Before every series I will post these charts to help you get ready for the games, You can consider this my scouting report. The methodology is described below.
The Astros finish their road trip in Chicago. Astros fan hope the familiar surrounding jump start Abreu who has been terrible.
What a difference four days makes with this Astros roster.
Good News - Altuve is starting a rehab assignment in Sugar Land today
McCormick is hurting and his status is unclear
Brantley returned to Houston this week for more testing and his status is very questionable
Dubon tweaked his hamstring
Dusty said Abreu has an injury he does not know where so there is that
There may be last roster moves today. Stay tuned.
White Sox are in roster flux too:
Moncada is returning today from his back injury
Grandal has a hamstring injury and may be limited to DH duties
The White Sox have been horrible this year at 13-26. They have been beset by injuries. If they don't get on a run, they will be sellers at the trade deadline.
So, how do these two teams matchup?
Overall Preseason WAR Comparisons
Before the season this is how the two teams compared from a projected WAR standpoint.
The White Sox were actually projected to be an 81-81 team. Clearly, they are not meeting expectations.
Here is our modified table that shows the WAR by position so far, the projected WAR for the ROS, and then what the cumulative total WAR would be.
From an ACTUAL WAR delivered standpoint overall, the Astros have a 7.9 to 2.7 advantage. The brightest spot for Chicago has been Robert in CF. The rest of the OF for the White Sox has been bad. The bullpen has been terrible for the White Sox too.
The rest of the season projections are consistent generally with the preseason numbers. The Astros have the advantage. Again, these are the season projection numbers and NOT my opinion.
By the preseason WAR method, Chicago would have been predicted to win 81 games in 2023 vs. the 89 for the Astros. Projected after their starts, the White Sox would track to win 70 games and the Astros have fallen to project only 83 wins.
Let's compare the competition these two teams have faced.
According to the website MLB Strength of Schedule Rankings (powerrankingsguru.com),
The White Sox have played the 5th rated schedule so far in the MLB. They have the 23rd rated remaining schedule.
The Astros have played the 2nd rated schedule so far. Their remaining schedule is the 21st rated schedule.
NOTE- the projection numbers have now been updated to the projections as of May 1st. This shifts several of the baseline Astros grades too. The defensive projections also were updated which affected the full season defensive WAR and the defensive grade bumps up and down.
Chart 1- Position Player Roster
Defensive Positions and rosters with bench and key minor league players. Who is injured? Then, the relative scores to arrive at who is better.
The issue for the White Sox offense is injuries and terrible starts from some players like Benintendi and Anderson. Andrus has failed to even produce at the D rated level. The White Sox don't seem to have an answer for who should be playing RF. Is this a potential trade opportunity for the Astros with Julks?
The Astros have similar terrible starts from Abreu and Maldonado.
Here is a startling stat for Astros fans. Both the White Sox and the Astros enter this series with wRC+ ratings of 89. Both should be better.
The Astros SHOULD have an advantage at the plate.
Chart 2- The Projected Batting Orders
In this section I predict the general batting order I expect both teams to use this series. I MIGHT update this as the series progresses. You also see how the batting lineup compares with the 2023 projected grades.
IF Grandal can play, the White Sox should not be this bad. We will see how the Astros pitching does against them.
Chart 3- Pitching Rosters
Starters and Relief pitcher rosters with key minor league players. Who is injured? Then, the relative scores to arrive at who is better.
The report card projections say the Astros have a significant pitching advantage mostly in the bullpen.
Overall, Chicago pitching has 5.73 ERA- this is second worst in the MLB. The White Sox bullpen has been terrible this year and has pitched to an even worse 6.17 ERA.
How the Astros pitching will hold up without Garcia and Urquidy is the really pitching match-up question.
Chart 4- Starting Pitching Matchups,
In this section we look at the SP matchups by game.
The Astros are starting Bielak and France in this series. This gives the White sox the pitching advantage for game two.
Series Prediction- I need to address this. THIS Article is about the matchup and not a prediction. Predicting three games series results is nearly impossible. I do these predictions as a SUMMARY of what I think all of the matchup data is saying.
I believe the Astros will take two in this series but almost any result COULD happen. The White Sox are not as bad as they have played so far.
As we have discussed in the previous Astros Report Card Articles here is the grading scale for the position players.
To account for the value of defense a player can get a letter grade bump up or down based on their projected defensive WAR (or actual defensive WAR for 2022) for their primary defensive position.
For the pitchers we will use these two scales- one for 2023 based on projected FIP and the other for the 2022 actual FIP- data.
The overall score will be based on the point values to the right. The differences are tallied in the columns to the right.
Overall Score = Starter Differences + Bench Differences / 2 + MiLB Players Differences /4