Podcast: 2021 Early Worries


1:23: How we feel after nine games?

3:19: Should we be concerned about the bullpen?

7:51: Dylan Cease 2nd Start of 2021 / Michael Kopech usage

16:04: Walking White Sox: Is this sustainable?

25:33: Golden Cog of the Week

28:05: Series Preview: Cleveland

37:40: PO Sox

  • Early trade targets
  • Should we be worried about Yoan Moncada?
  • Team Defense ebb and flow

To listen, click play below:

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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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As Cirensica

Chicago White Sox are 6th in offensive fWAR and 5th in pitching fWAR among the 30 teams. Their record does not seem to reflect that, and I believe things will fix itself sooner than later.


Good point. Their expected Pythagorean and BaseRuns records are both 6-3.


This is encouraging. I needed this. Thanks.


I think that sort of thing is to be expected in a small sample size with WAR, which has positive and negative values. Byron Buxton is 52% of the the Minnesota Twins’ position player fWAR. And the top 3 pitchers on the Twins are 69% of their pitching fWAR. Top 4 = 81%.


Especially when one of the guys in Yermin Mercedes who no one expects to keep it up


That goes both ways. No one expects Moncada or Madrigal to be negative WAR. Mercedes slows down; Moncada hits 3 dingers in a week; nature is healing.

Trooper Galactus

Madrigal is negative WAR solely because of his defense. We expected better, but I don’t know how much better we’re gonna get from him in the near term.

Edit: probably negative value from his baserunning also. Again, not sure how soon that corrects to a positive, if ever.

Last edited 1 year ago by Trooper Galactus

Likewise no one expects Buxton to hit .480 the rest of the season, but Mercedes and Buxton have raised their ZiPS projections most among position players. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/april-hitting-stats-mean-nothing-except-they-kinda-do/


On the other hand, their position player fWAR is probably inflated currently. There’s no UZR yet, so they haven’t been penalized in fWAR for their poor defense. That’s why if you sort the teams in the leaderboard it’s all NL teams in the top half and AL teams in the bottom half–the defensive WAR is only based on positional adjustments as of yet (and AL has the DH).

And you might wonder does this mean it balances out with the pitchers being penalized for the bad defense? Not really, because pitching fWAR is based on FIP.

We can kind of see what kind of the impact the defense is having by using RA9-WAR, which has the White Sox dropping from 5th in pitching fWAR to 17th in what’s basically run prevention. The confounding factor there is sequencing.


Andrew Vaughn’s line is so weird. Testing the limits of what you can do with a .400 OBP. His wRC is league average despite having a .143 batting average and no power to speak of (so far).

As Cirensica

He is Carlos Santana without the homers.


Too soon bro.


The PO Sox question exploring Jimenez as a trade chip is EXACTLY why I was and still am against the three year deal for Abreu. It became a difficult position to defend after Abreu won the MVP last year but it doesn’t change the fact that the Sox are in a tough position regarding Abreu, Vaughn, Eloy, and now Mercedes. I still think Abreu could have been had on a one year deal for far less money and then Sox are not in this tricky spot. I’m not a GM, but even I had the vision to see this problem coming a mile away. Also, do the Sox still cry poor this off-season and fail to make any major signings beyond Hendriks if Abreu isn’t owed an AAV of almost $19M in ‘21 and ‘22?


This is the literal definition of “one of them good problems to have.” What do we do if our 28 year old rookie rakes for the next six years of team control? What do we do if our best offensive prospect becomes a cromulent LF? What do we do if our aging 1B defies the aging curve for another year?

Enjoy it…for now. Practically speaking these things have a way or working themselves out. Someone else will get hurt. Mercedes will cool off. The goal is talent acquisition – even if it’s imbalanced we can trade from a position of strength.


I would agree 100%, but when none of them can play a position other than 1B (maybe), I think the FO should take the hit.

When your “logjam” of talent is at DH, you’ve built a poor defensive club.

Trooper Galactus

I think the point is not to ask, “why do we have an excess of first basemen,” but rather, “why do we have zero organizational depth anywhere else?”



To save you a click: Sox are only team in baseball to score 3+ runs in every game they’ve played.

The offense needs to capitalize more on all the opportunities they are generating. But the underperforming bullpen and leaky defense are the real culprits here.