Podcast: 2022 Season Predictions with Laurence Holmes

Guest: Laurence Holmes, 670 the Score

Josh and Jim invite Friend of the Show, Laurence Holmes, to join them in making their 2022 season predictions.

  • How do they grade the White Sox offseason
  • Best Case Scenario
  • Worst Case Scenario
  • Win/Loss Record
  • White Sox MVP
  • White Sox Breakout Player
  • World Series Predictions
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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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knoxfire30

I can’t believe B-….

You didn’t replace an ace of your staff, and you lost him for nothing by not knowing his market

You signed/resigned two utility guys to start at 2nd

You are letting two unproven young players split at bats at DH after trying to play them both in right field (this would have been more palatable with other major roster upgrades)

You allocated a lot of funds into rh relief pitching but went bizarrely cheap filling out a rotation that already was going to be stressed with a reliever converting to a starting role, and a starter well on the downside of his career with very limited options in the high minors

We can all agree to like the Pollock for Kimbrel move but no one should think pollock can play more then 120 games in the outfield, in an outfield that has two other guys with huge injury concerns and their primary backup has huge injury concerns

The backup catcher situation was bad and is now solid (this was an A move)

In your prime contention window you’ve still shown 0 willingness to add a premier free agent let alone the 2 or 3 that most would have expected

You failed to extend Giolito and alienated him over a relatively insignificant amount of money almost assuring his departure after 2023

You didn’t solve the biggest offensive issue that plagued this team which was being too right handed vs strong right hand starting pitching. This is a major concern unaddressed that will haunt them in the postseason.

This is still a very talented team and they will very likely win the division, but this was the core you tanked multiple years to build and then to shy away with half hearted measures to fill the roster as oppose to overwhelm with big bold moves is disheartening. C- offseason.

HallofFrank

There are some fair points here but the Rodón commentary is way off base.

For one, he wasn’t the “ace of the staff.” He had an excellent few months, to be sure, and was the best pitcher on the team during that stretch. But he didn’t start opening day and he didn’t start in the playoffs until game four. You can’t have a few good months after years of struggling and instantly earn the title “ace”—especially when your team has two other legit Cy Young contenders.

Second, I keep seeing Sox fans say the Sox didn’t replace Rodón but it’s simply false. They did replace Rodón—with Kopech. He may not be as good as Rodón. But he is an able replacement. Steamer and ZIPS both think he’ll be about as good as Rodón, for whatever that’s worth, even if they think he’ll pitch less innings. But folks act like they just left an enormous hole in their rotation and are trying to fill it with Velasquez and Cueto. Not true.

knoxfire30

Way off base… he lead the staff in WAR …. how was he not the ace last year???

Kopech has replaced rodon? He has thrown 69 innings in 3 years thats seriously the plan in a prime contend year?

jhomeslice

Rodon has not finished a season healthy and strong in like 7 years. As good as he was for stretches last year, and believe me he was unreal, he didn’t pitch more than 5 innings in any start after mid July. And even after a light 2nd half and two weeks rest prior to his playoff start he still offered almost nothing. I don’t see him lasting a season and helping a team win a playoff series, which is their goal.

I wish they had tried something really creative with him, like giving him the first half off. It is exceedingly unlikely he will last a season, but he might be good for 1/2 again, at an ace level. He shut down the Astros convincingly in July. If you could have THAT Rodon pitch in the playoffs, he would be immensely valuable. And the only way that happens is if he doesn’t start his season in April.

A shame they couldn’t work something out, but very understandable they had to let him go because of his unrelenting injury history.

I agree with the rest of your take by the way, they don’t deserve a high grade at all just because they miraculously salvaged something for Kimbrel. 2b will be a weakness. We can only hope with better overall team health that their hitting vs RHP improves. Pollack and a full year from Sheets should help.

HallofFrank

Is that how you define staff ace: whoever led the team in WAR for a given year? That strikes me as a deficient definition and it would be easy to find counter-examples. I’d argue the “staff ace” requires more context and history than having an excellent few months.

I mean, how did you feel about giving Rodón a rotation spot last season? I certainly feel better about Kopech this season than I did about Rodón last season. That doesn’t mean I think Kopech will perform Rodón’s ’21. But it wouldn’t surprise me if Kopech was as good as Rodón this year—and that’s not just a hunch. Again, Steamer and ZIPS think their performances will be close.

Jim Margalus

If we’re using “ace” for a guy who’s qualified for the ERA title once in seven seasons and didn’t come close last year, the term needs to be retired.

knoxfire30

3 years ago giolito was the worst pitcher in baseball so is he not an ace now? Lance lynn was mediocre to above average for 7 seasons before becoming what he is now would he not be considered an ace?

Rodon was phenomenal last year, if you think you are gonna replace his production with Michael Kopech a guy whose last 4 years are , major arm surgery, did not pitch recovering, did not pitch mental breakdown, 69 good bullpen innings I dont know what to tell you, thats not a plan that any team with a desire to win the world series should be on. And im pretty high on kopech but you didnt replace rodon by putting him in the starting rotation.

