The Chicago White Sox are 2-2 thus far this spring. They had a 5-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday February 28th, a cancellation with the Cleveland Indians on Saturday March 1st due to weather, their first victory with a 9-7 comeback against the Texas Rangers on Sunday, another 9-7 win over the Kansas City Royals on Monday and a 5-4 loss against Cleveland yesterday.
Chris Sale looked great in his debut last Friday throwing 2 2/3 innings, allowing no runs on just one hit while striking out four batters. The bullpen of Parker Frazier, Donnie Veal, Mitchell Boggs and Charlie Leesman were sharp. Adam Eaton got a single and a walk in his White Sox debut and Matt Davidson collected a double in his first White Sox at-bat. Tyler Flowers, Dayan Viciedo and Jordan Danks also collected hits. The game was scoreless until the Dodgers scored two runs in the 7th inning and three more in the 8th inning to break the game open.
On Sunday the White Sox fell behind 4-1 early due to Felipe Paulino’s straggles on the mound but they rallied with a two run homer by Tyler Flowers in the 6th and a RBI single by Trace Thompson in the 7th to tie the game at 4-4. Texas took back the lead in the bottom of the 7th and led 6-4 going into the 9th inning yet the Sox loaded the bases with three base on balls with two outs. Newcomer Adrian Nieto, selected from the Washington Nationals in the Rule-5 draft, singled up the middle to score two runs to tie the game. Carlos Sanchez than singled to left to put the Sox ahead 7-6. After Blake Tekotte was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Jared Mitchell singled to center to score two more runs for a 5-run 9th. The Sox would hold on to win 9-7.
On Monday the White Sox got ahead off Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie early scoring three runs in the first inning. Alejandro De Aza singled to center to open the bottom of the 1st inning and then moved to 3rd on a hit-and-run off the bat of Marcus Semien. With one out, Andy Wilkins than connected on a long 3-run homer to right.
Jose Quintana made his first start in Cactus League play by allowing two runs on three hits, striking out one and walking two batters in three innings of work. Jarrod Dyson would have an RBI single in the 4th of Charlie Leesman to tie the game at 3-3.
The Royals would take a brief 5-3 lead in the 6th only to see it disappear in the bottom of the frame. With two outs Andy Wilkins and Paul Konerko singled and then Jordan Danks doubled to score Wilkins. Matt Davidson then would reach on a throwing error that allowed the pinch runner for Konerko, Conor Gillaspie, to score from third base to tie the game at 5-5. Hector Gimenez would then double to right scoring both Danks and Davidson to give the Sox the 7-5 lead. The Sox would add on two more runs in the bottom of the 7th on a bases loaded double by Conor Gillaspie in the 7th. The Sox held on for the 9-7 win.
Yesterday the Sox had a decent outing from Erik Johnson, their likely 4th starter. He pitched three innings and allowed just one run on three hits, walking one and striking out two. The Sox actually had given Johnson a lead on a two run double by Jose Abreu in the 3rd inning but were unable to hold it.
An RBI triple by David Murphy followed by a RBI double by Mike Aviles off Eric Surkamp gave the Indians back the lead. Carlos Santana had an RBI double in the 5th that got the Tribe yet another run.
Conor Gillaspie hit a solo homer in the 7th and then Alex Liddi tied the game at 4-4 with a solo homer in the 8th. Duante Heath however allowed a walk-off single to Joe Wendle in the 9th for the 5-4 Indians win.
Today the Sox made a few roster moves. They reassigned RHP Chris Bassitt, RHP Parker Frazier, RHP Brian Omogrosso, LHP Mauricio Robles, C Kevin Smith, 1B Mike McDade, and OF Denis Phipps to the minor leagues. This gives the Sox 55 players left in camp: 27 pitchers, 5 catchers, 14 infielders, and 9 outfielders.
Today, Chris Sale will face the San Diego Padres at 3:05pm ET. The game can be seen on a free webcast on whitesox.com
The starting lineup will be:
LF Alejandro De Aza
2B Gordon Beckham
3B Conor Gillaspie
RF Avisail Garcia
DH Adam Dunn
1B Paul Konerko
CF Jordan Danks
C Tyler Flowers
SS Marcus Semien
LET’S GO WHITE SOX!!!
