White Sox

PECOTA projects White Sox to be on the edge of the wild card race in 2020

PECOTA projects White Sox to be on the edge of the wild card race in 2020

The White Sox added a lot of talent this offseason and more of the team’s top prospects are entering the fray, but is the team really ready to contend for a playoff spot in 2020?

Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projects player and team performances. This year’s projections are bullish on Luis Robert, which should have White Sox fans excited. On the overall team side though, it expects a mostly average season.

PECOTA’s team projections came out on Tuesday and the average win total for the White Sox is 83. PECOTA actually puts the team at 83-80, which is obviously impossible given the 162-game schedule, but we’ll assume the projections averaged out to 82.5-79.5 and the system rounded up for both numbers.

Would 82 or 83 wins be a successful campaign for the White Sox? The front office has put playoffs as a goal for 2020, which even in this projection isn’t much of a stretch. The second wild card spot is at 87 wins, which certainly puts the White Sox within range if a few things go their way in 2020.

The Minnesota Twins are projected to win the AL Central with 93 wins while the Cleveland Indians are second at 86-76. That would put the Indians one game behind the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels for the wild card spots.

PECOTA also gave the White Sox an 18.1% chance of making the playoffs and a 5.9% chance to win the division. For all of the team’s additions and raised expectations, it could be a season or moderate growth instead of a full-on breakout season. Keep in mind, 83 wins would still be an 11-win improvement. 

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Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski share what World Series win meant to Ed Farmer: ‘We did it’

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SOX TV

Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski share what World Series win meant to Ed Farmer: ‘We did it’

Like countless others, Ed Farmer’s playing days with the White Sox did not end in a world championship.

The White Sox went 88 years between World Series victories, so Farmer wasn't alone. His time playing for his hometown team lasted from 1979 to 1981 and obviously didn’t end in the same October glory the team reached in 1917 or 2005.

But Farmer was a South Sider through and through, spending nearly three decades in the broadcast booth up until his death at age 70 on Wednesday night. His status as a White Sox staple grew each night as he brought baseball into fans’ homes.

So when the White Sox finally snapped that title drought in 2005, it was particularly satisfying for Farmer as such a longtime member of the South Side baseball family.

“The thing about Farmio, Farmio was born right there in Bridgeport, right next to Old Comiskey. He got to play for the White Sox back in the rougher days. And he was just a lifelong fan,” former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said on a Thursday conference call. “Not only did he work for the organization, but he was a true fan of the White Sox.

“And to see his face and a lot of the people who had been around for 20, 30, 40 years with the White Sox, to see the joy on their face for people who had been put through the grind and never had been close to winning.

“When we won, Farmio’d come up to you and give you a hug and say, ‘We did it.’ Even though he wasn’t out there on the field, he felt like he was a part of it because of the time and the effort he’d invested.”

The White Sox have employed many who count their tenure with the organization in decades rather than years, and Farmer was one of them. He was on the roster for Jerry Reinsdorf’s first season as chairman in 1981 and started working in the radio booth in 1992 — Frank Thomas’ third season in the big leagues. Farmer is not just one of the team’s all-time best relief pitchers, he’s also one of its most legendary voices.

But even when he wasn’t on the mound or behind a microphone, he gained an equal status as a franchise fixture in his interactions with the players.

“He was just kind of like a staple in the scenery of the White Sox,” former first baseman Paul Konerko said. “Every organization does have a lot of characters, there's no doubt. But I would put the White Sox over the years up against anybody with the characters that have come in and out of the broadcast booth and the front office. Eddie was one of those guys. He was kind of like on the Mount Rushmore of that.

“You don't know what you're going to get from him on any given day in terms of the way he would joke around or just things that would come up. A lot of times, you would think it would be the players that would cause a lot of the day-to-day stuff going on. And I don't mean that in a bad way. I'm saying a lot of it was Eddie, our broadcasters in terms of what that conversation was about. Like, 'Did you see what Eddie did today? Did you hear what happened with Eddie at the golf course?' or whatever it might have been.

“He wasn't really in our world, I think we were in his.”

RELATED: From baseball to stem cells, Ed Farmer had a story for everyone

While Konerko and Pierzynski became South Side legends themselves, Farmer and plenty of others were there long before they arrived and remained after they moved on. Of course, the two players are part of the small number who can say they played for a world championship-winning White Sox squad. But they’re also proud to have brought a championship home for all those who couldn’t.

“That year when we won, if you look at our coaching staff, look at the people behind the scenes, look at the broadcasters, these were people who followed the team for a long time, had been with the team for a long time, had played for the team,” Konerko said. “So there was always that distinct feeling, not just with Eddie, but with all of those guys, that we kind of won it together. But it was definitely satisfying and a sense of accomplishment as if they were playing for the team because they did play for the team.

