Chicago White Sox

The Cardinals and White Sox made key additions. The Cubs had big-name departures. Here’s how PECOTA predicts each team’s season.

Lamond Pope  |  Chicago Tribune (TNS) PECOTA is not sold on the Chicago White Sox or St. Louis Cardinals.

Baseball Prospectus released the PECOTA standings projections Tuesday morning, with the White Sox in third in the American League Central, the Cardinals third in the National League Central and the Cubs just ahead of St. Louis.

What the White Sox did this offseason

The Sox finished tied for second with the Cleveland Indians in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, one game behind the division-winning Minnesota Twins. The Sox lost to the Oakland Athletics in the AL wild-card round.

The Sox traded for pitcher Lance Lynn and signed closer Liam Hendriks and outfielder Adam Eaton this offseason. They also made a managerial change with Tony La Russa replacing Rick Renteria.

More: Lynn excited to join La Russa, ChiSox, who also sign Eaton

Nightengale: White Sox now the team to beat in the AL Central after making their moves

What the Cardinals did this offseason

The Cardinals finished tied for second with the Cincinnati Reds in 2020, losing to the San Diego Padres in a wild-card round.

St. Louis improved its lineup recently by landing third baseman Nolan Arenado in a blockbuster trade with the Colorado Rockies. They also have re-signed veteran mainstays in starter Adam Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina. They lost infielder Kolton Wong to the Milwaukee Brewers and outfielder Dexter Fowler to the Los Angeles Angels.

Nightengale: Nolan Arenado trade puts St. Louis Cardinals on path to greatness

What the Cubs did this offseason

The Cubs won the NL Central in 2020, their first season with David Ross as manager, but lost to the Miami Marlins in the wild-card round.

But it has been an offseason filled with change, with pitchers Yu Darvish (traded to the San Diego Padres) and Jon Lester (signed with the Washington Nationals) and outfielder Kyle Schwarber (non-tendered, signed with the Nationals) among those who have departed. New arrivals include outfielder Joc Pederson.

Nightengale: Cubs vow changes in their hiring processes as they continue to investigate Jared Porter

“Please remember that PECOTA and our simulations do not ‘pick’ a team to ‘win’ any particular number of games,” Baseball Prospectus writes on its website. “Rather, they identify an estimated range of games a team might win and tells you the average of that fairly wide range.”

PECOTA stands for player empirical comparison and optimization test algorithm, and “takes a player’s past performance and tries to project the most likely outcome for the following season,” according to the Baseball Prospectus website.

Here’s how PECOTA projects the two divisions:

AL Central

1. Minnesota Twins (97.4-64.6)

2. Cleveland Indians (85.7-76.3)

3. Chicago White Sox (83.1-78.9)

4. Kansas City Royals (70.8-91.2)

5. Detroit Tigers (66.6-95.4)

NL Central

1. Milwaukee Brewers (88.8-73.2)

  1. Chicago Cubs (85.1-76.9)

  2. St. Louis Cardinals (80.6-81.4)

  3. Cincinnati Reds (79.1-82.9)

5. Pittsburgh Pirates (61.1-100.9)

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