Today at 3:05 ET the Chicago White Sox will play their first Spring Training game of the season as they will play the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, AZ. This is one of those thrilling moments for all baseball fans when their team starts a new season. So today, I am overjoyed!
Today’s starting lineup is as follows:
CF Adam Eaton
SS Alexei Ramirez
RF Avisail Garcia
1B Jose Abreu
LF Dayan Viciedo
DH Paul Konerko
3B Matt Davidson
2B Gordon Beckham
C Tyler Flowers
SP Chris Sale
Other notes are that after Sale starts, the scheduled pitchers are expected to be Eric Surkamp, Donnie Veal, Jake Petricka, Matt Lindstrom and a host of others. The only players expected to have the day off are Alejandro De Aza and Adam Dunn–although I am not sure why. All other players are expected to be available.
It is an interesting lineup with most of the new guys seeing playing time such as Eaton, Abreu and Davidson. Also Konerko is batting in the 6th hole? That is the lowest I can recall him batting in a long time, but in this case I think it is a good thing as it shows this batting order has much more power and depth than last year.
It is an exciting day and I can’t wait to get home to watch the live webcast on whitesox.com. I will miss a bit of the first few innings unfortunately due to work, but should not miss a whole lot. Either way, the good news is that White Sox baseball has returned.
LET’S GO WHITE SOX!!!
Yesterday the Chicago White Sox made a minor move to their 40-man roster making a claim on Maikel Cleto from the Kansas City Royals and therefore designated Jake Elmore for assignment. Elmore was then traded to the Oakland A’s today for cash considerations. Elmore was lost in the shuffle of a bevy of infielders and it never hurts to have more pitching depth. I do expect Cleto to begin the season in the minors as he has went 3-5 with a 5.52 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 35 games (10 starts) last season between the Cardinals’ and Royals’ Triple-A affiliates. He is just 24 years of age and has had a bit of MLB experience, but he still has some growth ahead.
He has a strong fastball but his control can be an issue. It is even said that he can reach the triple digits with his fastball. There have been some character issues brought up, but the similar things were said about Bobby Jenks early in his career and we all know what Don Cooper did with him when he was in Chicago.
Let’s hope this one works in the Sox favor.
Yesterday the Chicago White Sox full squad reported to Glendale, AZ yesterday and today the team is scheduled to have its first full workout. So the question is what will this lineup and 25-man roster look like when spring training ends? Let me stop there. Maybe that question is a bit premature at this point. A lot will have to be decided over the next 38 days.
I can take a look at the roster now, but it could be much different if a trade is made. That is not a far fetched thought either with a log jam at the 1B/DH spot, the 3B and catcher spot undecided and the outfield having a former starter just sitting on the bench. Excluding pitchers and catchers which I already spoke of in a prior post I am going to discuss what options the White Sox have. So let’s take a quick look at it…
1B/DH-Jose Abreu, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn. This may be the biggest question for many White Sox fans. Jose Abreu will get the majority of the playing time. The team did not pay him a 6yr/68M contract for nothing. He is going to be the future of this franchise. Good or bad. This move will make or break the team. If he is anywhere near Yasiel Puig or Yoenis Cespedes (or better as many claim) than the Sox made a brilliant move. If he flops, its gonna be a long six years.
So with Abreu receiving the majority of playing time at first base, where do you put the veteran captain Paul Konerko and the high-paid Adam Dunn? Most likely the two veterans will platoon at DH with Konerko getting the at-bats against left-handed pitching and Dunn getting the at-bats against right handed pitching with giving Abreu an occasional day of rest at first base. There was even a report yesterday that Dunn could play a bit of left field. Yikes. I don’t even want to think about that part. Dunn, who has only played 10 games during his time with the White Sox in the outfield would be a disaster in left. His bat is not that valuable in the lineup in my opinion.
I don’t mind the platoon between the two at this point. Unless Dunn miraculously gets traded, I think that this is the best option for the Sox at this point. I think that the Sox best option for value would be to trade Dunn at the trade deadline this season. It is the last year of his 4yr/56M deal and the Sox could eat the money and ship him to a contender in the AL who needs a DH. But for now–this looks like the option.
As for Konerko, he is handling this like a champ. He is a true leader. He knows his role is no longer as an everyday player but a vocal leader on the bench and a teacher in the clubhouse. He will get his moment in the sun as he plays his final year in baseball. I plan on going to see him play at least one more time. It will be money well spent.
