Balanced schedule does little to help Chicago White Sox or the Central Division

Cleveland Guardians v Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Guardians v Chicago White Sox / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

While the way-to-early power rankings don't see the Chicago White Sox as improving much over last year, the new balanced schedule doesn't seem to be something that will do them or other teams in the American League Central Division any favors.

A recent article on addressed the effect the balanced schedule will play throughout the majors this upcoming season.

In using winning percentage projections for the 2023 season from FanGraphs, it was revealed that the White Sox, Cleveland Guardians, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, and Detroit Tigers will get very little help in the way of scheduling under the new format.

By comparison, the American League West and East both are viewed as being positively affected by large, virtually identical margins.

The White Sox and the league as a whole have a different schedule now.

The National League East's strength of schedule is seen as getting a huge negative bump while the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies are the only two teams to see benefits to the change.

According to the math in the article, the AL West and East's strength of schedule improves by between .015 and .030 points.

The example used to illustrate this is the Baltimore Orioles' strength of schedule goes from .517 under the unbalanced schedule used last season to .490 under the new format.

The Twins' schedule gets the least help in the Central, becoming harder by .002 points. The White Sox schedule got tougher by .001 point while the Royals got easier by about .004 points.

Under the new guidelines, teams will be playing less of each other within their own division while expanding the schedule to play every team in the opposing league at least once.

Teams will now play 52 divisional games, down from 76 last season. There will be 13 divisional games against each opponent which is six fewer than was under the unbalanced schedule.

Intraleague games will drop from 66 to 64 while interleague games will increase from 20 to 46. Each team will play a home-and-home series against their natural rivals totaling four games with the other 42 coming against the rest of the league.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the divisional races now that the schedules have expanded to include playing every team in the league.

Tough divisions like the AL East won't be able to beat up on each other as much now which should help them and divisions that got paired against favorable interleague division opponents won't have that advantage anymore.

Aside from divisional races, this will also have an impact on the Wild Card race as playing less of each other means teams will have to make hay against those that wouldn't have been on the unbalanced schedule.

It remains to be seen how this all plays out as the effects of the new schedule have been based on projections. Things could get more interesting or more diluted depending on the competitive nature of the teams.

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