It's that time of year for Chicago White Sox fans to get excited about the upcoming season by taking part in Sox Fest and building off the energy from it.
Unfortunately, off the heels of a miserable 2022 season, the club is not having a convention this year and really hasn't done a whole lot in the off-season so far to make fans think the team is on the brink of turning things around.
The acquisition of free agent Andrew Benintendi was a good move to shore up left field and hiring Pedro Grifol as manager will hopefully bring better results on the field.
But other holes on the roster that carried over from last year still exist and the team is banking on young players like Oscar Colas, Romy Gonzalez, and Lenyn Sosa to step up and take over duties in right field and second base.
The Chicago White Sox just might be a mediocre team again in 2023.
The team floundered to a .500 record last season and talk of moves to improve the ballclub has so far been just talk.
In addition, the sad news surrounding the cancer diagnosis of closer Liam Hendriks has darkened the cloud over the team as it heads into the 2023 season looking to overtake the Cleveland Guardians in the American League Central.
The White Sox are looking for players such as Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, and Yasmani Grandal to avoid injuries that cost all of them significant time last year and were a main component of the team's failure.
The loss of team leader Jose Abreu in free agency is another negative the team has had to navigate through although the club is confident Andrew Vaughn can take over first base and play at a very high level.
There is a lot on the table for the team to dissect and as a result optimism is not very high on the part of baseball prognosticators. MLB.com recently released its self-admitted way-to-early power rankings for the upcoming year and the White Sox find themselves right in the middle of the pack.
The ranking lists the White Sox 16th overall, indicating the team will once again be an average at best team. The Houston Astros top the list and the first 12 teams ranked were all playoff teams in '22, including the Cleveand Guardians who were ranked 12th.
Between the Guardians and the White Sox are the Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Baltimore Orioles. The Minnesota Twins come in at number 18, thus meaning the top three AL Central teams are viewed as being in the middle third of all of baseball.
Based on those rankings, the White Sox would once again find themselves on the outside looking in as far as the playoffs are concerned.
The Astros, Guardians, New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, and Tampa Bay Rays would comprise the playoff teams in the AL with the White Sox also finding themselves behind the Rangers and Orioles.
According to the rankings, the White Sox are viewed as the ninth-best team in the American League going into the season. That is a far cry from being viewed as a World Series favorite at the start of 2022.
ESPN put out their rankings as well and while they differ in a number of areas with MLB.com's list, they also view the White Sox as being middle of the road by placing them 17th overall, one spot ahead of the Chicago Cubs.
There is still time for things to change before spring training kicks off in February. Deals could be made via trade or free agency so the list is sure to see changes before the season begins.
One thing that could play in the White Sox's favor is the division is viewed as being very weak once again. The Guardians were the only Central Division team to make the postseason in '22 and entering this year the division is seen as being the worst in baseball.
It is not much to hang one's hat on but without a convention to help build excitement, finding anything positive to work with will have to do.