Infield spots-I expect the 25-man roster at this point to include Gordon Beckham, Alexei Ramirez, Conor Gillaspie, and Jeff Keppinger. Now that could quickly change if the Sox make a trade. Yet this seems like what the Sox will go with to begin the season at least. By the end of the year I don’t expect it to remain the same.
Gordon Beckham is getting one more chance. In the off-season he avoided arbitration by signing a 1yr/4.175M deal. Beckham had his best season since his rookie debut in 2008, all be it an injury filled one. His offensive numbers were solid overall last season. His defense has always been good, yet the question remains the consistency of his offense. I hope Beckham can perform. He has always been one of my favorite players and I really hope he can finally break that barrier that seems to be there holding him back.
Back in 2012, Alexei Ramirez signed a 4yr/32.5M deal with a 2016 club option. It seemed to be a brilliant deal at the time. Ramirez was becoming an unexpected offensive weapon and a solid defensive teammate of Gordon Beckham. But last season’s awful defense brought up a ton of questions. He had a team high 22 errors and an awful .968 fielding percentage. His offensive numbers were solid last season though, so the Sox are hoping the drop in defense was a minor blip on the radar rather than a consistent issue.
As for third base this will be a big competition for the White Sox. Jeff Keppinger has two years left on his 3yr/12M deal signed last season. He was supposed to be the solid #2 hitter the Sox were looking for and to take over a weak 3B spot. That did not happen. And unless traded, Keppinger is going to be used much more as a utility infielder and pinch hitter this season than a consistent starter. He can play 1B, 2B and 3B.
The reason for Keppinger not being an everyday starter in part is due to Conor Gillaspie. Gillaspie does not yet have a contract for the 2014 season, but I’d be shocked if he does not get one. The Sox like what he brings to the plate and his defense at times last season showed some promise at the “hot corner” with the occasional sparkling play.
Now what about the other guys like Matt Davidson, Marcus Semien, Leury Garcia, Carlos Sanchez and Jake Elmore? I expect Davidson to begin in the minors with some options still available unless he has an amazing spring training. Semien and Garcia certainly have a shot as well but unless a trade of Dunn, Keppinger, De Aza or someone else is made I don’t see them making the 25-man roster to begin the season. I think that Sanchez and Elmore would be a bit away from the majors and are more likely September call-ups at this point. I do love Davidson, Semien and Garcia and what they bring as far as youth and speed, but as far as beginning the season on the 25-man roster I don’t see it quite yet. And don’t count out prospect Micah Johnson.
Outfield-The off-season moves that the White Sox made here were a bit of a shock to me. Avisail Garcia, acquired at the trade deadline last season is a lock for right field. Adam Eaton acquired in an off-season trade is a lock for the center field spot and a lead-off man. Left field however is the big question. The White Sox chose to avoid arbitration and re-sign Dayan Viciedo 1yr/2.8M deal and also Alejandro De Aza to a 1yr/4.25M deal. I thought both of them may be gone in the off-season and now they are both back. That gives the Sox a full outfield.
With 12 pitchers, 2 catchers, 3 1B/DH, 4 infielders and 4 outfielders that is your 25 man roster. So that leaves Jordan Danks, Jared Mitchell, and Trayce Thompson out in the cold for now and back in AAA. All three could have competed for an outfield spot and now seem to be going back to the minors for now.
So is the platoon of Viciedo and De Aza in left worth the money? I’d love to see the Sox trade De Aza, but I don’t think it will happen at this point. Maybe at the trade deadline. Just like Adam Dunn. Yet there is some good that comes from a packed roster like this. The Sox have a lot of depth. They have some very difficult choices to make. These are good choices that they have not had in a long time. Also, the minor league system is the deepest it has been in some time and they seem to be getting some credit among its critics for the good things they have done.
So my early lineup prediction is:
Bench-Josh Phegley, Jeff Keppinger, Alejandro De Aza and Paul Konerko
Now granted this would depend on who is pitching and therefore you may see an adjustment in the lineup. And if a trade happens in the next 38 days, who knows? Yet the Sox camp in Glendale has to be excited about the young talent and depth they have at their disposal.
Nate Jones seemed to be favored early on for the closer spot for the 2014 Chicago White Sox. Yet on the first day of pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, Jones has been sidelined with a glute injury. It is early enough in spring training that the White Sox are playing this cautiously–and smart. Jones reported to athletic trainer Herm Schneider that this injury began about 7-10 days ago.
