White Sox 2023 ZiPS projections absorb, reflect 2022’s disappointments

When sizing up the ZiPS projections for the 2022 White Sox as they stood before the lockout last November, the takeaway was pretty simple: The front lines were fine, but they lacked backup in the event of unexpected failures.

Sure enough, the White Sox invited disaster by making no meaningful attempt to reinforce the roster, and disaster indeed struck.

Reese McGuire and Josh Harrison were OK, but they effectively spackled nail holes while entire sheets of drywall tumbled from the joists and studs. AJ Pollock was supposed to be ambitious, but the White Sox ended up receiving the outfield version of what they paid with (Craig Kimbrel). The two veteran relievers negated each other, and Vince Velasquez was Vince Velasquez, no more, no less. In the end, only Johnny Cueto moved the needle as a standalone transaction, but the White Sox needed Lance Lynn’s knee injury to make that possible, so even that success started from a deficit.

So here come this year’s ZiPS projections and the story is largely the same: The Sox better come up with some solutions to positions of need, because the fixtures aren’t all that sturdy.

Except it’s even more urgent, because thanks to the various fires up and down the roster in 2022, only one position/unit projects better than it did the previous winter.


(The bullpen projections came out before Kendall Graveman and Joe Kelly, which is why they only amounted to 5.1 WAR last year.)

It’s not all bad news, but the good news is flimsy. It’d be useful if Yasmani Grandal could rebound well enough to hit .226/.353/.397. It’d be tremendous if Andrew Vaughn could hit 28 homers and 28 doubles. It just can’t be taken for granted given what Grandal showed last year, and given that Vaughn hasn’t shown the ability to thrive over a six-month season.

There’s also the larger idea that the White Sox struggle to meet even good-not-great projections, so ZiPS has to keep lowering the bar:

Luis Robert ZiPS:

  • 2022: .279/.330/.429, 500 PA, 3.3 WAR
  • 2023: .273/.319/464, 445 PA, 2.8 WAR

Yoán Moncada ZiPS:

  • 2022: .260/.345/.445, 622 PA, 3.2 WAR
  • 2023: .251/.353/.397, 539 PA, 2.2 WAR

Eloy Jiménez ZiPS:

  • 2022: .276/.319/.510, 468 PA, 1.6 WAR
  • 2023: .269/.321/.487, 445 PA, 1.2 WAR

Tim Anderson ZiPS:

  • 2022: .296/.325/.464, 581 PA, 2.8 WAR
  • 2023: .293/.324/.432, 475 PA, 2.0 WAR

If there’s any upside, Robert, Jiménez and Anderson’s issues in 2022 all stemmed from obvious injuries, whereas Moncada is the only one who looked like his talent went missing. That’s small solace since injuries often beget injuries, but it’s not nothing.

One should just avoid taking anything but small solace, because simply reversing course won’t be enough. The White Sox currently project under .500, so if these four players successfully pretended that 2022 never happened but stopped there, the difference in impact is negligible.

When superstars emerge, they typically shatter the algorithm and force it to reckon with a new reality. ZiPS is begging Robert to make 3 WAR look adorable. It wants nothing more than Anderson and Jiménez to invite critiques about the game being played outside of spreadsheets. The piñata is somehow gaining weight, and yet the White Sox keep whiffing.

Now they’re in the uncomfortable position of requiring some combination of Robert, Jiménez, Moncada, Anderson and Vaughn to detonate preconceived notions about their ceiling. They also have to conduct their offseason as though they can’t expect greatness, maneuvering to make their lineup longer and their depth chart deeper to mitigate slumps elsewhere.

The White Sox could’ve avoided the former situation by importing a superstar like Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, but Jerry Reinsdorf wouldn’t allow it. The latter is theoretically always an option, but Rick Hahn hasn’t shown the foresight or creativity to see it through (see José Abreu’s teammates for details). The Sox have been limited in improving the team from above, below or within, and that’s how they ended up slipping back into neutral.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Reading through the player comps is a trip.


Rick Hahn after reading this article and seeing the increase in projections for the bullpen row: “Mission Accomplished.”


This team is frail, unbalanced, and build for mediocrity.

Look at the Cardinals, with Arenando and Goldschmidt to the tune of 7.8/7.9 WAR, almost 16 just the two of them last year. About the same as the Sox 8 position players and DH above, combined. This team needs to add players with just way better upside, and to cut ties with players that did not work out. You can’t expect a team to win has no superstars and several gaping holes or weaknesses, including literally zero proficient left handed hitters on the roster. A shameful disgrace of an effort, really.

