The Chicago White Sox were given another third-place grade by a prediction simulator. It might not be as bad of a thing as you think.
The Chicago White Sox along with the rest of the MLB took in their predictions from PECOTA that came out on Tuesday. PECOTA is a simulation of the MLB season using a sabermetric system to project players and team performances. It can’t be said enough that fans and teams should ignore this stuff, but it is still interesting to talk about as we head into Spring Training.
The White Sox are projected to go 83-80 which is good for third place in the American League Central. The reason it projects 163 games instead of 162 is that it simulates the season a bunch of times and they round up the results. The Minnesota Twins are projected to come in first with the Cleveland Indians coming in second. Detroit and Kansas City are listed as fourth and fifth respectively, which is probably the most accurate part of the division prediction.
The only team projected to win 100 games or more is the Los Angeles Dodgers and you can probably guess why. The next closest is the New York Yankees at 99 wins. Obviously, anything can happen but these really might be the two best rosters in all of baseball. These are the two teams that the White Sox aspire to be as good as in the coming years.
So 83 wins and third place in the American League Central might not sound so appealing, but it actually is a prediction that according to them keeps them in the wild card race all season long. The Tampa Bay Rays at 88 wins and the Los Angeles Angels at 87 wins are the two Wild Card teams. That means the White Sox would finish four games out of the playoffs. They give them a 5.9 percent chance to win the Division and an 18.1 percent chance to make it to October.
The White Sox could absolutely do things to do better than this PECOTA prediction. There are possibilities like Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal, and Michael Kopech coming in and making a big impact. Guys like Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez can improve on subpar 2019 seasons. Perhaps the most important one would be guys like Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Lucas Giolito, and Tim Anderson repeating what they did last season and perhaps even improving. If some of these things happen, they could do better than this 83 win projection and sneak into the playoffs.
Predictions are fun, but they ultimately mean nothing. PECOTA is usually pretty close but it is never perfect. They simulate the season thousands of times just to get these results. There are performance differences, injuries, and trades that could all make a big difference. One thing that is for sure, the White Sox are an exciting team to be a fan of right now.