Chase Utley: One of the Best Ever

If you are reading this, there is a remarkably decent chance that you are a somewhat invested baseball fan. As a baseball fan, you probably ...

Are the White Sox Good?

 It is a good question. Are the Chicago White Sox good? In a historical sense, no, they are not. They haven't made the playoffs in a full season since 2008. They won the World Series in 2005, but that roster wasn't very good. Props to them for the run they had, but... not the most impressive title team that we have seen. Another great question would be: Is this article filler? That is a great question. Anyways, before 2005, the White Sox hadn't won a World Series since like 1917, which was worse than the Red Sox curse. Additionally, they weren't even good like the Red Sox were. However, this isn't what the article was supposed to be about. 

Are the 2021 White Sox good? I would have to say yes. Yasmani Grandal is the best catcher in baseball and no one even talks about him when talking about the White Sox. Luis Robert makes thirst trap Tik Toks for some reason, but he has some of the purest raw power I've ever seen, especially for a center fielder who will be a gold glover at some point. Combine that with Tim Anderson getting exceptionally lucky and Yoan Moncada looking incredibly swaggy, and you have a lineup. Oh yeah, I forgot about Eloy Jimenez, who can absolutely fuck on occasion. For my next segment, I will use some actual content.

Look at this graph. It calculates the relationship between earned run average of a reliever and their win probability. As you can see, there was kind of an exponential relationship as we got to the top so that's why I rolled with. The White Sox signed Liam Hendrix to a lot of money recently, and he has maintained around a 1.8 ERA in the past 2 seasons. If he maintained it for 2021? His win probability added would be around 2.5. Keep in mind, WPA is relative to league average. That is, a 0 win probability added would be league average. So if Hendrix maintained a 1.8 ERA, he would be 2.5 wins more valuable than an average reliever. This is very valuable and this would make him well worth the contract. However, he will not be worth 2.5 wins, at least on average. If we use his ZiPS projections, which are pretty high on him, we get a 2.88 ERA and around a 1 WPA (I don't have the equation on hand, just eyeballing it.) Is this worth the money? Well, that gets pretty philosophical. 1 WPA is not the same as 1 WAR, it is better, since WAR is above replacement, and WPA is above average. WPA is also a lot more noisy than WAR since it uses literal win probability instead of a stat like ERA which is context neutral. Be that as it may, I don't quite know how to value relievers in that regard. If you can add 1 win above average in just 60 innings, is that more valuable than adding 2 wins in 200 innings? It's legitimately hard to say. It does depend on the roster, and I guess when you have the specific roster at hand, it could become a lot easier to calculate. If you're a team gushing with pitching depth like the Rays, a guy like Hendriks could be more valuable. He provides something in those 60 innings that is nearly impossible to find elsewhere. On the other hand, you could have a team like the Angels, whose pitching depth is clearly questionable and could use more resources spent on a breadth of innings as opposed to concentrating high efficiency into just a handful of innings. This can be calculated easily when the roster is actually at hand, but sometimes it is hard to evaluate a deal like the Hendriks deal in a vacuum when there are so many other potential results.

That got out of hand in a hurry, and I actually ended up putting some effort into this article, so let's just scan the White Sox pitching staff before leaving. Lance Lynn is an absolute horse and a based chad, and his inning eating ability is a good balance to Hendriks high efficiency, low inning value. Dallas Keuchel is kind of a product of a bygone era but he is interesting, although I don't necessarily trust the White Sox defense to hold him up. Be that as it may, he had great results last year, so what does it really matter? Lucas Giolito is just kind of there but also is really good, like legit good, y'know? ZiPS thinks he is the best pitcher in baseball. That is, debatable, but you never truly know. Dylan Cease is pretty boom or bust at this point and Carlos Rodon is, uh , not great.  He's not actually that bad, but the White Sox could maybe afford to get some insurance in the 5 hole. They might get that in Michael Kopech, but I would perhaps even go a bit further and trade for Jacob Degrom. That would be a solid addition.

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