Augusto Barojas

In WAR terms, Arenando/Goldschmidt might outproduce Moncada/Vaughn by a factor of 4.


The Sox FO has regularly demonstrated that it doesn’t know how to spend wisely. Most, if not all their FA signings have been a bust except for maybe one or two guys for a year or so. Trades for ineffective but expensive veterans. Tying up money long term by extending unproven young players before they’ve even had a year in the bigs. No pipeline of young players and no depth. Day by day I get even more amazed that KW and RH still have jobs. I mean, the whole strategy for 2023 seems to be based on hope. Hope that underperforming players play better. Hope that oft injured players don’t get injured. Hope that Sosa can play 2B and Colas can play RF and some PTBNL can play LF above replacement level.


Are you under the impression that ZiPS is going to project 8 WAR for those two when the cardinals numbers come out?

Augusto Barojas

The Sox are one of the few teams you could do ZIPS projections for already, because you know they are not going to add anybody.


Right, and this is including Clevinger, which will likely be their biggest move of the offseason.


Clevinger should help the Sox secure third place in the AL Central this year.


I don’t like how we got to this point, but I’m hoping a new manager with energy will be able to get positive results from an entire team full of players with something to prove.


Who has something to prove?


I feel like those who don’t would be a much shorter list. Even Giolito was bad last year.


Who doesn’t?


Who didn’t have something to prove going into 2022? Did it make a difference? Was it even a thing? Do you go into work with something to prove?


Semantic nonsense., which is particularly silly given your initial question.


Exactly, “They/He’s got something to prove” is a cliche. If everybody’s got something to prove then it’s not special and if nobody has something to prove it’s not important. The whole saying is semantic nonsense.


I hope that’s true too and think it will be to an extent. At the same time, I hope the front office doesn’t believe that most of the problems with this team will be fixed solely due to the coaching changes.


I’m determined to let the Sox be something I follow for fun lol.

Bonus Baby

ZiPS is definitely pessimistic on the Sox expected record, projecting only 83-84 wins this year (with no further roster improvements). While Fangraphs projects them for 88-89 wins (again, with no further roster improvements):


As far as team needs, however, ZiPS confirms what a lot of us have been saying:

  1. They really need upgrades in the OF and at 2B, and even an average starter for those spots is still a significant upgrade, so there should be realistic solutions. They don’t have to get Judge or Correa to make a real difference, even if we’d love both of them.
  2. Health is massively important for this team. They’re not only thin, but have such a terrible recent history with injuries, they’ve got to get much, much better in that regard if they will have any chance to compete.
  3. With the roster as is, the Sox should be expected to get at least average production from both 3B and C (ZiPS and Steamer both think that Moncada and Grandal will be a lot better than they were last year).

Given that Eloy hit so well in the 2d half last year, when he finally played more DH and got a stretch of healthy, consistent playing time — 65 games, 0.958 OPS, 167 OPS+ — I’m pretty convinced that if Eloy can only stay healthy and play DH, he’ll be better than even Steamer’s projections, let alone ZiPS.

Colas I don’t know what to say — I wish ZiPS were higher on him.

Trooper Galactus

Once more free agents sign, I think the White Sox position on that list is gonna get a helluva lot lower.


ZiPS is not gonna be won over at all by any 23 year old debuting stateside with no stats at any level to translate for the past two years; all it sees is a guy beating up on younger competition. Of all the negative projections here, that’s the least to worry about; it’s largely just paucity of data. The rest are largely more worrying bc ZiPS has data and doesn’t like what it sees.


Anything that projects 88-89 wins for this team is on crack.

Bonus Baby

The team that finished 2022 with 81 wins, even though just about every important player on the team massively underperformed and/or was hobbled by injuries?

Yeah, 88-89 wins must be a pipe dream.

Hahn’s Id’s Nightmare

When you factor in the fact that 2 of the only 3 players to produce 3+Win seasons on that 81-win team will be playing elsewhere with the club linked, even in pipe dream rumors, to zero free agents who project to produce 3+ win seasons in 2023, I’d say 89 wins is dangerously close to “pipe dreamy”…

Bonus Baby

I pretty much always use fWAR, not bWAR, and the only Sox players that got to +3 were Abreu and Cease. Anyway, I’m not going to do weird arbitrary cutoffs at “+3 WAR” or “not +3 WAR.”