“As a player on that team, I definitely always felt proud that we were the ones to kind of bring that feeling home to the Greg Walkers, to the Ozzie Guillens, to the Tim Raines, to all those guys that were coaches and managers and broadcasters. It was pretty cool.

“A lot of teams win the World Series and their whole staff and everything they’ve got going on has been brought in as hired guns and replacements. That wasn’t the case (with the White Sox).”

But while that sentiment applied to so many, these players and the entire White Sox organization held a special place in their hearts for Farmer. Konerko and Pierzynski described him as a clubhouse presence who gave as good as he got and became a favorite for players to joke around with.

“He could take it, he could give it out. It was fun to go back and forth with Farmio because he would always laugh,” Pierzynski said. “At the end of the day, he would get mad a little bit, but the next day he'd walk back up to you with a smile on his face and start at it again.

“He was one of the faces of the White Sox organization, and he will be missed.”

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White Sox vs. Red Sox simulation on MLB The Show 20

White Sox vs. Red Sox simulation on MLB The Show 20

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. In our simulation, the Southsiders started 3-3, dropping a series vs. the Royals and winning a series vs. the Indians. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Despite it being a chilly April affair, the bats were in mid-summer form in the series opener between the White Sox and Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Southsiders jumped on Nathan Eovaldi early, as Edwin Encarnacion and Yasmani Grandal hit back-to-back home runs in the third inning to give the Sox a 4-1 lead. Tim Anderson followed that up with a two-run bomb of his own in the 4th, bouncing Eovaldi from the game.

The wheels came off for the White Sox in the sixth. The Red Sox recorded three straight hits off Dallas Keuchel, scoring once. Rick Renteria brought in Kelvin Herrera to stop the bleeding. But he failed to do so and Boston went on to score four more times in the inning to take a 7-6 lead. An unlikely hero saved the day for Chicago. Leury Garcia smashed a go-ahead, two-run double to left-center in the bottom of the eighth.

Aaron Bummer recorded a four-out save as the White Sox took game one from the Red Sox, 9-7.

Result: White Sox def. Red Sox 9-7

Record: 4-3, 1st in A.L. Central

W: Steve Cishek (1-0)
L: Matt Barnes (0-1)
SV: Aaron Bummer (3)

White Sox Lineup:

1. Tim Anderson: 2-4, HR, 3 RBI (.344 BA)
2. Yoan Moncada: 2-4 (.387 BA)
3. Jose Abreu: 1-5 (.250 BA)
4. Edwin Encarnacion: 1-5, HR, 2 RBI (.240 BA)
5. Yasmani Grandal: 2-5, HR, RBI (.321 BA)
6. Eloy Jimenez: 1-4 (.280 BA)
7. Luis Robert: 0-3 (.272 BA)
8. Nomar Mazara: 2-4, RBI (.222 BA)
9. Leury Garcia: 1-4, 2 RBI (.250 BA)

Scoring Summary

Bottom 1st:

- J.D. Martinez doubled to left center. Jose Peraza scored. 1-0 BOS.

Top 2nd:

- Nomar Mazara doubled to right. Yasmani Grandal scored. 1-1.

Top 3rd:

- Edwin Encarnacion homered to center. Tim Anderson scored. 3-1 CHW.  
- Yasmani Grandal homered to right. 4-1 CHW.

Top 4th:

- Tim Anderson homered to left. Nomar Mazara scored. 6-1 CHW.

Bottom 5th:

- Michael Chavis homered to center. 6-2 CHW.

Bottom 6th:

- Rafael Devers doubled to right. J.D. Martinez scored. 6-3 CHW.
- Kevin Pillar singled to left. Xander Bogaerts scored. 6-4 CHW
- Christian Vazquez doubled to left. Rafael Devers scored.  Kevin Pillar scored. 6-6.
- Mitch Moreland flew out to center. Christian Vazquez scored. 7-6 BOS

Top 8th:

- Leury Garcia doubled to left center. Eloy Jimenez scored. Luis Robert scored. 8-7 CHW
- Tim Anderson singled to right. Leury Garcia scored. 9-7 CHW

Notable Performance: Yasmani Grandal has looked worth every penny of his $73M-deal so far this season. With his solo shot in the third inning, Grandal has already homered four times in seven games, good for fourth in the American League.

Next Game: Saturday, April 4th - Gm. 8: White Sox at Red Sox (Gio Gonzalez vs Brian Johnson)

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