The injury is minor and Jones is expected to sit this week. With the first spring game not set to begin till 3:05pm ET on February 28th, the Sox and Jones have plenty of time here. The last thing the team or Jones wants is to make a minor issue a serious one.
The good news is Don Cooper and the pitching staff feel they have plenty of options for the closer role if Jones injury persists. Cooper has made it clear there is no front-runner for the closer yet. Matt Lindstrom (2009 and 2010), Mitchell Boggs (2013), and Scott Downs (2009 and 2012) all have had some closer experience at some point. And then you have rookie Daniel Webb who could win the job. Either way this gives the Sox options for some set-up men for the guys who don’t win the closer role.
The 2014 Chicago White Sox season has officially begun. Today is the day that Pitchers and Catchers report to Camelback Ranch. I for one am filled with anticipation. The 2013 season was by far the worst season I have ever experienced as a White Sox fan. Yet Rick Hahn has done a remarkable job in remaking the look of this team and therefore has given the true fan base a reason to have hope.
The White Sox may not be in the mix for the AL Central division in 2014, but they have built what they hope will be a solid core to compete in the future. One thing is for certain, there will be no shortage of competitiveness during Spring Training as many position battles will take place. As the pitchers and catchers report today, there are many things to watch here that will have a huge impact on what the 25-man roster will look like this season. So today I am going to put my main focus solely on those positions.
1. Starting pitchers-You cannot find a better place to start the conversation about the 2014 White Sox than the starting pitchers. This position may be one that is the most solid on this team. You must begin the conversation with the ace of this staff and one of the best pitchers in baseball, Chris Sale.
Sale may be on the top of many players lists today as the pitcher they would least like to face. The side-winding left-handed 24-year old is a pitcher no one wants to see on the mound. Sale will turn 25 years old one day before he takes the mound on Opening Day against the Minnesota Twins at US Cellular field in Chicago. Over his MLB career thus far Sale is 32-25 with a 2.97 ERA in 59 starts. All 59 of those starts have come in the last two seasons as he has made the transition from bullpen and closer to starter. He was drafted as the 13th overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft and made his MLB debut that very season on August 6th 2010.
Sale was in the running for the Cy Young award for the last two seasons and has been named to the All-Star team in both years. Although posting just an 11-14 record last year, Sale had a 3.07 ERA and threw four complete games along with 214.1 innings. His season last year was perhaps just as good or better some may say than his 17-8 2012 season. He is unquestionably going to be asked to carry this staff and even though he has a lanky frame, I believe he is able to support that weight.
Next in the starting rotation will be Jose Quintana. He has proven to be a durable pitcher over the last two seasons making 22 starts in 2012 and 33 starts in 2013. He did fantastic last season logging 200 innings with a 3.51 ERA. Overall he has a 15-13 record in his career but it really is much better than that if you consider his remarkable stat of 27 no decisions in those 55 starts.
After Quintana comes John Danks. Danks is one of the highest paid players on this team haven been given a 5-year 65-million dollar deal in 2012. He has yet to earn his yearly salary of 14.25M a year that began last season and will continue through 2016. Danks is recovering from an injury last season and looks to be better. If he can get back to his form he had in 2008-2010, the White Sox have a solid top 3 in the rotation.
Now comes the position battles. Rounding out the rest of the starting rotation according to most experts seems to be Erik Johnson and Felipe Paulino. Johnson made his MLB debut as a September call up last season and he proves he belongs. Over five starts he was 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA. He was rated as #70 overall on MLB.com’s top Prospects list and is listed this season as the White Sox #1 overall prospect. I think that he will be the 4th overall starter to begin the season and could be pushed up to 3rd if Robin Ventura wants to not begin his starting staff with three straight lefties.
Right-handed Felipe Paulino was acquired in the off-season as a free agent from the Kansas City Royals. Paulino who began his career in Houston only appeared in seven games last season for the Royals coming off an injury. It is a low risk one year deal for Chicago and Paulino will get a shot in spring to earn a spot in the rotation.
Outside of that you are looking at Andre Rienzo, Erik Surkamp, Charlie Leesman, Frank De Los Santos, and Nestor Molina on the 40 man roster. Dylan Axelrod is one of the non-roster invites that the White Sox could put in the starting rotation, but I think he has had his chance.