Here are some notable players whose fWAR had major declines from 2021 to 2022:

Grandal: down 4.0
Moncada: down 3.1
Leury: down 2.9 (he was almost average in 2021)
TA: down 2.7
Giolito: down 2.3
Lynn: down 2.3
Robert: down 1.2

That’s a total of 18.5 fWAR lost from 2021 just among the above players, and that alone is more than enough to swamp the loss of 2 players worth 3 war or so. Will they all bounce back quite that high? Probably not, but 2/3 of the way there would still be huge. In Leury’s case, I’m just assuming he never plays again and they replace him with an average 2B.

Not to mention that there’s every reason to expect that other players will increase their production as well.

Vaughn: Just moving him from corner OF to 1B should alone save the team 15-20 runs in defensive value. It’s shouldn’t be surprising that Steamer would project him for 2.1 fWAR even though he had -0.4 last year.

Eloy: He produced 1.7 fWAR in only 84 games last year, and he was actually in negative fWAR territory for the first 19 games of the season. After he came back in the second half and got consistent games (65) together, with more at DH, was when he produced all his positive fWAR. I’m not sure why he can’t stay healthy this year — and produce at least 3-4 fWAR — if they just keep him at DH.

I know there’s a lot of people here that will be convinced the Sox should be expected to be around as good (or bad) as they were last year anyway. But there’s a ton of reason to think they’ll be much better.

And, honestly, I go back to the fact that they should just blow up the team if they’re really an 81-81 team right now. Adding Judge or Correa to that team (which is not going to happen anyway), is not going to suddenly turn them into a playoff team, so just go into rebuild #2. Or are the skeptics out there suggesting some different plan?

Last edited 3 months ago by Bonus Baby
Hahn’s Id’s Nightmare

Using your preferred fWAR, they’ve lost 3 of their top 7 everyday players—Abreu, Andrus, and Harrison — and their second best pitcher, Cueto is gone, too, for a total of 9.7 fWAR lost, 10.6 if we also add in Danny Mendick.

So if just 2/3 of those revert to 2021 form it would add 12 fWAR, not much better than what was lost.

I know they won’t sign Judge or Correa, but I see no reason (other than their self-imposed desire for “financial flexibility” and their aversion to long term contracts) they can’t sign two of the top 10
free agents — Willson Contreras, Xander Boegarts would be my preferences but one of them coupled with Dansby Sawnson or Carlos Rodón or some other bonafide all-star would make me think the team is serious about trying to make this window of contention mean something.

They blew their chances to add impact bats with Harper and Macahdo and Springer and Schwarber in past off-seasons. I do think that this is still a team mired in mediocrity without 2 major acquisitions.

Thinking a mostly new coaching staff will make a big difference and hoping for bounce backs and sustained health from guys who are two years older or who are young but who have never put together a full healthy major league season may not be a pipe dream but it just seems like overly wishful thinking to me.

It’d be great to be wrong and to watch Robert break lose with a dominant 7fwar season and Eloy hit 45 homers and Vaughn settle in at first and hit .290 with 25 long ones. As Joe Garagiola said, “baseball is a funny game” so you never know. And as the 1988
White Sox team slogan proposed: “Anything Can Happen.” I just think it’s depressing that in what should be the heart of the rebuild’s fruitful years, optimistic fans are forced to use that ‘88 slogan as part of their rationale for why this upcoming season could be one where the team just barely comes up short of winning 90 games.

Bonus Baby

I don’t care anymore about Machado … I whined about that for a while years ago, now I’m done.

Imagine the same team as now, except with Benintendi for LF, and Kolten Wong for 2B (plus min. salary 26-man-roster fillers). What do you think the Sox record is then?

Now tell me what the Sox record is if they sign Contreras and Boegarts.

I think my main beef with the way you’re framing things — other than complaining about past Sox decisions, which is all true and good, but has nothing to do with how good the team objectively is or is not now — is that you’re saying the team is so terrible that I can’t imagine Contreras and Boegarts making much of a practical difference. It’s not as if only signing top 10 free agents is going to make all those hopeful things about Robert and Eloy come true, is it?

But I dunno, prove me wrong.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bonus Baby
Hahn’s Id’s Nightmare

Proof can only come with 2023 season, of course.

