With little suspense left in terms of where the 2023 club will land among the ranks of all-time worst White Sox teams, we’ll take a different approach with this end-of-season study and project where the assemblage of talent will land.
With nine games left, the good news for the 2023 team is that is can only end up so bad, i.e. it cannot finish worse than the four all-time worst White Sox teams.
Worst-case for the 2023s is an 0-9 stretch into October that ends in a 58-104 finish, which falls short of the 1970 club for all-time losses (106). That possible winning percentage of .358 also means this year’s team can finish no lower than fifth-worst in franchise history.
Currently at 58-95, the White Sox slot as the sixth-worst in team history, just ahead of the rebuilding 2018 club, projecting to a 61-101 record; over the past two weeks, 2023 has pushed past 2018 and has a solid hold on sixth-worst ever.
So, how do we project the end of the year, and 2023’s final ranking among the all-time worst? Recall that the 2018 team made a miraculous push to 100 losses, a mark that wasn’t really in sight at the 153-game mark; Ricky Renteria’s Boys did quit by finishing the year 6-16, and if not for a miraculous comeback win in the season’s final week would have ended the year on the very worst of sour notes: nine straight losses.
The White Sox should not go 0-9 from here to end the season (which doesn’t mean they won’t!). Series at Boston and hosting Arizona and San Diego all have winnable games. But how likely is the 5-4 record necessary for the White Sox to sidestep 100 losses and finish “just” tied for ninth-worst in team history? Don’t count on it.
White Sox at Red Sox, September 22-24
Beating Friday starter Chris Sale, still probably out for some sort of convoluted revenge on his former team, is going to be a tall order, especially with the on-off Touki Toussaint on the mound. Saturday’s game features the one White Sox starter you can feel halfway good about stealing a win, Dylan Cease; facing Boston’s Nick Pivetta, generally as middling as Cease has been this season, is a plus. If not, the finale on Sunday pits [redacted] against another very average Boston pitcher, the predestined Kutter Crawford. The White Sox will not win both games over the weekend, so the series ends with two losses in three no matter what.
White Sox record 59-97, on pace for a 61-101 ending
There’s no day off, and at this point the pitching matchups get sketchy. But from Monday-Wednesday the White Sox host playoff-hopeful Arizona. While the Diamondbacks are somewhat solidly in the No. 2 wild card slot, two games ahead of fourth-place bubble team Miami, the fight will still be fierce four days from now. Expect a gangbusters Dbacks club scratching for every win (catching Philadelphia for the top wild card is not out of the question, either). Likely starters Michael Kopech (Jesse Scholtens), José Ureña and Toussaint should to little to slow the AZ train down; it’s a likely sweep. Also, 100 losses heading into an off-day podcast just fits our the SSS schedule best.
White Sox record 59-100, on pace for a 60-102 ending
After the off-day Thursday, San Diego ends the season in Chicago, both teams with little to play for. The Padres currently are the hottest team in the National League, having won seven straight and eight of 10; theoretically they could be fighting for a .500 season (and, improbably, the playoffs themselves) over the final weekend, if that really means anything. The White Sox will roll out (mostly) their “best” starters for the series: Cease/[redacted]/Kopech (?), so it will not end in a San Diego sweep. In fact, this is the best shot for a series win — and it would be just like the White Sox to win Game 162 and keep the toxic positivity that’s kept this team in denial since the dawn of the Hahn Era rolling.
White Sox final record 61-101, sixth-worst in club franchise history
Just for bonus kicks, let’s look the Top 10 White Sox WAR in 2023, with nine games remaining and little up or down movement anticipated:
Luis Robert Jr. 4.7 (yes, his recent slump is going to keep him from a 5.0 WAR season)
Lucas Giolito 2.8
Dylan Cease 1.6
Jake Burger 1.3
Gregory Santos 1.2
Andrew Vaughn 1.0
Kendall Graveman 0.9
Michael Kopech 0.7
Reynaldo López 0.7
If you want to throw out players no longer on the team, it means that the No. 10 WAR on the 2023 Chicago White Sox is owned by Yoán Moncada ... at 0.4!
There is literally ONE player on this team worth touting, and zero pitchers inked for 2024.