2. The bullpen-With losing Addison Reed in a trade for Matt Davidson, the White Sox main question with this group will be who will be the closer? Nate Jones looks to be in the lead to get the first shot and I’m ok with that. It is good to know though that the White Sox have signed some veteran arms who could step into that role if Jones falters. Veterans Matt Lindstrom and Scott Downs look to to be the favorites as setup men. After that the Sox have Mitchell Boggs, Ronald Bellisario, Donnie Veal and Daniel Webb look to be in the mix in the pen. Jake Petrika also could get a shot to be in the pen, but I look for the Sox to go with five starters and seven relievers giving them 12 pitchers.
I love the acquisitions of Downs, Boggs and Bellisario. They are veteran arms that should give some stability at low risk contracts. Lindstrom did well last season as did Jones. Veal should get one last shot as a lefty specialist and Webb is a young arm with electric stuff.
Other non-roster invites for the Sox in Spring are pitchers Chris Bassitt, Chris beck, Parker Frazier, Duante Heath, Brian Omogrosso, Omar Poveda, David Purcey, Zach Putnam, Mauricio Robles, Scott Snodgrass and Cody Winiarski along with Axelrod who was already mentioned.
3. Catchers-here is a huge battle. Tyler Flowers, Josh Phegley and Adrian Nieto are on the 40-man roster. Two of those three men will make the 25-man roster. Flowers and Phegley look to have the edge having played last season although their numbers were terrible overall so Nieto has a shot if he impresses the coaches. If Nieto is not chosen to be kept on the 25-man roster, having been chosen in the rule-5 draft, can return to the Washington Nationals if they want him back. The non roster invites of Hector Gimenez, Miguel Gonzalez and Kevan Smith probably will not factor into the 25-man roster.
Don’t count out the Sox acquiring a catcher in a trade if they can find someone, yet it seems unlikely at this point. So can Flowers and Phegley improve? I hope so, they can’t get much worse I’d think. I expect Flowers, if healthy, to gain the starting job and Phegley to back him up.
That’s it. So what are my predictions as of today with the 25-man roster?
SP-Sale, Quintana, Danks, Johnson and Paulino.
RP-Jones (closer), Lindstrom, Downs, Boggs, Bellisario, Veal and Webb.
C-Flowers and Phegley
Let the battle begin. And as always, LET’S GO WHITE SOX!!!
Yesterday the Chicago White Sox added a veteran arm to their bullpen signing Mitchell Boggs to a 1-year 1.1 million-dollar deal with a team option for 2015.
Boggs, the right-handed veteran who turns 30 yrs-old next week, has spent the majority of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. Over his MLB career, Boggs is 13-15 with a 4.12 ERA in 241 games (15 starts) having 6 saves in 16 opportunities. In 2008 and 2009 he was a spot starter for the Cardinals and then was eventually moved to the bullpen. 2012 was by far his best season and he was slated to be the Cardinals closer to begin 2013 in place of an injured Jason Motte. He struggled mightily and was traded to Colorado in July. He bounced back a bit with the Rockies and Don Cooper and Company are hoping that he can find his form he had as a setup man in 2012.
To make room for Boggs on the 40-man roster, Duante Heath was optioned to AAA Charlotte. So now the bullpen for the Sox looks like this…
Nate Jones is expected to be the closer. Matt Lindstrom, Scott Downs and Mitchell Boggs will be late inning guys and one or more of them will be a setup man for Jones. Ronald Bellisario, Daniel Webb, Donnie Veal and Jake Petricka are expected to also be in the pen. That gives the team 8 relievers, 5 starters (Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, John Danks, Erik Johnson and Felipe Paulino), and then 12 position players at this point.
The 12 could be of this list:
C-Tyler Flowers, Josh Phegley and Adrian Nieto
1B/DH-Jose Abreu, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn
2B-Gordon Beckham and Leury Garcia
3B-Conor Gillaspie, Jeff Keppinger and Matt Davidson
OF-Avisail Garcia, Adam Eaton, Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza
As you can see, at this point this gives the Sox still some work to do since they can only take 25 men to start the season. The question is do they take 12 or 13 pitchers? I expect them to take 12 pitchers because I believe they are unless trying to trade one or more of these players: Dunn, Beckham, Ramirez, Keppinger, Viciedo or De Aza all of whom have been in trade rumors and are “on the block” if the Sox can find the right deal for them.