But my case would be signing two all-stars at premium positions, catcher and SS —allowing TA to move to right field to, I hope, help his legs get less wear and keep his bat in the lineup for more than 120 games, gives you two everyday players who were central pieces of World Series winning teams who then free up the “core” to not be the best 4 players on the team but maybe 3rd to 6th best. If Xander and Willson meet projections and put up 7-8 WAR combined, then there is some room to absorb an injury to one of the young core or another disappointing year from one or just partial bounce backs from
all, in case 2021 was their peak or outlier season.

Wong with his projection of 2.5 would essentially just be replacing the 2.3 we got from Mendick and Harrison at that position. And we’d have to trade another asset to get him. I like Wong and I’d be happy if they get him with Contreras or better yet with Contreras and Bogarts! But him and Benintendi don’t do much for me.
Benintendi seems like he could be Melky Cabrera 2.0. I think adding them both and if they both perform decently well, it makes them an 80-83 win team.

I hope your more optimistic outlook is right but I just believe this team is not as talented as the front office seems to think. They need to more everyday players who are stars to be considered perennial threats to win 90 games, for the next 3-4 season which I would think was the whole point of tanking 2017-2019.

Anyways, I’ve enjoyed the exchange and look forward to debating whatever moves are indeed made.

Bonus Baby

Thanks, I’ve enjoyed it as well.


The problem with the team is not “they’re losing two of their top 7 hitters in Andrus and Harrison”. The problem is that Elvis Andrus and Josh Harrison were two of their top 7 hitters. The point of signing Harrison is that he would be an acceptable #9 hitter, which is basically exactly what he was. The goddamn fucking problem is that the acceptable #9 hitter, who put up a standard acceptable #9 hitter fWAR of 1.4 in 425 PA, was as valuable as Moncada and Pollock combined, to say nothing of the replacement level or worse WAR from Vaughn and Grandal. Focusing on Harrison leaving is missing the forest for the trees.


You are spot on. This is a team mired in mediocrity without 2 major acquisitions. That isn’t going to change this year, next year, or in 2025, unless they trade their player development and scouting people for everybody working for the Tampa Rays. A team that won’t spend money on free agents cannot win unless they are smarter than the rest of the league. And unlike Tampa, the Sox scouting and player development people are morons by comparison.

A major problem with your initial framing is that those 4 guys that got you to 10 fWAR will be replaced. Even if they half-ass replacing them and put a guy worth 1 fWAR in their spot, that’s 4 more fWAR you aren’t considering.

But a problem with your counter is the assumption that this franchise can competently pick up four 1-2 win players as bargain bin free agent signings…for every Josh Harrison there have been too many Adam Eaton, Jeff Keppinger, Yonder Alonso, Dallas Keuchel, Leury García, etc signings—guys who single handedly ensure that 4WAR is not so easy to reclaim. See also Jim’s writings on Hahn’s free agent track record.


You seem to be suggesting that 2022 was an outlier for these guys, and that’s a fair enough read. But I’m of the belief that 2021 was the outlier year for most of them, and for the two that actually have a track record of being all-stars (Grandal and Lynn), their age plus injuries will keep them from getting back to pre-2022 levels. Boy do I hope I’m wrong.

Bonus Baby

Definitely see what you’re saying, and I’ll try to answer. I take outlier in this context to mean that the players’ production in 2021 was out of line with most or all of the other seasons the player had from, say, 2019-2022. And it does seem like 2022 was an outlier for most guys, though it might look otherwise at first glance due to the shortened 2020 season. And so:


2019: 5.2 fWAR
2020: 2.0 fWAR (in only 12 starts b/c of shortened season — he was on pace for 5 fWAR in a full season of 30 starts)
2021: 4.1 fWAR
2022: 1.8 fWAR

I do see 2022 as a very disappointing performance for him given that his fWAR dropped by 2-3 points compared to each of the prior three years. I also worry about him, however, for 2023. He’s not that old at 28, but it seems like his statcast numbers last year might indicate that he is actually on a downward trend now.

Steamer mostly seems to buy that, projecting him for only 2.0 fWAR next year, though ZiPS seems to think he’ll bounce back a bit to 2.7 fWAR — which seems reasonable to me given his age and typical performance from 2019-2021.


2019: 5.5 fWAR
2020: 1.1 fWAR (in only 52 games b/c of shortened season — he was on pace for 3.1 fWAR in a full season of, say, 144 games)
2021: 4.0 fWAR
2022: 0.9 fWAR

Like with Giolito, Moncada’s 2022 does seem to stand out as a very disappointing year — partially at least due to injury, only 104 games and he was complaining about his legs all the time.

