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2022 PECOTA Projections Set Lofty Goals for White Sox

by Jordan Lazowski

Today, Baseball Prospectus released their first edition of the 2022 PECOTA player projections for player statistics throughout the season. Let’s take a look at how their system sees individual White Sox players performing in 2022.

What is PECOTA?

First, an explanation on PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus’ Website:

“PECOTA, which stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, is BP’s proprietary system that projects player and team performance. PECOTA is a system that takes a player’s past performance and tries to project the most likely outcome for the following season. It looks at all of the numbers, and all the numbers that make up the numbers, to see which players are more likely to repeat their success and which ones benefited from good fortune.”

So, just like Fangraphs or Baseball-Reference, PECOTA is Baseball Prospectus’ version of projections for the coming season. They are looking to see what players might do in the coming year.

White Sox PECOTA Projections (Offense)

While Baseball Prospectus has not released their projections for the standings just yet, they have released their “Player Percentiles.” From a 1st – 99th percentile view, with 50th being average, how are players expected to perform in 2022?

Here are the 50th percentile projections for each of the assumed members of the White Sox’ Offense. As a note, WARP is Baseball Prospectus’ version of WAR:

  • Yasmani Grandal: .237/.397/.470, 22 HR, 63 RBI, 5.2 WARP
  • Luis Robert: .281/.341/.493, 22 HR, 75 RBI, 3.8 WARP
  • Yoan Moncada: .259/.359/.449, 20 HR, 71 RBI, 2.9 WARP
  • Tim Anderson: .283/.319/.433, 17 HR, 65 RBI, 2.4 WARP
  • Eloy Jimenez: .267/.322/.482, 28 HR, 90 RBI, 2.4 WARP
  • Jose Abreu: .260/.342/.473, 28 HR, 93 RBI, 2.3 WARP
  • Andrew Vaughn: .244/.326/.417, 16 HR, 60 RBI, 0.4 WARP
  • Adam Engel: .229/.295/.382, 9 HR, 38 RBI, 0.3 WARP
  • Gavin Sheets: .246/.319/.401, 19 HR, 54 RBI, 0.3 WARP
  • Leury Garcia: .254/.315/.373, 8 HR, 47 RBI, 0.2 WARP

It is important to remember that these projections are partially based on past performance, so players like Vaughn and Sheets without a lot of track record will have their numbers heavily influenced by 2021. Basically, if you expect growth, don’t take these numbers as canon.

Some players I could see exceeding their projections are Andrew Vaughn, Adam Engel, and Gavin Sheets, assuming the White Sox don’t sign a RF and each of these players gets a large number of at-bats. Luis Robert is projected to have an incredibly strong third season and has the potential to be a 20/20 player. PECOTA also projects Yoan Moncada to get back to hitting 20 HR in a season this year.

However, the holes we fans see on paper are the same holes PECOTA sees: RF and 2B. And, frankly, the projections don’t seem to like the White Sox’ internal options for either position. Something to keep in mind as the lockout ends.

White Sox PECOTA Projections (Pitching)

Let’s take a look at some of the projected contributors to the pitching staff and their projections for 2022:

  • Lance Lynn: 184.2 IP, 12-9, 3.43 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 2.5 WARP
  • Lucas Giolito: 181.1 IP, 12-9, 3.76 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 2.0 WARP
  • Dylan Cease: 140.1 IP, 9-7, 3.54 ERA, 10.8 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, 2.0 WARP
  • Michael Kopech: 103 IP, 7-5, 2.97 ERA, 11.2 K/9, 3/5 BB/9, 1.7 WARP
  • Liam Hendriks: 53.1 IP, 3-2, 2.22 ERA, 13.2 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 1.2 WARP
  • Aaron Bummer: 48.1 IP, 3-2, 2.75 ERA, 11.3 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, 0.9 WARP
  • Craig Kimbrel: 48.1 IP, 2-2, 3.02 ERA, 14.6 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, 0.8 WARP
  • Kendall Graveman: 48.1 IP, 2-2, 3.92 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 0.3 WARP
  • Garrett Crochet: 48.1 IP, 2-2, 3.98 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 0.3 WARP
  • Reynaldo Lopez: 82.1 IP, 7-5, 4.45 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.2 WARP
  • Matt Foster: 38.2 IP, 2-2, 4.23 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 0.1 WARP
  • Dallas Keuchel: 163 IP, 9-10, 4.91 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, -0.1 WARP

The first thing that stands out is Michael Kopech’s projection of a 2.97 ERA. Wow, talk about lofty goals! With 103 IP, PECOTA is projecting him to essentially replace the bulk of Carlos Rodon’s 130 IP in 2021. After that, Keuchel isn’t really projected to have that bounce-back season many White Sox fans are hoping he provides. Because of this, it would really make sense for the White Sox to go out and get an extra bullpen arm or two, along with some help for the back end of the rotation in case Keuchel is not serviceable.

Players I would expect to outperform their projections include Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, and Garrett Crochet. I also think it’s encouraging to see Kimbrel projected to bounce back after a rough stint on the South Side. Perhaps if the White Sox can’t find a trade partner for him, he can help alleviate some projected bullpen concerns with the departure of Michael Kopech for the rotation.

Other Interesting Notes

PECOTA projections are interesting and will get updated throughout the offseason, so stay tuned for those.

One thing that’s always interesting to look at is the 99th percentile projections for players. Now, these are meant to be the best possible outcome for particular players – not outcomes that are necessarily feasible. So, don’t get your hopes up here, but these are some of my favorite 99th percentile lines for the White Sox

  • Yasmani Grandal as a top 10 hitter in baseball: .269/.449/.596, 32 HR, 71 RBI, 7.8 WARP
  • Luis Robert as a 20/20 player: .307/.376/.619, 37 HR, 84 RBI, 21 SB, 6.6 WARP
  • Andrew Vaughn’s potential: .276/.366/.543, 28 HR, 71 RBI, 3.0 WARP
  • Lance Lynn as a top 15 pitcher in baseball: 184.2 IP, 2.80 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 3.7 WARP
  • Dallas Keuchel’s best-case scenario still isn’t great: 163 IP, 4.22 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 0.9 WARP

Basically, these are just meant to be fun, but it highlights the serious potential on this White Sox roster.

To view the full list of PECOTA projections, you must be a Baseball Prospectus member. If you are, click HERE to be redirected to their website so you can download and view all projections.

All this talk of projections is fun, but I know we’d all love for the season to get started sooner rather than later. Let’s hope the season ends up truly being right around the corner.

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Featured Photo: White Sox / Twitter

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