2019 Autopsy Report: Chicago White Sox
Here we are, the last one of the day after just wrapping up the 2019 Oakland Athletics
The 11th team eliminated, and 6th in the American League, is the Chicago White Sox. Heading into the season there was quite a bit of optimism surrounding the Sox. They added some nice pieces to the mix, had a young core developing and it wasn’t insane to think they could make a run towards October. They even started well, sitting at 32-26. They weren’t killing it, but they were hanging around, as playoff teams do. Then the wheels came off, losing 9-of-10 to start June which sank their chances and had them retooling on the fly in July.
Time of Death: Thursday September 12th, 10:48 PM PST when SS Miguel Leon flew out to RF, ending a 9-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
Cause of Death (Primary): Power Outage. Like the A’s, the power just isn’t there for the Sox. They have just 110 HR (2nd to last in the AL) and while they have a nice group of table-setters, they haven’t had a bat to consistently drive them in. Big offseason acquisitions 3B Juan Francisco and OF JD Martinez had just 8 HR each before being dealt towards the end of June. The Sox as a team are 3rd in the AL in hitting, but 14th in Runs. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that large of a discrepancy before.
Secondary Issues: While ace Bill Black (2.95 ERA) leads a solid rotation (5th in the AL in ERA) the back end has left a bit to be desired, in part due to near constant shuffling. Additionally, the Sox have struggled in the 2nd half to get any consistent rolls going. In the seasons first two months they had 5 streaks of 3+ wins in a row. Since then – just 1 – a late June trio of wins over Boston. Put another way – the Rays – who are just a Wild Card team, have had 13 3+ game win streaks. It’s hard to make the playoffs without routinely running off hot streaks to match the inevitable cold ones.
Left to Play For: A decent amount – if they can go just 4-12 they’ll have their 2nd best record in 8 MLB Pro seasons. It’s not a lot, but it’s something. 5-11 gets them 70 wins. 8-8 avoids 90 losses. They do get Detroit 6 times which should help quite a bit. Other than that, it’s all teams still in the hunt. They head to Seattle this weekend, then to Minnesota early next week. The first part of the seasons’ final week has a make up game with the Angels and a series hosting Cleveland who is still on the outskirts of the playoffs.
2020 Outlook: Their outlook depends on their plan, honestly. On one hand, the AL Central is prime for a team to make a run – the Twins are good but they aren’t the Jays or Angels, the Indians are just coming out of a rebuild and who knows what the Royals and Tigers will be. On the other, it may be trying to run before you can walk to push all in again – a move the Sox have attempted without much success in the past. In-house they have some really nice pieces who are new to the big league level (SP Wallace, CF Torres, MR Walker and SP Fernandez) and some reinforcements who may not be far off – CF Will Ward, 2B Preston Carver, SP Todd Collins and top-30 SP prospect, Jonathan “The Scorpion” Ware