White Sox- Contender or Pretender

The White Sox are currently .5 games behind the Tigers in the AL Central with a +10 run differential. That run differential doesn’t scream contender to me.
They have the best pitching staff according to WAR with a total of 13.2 so far. They also have the third best FIP, in baseball behind the Padres and Marlins, thanks to a MLB leading 3.39 FIP in June. Jake Peavy has really turned it around lately. Although this injury sounds scary. What the hell is a detached lat? The emergence of Gavin Floyd and John Danks has solidified the rotation and while Peavy will be missed his replacement should help ease the pain. Daniel Hudson, who will replace Peavy, has a 2.34 ERA at AAA Charlotte since the beginning of May. I don’t feel like doing the math to find out his FIP. The back end of the bullpen has been great so far. JJ Putz, Sergio Santos, and Bobby Jenks all have FIPs under 3 while Matt Thornton’s is under 2. All 4 strikeout over 10 per 9 as well. That’s a pretty scary thought for a team if they are trailing going into the 7th or 8th.
Now let’s look at the offense. The White Sox are middle of the pack when it comes to OBP, SLG, and wOBA. They are also in the bottom third of baseball when it comes to batting value. Paul Konerko and Alex Rios are the only hitters with a wOBA over .355. Juan Pierre and Alex Rios are both threats to steal a base when they get on, but Pierre isn’t very good at getting on base with a .331 OBP. They are also bad at running the bases. They are called out on the basepaths 7.9% of the time when “a runner was safe at first and was then picked off, caught stealing or thrown out running the bases in a non-force out situation (e.g. trying to go from 1st to 3rd on a single)”. To sum it up the offense is very bleak.
As for the defense, as a unit they are average at best. Alexei Ramirez, Alex Rios, and Juan Pierre do a very good job. Gordon Beckham’s also doing a nice job at 2B. The team UZR/150 is -3.2 which tells that the defense isn’t very good. This is also evidenced in the fact that the team FIP is .29 lower than the team ERA.
In conclusion, I don’t consider the White Sox to be contenders at this point. They may be able to sneak into the playoffs, but they have no shot of advancing past the first round with the current team.
All stats and the quote are from Fangraphs.

The White Sox are currently .5 games behind the Tigers in the AL Central with a +10 run differential. That run differential doesn’t scream contender to me.
They have the best pitching staff according to WAR with a total of 13.2 so far. They also have the third best FIP, in baseball behind the Padres and Marlins, thanks to a MLB leading 3.39 FIP in June. Jake Peavy has really turned it around lately. Although this injury sounds scary. What the hell is a detached lat? The emergence of Gavin Floyd and John Danks has solidified the rotation and while Peavy will be missed his replacement should help ease the pain. Daniel Hudson, who will replace Peavy, has a 2.34 ERA at AAA Charlotte since the beginning of May. I don’t feel like doing the math to find out his FIP. The back end of the bullpen has been great so far. JJ Putz, Sergio Santos, and Bobby Jenks all have FIPs under 3 while Matt Thornton’s is under 2. All 4 strikeout over 10 per 9 as well. That’s a pretty scary thought for a team if they are trailing going into the 7th or 8th.
Now let’s look at the offense. The White Sox are middle of the pack when it comes to OBP, SLG, and wOBA. They are also in the bottom third of baseball when it comes to batting value. Paul Konerko and Alex Rios are the only hitters with a wOBA over .355. Juan Pierre and Alex Rios are both threats to steal a base when they get on, but Pierre isn’t very good at getting on base with a .331 OBP. They are also bad at running the bases. They are called out on the basepaths 7.9% of the time when “a runner was safe at first and was then picked off, caught stealing or thrown out running the bases in a non-force out situation (e.g. trying to go from 1st to 3rd on a single)”. To sum it up the offense is very bleak.
As for the defense, as a unit they are average at best. Alexei Ramirez, Alex Rios, and Juan Pierre do a very good job. Gordon Beckham’s also doing a nice job at 2B. The team UZR/150 is -3.2 which tells that the defense isn’t very good. This is also evidenced in the fact that the team FIP is .29 lower than the team ERA.
In conclusion, I don’t consider the White Sox to be contenders at this point. They may be able to sneak into the playoffs, but they have no shot of advancing past the first round with the current team.
All stats and the quote are from Fangraphs.

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