Let’s put the 2013 White Sox in context: I started Bud Norris in fantasy last night because he was pitching against the Sox.
Things are that bad. So bad that starting a pitcher on the worst staff in baseball, on one of the worst teams in baseball, is actually the correct fantasy move (okay maybe it wasn’t). But the truth is the Sox stink. The standings say a last place team. The eye test sees an offense that is horrific. The recent trend tells us the Sox almost got swept by one of the worst teams of the last 25 years*. The only positive is the pitching, however, even when the Sox get a great performance (Sale on Friday), they find a way to lose.
*The Astros had given up 5.25 runs a game going into this series with the Sox. They gave up 12 runs in four games (8 in the first three)... the fact the Sox couldn’t generate any offense against a team as bad as the ‘Stros is flat out depressing.
So how bad are they? To the standings! First, let’s get rid of all the teams with a positive run differential (going into Tuesday’s games; 6/18/2013).
By winning percentage, the Sox are the second worst team in the AL. If we instead look at run differential the Sox are the third worst.
This seems sort of crazy considering the Sox were just a few games short of taking the AL Central last year. And now, months later and with only a few moves here or there, they’re one of the worst teams in the AL.
In terms of pure talent, Toronto and the Angels have more. The Jays are currently making a run and it’s only a matter of time before the Angels do also—in both cases their run differential says they’re better than their record.
Meanwhile, what made the Astros series so miserable was that it was pretty clear from a talent standpoint, they’re worse than the Sox. But there they were, looking to pull off a four game sweep.
So if the Sox aren’t the worst, but they’re not as good as the Angels and Jays, where do they fit? Not that being the 14th worst team in the AL is any better than being the 12th worst, but that’s the reality of this sorry state of affairs.
I’d say the Sox are the 12th worst team (OH YEAH!). The Twins seem to be overachieving a bit, especially their pitching, but they're a team on the rise over the next few years. On the other hand, the situation in Seattle might be more depressing that what’s going on over on the South Side. The Mariners struggles are chronicled across the Internet, their offense is as bad and probably a tad worse, meanwhile their pitching isn’t as good and they can't seem to develop offensive talent. When the dust settles on this season (and depending on who and when gets traded on the Sox), they’ll probably find a way to sneak by the Mariners and Twins into 12th place in the AL.
Which is totally depressing. But when you look at the talent and the excellent pitching the Sox have gotten (only the Yankees, Tigers and Royals have allowed fewer runs so far), it will be hard for the Sox to completely fall apart (though they’ve tried really hard over the last month now). A bottom out season, like 2007, isn't very likely. But neither is an 81 win season at this point.
And what a bummer this is. Not even half way through the season at the Sox are totally out of it and not much fun to watch either.