On the safe bet for White Sox win-loss predictions

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On the safe bet for White Sox win-loss predictions

A quick scan of various prognostications for the 2012 season reveals something not too surprising: nobody seems to have much confidence in the White Sox.

Hardball Talk's Aaron Gleeman pegs the Sox for a win total in the upper 70s, noting he expects the Sox to be sellers at the deadline. Baseball Prospectus' latest PECOTA projections have the Sox at 79 wins with a 19 percent chance of making the playoffs. The the lesser-known CAIRO has the Sox at 74 wins.

On the lower bounds of things, Sports Illustrated has the Sox losing 95 games, a projection Jake Peavy obviously disagrees with. And when Cubs Talk's Tony Andracki simulated a season on the video game MLB The Show, the Sox went 60-102.

The Sox probably won't lose 100 games. Even 95 seems like a stretch. But if only one or two key things go wrong for the Sox this season, the results may not be pretty.

The good news, though, is that if two or three key things go right, the Sox should contend for the playoffs deep into the season. Let's say Adam Dunn rebounds nicely, Peavy stays healthy and Chris Sale is effective. Even if everything else stays the same from 2011 -- namely, the production of Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham -- those three things breaking in favor of the Sox could put them into contention.

The White Sox aren't the Rangers, which PECOTA projects to be the best team in baseball this year. The Rangers can shoulder the loss of a key player or two -- like the 60 or so games Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz combined to miss last year. The White Sox don't have that wiggle room.

So that's why you're seeing these modest projections. Around 77 wins is the safe bet, the one that doesn't require much to break right -- or wrong -- to reach. I

f the Sox win 90, don't go back and dismiss these projections as pointless, or inaccurate, or the spawn of the devil. PECOTA isn't saying the Sox will absolutely win 79 games -- it's saying that's the most likely outcome. And hey, a chance to make the playoffs at about 20 percent isn't the worst thing ever, either.

Carlos Rodon plays catch but timeline for return still uncertain

Carlos Rodon plays catch but timeline for return still uncertain

Carlos Rodon played catch in front of Don Cooper on Monday afternoon but only added to the intrigue surrounding his health when he declined to talk to the media.

On the 10-day disabled list with a biceps strain, the White Sox said Rodon continues to make progress in his rehab program. Cooper said the third-year pitcher felt and looked fine as he played catch in left field. But neither he nor manager Rick Renteria offered many more details on when Rodon may return or even when he could throw off a mound.

"He looked like he played catch good," Cooper said. "His throwing program is progressing. He felt fine. He threw the ball fine. That's kind of where we are at. He threw fine and move on to the next."

Rodon is in town for several days to be observed by the White Sox. On Friday, general manager Rick Hahn described the visit as a "routine follow-up visit." But other than making sure they're cautious with Rodon, the club hasn't been able to offer a specific timetable for their prized pitcher.

"I can't tell you in detail what the program is," Renteria said. "I know it involves throwing and making sure he's getting treatments and making sure it's taken care of, the issue he had with his biceps. We know it's getting better."

But the improvement hasn't made the situation any easier to deal with. When they started him on a delayed program this spring, the White Sox had Rodon pegged for 33 starts and 200 innings. As of now, there's no certainty when he'll make his first turn and the calendar is nearing May.

"He's frustrated," Cooper said. "He wants to get through this, through all of it. We are just there to try to make sure he's doing things right and there's progression.

"Well, I mean we've already taken a lot of caution. He's important to us now and in the future. We wouldn't rush with him or anybody."

Road Ahead: White Sox face another struggling offense in the Royals

Road Ahead: White Sox face another struggling offense in the Royals

The White Sox have scored the second fewest runs in the American League while the Royals have scored the fewest.

So fans of offense may not find the three-game series between the White Sox and Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field. The Sox have scored 55 runs in 17 games while the Royals have 46 runs in 18 games.

Dan Hayes and Siera Santos talk about what to expect from that series and give updates on Carlos Rodon's injury and timeline for his return and talk about when Yoan Moncada may get promoted from the minors.

Watch the video above to see those topics in the Honda Road Ahead.