By: Mark Lester
Anyone with a pair of eyes and some common sense could tell you that the 2018 White Sox were an absolute trainwreck. They allowed 848 runs while scoring only 656 for a Pythagorean W-L (win-loss record based on run differential) total of 62 wins and 100 losses. Their actual win-loss record was the same, at 62-100. Perhaps the most notable thing about this team was how fast they plummeted to the bottom of the standings, starting off the year with an abysmal record of 5-16.
This year is a different story.
Though it doesn’t sound very impressive, the 2019 Sox have started the season with a record of 9-12 and a Pythagorean W-L of 10-11 (as of now). They look like a lot more like a major league baseball team instead of the Indians at the beginning of “Major League.”
The most notable contrast between this year and 2018 is, no surprises here, Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada. Tim Anderson is batting .383, leads the AL in steals, and has a case for the best bat flip of the year right off the bat (pun intended). Yoan Moncada’s also performing way beyond expectations so far, with a slash of .309/.363/.585 to go along with 6 home runs and 18 RBIs.
The rest of the lineup, including fresh call-up Eloy Jimenez aren’t anywhere near the success of their teammates, batting with a combined batting average of .194, while the starting pitchers rank 30th in baseball in ERA, 30th in K/9, and 29th in WHIP. The fact that the White Sox hitting core hasn’t been added upon is obvious, and the team pitching looks like a complete disaster.
However, what the White Sox Pythagorean W/L tells us is that they’re keeping it close early in the season. That hasn’t translated into wins yet, and to be quite frank I don’t see it happening. It’s easy to attribute the White Sox high Pythagorean W/L to the fact that they haven’t faced very many particularly tough teams to start off the year, the exceptions being the Mariners and Rays, who only amount to 5 games out of the 21 played so far. And it’s hard to ignore that despite the fact that they’re playing close games, the White Sox are still in 4th place in one of the worst divisions in baseball history.
There’s room for optimism though. We’re keeping it close, Anderson and Moncada are playing out of their minds, and we’re not 5-16. It’s a low bar, but it’s a start.