The 2023 MLB season is finally upon us, which means it’s time for predictions! Here’s how our CHGO White Sox staff thinks the season will shake out …
The Sox final record will be …
Sean Anderson: 83-79. I bet under 83.5 and I have to stick with my money. Most projections (ZiPS, PECOTA, etc.) have the Sox winning under 80 games. The potential is there for a 90-win team and division-winning team, but I do not think they did enough this offseason to improve the team.
Herb Lawrence: 86-76. Everything that could go wrong went wrong for the entire White Sox organization in 2022. If we just agree that last year was a fluke then it is hard for me to give them a similar (or worse) record than the 81-81 they had in that awful season. Player regression and coaching staff just being at least or near league average will enhance their record just by that alone.
Vinnie Duber: 90-72. After everything that went so, so wrong in 2022, a lot would have to go right for the White Sox to vault back into the realm of championship contenders. But isn’t that baseball? The White Sox need to stay healthy, first and foremost, to live up to the potential that was expected from them a year ago and is still expected by the front office, which opted to place its faith in mostly the same group of players that stumbled to .500 last year. But the pitching has the potential to be elite, and the lineup has the potential to do the same. There are a lot of “ifs,” sure. But look around the AL Central and show me a roster even close to as talented.
Jared Wyllys: 80-82. I’d like to believe that they can bounce back from last year’s disappointment, but I think the loss of Jose Abreu is too significant for the offense, and I don’t trust other key members of the lineup like Eloy Jimenez to stay healthy. I trust the rotation and even the bullpen without Liam Hendriks, but I worry about how productive this team will be at the plate.
Which Sox player will have the biggest bounceback season?
Sean: Lucas Giolito. 14 pitchers since 2019 have an fWAR higher than 13 fWAR. Lucas Giolito is one of those 14 pitchers. From the onset, his 2022 was marred by injuries. With clean health, I can easily see Lucas bouncing back.
Herb: Yoan Moncada. He’s coming off his worse season where he slashed 212/273/353 and had myriad injuries including an oblique strain that really never healed until the offseason. If you watch the World Baseball Classic (where he was named to the All-WBC team) he started to look like the guy we all remember from 2019 & 2021. He was driving the ball with authority and his patient eye was all the way back. I see nothing but good thing in 2023 for Yoan.
Vinnie: Yasmani Grandal. Tim Anderson and Luis Robert Jr. might put up better numbers, but if the White Sox want to start bashing opposing pitchers again, there’s no more important duo than Grandal and Yoan Moncada, the worst offenders as the White Sox lineup collectively failed last season. If the health woes that bedeviled Grandal the last two seasons are indeed behind him, he has the potential to bring the lineup the combination of deadly power and elite on-base skills that it so lacked last season.
Jared: Tim Anderson. He wasn’t even bad last year … when he played. Limited to 79 games in 2022, TA’s bounceback will be about staying on the field and leading this offense. I’d like to see him in the batting title race again.
Who leads the Sox in home runs and how many will he hit?
Sean: Eloy Jiménez seems to be the easy answer. I do not like easy answers, it is why I am a bad bettor. I will continue my bad choices and say Andrew Vaughn. a 50 percentile season for Vaughn according to ZiPS has him projected to hit 28 home runs. He led the team in 2022 and I think moving to first base will allow him to go over the 20-home run barrier.
Herb: In his rookie season in 2019, Eloy Jimenez hit 31 HRs in only 122 games. In the subsequent seasons Eloy hasn’t matched that 31 homer total because of various injuries but hopefully with a full offseason dedicated to slimming down and staying on the field he will surpass that number easily.
Vinnie: Eloy Jimenez is the obvious answer here after a sensational second half last year in which he was one of the most productive hitters in baseball. He’s got 40-homer power, though even if he doesn’t reach that number, he can be an elite hitter with big numbers in other stat categories. I’ll say he smacks 35 of them in 2023.
Jared: I don’t think anyone on this team is hitting a lot of them, so the bar is going to be low. That said, I think there are a few who could get at least 20, and among that group, I think Eloy has the best chance to hit something like 36. Just stay healthy, Eloy!
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The most important player for the 2023 season is …
Sean: Luis Robert Jr. He has never played 100 games in a single season before. He will be at the top of the lineup everyday when healthy. Pedro Grifol has already said “he’s an MVP candidate”. He needs to start posting for this team to realize any postseason success.
Herb: Andrew Vaughn: He has to be the player that most have envisioned him to be when he was drafted third overall from California-Berkeley. Essentially, the White Sox by not re-signing Jose Abreu picked Andrew Vaughn over the White Sox icon and if he isn’t in that same offensive stratosphere the fans will show their displeasure and it will mostly be directed at the young first baseman. If he does produce like they believe he will, it will make for a rear success for the organization for top 10 picks of late (Nick Madrigal & Zack Collins) and lift up this offense.
Vinnie: Tim Anderson. There are hitters like Yoan Moncada and Yasmani Grandal whose importance would perhaps mean more specifically to getting the White Sox’ offense back on track. But Anderson is everything for this White Sox team, on and off the field. He’s a batting champion at the top of the lineup, a nonstop force of energy in the field and in the dugout, a leader in the clubhouse and the personal embodiment of the attitude this team wants to have. He comes through in the clutch, he produces big moments and he’s as confident in his ability and his teammates’ as it comes. If TA is TA, the White Sox are in a good spot.
Jared: Lucas Giolito. I said it above, but I have faith in the rotation to be good, but the difference between a solid rotation and one that helps defy low preseason expectations is this guy. He’s capable of pitching like a Cy Young candidate.
Most likely to represent the Sox at the All-Star Game?
Sean: Tim Anderson. He was THE starting shortstop for the American League in 2022, @Herb!
Herb: Dylan Cease: With the departure of Justin Verlander to the National League, Cease (who was the runner-up to Verlander in the Cy Young Award in 2022) will be one of the front runners from that award again. He was snubbed last year when it came time for the All-Star Game and I’m sure that it still upsets him and it will drive him to start the season off with a bang so he isn’t forgotten when it is time to pick All-Star teams again. And yes, Tim Anderson will be in the convo, Sean. 😂
Vinnie: Tim Anderson, if only because of how the All-Star starters are selected. TA was already a national figure, and his star turn during the World Baseball Classic boosted his profile even more. It should be expected for Anderson’s numbers to be All-Star worthy, of course, but even if he’s not statistically the best player on the White Sox come the middle of the summer, he’s the most vote-in-able.
Jared: I’m with Sean. TA all the way.
The best-case scenario for the White Sox is ….
“92-70 with an AL Central Title.” – Sean
“95-67, AL Central Champions” – Herb
“Not sure the other guys understood the question — or maybe I didn’t — but the best-case scenario for any team is winning the World Series. Same goes for the White Sox. It might not be the most realistic outcome, but it’s the dictionary definition of what happens when everything goes right.” – Vinnie
“Hit 90 wins and take the division.” – Jared
The worst-case scenario is …
“Everyone gets hurt, again.” – Sean
“A healthy yet mediocre season where they finish behind the Guardians again” – Herb
“If I’m sticking by the logic behind my answer to the best-case question, then the worst-case scenario has to be going 0-162. In actuality, though, missing the playoffs again with this carefully rebuilt roster would border on disastrous for the White Sox, who would potentially be forced to embark on an overhaul the scale of which the most frustrated fans were hoping for this past winter.” – Vinnie
“Repeat of 2022, just with a different manager.” – Jared
American League award predictions
Playoff team predictions
World Series predictions
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