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  • Writer's pictureSean

2024 White Sox Lineup Simulation Challenge

HAPPY 2024 OPENING DAY! I have to admit that despite not having the highest expectations for this year’s White Sox team, I was very excited to see the lineups you all submitted. Specifically, I was very intrigued to see what you all would come up with now that there has been so much roster turnover! No longer would everyone pencil Tim Anderson in as the leadoff hitter or Yasmani Grandal somewhere else in the lineup. Instead, you had to determine the best places to slot in newcomers like Paul DeJong, Nicky Lopez, Martin Maldonado, Max Stassi, and Dominic Fletcher. 


Before getting to the results and awards, I want to thank you for sharing, re-tweeting, blackmailing your friends, and most importantly: submitting lineups! I also cannot forget to thank our wonderful sponsor, More Than Dawgs. More Than Dawgs is a locally owned hot dog stand located at the southeast corner of 3400 S. Shields during game days and most evenings during the summer. The More Than Dawgs crew were very generous and are providing $100 of gift cards to this year’s top performers! Be sure to check them out during the summer and do note that they also can cater parties!


As a reminder, if you’re unfamiliar with the concept, be sure to check out my post from the first iteration of the challenge and the post from last year. As a quick reminder, I run each lineup for 10k games and log the average runs scored per game. This ensures that the exercise gets to the core of the lineup’s ability and isn’t ranked on a very high or very low simulation result. Additionally, the numbers used to feed the simulation program came from ZiPS projections via Fangraph’s website, so I’d be remiss to not thank Dan Szymborski for making them publicly available. 


One last bit of housekeeping before diving into the results… You may notice that many lineups have Andrew Vaughn (likely) playing second base or are missing catchers. In the submission form, I do have a rule requiring lineups to be “reasonable”. I’ve come to realize that the rule is not specific enough to enforce, so I am not going to disqualify any lineups this year. However, next year’s lineups will require players from particular position groups (namely middle infielders and catchers). In general, I do not feel that there is malicious intent behind this…it’s a fun, silly contest for hot dog gift cards. But, I will be mindful of this for next year and appreciate your patience and understanding. 


This is the fifth year of the White Sox Lineup Simulation Challenge and while we didn’t break last year’s record, it was still a very strong year on the submission front! 106 lineups were submitted, of which 96 of them were unique! Of the repeated lineups, one was submitted 6 times, another was submitted 4 times, and one was submitted 3 times. Similar to last year, the competition was strong and the margin was very tight! I got a bit lazy and didn’t make a dashboard, but you can quickly and easily access the results in the linked google sheets file below. Continue reading to see the awards!




Lineup Spots: Most Common Players



 

Results






 

The Awards Section



The “Smartest Person on the White Sox Interwebs” Award


Another year and another new champion! Congratulations to this year’s winner, Ryan Duffy! Ryan’s lineup beat out the second place finisher by 0.0224 runs - which is only a difference of 0.5%! With your new title (and responsibility) comes a great reward: a $30 gift card from More Than Dawgs. Be sure to enjoy a few hot dogs (or something else) before heading into your next Sox game and I hope to see you attempt to re-claim your title next year!




The “Pedrol Grifol x Groucho Marx” Award


This award goes out to Pedro Grifol…I mean George Carson. Having Nicky Lopez batting second and Yoan Moncada batting 9th reads like Grifol’s secret master plan. It actually isn’t a terrible idea as the simulation program spit your lineup out producing 4.6661 runs per game - which was good for 14th overall! Not bad! Maybe next time just submit one with your real name ;)



The “OOTP Isn’t Real Life” Group Award


George (wow, mentioned twice - congrats) finished 14th, Jeff finished 48th, Matt finished 50th, Ben finished 77th (come on Ben…!), Will finished 81st, Eric finished 84th, and Brian finished 88th. Lots of great OOTP GMs here, but judging from these results, it may be best for y’all to stick to fake baseball. 



The “White Sox Podcast Bragging Rights” Award


It’s always great to get submissions from larger accounts on White Sox Twitter and this year I was fortunate to get submissions from folks at Sox Machine, CHGO White Sox, and The All Sports Scene podcasts. My apologies if I missed anyone - it’s tough to keep up with it all! Out of the accounts that I recognized, @SoxMachine_Josh placed 31st, Sam Reeves placed 45th, Herb Lawrence finished 85th, and @liddle_ktina finished 88th! I hope to see you all again next year!



The “House Divided Cannot Stand” Award


This marks two years in a row that Mel beat Goose! Winner gets to pick the baby’s name?? Who says no?! Anyways… Mel absolutely kicked Goose’s butt. She placed 6th and her lineup produced 4.7027 runs per game whereas Goose placed 73rd and produced 4.4820 runs per game. I’m thinking having Sheets so high and Maldonado in your lineup is what held you back, Goose. 



The “It’s a Bold Strategy, Let’s See If It Pays Off” Award


I have to hand it to @jason_polensky! You put Danny Mendick in the leadoff spot and it didn’t totally blow up in your face! Your lineup placed 63rd overall and produced 4.5087 runs per game. Maybe Pedro can channel your energy and dodge a few L’s this year! 



The “Sheets Line” Award


We are all pretty familiar with the Mendoza Line, but have you heard of the Sheets Line(up)? I was inspired by my friend’s borderline creepy obsession with Gavin Sheets, so I thought it would be fun to put a full lineup of Gavin Sheets into the contest. It turned out that it wasn’t the worst lineup (no offense Gavin), but holy cow was it close! The Sheets lineup finished in 101st place and produced 4.4147 runs per game. Maybe we should index everyone's’ lineups against the Sheets lineup and create Sheets+...but that is not quite necessary for this year. If you were one of the five lineups that performed worse that the Sheets lineup: I appreciate your creativity, but bring your A game next year! 



The “Golden Goose” Award


Another year, another person who submitted a lineup because they like me finished dead last. A-A-Ron, I am sorry, but you are the Golden Goose. We all collectively hope that Grifol does not ask for your advice when it comes to constructing lineups! But, I definitely appreciate you sending one in and hope that you come back next year!




 

Prizes


This year, prizes will go to the top five performing lineups! I will be in contact about how I can get the gift cards to you.


  1. Ryan Duffy: $30

  2. Matt Murray: $25

  3. @tlines2: $20

  4. Jake Grinz: $15

  5. Tim Brown: $10



 

To wrap things up, I want to once again thank everyone for participating. This year was a great success and I hope to see you back next year! Go Sox!




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