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He doesn’t wear hats but he’ll kick the Twins…yeah. Picture (c) United Artists 1989, Sox and Twin logos (c) MLB, the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins.

So ONCE AGAIN the revered PECOTA deigned to release their preseason projections and put the White Sox at 3rd in the AL Central behind Cleveland and Minnesota, who as cities and states go are behind Chicago and Illinois in several key areas, namely wet sandwiches and bitching about payroll. The Twins, of which there is only one, are especially irritating to project ahead of the Sox since they weren’t all that great last year and it’s hard to see why they’d be better this year. Twin models were once used to tout double the fun for gum chewers, should Minnesota’s MLB installment be double the mediocrity?

Regardless, since 35th and Shields is now the capitol of infighting and incompetence…no wait that’s the nation’s capitol. Now that 35th and Shields is the epicenter of unrealized dreams, after the alleged rebuild has yielded one playoff game win and the awfulness of 2022, the projected blahs are reflective of fan pessimism more than baseball talent. And that just isn’t the way mathematical models should work, even if they’re twins and gum is available for chewing. So, tradition being the dom of this blog since 2021’s bold PECOTA prediction that the Sox would suck, over the next four posts the Sox will be compared to, in order: The Minnesota Twins, The AL East contenders, The AL West contenders, and the similarly rated Rangers and Red Sox who are an interesting case study in anti-Jerry and post-modern Kennyism. The Guardians have previously been determined as fraudulent. The Sox should easily outclass the retooling Royals, Tigers and Orioles so no words will be wasted on them. With that in mind, PECOTA get yerself an egg, get ready to suuuuck it and let’s see why the White Sox are better than the Twins. As is the typical assumption, there are no major changes on the horizon to either team, unless Rick Hahn has actually cloned prime Ben Zobrist and “Face/Off”‘d him with Romy Gonzales. And there’s no reading into early Spring Training lineups so say NOTHING of Leury Garcia at 2B or Eloy in RF. Just…no.

Ranking the teams by position:

Rotation: White Sox over Twins. Let’s just start this with the fact that the Twins have no ace, and the Sox have the Cy Young runner up as theirs in the well-‘stached Dylan Cease. What the Twins have is Sonny Gray, who hasn’t been a true ace or reliably healthy in years. The Twins also have the inconsistent Tyler Mahle, and possible rebound candidate Kenta Maeda who hasn’t pitched in forever after TJ surgery. The creamy middle of the Twinkies rotation is Joe Ryan, who is largely a pitch-to-contact guy and innings eater, and Pablo Lopez who was a solid two in Miami. Not bad. But following Cease with Lance Lynn, former ace Lucas Giolito, once touted as an ace Michael Kopech, and deposed and somewhat disgraced former Cleveland ace Mike Cleavinger, is the better bet. That’s five aces…beats a pair (twins joke!). Advantage Sox.

Bullpen: White Sox over Twins. This would be a runaway if Liam Hendriks was healthy. Alas, he isn’t. The Twinkies have some…guys. Jorge Lopez figures to close with Emilio Pagan or scary arm Jhoan Duran in the wings. The rest of the guys in the not-St. Paul pen are fine, but nothing special. Reynaldo Lopez or Kendall Graveman closing is bolstered by the still potentially nasty Aaron Bummer, the possibly back to nasty Joe Kelly, the return of who knows what Garrett Crochet will be. True, Jake Diekman and Jose Ruiz exist, but Jimmy Lambert is solid and Nick Avila is a person. There is more potential from the best four Sox than the best four Twins, so the advantage is with the White Sox.

Outfield: White Sox over Twins. Byron Buxton is talented. But he makes Eloy Jimenez look like Cal Ripken Jr. in armor. After Buxton, the falloff is precipitous for the Twins, like how parents ignore the younger siblings of twins. Max Kepler hasn’t been much to write home about outside of the happy fun ball year. Joey Gallo remains overrated, frankly. He’s a career .199 hitter and yet because he thrice hit 40-plus homers in eight chances he’s somehow considered good. Meanwhile Andrew Benintendi is a solid, legit MLB outfielder and Oscar Colas has a chance to be much better than Gallo or Kepler; even if he K’s at their level he has Gallo’s power and a better potential average than both. There’s just not much to compare…even Gavin Sheets is better than Gallo or Kepler if you ignore defense. So all that and there hasn’t even been a mention of Luis Robert Jr., who has every bit what Buxton has talent-wise if not more. This is all White Sox by a mile.

Shortstop: White Sox over Twins. Depending on which doctors are to be believed, Carlos Correa is either a star SS or a star SS who has an ankle that will explode at any moment. Since two other teams said ‘splodey ankle and the Twins didn’t, the takeaway is likely bad ankle. That aside, Correa is typically a .280 guy with 20-plus homers, which is good. Tim Anderson is always a threat to contend for a batting title, with fewer homers but y’know…batting title. A healthy and ready to roll TA is a force that carries the team. A healthy and focused Carlos Correa is a righty Corey Seager. That’s good, but TA is just better. Advantage, White Sox.

