For the White Sox it’s better to be GOOD than UNLUCKY
Despite all the bullshit that happened to us as a people in the year 2020, the White Sox were one shining light in a fucked up year. Anyone who dares to click the link on a FromThe108 blog knows that our boys went to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 (coincidently that was the first year Chorizy and I had tickets in the Section that names this blog), sporting a 35-25 record for a .583 winning percentage. Now the playoffs ended unceremoniously, but most of White Sox twitter has been pounding the drum for a World Series contender, after all a .583 winning percentage extrapolated over 162 games equals 94 Wins.
NINETY-FOUR WINS!!! That would be one helluva year, a total not reached since THE ONLY YEAR in White Sox fan lore, 2005. Me, I’ve been wondering why I don’t feel that way. To the BeefLoaf, it still feels like we are a couple 3-4 acquisitions away or some tremendous leap in the current talent base (maybe Luis Robert becomes that 7 fwar monster that White Sox Sal doesn’t believe, I BELIEVE he can be) I couldn’t really put my finger on why…..
Maybe it’s because I’m a fan of this guy
Or this guy….
Hard to tell, but spending more than a half decade arbitraging sports betting markets for a good chunk of my income has left an indelible scar on my brain. I tend to like looking at downside risk as much as upside.
Maybe you’ll spend a moment here with me and listen to my concerns…..tell me I’m nuts and make me feel better.
The 2020 White Sox that won 58.3% of their games played a very weird schedule, actually every team played what you might call an avant garde schedule. It’s a pandemic year, so fuck it. Below is a table that breaks down the 2020 White Sox schedule right next to the proposed 2021 schedule (I’m not ready to count them chickens as they ain’t hatched, but it’s the best info I got).
As you can see, I have not so discretely highlighted that the White Sox will have a substantial reduction (on a percentage basis) in games versus the NL Central, a division that I think most people would categorize as the worst division in baseball in 2020. Hurts to lose such a high percentage of weak opponents when trying to re-create a .583 winning percentage.
Also of note, the White Sox will play a smaller percentage of their games versus their own division than 2020. Now that’s pretty helpful in some respects as the Twins and Indians are pretty good, but they did win 90% of their games vs the Tigers and Royals in 2020 (that probably won’t happen again either).
I love Yoan Moncada. You love Yoan Moncada. Yoan Moncada had a rough 2020, both in his hitting performance and the fact that he contracted COVID-19 and appeared to be labored by it throughout the season. How much of his down tick in performance was because of the lingering effects of the virus, we will never know for sure, but we know that Yoan wasn’t quite Yoan in 2020.
HE’S GOT TO BOUNCE BACK, RIGHT BEEFLOAF?
Yoan Moncada’s slash line in 2020 was .225 / .320 / .385
Not great, but the good news is that ZIPS, which is a projection model that is housed at http://www.fangraphs.com believes he will bounce back to a more Moncadian performance level. His projected stat line for 2021 is .273 / .342 / .493. That seems more like it. WAIT! Let’s look at this in context of a couple of other guys who are pretty important to the White Sox lineup. The two tables below show 3 good hitters for the White Sox actual 2020 performances vs their projected 2021 ZIPS performances.
WHAT. THE. FUCK?!!?!?!?!?!?!??!
According to this bullshit, Moncada bounceback plus Abreu and TA projections for 2021 are gonna be worse than what they put up in 2020, with COVID’d Moncada. Fucking stupid bullshit projections!!! I know how to fix it. Let’s dial up MVPito again.
PHEW!!! Now we are back to it….just need Moncada bounceback AND another MVPito SZN and we’ll equal that 2020 performance from these three. Now, before someone comes in here and tells me TA’s projections are total bullshit (they might be) and projections in general are total bullshit, I’ll say YMMV, but it’s worth considering that a Moncada bounceback might be net neutral to the overall offense performance when TA and Abreu aren’t their 2020 selves.
I fricking love this #108thicc KING and I liked the trade. Check out my post from about a month ago on Lynn HERE. It stinks to trade 6 years of a guy for 1 year of another guy, but teams competing for a World Series do that sort of thing.
I know for a fucking fact ole Lance rolls in here as a better 3rd option than anyone else on this got-damned staff, but what about run prevention? I know the guys who pitched last year in his place were worse than he is, but is it possible that ole Lance isn’t projected to be that big of an upgrade over what we got in 2020?
Oh boy!! If we zone in on the ERA when comparing 2021 ZIPS Lynn projections vs what Gio Gonzalez and Dane Dunning gave us in 2020, it’s nearly identical. You do see a significant uptick in the % of Innings Pitched for the season and that does help considering bullpen wear and tear, but some of that is kayfabe as the BeefLoaf turned up the volume on his starts compared to the ZIPS projection. ZIPS thinks he’ll make 26 starts, not 30, but fuck them, this is my article and I wanted a similar % of starts for the comparison. That being said, only 26 starts is missing Lance Lynn for a month and I really don’t want to think about that, as this blog is going worse than I thought.
I’ve already written about what I believe to be Tony La Russa’s preferences when it comes to a closer, you can read that HERE. In that blog, it’s apparent that every delicious Chicago food twitter account is very horny for Liam Hendricks. Today, another closer name became tied to the White Sox.
I like Hendricks and I like Hand, but the 2020 White Sox had another excellent closer, by the name of Alex Colome, so does signing a premium closer provide much of an uptick or any uptick in performance over what happened in 2020? I grabbed the stat WPA (Win Probability Added), you can read about it longform HERE. The BeefLoaf only has anecdotal knowledge about the stat, but it’s ALLEGEDLY very important for closers as it more accurately captures their importance in game sequence and improving the teams probability of actually winning the game. Below are some WPA, which are cumulative (ie, this isn’t a ratio, this is based on usage).
WOW!! I know past performance isn’t necessarily indicative of future performance (or at least that’s what scammy mutual fund salesman say), but it almost looks like the White Sox would take a theoretical tumble WITHOUT signing a top end closer. FUCK!
What if there is just an injury??? That happens every year. Since we are on the subject, let’s look at Yasmani Grandal as his handsome and more than adequate caddy from last year James McCann is no longer part of the roster and the team has yet to go into the market to find a replacement. That seems like a solid place to start. Now, I could’ve done this with Anderson or Moncada or Eloy or whoever else also doesn’t really have an adequate back-up, but because you have feelings about KenWo, we’ll go with his choice.
Above is a quick table measuring out Yaz’ fwar (fwar loves Yaz) for 2020 and extrapolating over 120 games played instead of the 46 he actually played. It’s eerily close to his 2021 projection from ZIPS that estimates he’ll play 132 games. Below that I chop that down in half. What if KenWo is right and Yaz misses a couple of months with a broken hand or something and we need the trio of Zack Collins, Yermin Mercedes and Seby Zavala to fill in for 61 games? You can see above, that ZIPS does consider them to be of positive fwar, so that’s good, but clearly that’s a big downgrade over time.
In closing, there is still time for the White Sox to improve this roster, to increase their upward trajectory, to help protect against the down side of lady luck. The first Spring Training games are February 27th (ALLEGEDLY), 7 weeks away…..or maybe we’ll just get a little lucky….