Best-case Scenario for the Chicago White Sox
Patrick Nolan (Pnoles): The best-case scenario for any team with a reasonable hope at the playoffs is winning the World Series, and the White Sox fall into that category. However, even if they don’t win it all, there are other possible high-end outcomes. If they win the AL Central and get breakouts from some or all of Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech, Nick Madrigal, and Andrew Vaughn, that could lead to a better outlook for 2022 than what we have right now for 2021. Even if you told me they wouldn’t win the World Series THIS year, I’d take that outcome in a heartbeat. Given that Lance Lynn is here for just one season, that would be an excellent result because the Sox need to find a way to replace Lynn’s talent without adding to payroll (unless Jerry surprises us and suddenly starts spending next winter).
Greg Nix: All the non-Eloy linchpins stay healthy, an unexpected contributor or two pops, and the Sox make a run at the best record in baseball. Jimenez comes back for the playoffs and helps power the White Sox to their first playoff series win in 16 seasons.
Ted Mulvey: The absolute best-case scenario is a World Series title. :: Cue Milton Davis Jr. from Angels in the Outfield:: It could happen! More realistically, I think the best case for the Sox in 2021 is an AL Central title over the Twins, followed by a run to the ALCS. To get there, I think Luis Robert will need to flash more August 2020 than September 2020. By way of Ethan Katz, Dylan Cease cements his stake as a solid fourth starter or better. Andrew Vaughn isn’t overwhelmed in whichever role he ultimately claims. Oh, and Eloy Jimenez makes his triumphant return in late-August, powering them through to a strong September finish.
Celebrity Picker (and sound over voice of the Sox Machine Podcast) Rob Hart, 780 AM WBBM: White Sox win the World Series.
Josh Nelson: The Chicago White Sox easily win the AL Central, Eloy Jimenez returns to hit 11 home runs during the playoffs, and Jerry Reinsdorf in his final season as Chairman raises another World Series trophy.
Jim Margalus: If “win the World Series” is kind of a cop-out, then I’d say that they’re able to barge into the postseason. The last two times they’ve made it — 2008 and 2020 — they backed in, partially due to a weird injury to a highly important corner outfielder, and then exited quietly, diminishing the excitement with it.. Whether it’s the wild card or the division, it’d be nice to see the Sox conduct themselves in the postseason like a team that’s going to do it again, because the season-ticket excitement that follows should allow more spending to flow.
Worst-case Scenario for the Chicago White Sox
Pnoles: The Eloy injury is only the first domino to fall, and the White Sox front office failure to acquire position-player depth leaves them with multiple lineup sinkholes rendering a team that doesn’t crack a .500 record. Lance Lynn walks after the season, and the raises due to the Sox’ core players consuming any available payroll space under Jerry’s budget to replace him. As a result, the White Sox miss the postseason and the 2022 roster that looks worse on paper.
Greg: Jose Abreu and Tim Anderson take a step back, Yoan Moncada looks more like his 2020 self than his 2019 form, Luis Robert and Andrew Vaughn struggle, Lucas Giolito blows out his elbow, Tony La Russa resigns in disgrace/exhaustion, and the Sox finish below .500. Jerry Reinsdorf gets a Futurama-style robot body and gives Rick Hahn gets a 30-year extension.
Ted: That one-ply roster so oft-mentioned comes back to haunt Rick Hahn and Co. Dylan Cease’s command continues to desert him, Carlos Rodon body betrays him, and the offense loses multiple vital pieces at a time to nagging injuries. The bullpen is tremendous, but that only gets you so far if you don’t have leads to protect. The Sox finish just out of the second Wild Card spot and continue their quest for the first back-to-back playoff seasons in franchise history.
Rob: A repeat of 2015/2016 seasons.
Josh: After the third inning at Seattle, Lucas Giolito grabs his right elbow walking off the mound. It’s his last start of 2021 on April 6th. Lance Lynn’s walk rate balloons back to his pre-Texas days, Dallas Keuchel spends half the season on the IL dealing with back spasms, and the excellent Spring Training both Dylan Cease and Carlos Rodon had doesn’t carry over to the regular season. Even though the offense averages five runs a game, the pitching staff crumbles as the White Sox drag to a 77-85 record.
Jim: I’d say 2004 would be the most apt parallel for a bad White Sox outcome, where one targeted injury in the field, an inability to produce replacement starting pitchers and a disappointing season from the imported closer from Oakland basically renders an interesting, controversial managerial hire moot for a year. 83-79 feels like a realistic kind of anticlimactic.
2021 Prediction for the Chicago White Sox
Pnoles: In the wake of Eloy’s injury, I have to say 85-77, 2nd place AL Central.
Greg: The Sox finish in 2nd place behind the Twins but grab a Wild Card spot against the Blue Jays. Unfortunately, they need wins in the season’s last week, so they cannot line up their playoff rotation. Carlos Rodon gets the Wild Card start and is unable to stay out of his toes. He gets outpitched by fellow low-cost free agent option Robbie Ray, and the Sox lose despite three home runs from trade deadline acquisition Nomar Mazara.
Ted: As alluded to above, lack of depth in some areas makes the error bar wide. Ultimately, I’ll predict an 88-74 record. As much as I disliked the Tony LaRussa hire, he’s proven in the past his ability to adapt and navigate through challenging seasons. I think his experience and flexibility will manage this club to a wild card spot and victory, landing in the ALDS. After that, who knows, but it’ll be fun!
Rob: White Sox win the American League Central and Pennant, but just like 1959, fall short losing the World Series to the Dodgers.
Josh: As I mentioned on the podcast, I think the White Sox will finish 90-72 and win the American League Central. After beating the Los Angeles Angels in the Division Series, they lose in the Championship Series to the New York Yankees.
Jim: As I also mentioned on the podcast, they go 89-73. I think that’s good enough for a wild card appearance and a loss in the ALCS.
|AL MVP||Mike Trout||Mike Trout||Mike Trout||Luis Robert||Aaron Judge||Mike Trout|
|NL MVP||Juan Soto||Mookie Betts||Juan Soto||Juan Soto||Juan Soto||Ronald Acuña Jr.|
|AL Cy Young||Lucas Giolito||Gerrit Cole||Lucas Giolito||Lucas Giolito||Lucas Giolito||Shane Bieber|
|NL Cy Young||Jacob deGrom||Walker Buehler||Jacob deGrom||Jacob deGrom||Jacob deGrom||Trevor Bauer|
|AL RoY||Andrew Vaughn||Andrew Vaughn||Jarred Kelenic||Andrew Vaughn||Andrew Vaughn||Dane Dunning|
|NL RoY||Sixto Sanchez||Ke’Bryan Hayes||Sixto Sanchez||Ke’Bryan Hayes||Ke’Bryan Hayes||Ian Anderson|
|AL Central||Twins||Twins||Twins||White Sox||White Sox||Twins|
|AL WC||Blue Jays||Blue Jays||White Sox||Twins||Blue Jays||White Sox|
|AL WC||White Sox||White Sox||Rays||Yankees||Astros||Angels|
World Series Predictions
Pnoles: Dodgers over Yankees
Greg: Dodgers over Yankees
Ted: Dodgers over Yankees
Rob: Dodgers over White Sox
Josh: Yankees over Mets
Jim: Padres over Yankees