USA Today released their record predictions for all 30 MLB teams on Tuesday with Spring Training officially starting next week. The team finished 72-89 in 2019.
The Chicago White Sox are projected to finish the 2020 season with an 83-79 record which would put them behind the Cleveland Indians (86-76) and Minnesota Twins (94-68).
While that record would get the White Sox their first winning season since 2012 when they went 85-77, it would not get them a playoff spot.
If they actually were to go 83-79, that would probably be somewhat disappointing for fans as the team was arguably the most improved one in all of baseball this offseason after signing Yasmani Grandal, Dallas Keuchel, Edwin Encarnacion, Steve Cishek, and Gio Gonzalez while trading for Nomar Mazara.
The hope would be that they can at least leapfrog the Indians in 2020 who appear to be taking a step back after trading Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers and had persistent discussions about trading Francisco Lindor this offseason.
It certainly appears that they are entering the twilight of their winning days that were highlighted by a World Series appearance in 2016.
Given that the White Sox are within three games of Cleveland in these projections, it shouldn’t be that concerning as that gap could be made up pretty easily.
Many are even hoping to compete with the Twins this season, but that gap appears to be much wider as they are separated by 11 games in the projected standings.
The Twins made a notable deal on Tuesday as they appear set to acquire Kenta Maeda from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the three-team trade sending Mookie Betts and David Price to southern California.
Wild Card contention won’t be a cakewalk either for the White Sox with the Tampa Bay Rays (92-70) and the Oakland Athletics (also 92-70) projected to occupy the two playoff spots. The Indians and Los Angeles Angels (84-78) also represent tough competition.
Obviously, these projected standings could mean absolutely nothing at the end of the season. For all we know, the White Sox could come out of the gate hot and run away with the division.
These standings do appear to be a reasonable baseline of what to expect, but I personally believe that the White Sox are a little closer to the Twins than suggested by USA Today.
Overall, the biggest takeaway from this is that the American League Central division is going to actually be pretty competitive in 2020 and that should mean meaningful baseball in the South Side down the stretch.