As of now the players on the 40-man roster are:
SP-Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, John Danks, Erik Johnson, Felipe Paulino, Andre Rienzo and Eric Surkamp
RP-Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom, Scott Downs, Mitchell Boggs, Ronald Bellisario, Daniel Webb, Donnie Veal, Jake Petricka, Frank De Los Santos, Charlie Leesman, and Nestor Molina
C-Tyler Flowers, Josh Phegley and Adrian Nieto
1B/DH-Jose Abreu, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn
2B-Gordon Beckham Leury Garcia, and Marcus Semien
SS-Alexei Ramirez, Jake Elmore, and Carlos Sanchez
3B-Conor Gillaspie, Jeff Keppinger and Matt Davidson
OF-Avisail Garcia, Adam Eaton, Dayan Viciedo, Alejandro De Aza, Jordan Danks, Jared Mitchell and Trayce Thompson
Non-roster invitees to Spring Training include:
12 Pitchers: Dylan Axelrod, Duante Heath, Brian Omogrosso, David Purcey, Scott Snodgress, Chris Bassitt, Chris Beck, Parker Frazier, Omar Poveda, Zach Putnam, Mauricio Robles, and Cody Winiarski
and 10 position players: Hector Gimenez (C), Miguel Gonzales (C), Kevan Smith (C), Micah Johnson (IF), Alex Liddi (IF), Mike McDade (IF) and Andy Wilkins (IF), Blake Tekotte (OF), Keenyn Walker (OF) and Dinis Phipps (OF).
Spring is so close…
Yesterday the Chicago White Sox agreed to a multi-year contract extension with manager Robin Ventura. Ventura originally was given a 3-year contract back on October 6th of 2011. So he had just one year left on that deal, but for the foreseeable future, Ventura will remain on the South Side. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
I personally like the move. Although Ventura’s overall record through the first two seasons is 148-176 (.456) last season was not entirely his fault. In his first year he was 85-77 and the team was actually in playoff contention until the final few weeks of the season. Last season the players failed Ventura in a ton of ways as the team fell to 63-99 on the season.
Ventura now will get a chance to coach an entirely different team from his first two seasons with a lot of young talent. The fans need to remain patient. GM Rick Hahn has done a remarkable job in my opinion in reshaping this team to contend in the future. It may not be this season, but Ventura certainly deserves a chance to manage this team. Stability is a good thing.
He wants to be here. The Jerry Riensdorf and Rick Hahn want him. The players want him. So let’s give him a shot.
This last week Major League Baseball, MLB Pipeline and MLB.com revealed their top 100 prospects for 2014. The show on MLB Network revealed the White Sox had two players on this list this season. The list is comprised of just those players with rookie status this season. It is good to see a bit more White Sox love this season.
In 2011 while players like Mike Trout (#1), Bryce Harper (#2) and Matt Moore (#3) topped the list, the White Sox had no prospects listed in the Top 100 that season. In 2012 Jurickson Profar was #1 on that list while Dylan Bundy came in 2nd and Will Myers was 3rd. The White Sox had one player in the Top 100 which was Addison Reed at #100. Now Reed is gone as he was traded this off-season for Matt Davidson of Arizona.
In 2013 Courtney Hawkins at #67 was the teams lone standout in the top 100 Byron Buxton, Oscar Taveras and Miguel Sano were the top 3 from last season. Hawkins has fallen out of the Top 100 this season for the White Sox, but they did get two players to arrive in the Top 100 this season.
While Byron Buxton of Minnesota was an overwhelming choice at #1 for the second year in a row Xander Bogaerts from Boston flew up the charts to #2 and Oscar Tavares of St. Louis fell to #3 this season. As for the White Sox Erik Johnson was placed at #70 overall and Matt Davidson, acquired in the Addison Reed trade from Arizona came in at #80 overall. Davidson also ranks 7th overall for his position at 3rd base. That is something the White Sox have not seen since the days of Joe Crede.
Also, while not in the top 100 overall, Micah Johnson did rank #9 overall as a second base prospect. So that is a good sign for the future of the team. In my mind this gives the Sox some legit talent in their system where as from 2011-2013 they had arguably the worst farm system in all of baseball. Now with MLB talent like Johnson and Davidson, up and coming guys like Hawkins, Micah Johnson and even Marcus Semien, this gives them a much better pool of talent than they have had in recent years.
