Hooooooooo boy have things been ugly since we last checked in on the White Sox All-Star chances a little more than one month ago.
When our esteemed leader James Fegan posted this article, speculating on the possibilities of All-Star appearances for a number of White Sox players, they were 24-14, coming off their fourth loss in five games. They’ve gone 10-22 since. Things are no good. Things are terrible. Things are bleak. The night is dark and filled with terror.
What better time, then, to check in on those All-Star chances? It’s a lot tougher for a fourth-place team to have a boatload of deserving All-Stars than one in first place, but the White Sox have to send at least one representative. It’s in the rule book and everything. So let’s pick up where James left off.
May 17 odds: 90 percent
Believe it or not, despite some rough luck against AL Central foes, Chris Sale remains where he was just one month ago — one of the best pitchers in baseball.
By WARP, he’s the best pitcher in the American League. By cFIP, he’s the third best pitcher in the American League. By using your eyeballs and watching him sling comets past hitters, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. He’s an All-Star.
New odds: 8 billion percent
May 17 odds: 60 percent
Jose Quintana deserves to be an All-Star, arguably as much as Sale. His name recognition hurts, but, when looking at the list of deserving AL starters, he’s no less recognizable than some of the others — Steven Wright, Danny Salazar, Marco Estrada, Colby Lewis. His cFIP is the best in the American League, and his ERA ranks just below Wright, Salazar and Estrada among qualifies starters.
Some big names are among the ranks, and depending on how the player vote turns out, it’s not completely unfeasible that he’s left out, even if it would be unjustifiable. The likes of David Price, Corey Kluber, Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmermann, Cole Hamels and Masahiro Tanaka all have different cases to make the team and name recognition that Quintana does not. There are also relievers. So many relievers. Last year’s AL roster had 14 pitchers (including injured pitchers) and seven of them were relievers. If Ned Yost follows suit this year, that means Quintana has to be one of only seven starters selected. It’s going to be tough.
New odds: 60 percent still seems right
May 17 odds: 40 percent
The first line of our May 17 write-up on Robertson was “He is the closer on a good team.” May 17 suddenly feels like an eternity ago.
At the time, Robertson was third in the American League in saves, and No. 2 (Shawn Tolleson) had an ERA over 7.00 and is no longer a closer. Robertson has been fine, but far less so during the month between then and now, and there are a lot of good relievers having better seasons for Yost to choose from — Wade Davis, Zach Britton, Alex Colome, Sam Dyson, Roberto Osuna, Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, Craig Kimbrel, Will Harris are just a few to mention.
Robertson is good, but he’s no longer having a great season for a reliever, and is now on a fourth-place team. His odds go down significantly.
New odds: Five percent
May 17 odds: Five percent
Jones was thrown in more as a “maybe the Sox will run away with the division and they’ll get a zillion players on the team” nominee. This is really starting to depress me.
New odds: <One percent
May 17 odds: Eight percent
Abreu has bounced back fine from his poor first two months, as he’s hitting .348/.387/.621 in the month of June (through Monday) and already has more homers in June (four) than he did in April or May.
Whether that’s enough to vault him into All-Star consideration is still to be determined, but at the moment it’s looking increasingly unlikely. Last year, the AL team had five 1B/DH types on the roster and right now, you can make a strong (or in some cases, easy) case for a bunch of guys — Miguel Cabrera, Eric Hosmer, Chris Davis, Joe Mauer, Mike Napoli, David Ortiz, Victor Martinez, Nelson Cruz, Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Santana.
There’s a logjam of lumbering dudes, and a few will be left off. Even if Abreu goes on a tear during the next two weeks, it’s hard to imagine he’ll leapfrog enough of them to make the team.
New odds: Three percent
May 17 odds: One percent
Lawrie was always a long, long shot to make the team given the glut of quality second basemen in the American League, something James noted a month ago.
At the time, Lawrie was playing well enough to at least be mentioned among the “also in consideration” bunch, but he’s cratered to the point where he has the second worst OPS among qualified second basemen, only slightly ahead of Jed Lowrie.
New odds: Negative 10 percent
May 17 odds: 15 percent (50 percent chance of being invited back to the Home Run Derby)
Frazier has the most home runs in the American League, and it wasn’t long ago where that virtually guaranteed you a spot in the All-Star Game. But, alas, the power has been his lone offensive contribution, and like Lawrie, he’s second from the bottom in OPS among qualified third basemen.
New odds: <One percent (but let’s bump his HR Derby odds up to 90 percent)
May 17 odds: 60 percent
Eaton seemed a very good candidate to make the All-Star Game a month ago, and still has a strong claim to being part of the roster. Eaton is second in WARP among outfielders, is 13th in batting average, 15th in OPS, and he’s already considered among the best defensive right fielders in baseball.
Eight outfielders made the American League roster a year ago, and in addition to Eaton, and after the starters are chosen (right now that’s Mike Trout, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts), Eaton will join a group of possible choices that includes Ian Desmond, Michael Saunders, George Springer, Lorenzo Cain, Nomar Mazara and a few others. Whether or not he’s done enough to separate himself from the others, and whether or not the fact that so much of his value is tied to his defense (because, let’s face it, glove guys don’t generally get elected), is still to be determined.
New odds: 50 percent with a 100 percent chance I’ll be angry if he doesn’t make it
May 17 odds: 14 percent
All those rankings I just listed for Eaton? Cabrera actually fares pretty well in them, too. With the exception of WAR (where he ranks 29th because he’s not a good defender), Cabrera is 14th in OPS and 11th in batting average. He’s also fourth in BB/K (Eaton is seventh).
Still, while Cabrera has had a nice bounce back season for the Sox, he hasn’t quite been All-Star material, especially when you consider all the names mentioned in the Eaton section.
May 17 odds: 2 percent
May 17 odds: 2 percent
New odds: Negative infinity
Lead Photo Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports