Doubling* the 2021 White Sox’s numbers at the halfway** point

DETROIT, MI - JULY 02: Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Lance Lynn (33) looks for the pitch sign during the first inning of a regular season Major League Baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers on July 2, 2021 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)

I was out of the contiguous United States when the White Sox reached the precise halfway point of the 2021 season, but I’m not going to let a mere few games get in the way of my annual 162-game-schedule tradition of extrapolating half a season into a full one to get a better idea of how individual seasons are coming together. It just requires asterisks for the pedants out there:

*Multiplying by 1.93
**84-game

As always, I’ve mapped out the extrapolated seasons for position players and pitchers — bWAR for everybody except catchers, who get Baseball Prospectus’ WARP. I’ve also included five notes for each. Feel free to point out the numbers that jump out most to you. I tried not to hog all the observations for myself.

POSITION PLAYERS

PlayerGPARH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBKBA/OBP/SLGOPS+GDPHBPWAR
Yasmani Grandal*122475816660277300116124.188/.388/.4361301924.8
José Abreu15164183141232291202054156.253/.331/.45711723172.3
Nick Madrigal10441558118198441242133.305/.349/.425115662.7
Tim Anderson135598951682901254271231137.298/.335/.411107623.3
Yoan Moncada1436086613927210714295156.278/.400/.3981244104.2
Andrew Vaughn1354886810633015424039125.246/.312/.4291041081.7
Luis Robert481992158172215821454.316/.359/.463127001.5
Adam Eaton110415627115410524039102.200/.299/.3467910120.4
Yermin Mercedes131506501251721471023989.271/.328/.4041031421.2
Leury Garcia131475621041544664244112.251/.320/.335831002.1
Zack Collins*852662752170637223385.225/.321/.3759420-0.6
Danny Mendick93247234460433022960.211/.315/.29472240.2
Jake Lamb601913137401019002554.224/.333/.424109420.4
Billy Hamilton831662935104419120654.225/.250/.41380201.0
Brian Goodwin39151273122617001935.254/.351/.507135000.6
Adam Engel19621014006820212.241/313/.552134241.2

TAKEAWAYS

No. 1: We’ll find about Yasmani Grandal’s status later in the day, but chances are that he won’t be available enough to come close to completing what appeared to be one of the most idiosyncratic successes in White Sox history. There’s nobody who has come close to a 130 OPS+ with an average below .200, although I doubt Grandal’s average would’ve finished the year below the Mendoza Line based on the form he showed throughout June. Even with a more normal average, he was on pace to be the first White Sox player with more than 110 walks since Frank Thomas in 2000.

No. 2: José Abreu’s line looks like an aberration compared to last year’s MVP form, but it couldn’t be more in line with his career norms when looking at his OPS+ column over the years.

  • 2018: 117
  • 2019: 117
  • 2020: 165
  • 2021: 117

Throw in another 100+ RBI season and a league-leading total of double plays, and there might not be a season more Abreu than this one.

No. 3: You now have to round up to get Yoán Moncada’s home run total to double digits for the year. In 2020, it was COVID-19. This year, it’s a shoulder issue followed by a hand problem, with a sinus infection in there as well. He’s once again found a way to make himself useful despite the lack of pop, most notably in the walk column, but it’d be cool if he could post a monster month before the end of the season. There are the obvious benefits, but it’s more that the White Sox need to know if they’ve been planning around a game that’s seldom going to come together.

No. 4: Leury García is back on track for a 2 WAR season despite the hellish start he and everybody else endured. Also, there hasn’t been a player with fewer than five homers and more than 60 RBIs in a season since Luis Aparicio in 1960.

(Aside: I feel like 3.5 RBIs per homer marks the starting point of an aesthetically pleasing ratio between those two columns. I loved finding baseball cards where a guy had 100 RBIs with fewer than 10 homers. On the other side of that spectrum, I don’t like what Jake Lamb is up to.)

No. 5: Combine Billy Hamilton and Brian Goodwin, and you basically get Adam Engel’s production. It’s just more useful to have that coming from one roster spot than two, because to have Goodwin’s bat in the lineup, you have to endure Goodwin’s routes.