Steamer pegs him to come back to 2.6 fWAR in 2023, which seems reasonable to me given his age (28) and prior recent history of years equivalent to 3-5 fWAR.


Everyone’s favorite player was not terrible in 2019 and 2021 (1.7 and 1.8 fWAR), or in 2020 (0.5 fWAR in only 16 games). But 2022 was a disaster. Getting to negative 1.1 seems like a special kind of awful to me.

My optimism with Leury is not that he’ll return to 2021 form, it’s that the Sox will finally address 2B and the OF, so that Leury is hopefully just DFA’d (better letting Sosa or Gonzalez develop as backups than have another year of Leury), and I’m hoping the get a better option for 4th outfielder as well. If Leury’s playing time is limited or nonexistent, then I’m expecting a big increase over 2022 just because an average player getting 2 fWAR or so would be a huge improvement from Leury’s 2022.


Tim played 123 games in each of 2019 and 2021. If we project him to the same number of games in the shortened 2020 season, we get this for his 3-year production: 4.5 fWAR, 6 fWAR, and 4.7 fWAR — consistent all-star levels.

In 2022 he had only 2.0 fWAR in 79 games — injuries seem to be most of the drop-off from 2021, but his per-game production also declined a little.

Steamer thinks he’ll bounce back, but only to 3 fWAR in 2023, and ZiPS expects 2.6. If anything, those seem a bit pessimistic to me, but I’d take the model’s projections anyway.


He just turned 25 and has only been in the league for 3 years, also missing significant time due to injuries. Adjusting for the shortened 2020 season, he was on pace to have 3 fWAR in 140 games. 2021 he was much better in limited time — 3.3 fWAR in only 98 games. In 2022 he regressed and/or was injured — 2.1 fWAR in 98 games.

In context, Steamer’s projection of 4.0 fWAR this year, and ZiPS projection of 3.7, seem pretty reasonable to me. He could underperform or get injured, of course, but I could also see him blowing by those projections if healthy.

Eloy: After a decent rookie campaign in 2019 (1.4 fWAR in 122 games), Eloy was injured more often than not for the next three years — 55 games in each of 2020 and 2021, and 84 games last year. These should typically be developing years for players (most of which he missed out on), and Eloy is just entering what is supposed to be his prime years (age 26). Last year was actually his best (1.7 fWAR in 84 games).

Steamer has 3.3 fWAR for him in 2023, which again seems reasonable to me. ZiPs has him at only 0.9 fWAR, which seems very pessimistic to me. I base this primarily on his 65 healthy games to finish off last year, when he hit for a .958 OPS (167 OPS+). I’ve said that if they stick him at DH and can thereby just keep him healthy, I see no reason why he can’t at least come close to those numbers in 2023, which over the course of a full year would result in pretty massive fWAR. I’m sticking by that assessment.


I figure a lot of people will hate this, but I’m not surprised that Steamer is only projecting Abreu for 0.3 fWAR more than Vaughn in 2023. Vaughn is finally moving to position he can realistically handle, and Steamer only guesses a minor improvement in wRC+ in his age 25 season (113 wRC+ in 2022, projected for 121 wRC+ in 2023). And the 2.4 fWAR Steamer projects for Abreu seems totally reasonable to me as he’ll be 36 and his fWAR numbers over the last 4 years were: 1.6, 2.9, 2.7, and 3.9. So basically a wash at 1B by replacing Abreu with Vaughn (around a 0.3 loss).

The real gain in 2023 here should be in the OF. If the Sox sign an average LF (2 fWAR), then the Sox should be around 2.4 fWAR better than last year, since Vaughn was worth -26.7 defensive runs playing the OF in 2022, leading to an fWAR of -0.4.

Lynn: He’s only projected for a modest bump over last year, not close to 2019-2021 levels, and I don’t think the modest bump over 2022 is particularly unreasonable. Although as with Giolito, I do agree that he’s also a pretty good candidate, based on age, to have a similar year to last year. I’d easily believe it either way.


Probably the most worrisome of the bunch — an age 34 catcher coming off a terrible, injury-plagued year. It could be that he’s just done at this point, and it’ll have to be other guys almost exclusively catching in 2023.

