The Chicago White Sox are projected by many to be a legit World Series contender in the American League. They have one of the best rosters in the league and from top to bottom look like a team that can win a lot of baseball games. The PECOTA standings projections came out and they don’t see the White Sox as good as everyone else in the world does. They have them finishing in third place for the American League Central.
The Chicago White Sox are much better than PECOTA says that they are.
The White Sox were so sweet in the short season that was given to us in 2020. They had the MVP of the American League, one of the best rookies in the world, a top offense, and good enough pitching. All of that came together to get the team into the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Now, they are at the point where they believe it is World Series or bust. Making the playoffs is no longer a cute little story.
PECOTA came out and projected them to go 83.1-78.9. That is good for third place in the division behind the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians. This is a strange ranking because the Indians made themselves a significantly worse baseball team over the offseason. It is more than likely that the White Sox finish ahead of them.
Being behind the Twins makes a little bit of sense if you think about it rationally. The White Sox feel like they are better on paper but the Twins have gotten it done more often and more recently. The White Sox have to go out there and beat them this year if they are going to take the division. According to PECOTA, there is only a 13.4 percent chance that they actually do that.
So why do the computers give the White Sox this type of projection? Well, they might have some names playing this year that nobody recognizes. Guys like Zack Collins, Andrew Vaughn, and Michael Kopech need to come out and be as good as their talent says they will be in order for the White Sox to outdo this projection. Based on how things have gone for them all lately, it is fair to believe that they can do that.
The White Sox (and AL Central) are not the only team (division) in Major League Baseball to have wild projections. For example, in the NL Central, the Milwaukee Brewers are projected to finish ahead of both the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs (85.1 wins) are projected to have more wins than the White Sox and that is wild too. There is no way that the White Sox are a worse team than the Cubs going into this year. There is also no way that the Cubs and Cardinals finish below the Brewers.
One other notable team on here is the Atlanta Braves. They blew a 3-1 series lead in the NLCS last year. That means that a team that was a game away from being in the World Series and didn’t make many changes is going to take a major step back as they only have them at 82.4 wins. That would put them in fourth in the NL East which just seems plain wrong. The New York Mets are projected to be 95.5-66.5 and win the division which also feels way off.
Obviously, the games are played on the field and not within the walls of the computers so this isn’t an end all be all. If you remember last year, the PECOTA rankings had some things spot on and some things were very wrong. If the White Sox lineup, rotation, and bullpen all play the way we know they can, this prediction for them is going to be way off.