right or wrong.