clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2022 American League Central Division Preview: Chicago White Sox

The defending division champs bring back much of the same team.

Chicago White Sox v Kansas City Royals
 Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox hits in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on July 27, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The White Sox won the division for the first time since 2008, but were quickly bounced out in the League Divisional Series. Their 93 wins were the most since they won it all in 2005, and that was without key players like Luis Robert and Eloy Jiménez for a significant portion of the season. With the rebuild over, and the farm sytem ranked at the bottom of the league, the time is now for the White Sox to make a serious push for a championship.

Chicago White Sox

2021 record: 93-69, first place (lost to Houston in the ALDS)

2022 PECOTA projection: 91-71

ZIPS projection: 87-75

Manager: Tony LaRussa

Key additions: Kendall Graveman, Josh Harrison, Joe Kelly, Vince Velasquez

Key losses: Brian Goodwin, Billy Hamilton, Cesar Hernandez, Carlos Rodón, Ryan Tepera

Offense

The White Sox finished fifth in runs scored with a patient approach, drawing the second-most walks and posting the second-best on-base percentage. The lineup certainly has a lot of power potential, but they finished with the fourth-fewest home runs in the American League, and only Jose Abreu and Yasmani Grandal hit as many as 20 dingers.

Tim Anderson continues to pace the offense after finishing fourth in batting average last year, with 2020 MVP José Abreu ready to drive him in. Luis Robert missed three months last year with a torn hip flexor, but returned to put up monster numbers and could be poised for a breakout season. Yoán Moncada saw his power numbers dip, but he was still valuable due to the tenth-best walk rate in baseball.

The White Sox added veteran infielder Josh Harrison, who provides a little bit of positional flexibility, as does super utility-player Leury Garcia. It’s unclear how former top prospect Andrew Vaughn fits in the lineup. A natural first baseman, he’s held his own in limited time in left field, but with Jiménez healthy in left this year, and Gavin Sheets impressing in his rookie season as a DH, Vaughn may have to fight for plate appearances.

All statistics are 2021 numbers.

2022 Chicago White Sox Expected Lineup

Batter PA HR BA OBA SLG rWAR
Batter PA HR BA OBA SLG rWAR
SS Tim Anderson (R) 551 17 .309 .338 .469 4.8
CF Luis Robert (R) 296 13 .338 .378 .567 3.6
1B José Abreu (R) 659 30 .261 .351 .481 3.0
3B Yoán Moncada (S) 616 14 .263 .375 .412 4.0
LF Eloy Jiménez (R) 231 10 .249 .303 .437 0.7
C Yasmani Grandal (S) 375 23 .240 .420 .520 3.7
DH Gavin Sheets (L) 179 11 .250 .324 .506 0.2
2B Josh Harrison (R) 558 8 .279 .341 .400 2.1
RF Leury Garcia (S) 474 5 .267 .335 .376 2.1
Bench PA HR BA OBA SLG rWAR
C Seby Zavala (R) 104 5 .183 .240 .376 -0.2
1B Andrew Vaughn (R) 469 15 .235 .309 .396 0.2
OF Adam Engel (R) 140 7 .252 .336 .496 1.6

Pitching

The White Sox pitching staff was fantastic last year, allowing the fewest runs, and striking out the most hitters. Chicago boasted four of the top eight starting pitchers in the league, according to Fangraphs WAR. Carlos Rodón departed for San Francisco, but Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Dylan Cease return, with Michael Kopech moving from the bullpen to replace Rodón. Lefty Dallas Keuchel may be on his last legs as a starter - no pitcher with at least 100 innings had a lower strikeout rate.

The bullpen led the American League with 10.6 strikeouts-per-nine innings, and they add veterans Joe Kelly and Kendall Graveman for more depth. Liam Hendriks led all relievers with 113 strikeouts and 2.7 fWAR. Lefties Garrett Crochet and Aaron Bummer were also in the top 20 in WAR among relievers. Tony LaRussa will not have a shortage of options to turn to in his pen.

2022 Chicago White Sox Expected Pitching Staff

Rotation ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 rWAR
Rotation ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 rWAR
RHP Lance Lynn 2.69 3.32 157.0 10.1 2.6 5.4
RHP Lucas Giolito 3.53 3.79 178.2 10.1 2.6 4.3
LHP Dallas Keuchel 5.28 5.23 162.0 5.3 3.3 0.0
RHP Dylan Cease 3.91 3.41 165.2 12.3 3.7 2.8
RHP Michael Kopech 3.50 2.97 69.1 13.4 3.1 1.3
Bullpen ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 rWAR
RHP Liam Hendriks 2.54 2.34 71.0 14.3 0.9 2.6
RHP Craig Kimbrel 2.26 2.43 59.2 15.1 3.5 2.5
RHP Joe Kelly 2.86 3.08 44.0 10.2 3.1 0.7
LHP Aaron Bummer 3.51 2.96 56.1 12.0 4.6 0.5
RHP Kendall Graveman 1.77 3.19 56.0 9.8 3.2 2.2
LHP Garrett Crochet 2.82 2.80 54.1 10.8 4.5 1.3

The White Sox had a disappointing Divisional Series where they scored six runs in their three losses, but they are still the class of the Central Division. They boast one of the deepest pitching staffs in baseball, with a young, dynamic lineup that is both patient and explosive. Injuries can always be a factor, and with a thin farm system there won’t be many chances to add players mid-season, but the Sox showed they can overcome injuries last year. They are still the favorites to repeat as division winners, and should be considered serious contenders for a pennant this year.

Poll

How many games will the White Sox win in 2022?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    More than 95
    (23 votes)
  • 50%
    90-94
    (75 votes)
  • 25%
    85-89
    (38 votes)
  • 6%
    80-84
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    75-79
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    70-74
    (0 votes)
  • 2%
    Fewer than 70
    (3 votes)
148 votes total Vote Now