However, he had a strong 3 years prior to last year

2019: 5.3 fWAR in 153 games. That gets discounted to 3.2 fWAR here by reducing his games to 93 so that the fWAR numbers can be easily compared to 2021.
2020: 1.6 fWAR in 46 games (which would be 3.2 fWAR in 92 games).
2021: 3.6 fWAR in 93 games.

So for those three years, adjusted to 92-93 games, Grandal was consistently in the 3.2-3.6 fWAR range. And then the wheels fell off in 2022: -0.4 fWAR in 99 games.

Like I said, maybe that is just the player he is now — although the transformation was very sudden from one year to the next. Also, the story that he was hurt by the lockout in the offseason before 2022 makes reasonable sense to me. I’m not shocked that Steamer projects him for 2.4 fWAR in 2023. I feel like there’s a lot of potential variance for Grandal, but the 2.4 estimate in and of itself seems reasonable to me.

TL;DR: 2021 was largely similar to 2019 and 2020 for most of these guys, and 2022 was indeed an outlier. For a few others (Vaughn, Eloy, and Robert), I think I’ve made a pretty realistic case for why the Steamer projections for 2023 are pretty good if the Sox are largely healthy — and that really is the ball game, I think, if the Sox can just keep them all healthy.

On 2023 I have moments of pessimism and optimism but I keep coming back to health: will Robert and Eloy basically stay healthy?

If you told me those guys will each play 130 healthy-ish games, 90 win feels very much within reach.

So I guess the question becomes: is it a pipe dream to think those two will basically stay healthy? Answer: I don’t know.

Augusto Barojas

Why listen to people whose optimism about this clown show of a team has been proven unfounded, over and over again? People trying to come up with statistics that “prove” that a team that’s played .500 for the past season and a half is much better than that and should be great in 2023, esp now after losing it’s healthiest and most consistent player and 2020 MVP… I just don’t get people who won’t face reality. Yes they’ve had injuries, and they are likely to have some injury problems again because Abreu was the only guy who stayed off the DL the past two years! This team is going nowhere, the end of season results will prove that out. They are not a terrible team. They just aren’t good, either.

Arguing that the way Ebeneezer Reinsdorf and Hahn have run and continue to run this shitshow, having done nothing since the end of the 2020 season to improve this team, is going to be successful… I’ve said before, pure nonsense. Failure and mediocrity all but assured, even if you can make hypothetical arguements that a tiny chance of success exists if all their players that sucked or were hurt last year are all miraculously healthy and good simultaneously. It’s not impossible, it just isn’t probable, or realistic. And even if everybody is healthy, this team STILL can’t play defense or hit right handed pitching, two things that are generally important for teams having success. Writing lengthy paragraphs that would try to counter and avoid their two elephant in the room weaknesses… close to a pipe dream, as you said.

Bonus Baby

Same question as I have for Hahn’s Id’s Nightmare:

Imagine the same team as now, except with Benintendi for LF, and Kolten Wong for 2B (plus min. salary 26-man-roster fillers). What do you think the Sox record is then?

Now tell me what your plan is for the Sox. Blow it up? Sign some superstars? If so, tell me their record with the superstars you want signed.

I think you said before you really see them competing in 2024 or something like that, which makes no sense at all to me if they’re anywhere near as bad right now as you say they are. But prove me wrong. Show me your 2024 roster, how you’re getting there, and how many wins you expect that team to have.

Since you keep not actually offering solutions, I begin to wonder whether you just like complaining because you like complaining.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bonus Baby

Augusto is right about one thing: the argument is pointless. You’re trying to use stats to support your position. That’s never going to get through to this crowd. To this crowd, there’s only one stat that matters: White Sox = Bad. Any math that says otherwise must be wrong.

Augusto Barojas

This team is mired in mediocrity, a statement that everybody posting on this site knows is true except for a couple people. The math does not say White Sox = bad. It does not say White Sox = good, either. It says White Sox = mediocre.

Had this team won 90 games last year instead of 81, or signed Trea Turner and not lost Abreu, or done things to improve the roster the past two winters instead of doing nothing, I would be on board with believing this team should have a better record because the player performances, roster, and results the past couple years would support it. This team has been disappointing not just due to injuries, but because this team has major flaws and weaknesses that wishing and hoping won’t fix, and that the ownership won’t address – and that you and BB want to ignore and pretend aren’t there.

