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Fans share their grades for the 2022 White Sox

by Jordan Lazowski

After previously providing my own grades for the 2022 White Sox season, our Sox On 35th team wanted to ask you, the fans, what you thought of the season that played out over the six or so months. Over the past few weeks, we asked fans who they considered some of the highlights and low points of the season, as well as what letter grade they would give to the team overall in various categories.

Here is what the fans had to say about a 2022 season without playoff baseball on the South Side.

Describe the 2022 White Sox season in one word

For this one, we created a word cloud – a fun way to view the pain that fans clearly felt this season.

“Disappointing” or some version of that word was easily the most popular. This was followed closely by “Failure” and “Disaster.” If you’re sensing a theme here, you should be.

Shout out to @nackoball for their use of the word “Quagmire” in this one to spice things up a bit.

Who was the team’s MVP?

Here’s the voting breakdown for MVP:

PlayerVote Total% of Votes
Dylan Cease3049.2%
Jose Abreu1626.2%
Johnny Cueto58.2%
Andrew Vaughn23.3%
Elvis Andrus23.3%
Eloy Jimenez11.6%

What fell into the other category? Single votes for Ethan Katz, a man named Andy in the Vizzy View Bar, and Tony La Russa’s pacemaker, which is morbid, but unique.

I can’t decide if the standout here is the fact that Dylan Cease was good enough to be the MVP of this team and the Cy Young (spoiler alert), or the fact that not a single player on offense was able to snatch the award away from Cease in the minds of the fans. Probably a bit of both at the end of the day.

Who was the team’s Cy Young?

PlayerVote Total% of Votes
Dylan Cease5996.8%
Johnny Cueto11.6%

No surprises here, but I do appreciate the consistency of “Shannon,” who did not name an MVP nor Cy Young award winner. Perhaps that’s the reason their one-word response for the season was “shitty,” but I may just be guessing here.

Who was the team’s Reliever of the Year?

PlayerVote Total% of Votes
Liam Hendriks3964.0%
Reynaldo Lopez1931.2%
Lance Lynn11.6%
Jose Ruiz11.6%

Hendriks and Lopez stand out as the two players who could potentially make up the eighth and ninth-inning duo for the White Sox next season, making Kendall Graveman and maybe even Joe Kelly expendable if the team decides to shake things up in the bullpen. I’m not sure how Lance Lynn (a SP) and Jose Ruiz (not too good) found their way onto this list, but I’m convinced that the Ruiz part is at least a troll.

… Respect low-leverage Ruiz, though.

Who was the team’s Most Surprising Player?

PlayerVote Total% of Votes
Johnny Cueto2540.4%
Elvis Andrus1016.2%
Andrew Vaughn46.5%
Reynaldo Lopez46.5%
Davis Martin34.8%
Danny Mendick23.2%
Jimmy Lambert23.2%
Yasmani Grandal23.2%
Romy Gonzalez23.2%
Dylan Cease23.2%
Jake Burger23.2%
Seby Zavala11.6%
Gavin Sheets11.6%
Josh Harrison11.6%
Jose Abreu11.6%

“Surprising” was taken two different ways here, though the majority appeared to take it how it was intended: surprisingly GOOD. Grandal found his way on this list as part of the surprisingly BAD definition, but kudos to both Cueto and Andrus for well outperforming most people’s expectations of them and turning the clock back to some of their better seasons. Personally, I would’ve chosen Davis Martin as my surprise, simply because he was entrusted with some critical innings despite not receiving a Spring Training invite in March.

Who was the team’s Most Disappointing Player?

PlayerVote Total% of Votes
Yoan Moncada2840.0%
Yasmani Grandal2738.7%
Lucas Giolito68.6%
Luis Robert34.3%
Joe Kelly11.4%
Lance Lynn11.4%
A.J. Pollock11.4%
Leury Garcia11.4%
Whole Team11.4%
Whole Team Except Vaughn11.4%

In the heated battle for the worst of the year, Yoan Moncada just edged out Yasmani Grandal in what will no doubt be described as brutal seasons by both of these players. Lucas Giolito fell at a distant third, and after posting an ERA starting with a “5” for most of the season after three years of being a Cy Young candidate, perhaps it speaks to just how tough of seasons Grandal and Moncada had. Robert, Kelly, Lynn (early on), Pollock, Garcia, and, well, the whole team are fair responses here in one form or another, and the answers here really start to show what fans value on their team.