PITCHERS

NameW-LERAGGSSVIPHRERHRBBKHBPERA+WAR
Lucas Giolito12-124.20333301901609589356022421011.7
Dallas Keuchel12-64.48313101741851028723581064950.4
Lance Lynn16-62.02292901631144437155419122116.0
Carlos Rodón12-62.372727016110244421450235121805.6
Dylan Cease14-84.143333016814783771971214121031.7
Liam Hendriks6-42.57710416846231912810221661.9
Codi Heuer8-25.1864006479373781268283-0.4
Jose Ruiz0-23.005800644825218196401430.8
Aaron Bummer2-83.266204585031214338321310.2
Evan Marshall0-45.6520052543333101750077-0.6
Michael Kopech6-01.672960623912126238702562.3
Matt Foster4-26.57460047583735141762465-1.2
Garrett Crochet4-82.814800494221152316221531.0
Ryan Burr2-01.932320288442152303621.4
Zack Burdi061200172514126812473-0.2

TAKEAWAYS

No. 1: If Lance Lynn ends up with 6 WAR or better, the White Sox basically won their half of the trade at the individual level. There’s still the matter of whether the White Sox’s team-wide vision holds up, but that’s what veteran ballast looks like, especially when Lucas Giolito’s season is mildly disappointing.

PERTINENT: What would a Lance Lynn extension with the White Sox even look like?

No. 2: Dallas Keuchel’s WAR is noticeably low for 174 innings of roughly league-average ERA until you look at the total of unearned runs that’s masking some issues. This might be why he’s paying more attention to defensive positioning than most.

(Aside: Zack Wheeler looks like the front-runner in the NL Cy Young race, on pace for 220 innings and 10 WAR. The White Sox were right to like him.)

No. 3: You take that season from Dylan Cease. You take 235 strikeouts from Carlos Rodón and get the qualifying offer ready.

No. 4: When you look at the performance of White Sox righties, it becomes harder to see Michael Kopech avoiding confinement to the bullpen unless multiple arms materialize, whether from within or outside.

No. 5: On the subject of getting what they paid for, Liam Hendriks’ season will play.

(Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)

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31 Comments
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Red_Hair_White_Sox

I don’t expect to have zero players with >30 HRs at the end of the year, but that is still a striking projection.

I thought I’d have to go further back that 2018 to find the last time that happened, but that year Daniel Palka led the team with 27 HR. (I was off the grid all season and luckily wasn’t watching the Sox lose 100 games)

2009 was the other last time this happened.

knoxfire30

Eaton yikes…sox continue to burn dollars in RF.

Shame Grandal wont have a chance at a 5 WAR season the way he was turning it on I really thought he could get there.

Is there a bigger take away then the fact you are getting two monster seasons out of the starting rotation and those guys arent signed beyond this season???

huisj

Equally as odd is that those monster seasons project to be only right on the threshold for qualifying for the ERA title. Weird to see a guy like Lynn struggle to get through the 6th inning time and time again by throwing so many pitches and having so many odd laborsome innings, and yet usually escape with only 1 ER.

TylerDurden

Man I remember when Sox just missed out on Wheeler. I said at the time that may be the difference between a deep postseason run or not. As we stand today, they got Keuchel after that. Now look at the difference.

Wheeler would’ve given us 3 dominate frontline SP this year in playoffs. Where as right now we have 2, with Giolito, Keuchel and Cease being toss ups against playoff competition. Flip a coin, not great.

You would think Wheeler would have wanted to be part of a younger winning core for 5 years at least. Phillies we’re not in any shape for sustained winning, and that’s how it’s played out in 20 and 21. Do you want to win?? Make deep postseason runs? Or just I don’t care if I join a .500 team or worse. My wife wants me to stay in this area. Oh well.

Last edited 2 years ago by TylerDurden
jhomeslice

You got that right. I maintain that if Grandal is their highest paid FA signing of the entire rebuild, this team is very unlikely to go far in October. No team with a payroll lower than 12th has won in the past decade, Sox are like 15th? Being in the division they are, they are likely to get to the postseason the next 3 years or so. But the Twins have lost 18 straight playoff games to suggest whether winning the central means all that much.

roke1960

No team has won what? You mean to tell me the Rays have had a top 12 payroll? Getting to the World Series would be a great accomplishment for this team.

jhomeslice

No team has won a World Series with a lower than 12th payroll in the past decade, to clarify. I believe the Royals were the lowest at 12th. Most winners have been much higher, of course.

