White Sox aren’t expected to have a winning season but if some things come together this year, 2019 could be a good season for the team.
Things have not been good for the White Sox recently. The team has missed the playoffs 12 out of the last 13 seasons. They have been below .500 for the past six seasons. A terrible 2018 season and terrible offseason give most fans little reason to be optimistic for the upcoming season.
But White Sox fans – like all fans, deserve to have optimism and hope. If nothing else, they are due for some success.
Now, the White Sox lost 100 games last season, but thanks to a full year from Michael Kopech, and offseason acquisitions Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, they can – oh wait. Guess we’ll have to find another way to get there.
So how can the White Sox be contenders this year? Well for starters they’re going to need an easy route to the playoffs (which is rare to come by in the American League) as this team isn’t going to win 95-plus games. However, FanGraphs predicts that the Oakland Athletics would take the second wild card with only 84 wins this year. I think FanGraphs is underselling the competitiveness of the AL a bit, but maybe it’s possible the White Sox can take that second spot with 85 wins, as the Minnesota Twins did in 2017.
Of course, the White Sox are still going to have to finish 2019 with a better record than the 2019 Twins, as well as the Tampa Bay Rays, Athletics, Los Angeles Angels and any other team competing for the spot, or somehow finish the season with a better record than the Cleveland Indians. Unfortunately, Cleveland was able to hold on to hold to ace Corey Kluber this offseason, thanks in part to Rick Hahn stupidly giving Cleveland the payroll flexibility to hold onto Kluber through the trade of mediocre designated hitter Yonder Alonso.
Retaining Kluber means it’s pretty unlikely Cleveland will fall into the White Sox reach, so their best hope will likely be through the second wild card. The worse the Indians, A’s, and Rays are, the better the chances are for the Sox. While it’s likely they will all decline a little bit, we will need those teams to fall a lot for this to work.
Fangraphs predicts the White Sox to win 70 games in 2019, as does Baseball Prospectus. Other sources picks are a little bit more generous, but I’ll prefer to use a data-driven website as a starting point. What the White Sox need to do is take their projected 70-win team and beat the projections to the point where they become a team that wins 85-plus games.
It’s unlikely but it’s not impossible, as teams with a lot of young players and prospects ( like the White Sox now) have significantly beaten their projections and shocked the world in the past. Next, we’ll look at the teams’ projections by position and see how this could conceivably happen.