2015 White Sox Over/Under Extravaganza

As you probably know, you can gamble on just about everything under the sun nowadays. Who will be the President in 2016? Which movie will win Best Picture at the Academy Awards? How many home runs will Jose Abreu hit?

You probably have an opinion on that last one (maybe the other two, we don't know). Either way, the staff at The Catbird Seat decided to make some over/under predictions for the 2015 White Sox.

We came up with a starting point, compiled by Collin Whitchurch through a combination of looking at last year's numbers, this year's projections, and some just plain out of thin air, and each staff member predicted whether the final 2015 tally would be over or under that number. Some are fun. Some are sad. Some are ridiculous.

Enjoy, and let us know your predictions in the comments section.

The Team

2015 wins — 81.5

James Fegan: Over. Why get up out of bed in the morning if I didn't believe this?

Matt Adams: Over. I'm not expecting a runaway winner, but if this team doesn't finish above .500 we've got problems.

Nick Schaefer: Over. Right now I think this is a really tough number — in other words, this is right around where I would set it if pressed. Right now I would say a game or two over.

Collin Whitchurch: Over. I'm not going to go out on a limb and predict 90 wins like some fans but getting above .500 shouldn't be an issue.

Ethan Spalding: Over. I think this is a solid line, and seems like a decent median expectation. My belief that Hahn/Kenny will add pieces to even a borderline contender before the deadline pushes me to the over. 

The Hitters

Jose Abreu — 33.5 home runs

Fegan: Over. He has 70 game power, and hit 36 last year despite a second half power outage. I would probably pick over if this was 40 because I drank a lot of beer today.

Adams: Over. But probably not by a lot.

Schaefer: Over.

Whitchurch: Under. Would we be upset if he hit only 30 home runs and batted .330 with a .390 OBP?

Spalding: Over. I think the power outage late last year was part mirage, part lack of body readiness (to no fault of Abreu's) for the grind of a full season. I'm saying around 40 homers this year.

Jose Abreu — .950 OPS

Fegan: Over. Irrational confidence?

Adams: Over. But probably not by a lot.

Schaefer: Under. This is probably pretty accurate, although I wouldn't be surprised if he took a bit of a step back from last year. Not because I don't think that's what he's capable of, but when you get to Top 5 in the league performances it's just hard to assume that will be replicated completely. A .930 OPS would still be a triumph, but .950 is insanely great.

Whitchurch: Over. Just because I don't think he's going to hit a bajillion home runs doesn't mean I don't believe he's going to destroy the world.

Spalding: Over. I also think Abreu is a better average hitter than he was when he was on his dinger binge. I think he's in for an absolutely monster year that will steal MVP votes from Trout, even if he's not the more valuable player. 

Adam Eaton — 19.5 stolen bases

Fegan: Over. I really should find something to go under on, but every inkling so far is that they're going to be aggressive as hell.

Adams: Over. Even though he didn't look at all improved on his skills during the spring, I'm going to go with the over. Putting more belief in his staying healthy than his actual swiping ability.

Schaefer: Over. But again I think this is a really good line. It seems like the organization is really prioritizing this as an area of improvement, which makes sense, and I've seen that he did some running in Spring Training already. I don't know how efficient he'll ever be, and he could also get hurt so we shall see.

Whitchurch: Over. I'm very bullish on Adam Eaton in 2015.

Spalding: Over. The Vince Coleman hype seems real, and Eaton is too fast and too smart a ballplayer to be as poor a base stealer as he was last year. I say somewhere in the mid-20s.

Gordon Beckham — 200 plate appearances

Fegan: Over. This is the saddest over. There are too many potential sinkholes that could open up for him to fill.

Adams: Under. Please let it be under.

Schaefer: Over. Much to my chagrin. And how many infield pop-ups per 100 PAs? 20? 30?

Whitchurch: Under. Micah Johnson, Carlos Sanchez, Conor Gillaspie. Hell, even Emilio Bonifacio. Hitting the under on this comes down to these four guys. Don't let us down, fellas.

Spalding: Over. I hate how sure of this pick I feel.

Conor Gillaspie — 100 at-bats against left-handed pitchers

Fegan: Over. There's no reason at all for him to be over! He will be over. 

