Given the recap falls to me tonight and no one walking this planet on fire cares to read more play-by-play-by-blow-by-blow ephemera of White Sox Baseball at this point, let’s try to be a little creative with how we tell the story of tonight’s game. Deep breath.
Obviously, the White Sox lost again tonight. The score was 10-2. Jesse Scholtens, a pitcher whose story is sweet enough, and who fooled the AL for a time — but not, of course, our Salina Rae Silver — gave up five earned of six runs on seven hits, as AAAA pitchers are wont to do. Scholtens, his ERA now at 4.77 and destined to leap the 5.00 mark by season’s end, is not suitable for a major-league rotation. Nor is Touki Toussaint (5.69 ERA), José Ureña (6.10), Michael Kopech (5.23) or even [redacted], although amazingly the reasons this whiskey-stained buck-toothed backwoods creep growing hair like a shag rug on his greasy back should not be in a major-league rotation have little to do with his performance between the lines this season.
Tonight, the White Sox offense didn’t even have the excuse of rebuilding for its two-run, 13-K, one-walk, ONE RUNNER IN SCORING POSITION effort. Believe it or not, aside from catcher (no great shakes, Yaz is, anyway) this was pretty close to the A-lineup the White Sox have ran out all year: ONE player with an OPS+ better than a rounding error of average.
The team is despicable on the field. And with all we’ve chronicled this season (sorry no links to stories, the wretchedness of the org exhausts me and I’ve still got a few hundred words to write), the White Sox are even worse off of the field.
Tonight, the Chicago 9 never had a chance, as they will hardly have a chance the rest of this month. The Twins, as Ryiin made a great case for (against?), are a mediocre assemblage of talent destined to be bounced in the first round by whichever wild card team is lucky enough to draw them, and next April should raise their meaningless 2023 AL CENTRAL CHAMPS flag half-staff forever and always, for the default nature of the honor in this horrid year.
With just 14 agonizing games to go, the White Sox are a fatuous 56-92, pacing for a 61-101 season. For those of you who haven’t been monitoring our Race to the Bottom, 101 losses would be third-worst in franchise history and the .378 winning percentage would rank as sixth-worst all-time on the South Side. Both marks would beat out the 2018 White Sox, the most recent godawful team we’ve had to live through (before that 2017 before that 2013, so you’re forgiven if anesthetized to White Sox horribleness).
In 2018, the White Sox were still ascending toward the “window of contention” that is the de rigueur apex of rebuilding teams. That we have been referring to this window as the “so-called” window of contention for going on two seasons now says much about how long the Pale Hose lingered at the apex.
And the problem with the 2023 iteration of the don’t-call-them-rebuilding White Sox is that, while the 100-loss 2018 group that was arguably on some sort of rise to decency, the current group wilts by comparison and surely will not ascend in the near term.
The White Sox, from top-down, insist they are “reloading” for a 2024 run, not rebuilding for the later 2020s. Every one of us can see such is not so, but myopia is a distinct Reinsdorfian trait, and the pharmaceuticals he’s gobbling to feel such optimism have been let loose into the water supply in the 35th & Shields suite class, heaven help us as Dayton Moore arrives to sanctify the brew and Tony La Russa rustles from slumber to re-spike it.
In the interest of a reality check (and at risk of bumming you out, faithful reader), a brief Preview of Coming Attractions. (And yes, this preview presumes no trade or signing this winter will measurably improve the White Sox, a Dr. J slam dunk from the free-throw line of an assumption if ever there was one.)
The White Sox will have zero starting pitchers of note in 2024. Dylan Cease is a strong starter in the literal sense he never misses a turn, but he’s coming off of by far his worst full season in the majors; on a true contending team he’s a No. 3 at best, and in L.A. he’s a swingman. [redacted], probably back because a) no one else will have him and b) the White Sox clearly melted their moral compass in a bitchy brew of guns in the park/predator Omar Vizquel/jumping the market to sign an abuser/standing by their DUI man/employing Daryl Boston even in the most useless spot on the diamond for going on two decades now/sidestepping the MLB Rooney Rule and so much more I’d fail to finish this insipid recap if I continue down that road.
The pen is a used-car lot, Gregory Santos parked out front, molten metal and ash behind him, and a promise from the owner to pull Liam Hendriks around any time, we just gotta get him washed, waxed and gassed up.
The offense is made up of the infirm (Yoán Moncada, Eloy Jiménez), never-wases (Gavin Sheets, Andrew Vaughn), won’t-bes (Yasmani Grandal, Elvis Andrus, Tim Anderson), sticker shocks (Andrew Benintendi), and Luis Robert Jr.
So the 28-player roster is a shambles. Where is the cavalry ready to get the White Sox competing in 2024 (or hey, White Sox, we’ll play ball, let’s split a difference and say 2025)?
The White Sox have one full-season minor-league player with 30 or more games at current level with an OPS of better than .900: Xavier Fernández (.979), 28 years old, mashing hell outta the pill at both Bham and Charlotte but so off of the White Sox radar he hasn’t sniffed MLB time and was AT BEST fourth on the org catching chart at high tide in 2023.
Among more reasonable prospect profiles, Wilfred Veras has stood tall with an .888 OPS — at Double-A. He’s ticketed for 2025, earliest, and is as likely a DH as he is a corner OF. Catcher Michael Turner has had a monster season as a backstop — with the bat (20% CS rate, nine PBs). And yet, he’s still just a High-A player.
Colson Montgomery has slowed in Double-A; not arriving in 2024. Lenyn Sosa has been jerked around since crushing in Bham in 2022, but the MLB sample size is becoming a kid’s plate and is not looking too tasty; José Rodríguez has gotten the Lenyn treatment in 2023, with even less cause for promotion and ability to field a position. Oscar Colás? Falling. Bryan Ramos? A wash of a season, albeit not a bad wash and perhaps the second-most promising prospect.
Simply put, there’s not a single hitter at Triple-A who will change the complexion of the 2024 White Sox, and if you dip down to Double-A, there ain’t no Frank Thomases — or even Romy Gonzálezes.
Pitching? No. You don’t want to know. Just trust me when I say the pitching outlook is dimmer still than the hitting.
So really, it’s easy to agree with the White Sox, all told: They’re not rebuilding.
They are still bottoming out.
We’ll check back in on the state of the rebuild and the shape of the new so-called contention window in a year or so. There is a lot of suffering ahead, first.
Who was the White Sox MVP of this barely-recapped game?
This poll is closed
Tanner Banks: 2 IP, H, BB, 2 K, 2.2% WPA
Bryan Shaw: 2 IP, H, 2 K, 2.0% WPA
Andrew Vaughn: 2-for-3, K, 3.1% WPA
Elvis Andrus: 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, R, K, 2.3% WPA
And now the fun/sad/depressing part, having to choose just one Cold Cat on the march to 101 losses.
This poll is closed
Jesse Scholtens: 4 IP, 7 H, 6 R (5 ER), HR, 3 BB, 5 K, LOSS, fully revealed as AAAA, -32.8% WPA
Michael Kopech: IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 2 K, elicits an innate desire to just have Chris Sale back no matter how many uniforms he slashes or TJS procedures White Sox insurance needs to pay for, -1.4% WPA
Luis Robert Jr.: 0-for-4, 2 K, probably didn’t hustle or something Pedro will surely let us know because he picks on the defenseless, -5.9% WPA
Tim Anderson: 1-for-4, 2 K, E, truly having one of the worst White Sox seasons in recent or perhaps any history, -4.2% WPA
Eloy Jiménez: 1-for-4, K, DH who can’t really H or stay H, -3.0% WPA
Yoán Moncada: 0-for-3, 2 K, surely won’t play 10 games the rest of the season, -2.9% WPA
Gavin Sheets: 1-for-3, R, yeah sure his fundamentals are better than Colás’, -3.1% WPA
Andrew Benintendi: 1-for-4, a falling 0.2 WAR and a negative value in his first and cheapest year, -1.9% WPA