Can the 2019 White Sox shock the world and take the division like the 2018 Braves? Do the White Sox have any hope of the playoffs this season?
There has been a lot of talk about whether this could finally be a competing season for the White Sox. The chances are low, but stranger things have happened. Vegasinsider.com has given the 2019 White Sox 25/1 odds to win the AL Central.
These odds are much better than that of the Tigers or the Royals, but still not good at all. Fangraphs expects the White Sox to win 69 games, which would put them 22 games behind Cleveland’s 2018 record.
There was a team last year in a similar spot: Atlanta Braves. Fangraphs listed their playoff odds at 3.2 percent before last season began. How did they turn that 3.2 percent chance into a 90 win team and a National League East division crown? More relevant to the city of Chicago, can the 2019 White Sox do something similar?
To answer this question, the 2017 Braves need to be looked at a little bit. Freddie Freeman was their best player and most valuable player. Baseball Reference viewed him as a 4.5 WAR player that season. He hit .307/.403/.586. He did not make the All-Star team or receive MVP votes, but this was mostly because he missed about six weeks in May and June.
The only other player on the 2017 Braves to play at least 100 games and have an OPS over .800 was Matt Adams. Adams was used oftentimes as a pinch hitter or an injury replacement for Freeman. If the Braves were going to score runs, Freeman was going to be the man to make it happen. The Braves did have the excitement of 20-year-old Ozzie Albies looking like a star in the making at second base.