Last edited 2 years ago by jhomeslice
To Err is Herrmann

I would love to see the expression on the face of the first kid who sees a 2022 Yasmani Grandal baseball card fifty years from now. Looking at these projections, I would not have expected this kind of season from Carlos Rodon at all. I was thinking we might get 100 innings of 4.50 ERA. So the Sox won the lottery there. However, I would also not have expected to see these horrible numbers from Heuer, Marshall and Foster either. If those three could turn things around after the All-Star break, it would be perhaps the most important factor in keeping the Alabaster Hose in playoff contention.

lifelongjd

If you look at these numbers without any idea of overall record, you would probably estimate the Sox being a .500 team. Factoring in the major in-season injuries to Robert and Madrigal and it should actually be worse than that. Thank god for Lynn and Rodon.

The bullpen has been exceedingly disappointing, especially when factoring in last year’s performance and their braggadocio before the season. Foster, Marshall, and Heuer have all been downright awful.

Here’s hoping some of the good performances continue and they get a shot in the arm if/when Eloy and LouBob come back.

polishwith

I think in any other division, the Sox may be pretty close to a .500 team. Maybe they are better than that in the NL East, but not by much.

Greg Nix

Liam Hendriks’s season has been low-key bizarre. His numbers make him look like the best reliever in the AL, but it sure hasn’t felt that way to me. Maybe the eye-test is lying to me, but I feel like he’s nailed down every 3-run lead and made me sweat every 1-run lead.

Ted Mulvey

Same, Greg. It always feels far more tenuous than the numbers indicate.

joewho112

I think it’s a side effect of having good starting pitching and mediocre offense. When every game is close, every run the bullpen gives up feel like a failure.

joewho112

Though that being said, I just checked on Fangraphs and White Sox relievers as a whole only have the 6th highest leverage index for when they enter the game (gmLI) so maybe not. Maybe they just aren’t as good as we want

texag10

The second highest HR/FB% of his career which is nearly 3x what it was the previous 2 seasons probably doesn’t help.

jorgefabregas

When Jake Burger was in the draft, Missouri State had a trackman system and he reportedly had excellent exit velocities. So far in his small major league sample that has still been the case.

Also small sample: he’s had a league average sprint speed.

hitlesswonder

Should the Sox sell?

With Grandal hurt and Cease and Giolito not being the pitchers they were prior to the substance crackdown, I wonder if the Sox would have the guts to call it a season and sell Rodon and Lynn? Neither are likely to be re-signed given the Sox payroll limitations and each should command a decent return…at least a top 100 prospect and possibly more.

roke1960

That is so insane that it’s not worth a comment. A team with a 98% chance of making the playoff and the best starting staff in the league should sell?

hitlesswonder

I agree it’s insane, but it’s also crazy that the Sox currently trot out a starting 9 that would be a pretty good team in AAA. I’m at a loss trying to figure out how they remain competitive and put together a team that has a chance to win a playoff series.

joewho112

They get back two healthy All Star quality outfielders, trade for another bat and a reliever or two and count on the fact that anything can happen in a short playoff series?

Last edited 2 years ago by joewho112
As Cirensica

Tongue in cheek, right?

dwjm3

I haven’t given up on resigning Lynn. He said he likes playing here more than any other team he has played for. I definitely think he is interested in cutting a deal

Foulkelore

No Timmy in the lineup tonight? With the injury luck of this team, I’m just going to assume he spontaneously combusted. We’ll miss you, Timmy!

Drdoctor

I don’t know if this is all the bad news, but torn tendon feels like a lot of it.
4-6 weeks? I mean, maybe they’re collecting for an End of August/Back to School sale?

As Cirensica

Yaz news aren’t good…out for 4-6 weeks. I will wait for Jim to post the news so people can start rosterbating how the White Sox should fix this

Root Cause

What jumped out to me was the projected strikeout rate of Abreu vs Vaughn.

I wonder how this paycheck will change by adding a VERY unexpected line item to his resume’.

I hope we can keep him, I mean, how many DHer’s can play an infield and an outfield position. A coache’s dream.

soxygen

When you double Adam Eaton’s numbers they somehow look four times worse

Last edited 2 years ago by soxygen
Joliet Orange Sox

The distance fallen by an object in free fall (dropped from rest) is (1/2) g t^2. Note the square on the t. I think that explains why the doubling of time leads to the factor of 4.