The consensus favorites to win the American League Central on Opening Day, the Chicago White Sox have been one of the biggest disappointments in MLB so far this season. Chicago has just a 32-33 record as July nears. The White Sox playoff chances in 2022 have taken a meaningful hit, with Baseball Reference giving them just a 27.9% chance of making the postseason.
White Sox Playoff chances 2022
They have the record of an average team. Underlying numbers agree – Chicago is 13th in xwOBA from its hitters and 15th in xwOBA conceded by its pitchers. Their Pythagorean record is 29-36. They haven’t won more than three games in a row since May 8th.
Chicago has seen Yasmani Grandal underperform and end up on the injured list. Eloy Jimenez is hurt. Leury Garcia has been among the sport’s least productive hitters. Dallas Keuchel was designated for assignment, Lance Lynn has made just a couple of starts, and an expensive bullpen ranks in the bottom 10 in the league.
The White Sox 2022 payroll reflects a team trying to win. Only six franchises are spending more this season. As the Athletics and Rays have proved over and over again, though, money is not always the answer in MLB. Chicago’s spending hasn’t exactly been efficient when it comes to converting payroll dollars into wins, and the declining White Sox postseason chances in 2022 demonstrate this yet again.
Injuries are only part of the story
The ChiSox are 21st in team wins above average, just ahead of their cross-city rivals, the Cubs. Despite Lynn missing time, the rotation has been a bright spot with Michael Kopech, Johnny Cueto and Dylan Cease impressing. The offence is in the bottom half of the league in runs per game. Their relief corps is below average in both runs allowed and baserunners conceded.
Injuries can only be blamed so much. Every team is wrestling with health issues. Did this White Sox offense look like it would be any better on paper?
We are at the point of the season where Chicago White Sox trade deadline needs are being debated. The truth is, this roster cannot be fixed in one trade deadline, and attempting to do so would lead to further reckless trades. This team needs improved production from several players on its roster to stand a realistic chance at returning to the postseason. Lucas Giolito stands out as a disappointment, but the health of Liam Hendriks, Grandal, Joe Kelly and Jimenez could define their 2022.
Becoming a perennial contender takes more than a hefty payroll and prospects coming through. Even the big market juggernauts find cheap, contributing players from nowhere – it is a necessity to have sustained success, particularly when battling through injuries. The Yankees have Clay Holmes and Jose Trevino, the Dodgers have been masters of the art from Justin Turner to Max Muncy, Tyler Anderson and Chris Taylor. Look at what the Mets have got from Jeff McNeil or the Giants have found in Mike Yastrzemski and Darin Ruf. Where are the White Sox equivalents?
Big decisions to be made
Before throwing prospects at the flavor of the month when the trade deadline rolls around, the White Sox must take a broader look at their situation. Should Tony LaRussa remain in his post with how the team has been playing? Is it even worth making win-now trades this season?
The White Sox 2022 schedule meanders in the coming weeks. Series with the Orioles, Angels and Tigers are opportunities. Equally, they will be under pressure when they face Minnesota and Cleveland.
This is a frustrating season for a team which looked to have such a bright future. The farm is no longer stacked. What looked like a franchise poised for AL Central dominance at the very least is a .500 team at best based on what we’ve seen so far in 2022. It’s easy to get swept up in potential trades, but there are more fundamental questions to be answered in the coming months if the White Sox playoff chances are to improve.