They are mired in mediocrity not because that is a fixed fact, but because they won’t get the players necessary to improve. Maybe just accept that rather than arguing in irrational denial of that or what the results have been? Everybody knows that Reinsdorf and Hahn are awful, and you guys want to project this team for success while they run things in a completely stupid and half ass way. Projecting this team for success without first improving the roster in a meaningful way just doesn’t match reality, that’s all.

Last edited 3 months ago by Augusto Barojas
Augusto Barojas

Why should anybody care to speculate about their record with hypothetical players like Wong and Benintendi who are not even on on the roster, and probably not headed here?!

I’m not complaining as much as contradicting the nauseating and unjustified optimism suggesting that this team could or should win close to 90 games after they just lost one of their best hitters following a season where they finished 81-81, and played .500 the last 2 1/2 months of the prior season as well.

As far as a plan, why go into “what I would do if I were GM”. There is no plan or solution that can possibly work under the constraints that Hahn or any GM under Reinsdorf is forced to operate under. The only way for any team without a good farm system to get a lot better is by adding significantly better players to the roster. And this ownership blows, because it blocks the GM from doing that. Hahn is not allowed to improve the team via free agency, which is pretty much end of story and an exact explanation of why this team is where it’s at instead of being a lot better. They were a good but not great team in 2020 that could have been great with a few changes. Instead of those changes (Springer, Semien, etc), they did NOTHING. They are worse instead of better. Not complicated. The only REAL solution is for the constraint about signing free agents to be lifted. Without that happening, their chances suck and probably always will while Jerry owns them. Hence one ALCS appearance in the past 25 years, and a decade of awful teams proceding this half ass charade called a “rebuild”. This team is not likely to win anywhere close to 90 games without significant additions, which we have no real reason to believe are coming other than wishful thinking.

Bonus Baby

OK, so your point is that as long as Reinsdorf is here, there is no hope under any circumstances so why ever have optimism, and “realism” in this case is that the Sox are “mediocre” and will always be “mediocre” or bad under Reinsdorf. I’d point out that the Sox only two years ago (largely with the same players as now), had the 3rd best record in the American League. So far as I know, Reinsdorf was still here then. I know, you’ll say “but the second half was worse than the first half.” Maybe you’ll say, 3rd best in the regular season is “mediocre.” Fine, you’ve duly convinced me that you can look at almost any achievement and figure out a way to call it meaningless.

I’m a little curious as to what all those people who put out offseason plans under $190M were thinking — since nothing could have possibly worked in any case. Far more than “a couple” people seem to have thought that the Sox have some meaningful chance, with the right moves, of being a good team under $190M in payroll. Perhaps you think that everyone was just wasting their time with a silly fantasy, like riding dragons or something.

Finally, I’d say that if you’re not going to “speculate about their record,” you really shouldn’t be out here saying that other people’s estimates of their likely record are not “facing reality.” Seemingly you’ve got a view as to what the “reality” of their likely record is, but you won’t tell us for some reason. I imagine it’s because you would much prefer criticizing others for things that you disagree with than actually putting an opinion out there that might prove wrong, or inconsistent, or irrational in some way. That would at least take a small amount of courage and honesty. If people just want to troll, that’s what they’ll do I guess.


Hands clapping.


I’m amazed it’s taken this long for a post like this.


I can actually see a 90 win season but there are a lot of IF’s tied to it. Biggest one is the team has to stay relatively healthy. Secondly, our big guns of Jimenez, Moncada, Vaughn, Robert and Anderson have to play like we know they can. Then Hahn has to get a good 2B and a corner OF and Colas has to prove he belongs.
Lynn pitched well after he recovered. Kopech is the one I have concerns about since he hasn’t proven long term that he’s the pitcher Hahn thought he was. I can see Cease repeating the same kind of season he had. Giolito…………………….hell, I don’t know.
I’ve already talked myself out of my opening sentence.
But it can happen, can’t it?


One of the more eye-catching player comps listed is Charlie Blackmon for Adam Haseley. Which, reviewing Blackmon’s early career stats, I kinda see where ZiPS is going: lefty tweener OF, good not great plate discipline and hit tool, meh power, kinda muddled along early career, being okay at many things but not great at any. Blackmon broke out by adding a bunch of power, which made the plate discipline + hit play better, and not being a capable CF didn’t matter any more. It’d certainly be a lovely surprise, but Blackmon’s listed at 6’3″ 221lb, and Haseley’s at 6’1″ 190lb, so it doesn’t seem as natural. Having him try to bulk up and add pop is worth a shot though?


