White Sox: The rising kings of Chicago

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 11: Eloy Jimenez #74 and Yoan Moncada #10 of the Chicago White Sox look on from the dugout prior to the game against the Kansas City Royals on September 11, 2019 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 11: Eloy Jimenez #74 and Yoan Moncada #10 of the Chicago White Sox look on from the dugout prior to the game against the Kansas City Royals on September 11, 2019 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Reynaldo Lopez of the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Reynaldo Lopez of the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Trending – pitchers

Because there are so many uncertainties surrounding the White Sox rotation, at this stage the same exercise performed on each team’s core pitchers yields a less-certain outcome. Of the Sox projected top four starters for 2020, Dylan Cease was lightly used in 2019 and Dylan Covey sat out the entire season recovering from arm surgery.

That means most everything we can project about the Sox rotation flows from the experience of just two arms, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez.

The Cubs’ rotation is far more settled, not that that is necessarily a good thing. Between them, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish and Jose Quintana will average 32.5 years of age next season, a point at which a pitcher’s production can be expected to decline.

Lester, the oldest, will be 36 and coming off a season in which he produced his highest ERA since 2012.

Here’s the table:

Cubs                                    Trend                    White Sox                         Trend

Jon Lester                           +0.6                       Lucas Giolito                    +2.9

Kyle Hendricks                  -0.1                        Reynaldo Lopez              -0.7

Jose Quintana                   -0.8                        Dylan Cease                     -0.2

Yu Darvish                         +1.6                       Dylan Covey                      +0.2

Total                                    +1.3                       Total                                   +2.2

In a calculation of the chances of the White Sox overtaking the Cubs, the least certain aspect is the status of the teams’ pitching staffs. Adding to the uncertainty is the likelihood that the Sox’ 2020 plans will be shaped by events yet to occur, including the potential signing of a free agent arm.

At the same time, the Sox already hold a statistical edge at the key mound positions, and any changes are likely only to increase that advantage.