HallofFrank

There is a difference between the claims:

(A) “A pitcher needs more than one good year to be an ace.”
(B) “A pitcher needs only good years to be an ace.”

I’ve claimed A. You jumped to B. Very different.

knoxfire30

Semantics are great

We got “ace” level production from Rodon in 2021 and we didn’t even win a playoff series

We “replaced” that with a guy who has 69 bullpen innings under his belt, after being off multiple years before of a major arm injury and a mental health issue.

You think thats good enough, I do not think its close to good enough for a team with title hopes.

roke1960

I tend to agree with Frank and Jim here. Rodon was great the first half of last year- the second half he did next to nothing. He was NOT the ace. If he was, he would have started game 1 (or 2) of the playoffs. Giolito is the ace because he has now put together 3 very good years, not 1/2 of a great year. And I am a huge Rodon fan.

Frank also brings up a very good point. How many of you were glad they resigned Rodon last year? I feel much better about Kopech going into this year then I did about Rodon going in to last year. You keep saying Kopech only pitched 69 innings the last 4 years, but that was all last year. Rodon only pitched 42 innings in 2019-20 and also had TJ surgery in there. I”m optimistic that Kopech will give the Sox 120-140 innings this year as he continues to ramp up. Rodon is still as big a question mark as Kopech this year, and Kopech cost about 4% of what Rodon does.

Last edited 4 months ago by roke1960
knoxfire30

Fair enough but I would of much rather had Kopech basically taking the kuechel spot (or a spot inevitably opening due to injury) and Rodon either coming back or being replaced by Scherzer, Verlander, Ray, Gausman, types that were available… that isnt some crazy ask for a big market team in their peak contend year.

roke1960

Well, yes, I completely agree with you, but as long as Jerry owns the Sox, that’s almost certainly not going to happen.

jhomeslice

We didn’t get ace level production from Rodon in October, one reason they didn’t win. Kopech won’t duplicate Rodon’s regular season performance, but if he is good, at least he has a chance to be healthy enough to help win a playoff game.

HallofFrank

Well, it’s not just semantics, but whatever.

The mistake here is that you’re putting a rather unreasonably high bar for whoever the Sox get to “replace” Rodón’s 2021 production. By this definition, it’s unlikely that Carlos Rodón could replace Rodón. And Rodón’s “ace-level production” in ’21 did, quite simply, nothing for the White Sox in the playoffs. Ironically, many Sox fans were calling for Kopech to start in the playoffs instead of Rodón.

And you can focus on the negatives of Kopech all you’d like. The fact remains that he is an extraordinarily talented pitcher who projects to be about as good as Rodón will be. While Kopech will need to ramp up, I’d guess he’s about as good a bet as Rodón to pitch 120 innings.

knoxfire30

the bar is high, the point is to win a world series

Shingos Cheeseburgers

They failed to make the big FA signing that was needed and injuries are already an issue but this is one of the better Sox teams on paper in my lifetime so I’m willing to go out on a limb to say this season will bring success in a way that only one Sox team has had in the last century. That’s right: I think this team can win a Division Series game on the road.

HallofFrank

‘Tis the season, so here are a couple of “bold predictions.”

(1) Jake Burger will lead the team in starts at 2B post-all-star break.
(2) Dallas Keuchel will finish with a sub-4.00 ERA.

GrinnellSteve

I would love for you to be right on both counts.

roke1960

The bad part of Keuchel having a sub 4 ERA is he would most likely pass the 160 inning threshold and have his $20M vest for next year. That can’t happen.

HallofFrank

I’ll gladly take another year of Keuchel if Keuchel pitches to a sub-4.00 ERA this year.

jhomeslice

I agree. I think it is unlikely to happen, but if he pitches that well, who cares if he vests. His only year in the past 5 without a sub-4 ERA was 2021, and he just turned 34 which isn’t super old. He was astoundingly bad last year but certainly has a great track record if he can find himself. His spring was just not encouraging, unfortunately. We will see soon enough.

roke1960

Do you want Jerry to have to pay $20M for a number 4 starter who will be 35? If he has to pay Keuchel next year, that money will come from another need that the Sox will have.

roke1960

Yes, I would love to have Keuchel be very good this year, be a big part of a World Series rotation, and then Jerry just increase the budget by another $20M next year. But we all know he won’t do that.

jhomeslice

I would be quite happy and enormously surprised with even one out of two. Hope you prove to be right.

jorgefabregas

Fangraphs staff predictions have the White Sox tied with the Blue Jays for most number 1 or 2 seed predictions (Blue Jays have more number 1 and White Sox more number 2). Eric Longenhagen picked Tim Anderson as pre-season MVP.

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/fangraphs-2022-staff-predictions/

Fangraphs fantasy writer Alex Sonty is a White Sox fan, btw.

soxygen

What if the way to look at the Kimbrel trade is that the Dodgers view Pollock as only being as valuable as Craig Kimbrel? How confident are Sox fans that the Dodgers front office is wrong?