Five reasons the White Sox will be World Series champs
Ten teams go into the MLB postseason, but only one can win the World Series!
The Los Angeles Dodgers are favored to repeat at +350 despite being forced to compete in the single-elimination Wild Card round against the red-hot St. Louis Cardinals. We think there is a better bet to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy this year – namely, the Chicago White Sox (+750).
Here are five reasons why the South Siders will win the 2021 Fall Classic.
World Series 2021
Tue, November 2 2021, 11:00 PM
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Tampa Bay Rays
Chicago White Sox
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
St. Louis Cardinals
1. A rock-solid rotation
The age of relying on the arm of your one true ace every three playoff games is just about done. Over the last few seasons, it’s been teams that can cobble together an elite collection of arms that make it to the World Series. The White Sox have this without a doubt.
Final MLB swinging strike leaders, 2021:— Codify, Inc. (@CodifyBaseball) October 4, 2021
Robbie Ray, 527
Kevin Gausman, 492
Max Scherzer, 487
Lucas Giolito, 483 🔥🔥🔥
Dylan Cease, 478 🔥🔥🔥@whitesox @LGio27 @DylanCease pic.twitter.com/1AEDiAJJut
It will most likely be some combination of Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Dylan Cease starting the first three games of the ALDS against the Houston Astros. Lynn was an AL Cy Young frontrunner for most of the campaign, and finished with a 2.69 ERA and 1.070 WHIP. Giolito – who led his club with 178 2/3 innings pitched, was dynamite in the second half, producing a 2.65 ERA and 1.004 WHIP over 13 starts. Cease has been a reliable option, particularly at home, where he authored a 3.18 ERA and .205 opponent batting average.
Carlos Rodon has been battling shoulder soreness throughout the second half, but continues to be very effective when his number is called.
2. Multiple reliable relief arms
American League saves leader Liam Hendriks (38) is just one of many talented arms that manager Tony La Russa can call upon in the Chicago bullpen.
Liam Hendriks is an Electric Factory. ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/DxvKO2uKux— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 2, 2021
Only the Milwaukee Brewers struck out more batters per nine innings than the White Sox relief corps (10.89 to 10.58), and only the Tampa Bay Rays relievers had a higher WAR (7.9 to 7.8).
Aaron Bummer, Garrett Crochet, Michael Kopech, and Ryan Tepera are just some of La Russa’s options. If Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel can contribute in a positive way, look out.
3. Jose Abreu
Reigning AL MVP Jose Abreu was far-and-away the best hitter on the White Sox in 2021, smacking a team-high 30 homers and driving in a team-best 117 RBI.
He cooled off in September (.717 OPS) after a torrid August (1.043 OPS), but the grand slam he hit on Saturday suggests that he could be rounding back into form. His .943 OPS with runners in scoring position this season placed him in the upper echelon of MLB stars.
4. An abundance of quality in their lineup
Abreu wouldn’t have had all those RBI this season without people getting on base in front of him. He often knocked in the dynamic Tim Anderson, who paced the club in both runs (94) and batting average (.309).
Luis Robert's 117.7 MPH HR is the hardest-hit homer by a @WhiteSox hitter since at least 2015. pic.twitter.com/1NjfP0Sk2f— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 3, 2021
Luis Robert had an incredible second half after missing over two months with an injury, and finished with a .946 OPS over 296 plate appearances. Also dangerous on a daily basis are Yasmani Grandal (.939 OPS) and Gavin Sheets (.934 OPS last 15 days).
5. Tony La Russa
There were many who doubted La Russa’s ability to come back from the sidelines after a 10-year hiatus and be a Hall of Fame-level manager again, but he has clearly been able to do just that with the White Sox.
Chicago dealt with a plethora of injuries throughout the season, and also added and subtracted several players at the trade deadline. This amount of tumult could have sunk an inferior team with an inferior manager, but the White Sox persevered.
La Russa deserves credit for serving as the glue that held this club together. Expect him to push the right buttons more often than not on the way to a World Series title.