With the 2017 season over at long last, baseball enthusiasts are turning to their second-favorite pastime: looking back to predictions made by baseball writers to see who gets to gloat and who needs to eat crow. And their attention is rightly focused most of all on a remarkable call made earlier this year by Sports Illustrated’s Ben Reiter, who in the magazine’s annual MLB preview boldly—and accurately, as it turned out—predicted that the Chicago White Sox would not win the American League Central. Reiter exposed himself to a lot of ridicule for making this call, but in the end, he was right, and the doubters were wrong.
While Reiter is enjoying his much-deserved plaudits, though, the failure of the Pale Hose has forced searching self-examination throughout the major leagues, where front-office analysts are desperately trying to figure out what went wrong in Bridgeport. With second baseman Yoan Moncada striking out in fewer than a third of his at-bats, starter Lucas Giolito giving up less than two home runs per nine innings, and center fielder Adam Engel breaking the .160 barrier, things went better for the team’s young players than anyone could have hoped—and it still wasn’t enough. The failure of the White Sox model can be expected to produce a fundamental reevaluation of how talent is evaluated and developed, and how rosters are put together.
What matters, though, is this: The organization’s impotence and litany of problems turned Reiter into a sage, as the White Sox finished fourth in their division with a 67-95 record. Hey Ben, any stock tips you’d like to share?
Disclosure: The author of this piece has been provided Gordon Beckham’s used footwear by the Chicago White Sox, and has been sent a Hawk Harrelson alarm clock by a White Sox enthusiast. His opinions are his own.