Adams: Under. He had too many last year and he barely broke that threshold.

Schaefer: Under. PAs or ABs? It might actually matter for this one as last year he had 109 PAs and 104 BAs. I will say under for this one. I think this is one of the areas where Beckham will pick up at bats. I just don't see him getting more than he did last year.

Whitchurch: Over. The sad reality is that Beckham's ABs and Gillaspie's ABs against lefties are directly related to each other. Which is worse?

Spalding: Under. He only had 109 last year on a bad team. I think third base is also the most likely position to be upgraded at midseason.

Tyler Flowers — .300 OBP

Fegan: Under. A normal BABIP for a man who is — eyeballing here — 8-foot-5, 530 lbs., combined with a 35 percent K-rate doesn't bode well.

Adams: Over. In Tyler Flowers' breakout year he bats .260 and OBPs at .310. And we're all happy.

Schaefer: Under. I'm guessing the under on this one. He was close last year, but he just hasn't ever hit or gone over a .300 OBP since becoming a full time player.

Whitchurch: Over. What? You don't expect your 29-year-old catcher with 1,000 career plate appearances to have a breakout season?

Spalding: Under. It's really hard to get on base even 30% of the time with a nearly 40% strikeout rate and non-exceptional walk rate.

Avisail Garcia — .735 OPS

Fegan: Under. Gets too comfortable slapping singles to right field to produce power/ever not swing.

Adams: Over. That seems a likely target. But let's say the over because optimism.

Schaefer: Over. But not by much. I know that Avisail has often been presented as a boom or bust prospect, but I've been increasingly thinking he's just an average player who hangs out with an OPS in the mid to high 700s for a while while playing okay defense in the corner.

Whitchurch: Under. Just slightly. If he comes close to this number we're pretty pleased, right?

Spalding: Over. This is a difficult line. I think a .320 OBP and .450 slugging is possible, but I also fear the downside. 

The Pitchers

Jeff Samardzija — 205.5 strikeouts

Fegan: Under. K-rate was kinda falling last year as he became more of a zone-pounder.

Adams: Over. Just gonna assume that the Samardzija of the last two years is the real one because that's how I get to sleep at night.

Schaefer: Under. AL v. NL tax, as he was hovering around this as is.

Whitchurch: Under. If Samardzija is merely good and not great are we all going to be disappointed?

Spalding: Under. I think he settles in with the lower K and BB rates of 2014 and falls just short.

Jeff Samardzija — $75 million contract during or after the season

Fegan: Over. GMs be cray-cray.

Adams: Over. Inflation is a bitch.

Schaefer: Over. I'm increasingly concerned it won't be the White Sox.

Whitchurch: Over. Probably should've set this one higher, eh, guys?

Spalding: Over. By a lot. If he missed this entire season with Tommy John surgery I think he'd get that much. If I had to guess now I think he gets 5/$95 million

Chris Sale — 2.50 ERA

Fegan: Over. 2.50 is still really, really low! 

Adams: Under. Again, I need to sleep and Chris Sale slaying people is necessary for this.

Schaefer: Under.

Whitchurch: Under. No reason to think he won't be among the top 2-3 in the Cy Young discussion again this year.

Spalding: Over. 2.50 ERA is really, really low to expect better performance then. If I had to pick a pitcher to lead the league in ERA, I think it'll be Sale.

Chris Sale — 26.5 games started

Fegan: Over. He's getting that three week arm break out of the way early!

Adams: Over. We, as a people, can't tolerate anything less.

Schaefer: Under. Because I'm terrified.

Whitchurch: Over. It's either predict over or cry.

Spalding: Over. I think this is the year he clears 30 starts

Jose Quintana — 199.5 innings pitched

Fegan: Under. He's a hoss and all, but he hasn't made a habit of going WAY deep into games and there's an actual bullpen (in theory) to put out his fires now.

Adams: Over. I think a tiny step forward is in Jose's future.

Schaefer: Over. When I checked his line from the last couple of years I was amused as to how accurate this is.

Whitchurch: Over. Semi-related: Quintana makes his first All-Star team in 2015. Book it.

Spalding: Under. He's hit 200 in consecutive years, but the probability any given pitcher gets injured in a year is high enough I'll go under.

