So, you think you know what's going to happen in the AL Central? Let's find out.
Every year Vegas takes bets on how teams will do over a full year. This represents an unbelievable opportunity for someone who iss super confident in their baseball statistics, because it eliminates the "sample size" excuse.
So have at it. We'll start on the south side of Chicago.
The White Sox won 85 games last year, finishing second in the AL Central. However, their expected wins, which can be a slightly better indicator of the next year's record, was 88 wins. In fact, sabrmetrically, the White Sox might have been a little better than the Tigers who only had 87 expected wins. The Sox lost the division because they lost 12 of eighteen head-to-head matchups versus the Tigers. If they're 9-9, we would have had another Game 163 in the AL Central.
But that success was a huge surprise. Vegas pegged them to only win 74.5 game last year, but enormous years from Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Jake Peavy and AJ Pierzynski, as well as the midseason pickup of Kevin Youkillis, propelled them to unforeseen heights.
Your belief in the White Sox depends on what you think of those years. Pierzynski and Youkillis are now gone, and the White Sox had a very quiet offseason. Almost be definition that means there should be some regression. But how much further will it go? Far enough that Rios goes back to to his .265 on-base percentage or Dunn hits .159 or Peavy nibbles at just 111.2 inning? Because that's what happened the year before.
Vegas sees some regression, giving an over/under of 80.5. I felt the regression would be a little worse, down to 78 - but I have to be honest with myself: I hate that damn team. While I'd love to root for them to finish under .500, I don't trust myself to be totally subjective when it comes to these kind of back-of-the-napkin evaluations. So ultimately, this is one I probably don't bet on.
You, however, kind of can. click on the survey below. Make your voice heard on which way the White Sox season will go. And then right it down in the comments so you can check it again in six months. We'll relook at each of these next October and see how we did.