Old, Slow, Injured Sox Need Some Diversifying
Byline: Lindsey Willhite
If we've been hearing the same quotes and reading the same stories lately, then you, too, have been beaten over the skull daily with talk of the White Sox' remarkable talent level.
Some days Ozzie Guillen said, "We have better talent than we've shown."
Other days? "The talent is there."
And, finally, just the other day in these pages:
"Believe me, if we didn't have the talent here, I wouldn't be sitting here saying we have this hope and faith. But with the talent we have, I think we should be better."
You know what? We shouldn't buy this anymore.
And if we'd listened in spring training to, gasp, the baseball- savvy "geeks" who know their way around computer models, we wouldn't have bought into this from the start.
When you scour the Internet, you find several examples in which the White Sox' incredible talent was projected to do exactly what it has accomplished.
Here's what Tom Tippett's Diamond Mind baseball, likely the finest computer simulation game on the market, projected in late March when he ran all 30 major-league teams through 200 simulated seasons:
The White Sox averaged a 78-84 record, finished 13 1/2 games out of the lead and made the playoffs in 5.7 percent of the seasons.
Here's what Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA model showed: White Sox 74-88, fourth place in the AL Central.
Here's what Dan Zymborski's ZiPS' model predicted: 77-85, fourth place.
There are other models out there. Mostly, they show the White Sox finishing in fourth place and under .500.
Now, I know what you're thinking.
Why should we discount what Guillen and Kenny Williams say in favor of some guys with oversized spreadsheets and the ability to perform regression analysis?
Here's why: Particularly in Baseball Prospectus' case, the "geeks" take advantage of vast statistical databases that pinpoint what you can expect from a player based on their age, body type, recent performance and virtually every other quantifiable characteristic. …