David Robertson — 34.5 saves

Fegan: Over. Robin logic dictates that if you're the closer, and it's a save situation, you are a pitching. THIS DUDE GOT ADDISON REED 40 SAVES IN 2013!!

Adams: Over. This team should win games, and Robertson should stay healthy.

Schaefer: Over.

Whitchurch: Under. Recent developments have made me increasingly concerned about Robertson.

Spalding: Over. I think it'll be in the high 30s/low 40s.

Carlos Rodon — 49.5 innings pitched in the majors

Fegan: Over. He's the fourth-best starter in the org, so they should probably give him some innings.

Adams: Over. I find it hard to believe that Danks and Noesi are both blocking him well past the all star break.

Schaefer: Over.

Whitchurch: Under. For no other reason than I expect the White Sox to torture us and not call him up until September for whatever reason.

Spalding: Over. I think he's up by late May and pitches at least 100 innings.

John Danks — 4.50 ERA

Fegan: Over. Stop making me write about this tragedy, man.

Adams: Over. Probably. If it's under it's because he only got two good games in and then his arm fell off.

Schaefer: Woof. I've been so down on him all offseason. (ed note: guessing "woof" means "over"?)

Whitchurch: Under. Just to be a contrarian.

Spalding: Over. He's so bad it'd take a lot of luck to drop even that low.

Bullpen — 3.58 ERA

Fegan: Over. Seven out of 15 AL teams bested this mark in 2014 and I think the Sox are probably average.

Adams: Under. 

Schaefer: Over. I think the bullpen will be better, but I think it's still over. I'm not sold on Dan Jennings, and as much as I love Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka I don't think their ERAs are as pretty next season. Duke should be good, but I don't know if he's lights out like last year.

Whitchurch: Under. I picked this number because it was the league average in 2014. I think the White Sox will be better than league average in 2015.

Spalding: Over. Really, I have no idea.

The Miscellaneous

Hawk Harrelson — 60 minutes into the first broadcast that he makes a disparaging remark about sabermetrics

Fegan: Under. Hawk ain't making it out of the pregame notes without telling us the Sox bullpen is going to win a championship.

Adams: Under. Standings predictions talk will commence around the time of the first hit or the first out recorded by White Sox pitching.

Schaefer: Over. I don't think he mentions it on opening day.

Whitchurch: Under. This is the easiest under.

Spalding: Over. Too much excitement around this team for him to be mad that early.

June 1 — The date the first article is published with comments from White Sox officials claiming the team can't add payroll at the trade deadline unless more fans start coming to games

Fegan: After. I think the Sox are pretty careful not to give direct quotes on this matter anymore, and they can count on the media to take the mantle for them pretty often. First mention of why aren't more people supporting a winner could come in May.

Adams: After. Gonna say that comes closer to the deadline.

Schaefer: After. I think it is inevitable, but I think it will come sometime in late June. 

Whitchurch: After. Only because I think more fans than usual are going to come out early in the season.

Spalding: After. Trade talk generally doesn't start happening until June.

Dayan Viciedo — 0.5 times we miss watching him patrol the outfield on a regular basis

Fegan: Under. Does wondering aloud "How the hell did Dayan never break himself in half?" while the ambulance is driving off the field with Avisail inside count?

Adams: Under. Melky will provide some occasional comic relief without murdering our faith in man.

Schaefer: Over. There has to be at least one time this season where Melky makes a bad throw and one of us — however briefly — will think, "Viciedo would have made that throw." I would be curious if somebody tracked plays Melky makes this year that Viciedo just would not come close to making.

Whitchurch: Under. Let's not be stupid.

Spalding: Over. Probably on a close throwing play.

Robin Ventura — 9.5 times he forces Nick Schaefer to write a scathing critique of his bullpen (mis)management

Fegan: Over. I thought this was an extreme mark initially, then I remembered that Nick would probably write one for every playoff game alone.

Adams: Under. They'll be written, but Robin is learning. Also I think maybe Nick is getting soft. 

Schaefer: Over if Twitter counts. Under if it doesn't.

Whitchurch: Under. He'll save most of his best material for our staff email thread, where he doesn't have to censor himself.

Spalding: Over. Well, it's a given.

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