Third Base: Pick ’em. Technically the Twins plan to rotate some guys here. But for the sake of who it should be mostly, the compo is Yoán Moncada vs. Jose Miranda. The fact that Miranda shares his last name with Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hollywood and Broadway fame, as well as familial DNA, gives him musical cred by proxy. So there’s no guarantee that Moncada can even win a rap battle here. In baseball, Jose Miranda is a guy who has a good bat that did decently after a slow start to his rookie year. His defense isn’t great, but the offense can carry him. YoYo has the glove but the bat needs to come back to something resembling league average. Last year, even with the suspect D, Miranda had a better fWAR and bWAR than Moncada and the arrow is pointing up. Moncada’s arrow was lazily popped out to right years ago, but if he gets back to that Joe Crede-esque .265 and 15-20 homers at the plate, he’s fine. Either of these guys can get better or worse this year. Maybe by the end of it Jose can introduce Yoán to Lin-Manuel and he can embark on a music career? Just anything can happen at the hot corner!

Second Base: Twins over White Sox. Jorge Polanco is pretty good. Elvis Andrus is…playing out of position and Romy Gonzalez is diet Ben Zobrist? Polanco is that which Rick Hahn was supposed to find this offseason, instead he signed his former emergency SS and overly talked up a guy who had a pedestrian minor league career. Sooo….yeah. Twins take this one.

First Base: White Sox over Twins. Again the Twins are being non-committal about naming an “everyday” first baseman, but projections guess that Alex Kiriloff will be there primarily. So rather than Vaughn against the field, Vaughn against Kirilloff makes sense. This could be close if the pedigree of Alex Kirilloff is legit and his wrist is healed. Then again, Andrew Vaughn’s pedigree is similar to Kirilloff. Fact is that while Kirilloff could be just as good as Vaughn, he has yet to arrive in the majors. Meanwhile Vaughn has arrived and seems primed to take the next step and become a lineup cornerstone. After all, Vaughn has had two years of learning on the job while his manager napped, and improved last year. And…yes…if the Sox kept Jose Abreu this would be a massive landslide. But they didn’t, so bet on the guy ready to bust out in his third year over the guy just hoping to keep his hands healthy and on the bat. Advantage White Sox.

Catcher: White Sox over the Twins. Yas was, at the time of his contract, a premier catcher in the MLB. Christian Vasquez is kinda that steady dude that always is the same middle of the road guy…average. So if Vasquez is the baseline, and Yas is a fading star, then their cohorts in Seby Zavala and Ryan Jeffers who were, respectively, better than Vasquez in ’22 and worse than Vasquez in ’22, tilt it to the Sox. An advantage of bleh proportions, but an advantage White Sox.

DH: White Sox over Twins. Eloy Jimenez, a bona fide stud when healthy, is going to be protected from himself to a degree and left to hit. Meanwhile, the Twins have the fearsome DH known as….whoever they have left over. Trevor Larnach? Nick Gordon? Kyle Farmer? Gilberto Celestino? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Fry? Fry? If Ben Stein is just calling out names of potential DH’s for the Twins, they don’t have it covered. Advantage Sox by maybe 30 dingers.

Position by position, the White Sox have the better rotation, bullpen, DH, outfield, shortstop, first baseman and catchers, and are tied at third base (at best). They’re behind at second base but Jorge Polanco isn’t exactly all-world. He’s just better than average at a position where the Sox are suspect (at best). This just doesn’t make sense. Was PECOTA going on flavor? Twinkies are far tastier than socks. But Twins better than Sox? C’mon man…spellcheck.

So without delving into any other advanced analytics, and unless PECOTA was comparing Hostess to Haines, what in the name of piranha poop was PECOTA doing here? There’s no way that the Sox are worse than the Minnesota Twins. Get that egg sucked.


And what, pray tell, is the Staff of Cork and Kerry? Scholars maintain two definitions are valid: first it is the assembled persons who provide the excellent food and drink at Cork and Kerry at the Park and Cork and Kerry Beverly. Also, same said scholars maintain that the Staff of Cork and Kerry is a weapon of mythical and fearsome power, wielded by only those of rare strength and skill or powerful of spirit to rise to greatness.

Only being one game into spring, there isn’t much action to choose from. Gavin Sheets hit the first homer. Remember him? Remember when he and other Sox players hit the ball out of the field of play in fair territory? Look, it isn’t exactly smiting the evils of the multiverse, but popping the first tater of 2023 is worth at least a twirl of the Staff of Cork and Kerry. Congrats Gavin, take your twirl.


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