Last week, I was a guest on the Shawn Sierra Sports show on Logic Radio and the host asked me what my prediction was for the 2017 season. This is an exciting topic to discuss and one that is highly evocative to Chicago White Sox fans.
My answer wasn’t particularly eloquent or succinct since I hadn’t thought much about it until that moment, but as I rattled off possibilities I convinced myself of two points. One, that the White Sox, despite massive trades, are still highly competitive with their current roster. And two, even if subsequent trades materialize as they are expected to, the anticipated return will yield elite level talent expecting big-league debuts.
Moreover, players the White Sox have already culled from other teams are ready to step into holes left by bonafide big leaguers when trades manifest – as they certainly will.
PECOTA, Baseball Prospectus’ prediction program, expects the White Sox to finish with a 76-86 record – a number I surmised as well while muddling through an answer on air. Yet, PECOTA is known for being particularly conservative.
As one-third of the holy trinity of preseason predictions, PECOTA has historically been bandied about by numerous pundits to varying degrees. It is an exercise to quell the last weeks of late-winter doldrums before Spring Training starts. The other two prediction machines, ZiPS by Fangraphs and Clay Davenport’s eponymous report, round out the trio of widely speculated preseason predictions.
With so much information at hand to compute predictive outcomes, one must become a disciple of one or the other metric methodology. Yet, for the sake of getting on record and trying to quantify the South Siders upcoming season, I’ll walk the line between pure prediction and educated guess.