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How the White Sox stack up in AL Central

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Projecting where Chicago is best in the division, and the worst.

Jose Abreu projects to be the second best first baseman in the AL Central.
Jose Abreu projects to be the second best first baseman in the AL Central.
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday during a chat on Fangraphs, Dave Cameron fielded this question about the Chicago White Sox.

Gila Monster: If you can buy Rodon as a #2 starter and have a bit of hope for Lawrie, aren’t the White Sox quite decent? If they signed Cespedes, they really wouldn’t have that many scrubs.


Dave Cameron: The back of their rotation sucks. They don’t have a shortstop. If they sign Cespedes, they aren’t starting Garcia, who also stinks, but that’s a big if. They’re still a very weak team at the bottom of their roster.

He's not wrong. Based on Steamer projections, John Danks, Erik Johnson, Adam LaRocheTyler Saladino and Avisail Garcia would be worth less than 1.0 fWAR. Melky Cabrera is projected to be worth exactly 1.0 fWAR. That's obviously not good and these players will play a significant factor in the 2016 season. It would make a lot of sense to still try to improve upon those projections with several quality players in free agency. We've complained long enough about LaRoche and Garcia.  Danks isn't going anywhere, but that doesn't mean the Sox can't find another pitcher to compete with Johnson and Jacob Turner to win a spot in the rotation. Robin Ventura is a big fan of Saladino and the Sox seem to be content having him start at shortstop, warming the seat for Tim Anderson once he's ready.

When you compare where the White Sox are today with their roster to the rest of the AL Central teams, some areas become glaring issues that will need to be addressed; while some will surprise where the team ranks today.

Below are the positional rankings sorted by fWAR with projections coming from Steamer.

Catchers

Team

Players

WAR

Kansas City Royals

S. Perez / T. Cruz

3.2

Cleveland Indians

Y. Gomes / R. Perez

3.0

Chicago White Sox

D. Navarro / A. Avila

2.7

Detroit Tigers

J. McCann / J. Saltalamacchia

2.3

Minnesota Twins

K. Suzuki / J. Murphy

2.1

First Base

Team

Players

WAR

Detroit Tigers

M. Cabrera/V. Martinez

4.2

Chicago White Sox

J. Abreu / A. LaRoche

2.8

Kansas City Royals

E. Hosmer / C. Cuthbert

2.5

Cleveland Indians

M. Napoli / C. Santana

1.6

Minnesota Twins

J. Mauer / K. Vargas

1.4

Second Base

Team

Players

WAR

Cleveland Indians

J. Kipnis / J. Ramirez

2.9

Detroit Tigers

I.Kinsler / M. Aviles

2.8

Minnesota Twins

B. Dozier / E. Nunez

2.5

Chicago White Sox

B. Lawrie / C. Sanchez

1.6

Kansas City Royals

O. Infante / C. Colon

0.5

Shortstop

Team

Players

WAR

Cleveland Indians

F. Lindor / J. Ramirez

3.2

Detroit Tigers

J. Iglesias / M. Aviles

1.9

Minnesota Twins

E. Escobar / D. Santana

1.6

Kansas City Royals

A. Escobar / C. Colon

1.6

Chicago White Sox

T. Saladino / T. Anderson

0.8

Third Base

Team

Players

WAR

Chicago White Sox

T. Frazier / B. Lawrie

3.4

Kansas City Royals

M. Moustakas / C. Colon

3.2

Minnesota Twins

T. Plouffe / M. Sano

2.4

Cleveland Indians

G. Urshela / J. Ramirez

1.6

Detroit Tigers

N. Castellanos / M. Aviles

1.3

Left Field

Team

Players

WAR

Kansas City Royals

A.Gordon / J. Dyson

3.9

Detroit Tigers

J. Upton / C. Maybin

3.2

Minnesota Twins

M. Sano / E. Rosairo

2.5

Cleveland Indians

M. Brantley / R. Davis

1.6

Chicago White Sox

M. Cabrera / J. Shuck

0.8

Center Field

Team

Players

WAR

Kansas City Royals

L. Cain / J. Dyson

3.8

Chicago White Sox

A.Eaton / J. Shuck

2.0

Minnesota Twins

B. Buxton / D. Santana

1.8

Detroit Tigers

A.Gose / C. Maybin

1.5

Cleveland Indians

A.Almonte / R. Davis

1.4

Right Field

Team

Players

WAR

Detroit Tigers

JD Martinez / T. Collins

2.6

Cleveland Indians

L. Chisenhall / C. Cowgill

1.5

Minnesota Twins

E. Rosairo / O. Arcia

1.2

Kansas City Royals

J. Dyson / P. Orlando

1.0

Chicago White Sox

A.Garcia / J. Shuck

0.3

Designated Hitter

Team

Players

WAR

Minnesota Twins

M.Sano / O.Arcia

1.5

Detroit Tigers

V. Martinez / Cabrera

1.3

Cleveland Indians

C. Santana / J. Butler

1.3

Kansas City Royals

K.Morales / C. Cuthbert

0.7

Chicago White Sox

A. LaRoche/J. Abreu

0.7

Starting Pitching

Team

Players

WAR

Cleveland Indians

Kluber/Carrasco/Salazar/Bauer/Tomlin

17.1

Chicago White Sox

Sale/Quintana/Rodon/Danks/Johnson

14.5

Minnesota Twins

Hughes/Santana/Gibson/Nolasco/Milone

10.6

Detroit Tigers

Verlander/Zimmermann/Sanchez/Norris/Pelfrey

9.9

Kansas City Royals

Kennedy/Ventura/Volquez/Medlen/Duffy

9.6

Bullpen

Team

Players

WAR

Chicago White Sox

Robertson/Duke/Putnam/Jones/Petricka

3.6

Cleveland Indians

Allen/Shaw/McAllister/Manship/Armstrong

3.1

Kansas City Royals

Davis/Soria/Herrera/Hochevar/Coleman

2.7

Minnesota Twins

Perkins/Jepsen/May/Fien/Tonkin

2.7

Detroit Tigers

KRod / Lowe / Wilson/ Wilson/Rondon

1.8

Observations

  • Thank you, Los Angeles Dodgers, for Todd Frazier.
  • The bullpen rankings are surprising. If Robertson and Duke can realign to the 2014 version of themselves, it makes it easier to believe those projections.
  • Right field is a mess with the exception of Detroit having J.D. Martinez. Recently, many Sox fans have been suggesting signing Dexter Fowler if the front office fails to sign Cespedes. Steamer projects that Fowler would be worth 1.5 fWAR in 2016, which would improve the White Sox to tie Cleveland for second in the AL Central projections in RF.
  • Cleveland could really use an outfielder. Even signing someone like Austin Jackson would help.
  • White Sox rank 28th at shortstop in MLB. 30th? San Diego Padres, even with newly acquired Alexei Ramirez