Team Grades

The following graphics are fans’ letter grades (A-F) for the team in each of the following areas:

  • Starting Pitching
  • Relief Pitching
  • Offense
  • Defense
  • Baserunning
  • Coaching Staff

Spoiler alert: there aren’t too many “top of the class” grades in this batch either.

I mean, yikes. An unfortunate number of failing grades in the above. Dylan Cease, Johnny Cueto, and second-half Lance Lynn were able to save the starting pitching staff, while Liam Hendriks, Reynaldo Lopez, and others were able to save the relief pitching staff a bit. However, the offense, defense, baserunning, and coaching staff all received a majority of failing grades, and none of them received an “A.” In addition, there were only six “B” grades given across those five categories, and five of them were given to the defense (I’m not too sure how the offense received a “B,” but these aren’t my grades).

Overall, I don’t have much to add here. The results speak for themselves in a season like this more often than not.

Final Season Thoughts

We will end with a final review of ten fans’ thoughts on the season. I did read all the responses, however, and while the frustration is there, so is the passion for this team. We all want the same things at the end of the day.

Thanks to all of those who participated in this poll, and thanks to all of those who have followed along throughout the year! We appreciate your support.

Alex Kuhel: “Looking at contracts, it appears the Sox will have most of the same players back in 2023. With a couple of roster tweaks and new management/coaching, hopefully, more players will have better performances, and we can see a return to 2020/2021 winning percentages. The Sox will need to address having too many 1B/DH players. They cannot have another year of Vaughn, et al, logging lots of games in the OF. Blowing up the team isn’t the answer…yet.”

@dsscpa00: “Ethan Katz knows his craft with the pitching staff. He gets a lot of credit for the job they did. Getting a lot of mileage from Cueto, keeping Giolito productive, bringing Dylan Cease along, Kopech…. On the other side of the ball, there is not one player I believe showed up ready to go and gave 100%. Most disappointing was Moncada, most days he looked like he would rather be doing anything else. Eloy needs to be able to stay healthy, and they need to put an MLB-caliber defense on the field behind their pitchers. Too many hit-first guys who didn’t really hit…”

@kwynn2411: “My Mom always said if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”

@SouthSideDeetch: “I think overall, the lack of hustle and poor fundamentals were detrimental to the success of this team. Opponents figured out that playing small ball and out-hustling the White Sox was an easy path to victory. The next manager better focus on accountability because there was very little from top to bottom all season long.”

@JackHill43: “I bleed black and white, but this is one of the most frustrating seasons I have ever watched! We have the talent. We need to come back next year and remember baseball is FUN, baseball is exciting, and we want a World Series!!!!”

Bernie Cook: “In my 63 years of being a die-hard Sox fan, I was never more disappointed in a team than this year’s team. The players didn’t hustle, and losing didn’t seem to hurt. They were an easy team not to like!”

@AndrewCWhite: “In order, the team suffered from: 1) injuries, 2) poor managing, 3) lack of intensity, 4) bad defense, 5) lack of urgency, 6) no plate patience, 7) weak base running beyond Anderson and Robert (see: Engel/Moncada debacle), and 8) too many 1B/DH types forced into positions beyond their skill set. The team could have survived some of these had everything else gone well, but the first three items on the list turned the rest into glaring defects. They need a new manager, better training staff, better analytics, better scouting, better defense, health, and players playing positions fitting their athletic skill sets.”

@dannylewisaz: “I was a renewing 40-Game Weekend season ticket holder and I’m hesitant to return. La Russa should’ve been fired by the All-Star Break, let alone shouldn’t have been hired in the first place. The team didn’t have a real locker room leader until Andrus joined the team. Vaughn had no business in the outfield. Hahn failed to fill the gaps needed. They’re going to need to do a lot by mid-November for me to return, they can start by hiring the right manager. My top choice is Espada.”

Thomas Hall: “This was a team failure, not just on one person! There was just a complete lack of effort and leadership, as evidenced by the team’s failure to put together a sustained run!”

@SoxSideIrish99: “One bad season doesn’t define you unless you let it. Get back out there and play like you want to win the World Series.”

Follow us @SoxOn35th for more!

Featured Image: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

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Aaron Sapoznik

Aside from a few pitchers and Pito, the ‘curve’ here was bottom heavy, deservedly so.

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