The Chicago White Sox entered the 2022 MLB season as the clear favorites to win the American League Central division. Chicago was seemingly leaps and bounds above everyone else in the Central. But the Minnesota Twins jumped out to an early lead in the division. However, they endured a collapse of their own down the stretch while the Cleveland Guardians found their rhythm. The Guardians, against all odds, recently clinched the AL Central.
Meanwhile, the White Sox are in the running for MLB’s greatest disappointment. But what went wrong? How could a roster full of so much talent bottom out like Chicago did? Let’s take a look at the 3 main reasons why the White Sox crumbled in 2022.
3. Tony La Russa
Tony La Russa is a Hall of Fame manager who is well-respected around the game. But his style of managing did not mesh with the White Sox in 2022. And he made a number of questionable managing decision that even left Chicago’s broadcasters in shock.
There is no question that the Cleveland Guardians would not be where they are without Terry Francona. Francona led Cleveland, a team with the youngest roster in baseball, to the playoffs. Managers play a bigger role than people realize and La Russa simply did not have what it takes to lead this specific White Sox ball club.
Tony La Russa still needs to be remembered as a legendary coach for his time in St. Louis with the Cardinals. But it is clear Chicago needs to move on and find a new skipper.
2. White Sox’ lack of determination
The blame can’t all be placed on Tony La Russa. The White Sox displayed a lack of effort and determination throughout the 2022 campaign.
Their lackluster effort showed up specifically on defense. The White Sox averaged the third most errors per game in all of baseball, leading only the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals. They also have the third most total errors in MLB as of this story’s publication, with a mark of 100 errors, per Baseball Reference. As a result of this, they own the third worst fielding percentage in the league.
But some of their lack of determination can only be shown by watching games. Whether it is not diving for a ball, not taking the extra base, or simply refusing to do the little things, this was a team that lacked a sense of urgency.
The final reason for the White Sox’ 2022 shortcomings was out of their control.
1. White Sox injury bug
The White Sox were hit hard with injuries all season long. Almost everyone on the roster seemingly dealt with an ailment at one point or another.
Co-aces Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn started off the season with injuries. They were never able to get things going upon their returns and struggled for the majority of the campaign.
Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease picked up the slack in the White Sox pitching rotation. But Kopech was dealt an injury blow down the stretch.
Offensively, important players like Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, and Tim Anderson all spent time on the IL at one point or another.
Every team deals with injuries. It is an unfortunate reality of sports, and they are especially common throughout the course of a 162-game season. But there is no denying the fact that the White Sox would have had a better season if they had remained even a little bit healthier.
Chicago will aim to rebound in 2023 and place this forgettable 2022 season in the rearview mirror.