ZIPS is brutal. Those big contracts to extend Moncada, Robert and Jimenez beyond normal free agency look pretty stupid right now because there is no money to buy some gaudy WAR at 2B and in the OF. $192MM or so for mediocrity and no willingness to spend more money to fix it. Oh wait…I forgot Mike Clevinger. That’ll fix it. Surely it will.


ZiPS is always brutal because it’s a median projection. It’s not in the business of deciding who will improve or regress in a given year.

Bonus Baby

Riddle me this — why do ZiPS, FGDC, and Steamer all seem either internally inconsistent or otherwise inaccurate on Fangraphs?

All this talk of projections and how ZiPS and Steamer differ so radically in some cases (as in projections for Eloy) got me looking a little more closely at some of the numbers. And I started to recognize that things were not adding up. I’m writing this in the hopes that folks can either: (a) tell me that I’m missing or misunderstanding something about the projections, or (b) that the projections are just messed up and wrong somehow, or at least unreliable.


It seems to me that there is something wrong with at least one, if not both of the primary WAR numbers set out in the ZiPS projections for the White Sox, located here:


I ask you to first look at the WAR projections listed in and around the baseball diamond graphic, and then compare those numbers with the projections in the table called “Batters — Advanced” below it. I’ll call the two of them “the graphic” and “the table,” hopefully to make things simpler.

The graphic has one player listed in center field — Luis Robert — and projects that position for 3.7 WAR. But the player “Luis Robert” in the table is only given 2.8 WAR. My first thought was that maybe the number in the table is based on projected games played (due to injuries or something), and that the number in the graphic is just the number in the table extrapolated to a full season. That initially seemed to make sense for Robert, although it seemed odd that he’d be the only player listed in CF if ZiPS expects him to miss a bunch of games.

Then I started to look at the projections for different players, and everything seemed to break down. Take a look at Colas and Sheets in the table: Colas is projected for 0.6 WAR and Sheets for 0.2 WAR, for a total of 0.8 WAR combined. In the graphic, those two are the only two players listed in RF, Colas is listed at no other position, and they somehow combine for only 0.5 WAR. So now we have numbers in the graphic lower than in the table, the opposite of what we saw with Robert. Another discrepancy appears if you look at Eloy and Leury. In the table they together combine for 1 WAR (1.2 for Eloy and -.02 for Leury). In the graphic, LF has only Eloy and Leury, but somehow has 1.3 WAR. The graphic also has Eloy splitting his time between LF and DH, which makes it even more strange that the number in LF in the graphic is so much higher than the combined numbers in the table. This result is similar to the Robert result in that the number in the graphic is higher than the number in the table, but I have no idea why they differ.

FGDC (very similar results to Steamer)

Look at the Fangraphs table projecting WAR for all teams, by position:


Clicking on the total WAR column arranges the team totals in order, and you can see that the overall projections for the Twins (the 15th team from the top) give them 40.8 WAR. If you add this to the baseline for a team of replacement players, you come up with between 88 and 89 wins. How is it that the team essentially in the middle of the projections is expected to be 7 or 8 games over .500? Even the Cubs, the 24th best team according to the projections, are expected to win 80-81 games. So the team WAR projections seem too high for some reason.

Now, two more steps. First, click on the White Sox in the table, which brings you to this page:


The WAR totals at each position match those for the White Sox in the overall table of all teams we just looked at. This new page just breaks everything down by players at each position.

The last step is to click on some player names, then you can see that the numbers on the overall White Sox page roughly match the Steamer or FGDC projections on each individual player’s page, like here for Tim Anderson:


Tim gets 3.0 WAR in both the overall White Sox page and the FGDC line in his individual player page. Steamer actually gives him a bit higher projection: 3.3 WAR.

A bit of a journey, but you can see how this makes me think that the projections Fangraphs uses for FGDC, and likely Steamer, are too high for some reason.

Resulting Question

Does anyone understand what is going on with these sets of projections from ZiPS and FGDC and Steamer?

P.S. I realize full well that by bringing up the Steamer issue I’m raining on my own optimism parade. I maintain my general optimism (hope at least) that 2023 numbers will look similar to the apparently inflated Steamer numbers (or even better), and I’m still convinced of the various reasons for why the above Steamer numbers seem pretty reasonable. But there it is.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bonus Baby

Just gotta stay healthy, baby!