The White Sox seem chronically prone to national disrespect.
From ESPN’s unforgettable forgetfulness of the 2005 World Series team (more than once, in fact) to the more recent Wheel of Fortune Folly, the Sox have simply been overlooked.
And when it comes to 2018 win projections, various baseball sites have continued the ever-puzzling contempt against the Sox.
Hey, at least Fangraphs remembered to include the White Sox in their latest MLB win projections, but that’s where the good news ends, because the numbers are a bit grim. The otherwise estimable site believes the South Siders will win only 65 games next year, two fewer than last season’s total, as the worst team in all of baseball. Yep, 65 wins, two games worse than Derek Jeter’s Double-A wannabes, the Miami Marlins.
Bovada has the team finishing 68-94, not quite living up to Joakim Soria’s playoff prediction.
Granted, the disrespect may be somewhat warranted, as it’s February 17, and the Sox have yet to play a spring training game.
A case could be made for anywhere from 65 to 80 wins, and any of those predictions could be reasonably argued.
All told, the most rational predictions are coming from USA Today and Baseball Prospectus, both having the Sox at 73 wins.
Beyond the tough matchups with Cleveland Indians, the White Sox will have many winnable games against the AL Central, the worst division in the American League, maybe even all of baseball (I’m looking at you, NL East).
The Minnesota Twins are coming off a successful year that ended in the Wild Card play-in game. (If the Sox could even get close to that this year, it would be a huge success.) They have a strong lineup, but their pitching staff (I’ll see you a Ricky Nolasco, and raise you a Jake Odorizzi) is nothing to write home about.
The Royals will be without Lorenzo Cain, and most likely Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, unless this ridiculously slow MLB offseason keeps them in Kansas City.
The Detroit Tigers are also in rebuilding mode and accomplished one of the best tank jobs people will ever see last season.
There’s nothing the Sox can do about the Indians, but Carlos Santana leaving the division helps. Cleveland’s rotation, however, will give the division and league trouble.
I have the Sox at 76 wins.
Despite the excitement heading into camp, there are too many uncertainties that face the team heading into this season.
Will Avisail Garcia build on his offensive surge from last season? Will James Shields and Miguel Gonzalez be formidable arms in the rotation? Will Jose Abreu start to show any signs of his age?
No one knows how Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech will perform once they get the call as well. As evidenced by Yoan Moncada’s first White Sox stint, it may take time for them to get acclimated to big league ball.
A lot could change, but after the All-Star break the Sox could hypothetically have Kopech replacing Gonzalez, a healthy Carlos Rodon in the rotation, and Jimenez taking over in left field and pushing Nicky Delmonico (or whomever) into the DH spot.
That’s a much more potent team, one that even may be capable of catching Pat Sajak’s attention.
That odd, grinding sound you hear when “Livin’ on a Prayer” blares its rally call at Sox Park is the teeth of Mike Gasick (Danks for Nothin) being worn down to the nubs.