Taking the White Sox temperature, an AL Central comparison
Good day frents, it’s your old pal Beefy, how’s about you have a sit down and let’s take a 10,000 foot view of the AL Central. I often like to grab up widely available information on our White Sox and make comparisons to either other times in recent history or to other teams to get a gauge of what our fortunes might look like in the not so distant future. Is this scientific? Only pseudo-so. Is this analysis accurate???
Today I want to make a little chart to break down, included below is 2019 current record ranking of each of the AL Central teams, and along side of that record ranking is Fangraphs Farm System Rankings updated through RIGHT FUCKING NOW.
Fangraphs is nice enough to put up THE BOARD which is a living breathing ranking using very analytical methods that make it easy for a slow thinking accounting type like yours truly to understand the value of each teams farm that underlies the rankings. A feature of THE BOARD is that it provides a future fair value of each prospect “FV” and assigns a $$$ value to each FV. That makes it easy to see how they get their farm ranking values. I’m sure some of the other outlets have scientific ways to do this same analysis, but because this is open to the public to view, I think it is the easiest to use.
At first glance, this chart, it’s….
However, I don’t think you can directly correlate farm rankings to future success. I’m quite sure farm rankings at their tips (let’s say top 5 and bottom 5) will be directionally accurate in assessing whether those teams are going to add significant talent to the major league teams in the near term, either via trade or direct infusion, but I’m not confident that the 14th ranked farm system has a definitive leg up on the 17th ranked farm system. Variance, etc. But, the first glance doesn’t look great for the White Sox, so let’s take a little closer look at each team.
The Twins are a top 5 team in baseball right now and mostly all of their young core is under contract through 2022. They have also changed their front office and it would seem have materially changed their pitching program. I mean, for fucksake, they brought in the smoldering remains of a Martin Perez and turned him into league average pitcher (ERA+ 101) so far this season. The Twins were also active picking up 1 year stop gaps for their weak positions on the roster, which looks like the new norm in doing free agency.
Their farm ranking is held up by two potential future studs in Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff, both of which are at AA and project to be in the majors at some point in 2020. Behind that, there’s talent of all sorts, but none with the high end impact of these two dudes. The 6th rank farm is nothing to sneeze at and according to Fangraphs (and actually Keith Law’s preseason rankings) they have a better current farm than the White Sox and the White Sox farm rankings still include Kopech and Cease. As the Twins have probably already been haunting your fucking dreams since they cock blocked the last good White Sox teams from as many playoff appearances as they might have had, guess what? They back.
The Cleveland Baseball Team
These fuggin’ guys been winning the AL Central now for what feels like forever and they came storming back this year, and are right up the Twins asses. The bad news is, they were able to trade Trevor Bauer so now they don’t need to trade anyone else for salary relief and can add some chit in 2020 should they desire (Francisco Lindor’s arb salary permitting). The good news, this whole core, other than Jose Ramirez, Mike Clevinger and Carlos Carrasco are out the door after the 2021 season and possibly sooner if the management continues their miserly stance on spending the Dolan family fortune.
Without even digging into their damn farm system, let’s just remind ourselves, they’ve been good at drafting and developing talent and if they decide to trade off any of their veterans before 2021 sets in, imma guess the reload happens quickly and we probably will not like it none too much. Their farm is locked in tight with the White Sox and Tigers (both of whom, we’ll get to in a minute). It looks more of a farm with some decent looking players towards the top, none seemingly having the star potential of the marquee guys in the Twins system or Robert or even the Tigers top guys (which we’ll get at), however, judging by recent drafts and their strong J2 classes, they are willing to gambling on younger upside talent plays and seem to be good at getting those to pay off. It’s worth watching if this farm makes a significant move up the rankings in the next calendar year, even with the major league team performing well.
I’m not going to spend much time here, you know the White Sox farm better than I do. It’s top heavy af with some potential future stars that we are pining over seeing at 35th and Shields. The top 4 prospects in the White Sox farm, along with Eloy Jimenez figuring it out, are going to make or break this squad. We are also going to need the Chairman to open up the coffers and spend aggressively. I thought successful businessmen like to WIN in their fields.
Kansas City Royals
If there is one team in this division that I am not fucking worried at all about, it is the Kansas City Royals. Yea, they won a World Series this decade, but their major league team is awful and their farm is still awful. For some reason they are still holding on to Whit Merrifield, basically their best tradeable piece in the majors. I’m not really sure what they are doing, I guess probably just gutting payroll as long as possible and then collecting top 10 draft picks. I dunno. I’d expect them to be a doormat going forward, they donked their one title, they’ll go back to sleep for the next 30 fucking years.
Now, most of you reading this are probably thinking, the Tigers are awful, why even bother with them. I’ll tell you why. PIZZA MONEY!!! If Christopher Illitch is anything like his old man, he will spare no expense to get this team back to prominence just as soon as they believe to be ready. The Tigers current major league team is pretty awful as you noticed when watching the White Sox play them, I mean Miguel Cabrera is basically a 16 inch softball player that needs a courtesy runner at this point and the major league team is devoit much talent, other than the big homey Matt Boyd, who I’d expect to find a different residence in 2020.
The farm system has two big boss fucking pain in the ass future aces at the top, in Casey Mize and Matt Manning and unluckily for the White Sox by 2021, when these two guys (barring injury) are knocking our hitters dicks in on a regular basis, the Tigers really only have the ~$30M per year they owe Miggy on the books. That means, when some 5bWAR players become available, let’s say, preceding the 2021 season, guess who’s ginormous wallet is going to be right there tossing aside the unused condom from 1997 that was in there and spending tons of $$$. Dats right. The Tigers. The aforementioned Matt Boyd is likely to be traded and improve this group even better, oh and I’d expect the 2020 1st overall pick to help too. The rest of the Tigers farm has some nice players, but some of the fate of their next good team will rest on which of Daz Camerons of the system actually become major leaguers. They will need a couple tree of them guys to be really dangerous to the White Sox in the near future.
So there you have it, a 10,000 foot view of the AL Central, based on what they haz NOW. The White Sox of 2022 and beyond don’t appear to have an unscathed path to divisional dominance, but truth be told, I wouldn’t want it that way anyways. It’s more fun when you have to work for it.
Disagree with any of the thoughts in this post, hit me up on the twitters to tell me I’m a fucking moron. I love it!