Is the underperforming White Sox a valuable pick to win AL Central?

There’s always one team, no matter the sport, that finds a way to get frustrated for much of the season relative to expectations, before – usually – they band together to live up to the hype. As Major League Baseball’s season hits the halfway mark, this team is the Chicago White Sox.

The central MLS holders were the pre-season strong favorites to repeat as class winners, with bookmakers getting their best value in the pre-season weekend was -195 at DraftKings. They were also selected to win the AL, between +460 and +550, and among the top five picks in the World Championships. Despite this, the White Sox have been dealing with injuries almost since the start of the season and come into play Thursday with a record 33-34 and third in the division, 4 1/2 games behind the Cleveland Guardians.

Add to fan dissatisfaction involving some of manager Tony La Russa’s in-game decisions, and the White Sox presents a dilemma for bookies still convinced they can right themselves and at least win the split. Simply put, is White Sox worth the bet?

Injuries keep piling up, and it shows in numbers

Chicago were able to overcome injuries to key offensive elements last season to win 13 games, but that was not the case in 2022. Eloy Jimenez, who was limited to 55 games last season, played just 11 in 2022 and has been sidelined in the past two months due to Hamstring injury. Yuan Moncada is on the injured list for the second time this season and has been limited to 29 games. Tim Anderson was already on the list twice, once due to COVID and once due to thigh tension.

Injuries also affected the show’s crew. Lance Lane, who won 11 games and scored 2.69 ERA last season, is just starting for the second time this season, after more than two months with a knee injury. Lucas Giolito also had two runs on the injured list and was inconsistent when he’s healthy, scoring 4-4 ​​and 5.40 ERA. Closest Liam Hendrix is ​​on the injured list, and loyalist Joe Kelly – a major off-season acquisition – is another player with two previous spells there.

Over the course of the year, the White Sox went from fifth to ninth in the AL in runs and from second to eighth in the core percentage. While they’ve gone from fourth to second in batting average, it’s actually lower in 2021. Chicago is on track to hit 140 home points this season, having scored 190 points in 2021, and no one in the The team has doubled this year.

The decline was more dramatic for throwing than last year, with Chicago going from second to 12th in the AL in the ERA and second to 11th in opponent hitting average. The White Sox also moved from second to ninth in the race allowed.

However, the price may be right for an AL Central address

Despite the streak of injuries, there are many reasons why the White Sox could be a wise play on the title of class. For starters, AL Central is still a humble division. Remember that last year, Chicago was the only team that finished above 0.500, and at the moment both Detroit and Kansas City play ball below 0.400.

Another is the loaded schedule that gives the White Sox every chance of winning the teams ahead of them, directly and indirectly. Chicago still has 16 games remaining against second-placed Minnesota and 14 games against Cleveland. The White Sox have already had their challenge against quality teams in the AL East, while the Guardians have 19 games remaining against the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rays, and the Twins still have 11 such matches.

And with Lane’s return, as well as veteran Johnny Koito who has done well since his call-up in May, the White Sox have the deepest spin in the division, even with Giolito who has yet to find his groove. Dylan Cease’s 5-3 record doesn’t do him justice, considering he has a 2.68 ERA and AL leading 13.14 strikes per nine innings. Cease also has the eighth worst running average support among AL shooters. Michael Kubis lived up to the hype pretty much, while slowly being brought in, with 2.38 ERAs in 12 starts and roughly average in each run.

The Sportsbooks White Sox didn’t count the AL Central race, with some still holding them as favorites to win the division, but the offerings available now are much better than they were when the season began. The group leader is FanDuel, which has Chicago at +170, Minnesota’s second choice (+145).

Caesars offers The White Sox at +155, just behind the Twin (+150). PointsBet has the highest value among the books that still list Chicago as the top choice, with Southsiders +140 repeats. DraftKings and BetMGM also have the White Sox as the anticipated division champion, delivering +135 and +130 respectively. DraftKings is the only book that still offers a yes/no option for the White Sox to make the playoffs, with a split of -165/+135.

Could he be stopped by AL candidate Cy Young’s sleeper?

For bettors confident that Cease can continue to play at the elite level – he gave up just five runs in 74 rounds, after serving 20 times in 165 2/3 rounds last season – now may be the time to balance out his Cy Young futures award.

The Kambi platform that currently operates BetRivers and Barstool Sportsbook offers the best value, at +2500, with a second DraftKings and PointsBet combined, at +2200. FanDuel is at +2100, but Cease can still be had at +2000 in almost every other book.

Photo: Kamil Krzyczynski/USA Today Sports

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