The Chicago White Sox were expected to be contenders for a championship last year, but instead had a massively disappointing season, finishing at .500, 11 games back of Cleveland for the division title. After Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa retired, the White Sox looked to Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol to lead their team. Grifol had been passed over for the top job in Kansas City twice, but has a great reputation as a bilingual communicator and effective conduit between the analytics department and on-field staff.
With a much more talented roster in Chicago, Grifol has a better chance of success, although higher expectations as well. The White Sox disappointing season stemmed from a rash of injuries that cost them significant time from many of their young stars, and some regression from their hitters as well. The bullpen lacked depth and the defense was one of the worst in baseball, with -35 Defensive Runs Saved and a AL-high 102 errors. The White Sox are hoping that Grifol’s leadership, healthier players, and the addition of former Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi can help them reclaim the division title they last won in 2021.
Chicago White Sox
2022 record: 81-81
2023 PECOTA projection: 79-83
ZIPS projection: 80-82
Manager: Pedro Grifol
Key additions: Hanser Alberto, Andrew Benintendi, Mike Clevinger, Jake Marisnick, Bryan Shaw
Key losses: José Abreu, Johnny Cueto, Adam Engel, Josh Harrison, Danny Mendick, A.J. Pollock, Vince Velasquez
Only three White Sox hitters managed to qualify for the batting title due to so many players hitting the Injured List, and two of them - José Abreu and A.J. Pollock - left via free agency. Chicago is hoping a healthier Tim Anderson, Eloy Jiménez, and Luis Robert Jr. can help them improve an offense that finished ninth in runs scored. Yoán Moncada missed time as well and was dreadful when he did play and will be looking to bounce back to his 2019 numbers that garnered him MVP votes.
The White Sox handed Benintendi a five-year, $75 million contract, the largest free agent deal in club history. He’ll be asked to get on base and play Gold Glove defense. Cuban outfielder Oscar Colás could be Opening Day right fielder after hitting .314/.371/.523 with 23 home runs in the minors last year, but he has played just seven games higher than Double-A.
All statistics are 2022 numbers.
2023 Chicago White Sox projected lineup
|SS Tim Anderson (R)||351||6||13||.301||.339||.395||2.0|
|CF Luis Robert (R)||401||12||11||.284||.319||.426||2.1|
|LF Andrew Benintendi (L)||521||5||8||.304||.373||.399||2.8|
|DH Eloy Jiménez (R)||327||16||0||.295||.358||.500||1.7|
|3B Yoán Moncada (S)||433||12||2||.212||.273||.353||0.9|
|1B Andrew Vaughn (R)||555||17||0||.271||.321||.429||-0.4|
|C Yasmani Grandal (S)||376||5||1||.202||.301||.269||-0.4|
|RF Oscar Colas (L)||0||0||0||-||-||-||-|
|2B Elvis Andrus (R)||577||17||18||.249||.303||.404||3.5|
|C Seby Zavala (R)||205||2||0||.270||.347||.382||1.9|
|1B Gavin Sheets (L)||410||15||0||.241||.295||.411||0.1|
|3B Jake Burger (R)||183||8||0||.250||.302||.458||0.3|
|IF/OF Leury Garcia (S)||315||3||2||.210||.233||.267||-1.1|
Dylan Cease had a breakout season, finishing as the runner-up in American League Cy Young voting. But ace Lucas Giolito took a huge step backward, finishing with the sixth-worst ERA in baseball for anyone with 150 innings. The White Sox thought they had an elite rotation, but it was pretty mediocre last year. They added Mike Clevinger, who in addition to having off-field issues, has seen a decline in his velocity following Tommy John surgery.
There is no timetable for the return of All-Star closer Liam Hendriks following his diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. In his absence the team will turn to Kendall Graveman and Aaron Bummer in late innings. Hard-throwing lefty Garrett Crochet could return this summer after missing all of last season following Tommy John surgery.
All statistics are 2022 numbers.
2023 Chicago White Sox projected pitching staff
|RHP Dylan Cease||2.20||3.10||184.0||11.1||3.8||4.4|
|RHP Lance Lynn||3.99||3.82||121.2||9.2||1.4||1.9|
|LHP Lucas Giolito||4.90||4.06||161.2||9.9||3.4||1.8|
|RHP Mike Clevinger||4.33||4.97||114.1||7.2||2.8||0.4|
|RHP Michael Kopech||3.54||4.49||119.1||7.9||4.3||1.0|
|RHP Kendall Graveman||3.18||3.42||65.0||9.1||3.6||0.7|
|LHP Aaron Bummer||2.36||3.19||26.2||10.1||3.4||0.3|
|RHP Joe Kelly||6.08||3.06||37.0||12.9||5.6||0.5|
|RHP Reynaldo López||2.76||1.93||65.1||8.7||1.5||2.0|
|LHP Jake Diekman||4.99||5.00||57.2||12.3||6.6||-0.6|
|RHP José Ruiz||4.60||4.43||60.2||10.1||4.9||-0.1|
|RHP Jimmy Lambert||3.26||3.90||47.0||8.6||4.6||0.3|
The White Sox have a lot of talent, but last year exposed a lot of their weaknesses. The clock is ticking for them to capitalize on all the young talent they have amassed with Giolito and Yasmani Grandal eligible for free agency after this year and Anderson, Moncada, Hendriks and Lance Lynn eligible the following year. Perhaps Grifol will be the skipper to get the organization rowing in the right direction.
How many games will the White Sox win in 2023?
This poll is closed
More than 95
Fewer than 70