• Over and Under: Evaluating The White Sox

    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.

    This article was originally published in blog: Over and Under: Evaluating The White Sox started by John Bonnes
    Comments 13 Comments
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      White Sox have starting pitching which should be better than last year if healty. Offense with losses and some regression could be far worse. Bullpen is good. Team should be in most games, I do not feel they will score enough to compete, and if the issues start early, could wear the pitching down later in the year.
    1. Gernzy's Avatar
      Gernzy -
      This would be a hard one to bet on. I see them winning 75-80 games. Hopefully less. They could finish third behind a suprising Cleveland team.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      I am pretty high on the Sox. Very solid pitching top to bottom, and a lineup that is built to play in the Cell. I could flip a coin between the Sox and the Tigers for the Division.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I hate the Sox. They have a history however of generally outperforming expectations while not being dominant... kind of like a team I cheer for. I'd take the over if forced, though I think a smart man would shy away from this bet.
    1. wavedog's Avatar
      wavedog -
      I hate the Sox as well so I will pick the under. I'll go with 75 wins and 4th place in the division.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gernzy View Post
      This would be a hard one to bet on. I see them winning 75-80 games. Hopefully less. They could finish third behind a suprising Cleveland team.
      I agree--they will miss AJ and Youk...I dont expect Peavy to regress much keeping them around 78 wins and in the pack in the AL Central.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      I probably would stay away, but I checked the "over" box. That's more a reflection of how poor I think the AL Central will be than any real confidence in the Sox being good. Given how many games they'll have against Minn, KC and Cleveland (not to mention that the entire league now gets to play a few games against Houston), it's hard for me to imagine Chicago not reaching .500.
    1. Wookiee of the Year's Avatar
      Wookiee of the Year -
      I took the under, and it looks like my reasoning is just about opposite Jim Crikket's.

      I expect some downward regression from Dunn, Rios, and Peavy, and some further damage due to the losses of Pierzynski and Youkillis. Given an expected record of 88, though, that's probably not going to be more than enough to push them into 80-83 territory.

      So what really seals the deal for me is that I'm expecting a stronger AL Central this year. The Tigers, Indians, and Royals all look like they should be better than last year (at least marginally); the Twins can't really get much worse. That modestly-improved division plus the above-mentioned regression is enough for me to think the White Sox will be at 80 or less.
    1. ltwedt's Avatar
      ltwedt -
      I bet the over - Never been a big Sox fan, but they are still better than KC, Cleveland, and the Twins - . . . so they'll be playing those teams and that should guarantee at least 80
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Under, I see a major regression here.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Under, mainly because KC and Cleveland are underrated. And partly because of their lack of depth and therefore the ability to overcome injuries.
    1. Cris E's Avatar
      Cris E -
      Over, but that's just because 80 is so low and Houston is so bad. They're not getting anywhere near 85 because they'll easily be worse and CLE and KC won't be the empty jerseys they were last year. (I am just not a believer in Peavy holding up for a whole year either. Not sure why, I don't hate the man, but he just feels like one of those really talented guys that only flashes the whole package a few times in his career.)
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      When evaluating other teams, I notice people tend to always subtract for the losses and regressions, but I rarely see them give credit for the young players who should be expected to improve.

      De Aza will be a really good player. Viciedo looks to have some real pop, and supposedly they've worked hard with him to add a leg kick that should improve his timing and help out his AVG and K rate a little bit.
      Everyone expects a huge regression from Rios, and while I see a small one, I'm just not seeing anything too "fluky" about his numbers last year.
      Same thing with Peavy. He's completely healthy now, and people forget that he was borderline dominant before his injuries.
      Sale is the real deal. If he can keep his arm from flying into the 5th row any time soon, he will join the ranks of Price, Weaver, Felix and CC as one of the premiere aces in the AL.
      Konerko is Mr. Reliable, year in and year out you are going to get .300 with close to 30 HR's.
      Not sure why everyone expects a major regression from Dunn. Looking at his career numbers, it was 2011 that deviates from the norm, not seeing anything unrepeatable about last year.
      Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham have both underachieved compared to what was expected of them, no doubt, but both have seemingly settled nicely in as average to above average middle infielders. I'd take them over our duo any day of the week.
      The rest of their rotation is a bunch of ???, but same can be said for every team in this division except the Tigers.
      For all this talk about their lineup not scoring a bunch of runs, I'm not seeing that.
      Its not elite, but I think its solid, and will probably score more runs than ours.
      I'll take the over.
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