Erik Johnson, who made his MLB debut on September 4th in Yankee stadium is clearly going to battle for a spot in the White Sox rotation this season. Most scouts see him as an everyday starter, falling somewhere such as 3rd or 4th in most rotations.
Davidson might not break camp with the Sox this season at 3rd base but he is in the mix with Conor Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger. And if the Sox make a trade at some point he could easily be called up. He did get some major league playing time with Arizona last season and I’d be shocked if he didn’t get some with Chicago this season.
All this being said, the future looks much brighter than it has in many years on the South Side of Chicago.
The Chicago White Sox have certainly had a busy off-season. That continued over the last few days as on Monday they avoided arbitration with Dayan Viciedo, inking him to a 1-year 2.8 Million-dollar deal. Tuesday they signed right-handers Brian Omogrosso and Dylan Axelrod to minor league deals. Then on Friday they agreed to one-year deals with Alejandro De Aza (4.25M) and Gordon Beckham (4.175M) to avoid arbitration.
These deals were a shock to me, maybe outside of Viciedo and Beckham’s return as I thought the other guys were gone. Although I like the depth that this gives the White Sox in case of injury, I am not sure how I feel about Viciedo, Omogrosso, Axelrod and De Aza returning.
Dayan Viciedo, 25, hit .265 last season with 14 homers and 56 RBI in 124 games played last year. He has shown promise at times and his outfield arm has never been a question. Viciedo ranked third among American League outfielders last season with 12 assists, and he ranks second among AL outfielders since 2012 with 25 assists, behind only Kansas City’s Alex Gordon. However, the big issue remains with guys like Abreu, Konerko, Dunn and now Viciedo–don’t we have enough guys that can semi play the field and DH? This move is not too bad overall as Viciedo is under team control till 2017, so it is clearly in the Sox hands to decide what to do with him year after year. Yet I am just not sure where he fits in the lineup.
Omogrosso, 29, appeared in 17 games for Chicago in 2012 posting a 2.17 ERA and then appeared in 29 games last season going 0-2 with a 5.54 ERA. He has spent time in the minors in every season since 2006 when he was drafted. He has been up and down and has not yet shown enough consistency to remain with this team.
Axelrod, 28, is 7-13 with a 5.36 ERA in his MLB career. He has appeared in 48 games while making 30 career starts. He clearly had his chance in the starting rotation last season and had lost it by year’s end.
De Aza seemed to be the odd man out in the Chicago outfield. With the acquisition of Avisail Garcia last season and Adam Eaton in the off-season. Jordan Danks had improved toward the end of last year, so I thought he might get a chance to play every day. Then the Sox added Viciedo on Monday. So it seemed almost certain that De Aza was gone. Now this.
De Aza, 29, was one of the most consistent offensive players for the White Sox last season. He was a solid lead-off hitter hitting .264 with 27 doubles, four triples, 17 home runs, 62 RBIs, 84 runs scored and 20 stolen bases over 153 games last season, his fourth as part of the White Sox. He set career highs in hits, homers, RBI’s and runs scored last year. Sounds good right? Sure. But his running on the base paths and his defensive miscues were atrocious last season. I lost count of how many mistakes he seemed to make that cost the Sox runs in games. I was hoping to see Danks and Viciedo platoon in left with Eaton in center and Garcia in right. Now it looks like it will be De Aza and Viciedo.
Lastly, Gordon Beckham. Beckham, 27, has been a fan favorite for many in Chicago including myself. His defensive ability is spectacular. His arm is one of the best in baseball and in my opinion, if you are just talking defense, he is one of the best 2nd baseman in the game today. Yet offense has always been the question with Beckham.
Last season injuries limited him to playing in just 103 games but in those games he did have one of his better offense years as far as average is concerned hitting .267 last season. He also had 5 homers and 24 RBI. By batting average standards it was his best season since his rookie year in 2009. My one question is however, is he worth a salary jump from 2.975M last year to 4.175M this season? Beckham has one more year of arbitration eligibility left before becoming a free agent.
This now means that the White Sox 40 man roster is full. The 25 man roster will begin it’s shape from there. The Sox still could make some more moves so stay tuned.