White Sox

Backup role suiting Danks just fine

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Backup role suiting Danks just fine

Jordan Danks has played in at least 100 games in each of his full seasons since leaving the University of Texas to join the White Sox organization. Barring something unforeseen, he won't come close to the century mark in 2012.

Since being called up from Charlotte about a month ago, Danks has appeared in 14 games, starting four of them. He's mostly been used as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement, but that's the life of a backup at the major-league level.

"It's a little bit different," Danks said. "You're basically kind of chilling for the first four or five innings of the game before you start getting ready. It's definitely different, but it's a role I'm definitely willing to play."

Not everyone can flip the switch from playing every day to riding the bench, not knowing when the next opportunity to play will be. To Danks' credit, he has a hit in every game he's started and has totaled eight in 22 trips to the plate this season.

"It's something I've never done," Danks said of his backup role. "But I'm making the best of it, getting ready sort of later in the games, never knowing when you get to go in, so it helps having the cage nearby so you can get in there and get a sweat going, making it feel like I did start the game."

Danks, 25, spent parts of four seasons in the White Sox farm system, going from someone with blue-chip billing to being unprotected by the organization in last year's Rule 5 Draft. Any team could've selected Danks and given him a chance to win a spot on their 25-man roster in spring training. No team did.

He got his break when Kosuke Fukudome went down with a ribcage injury in early June. The Sox placed Fukudome on the disabled list and added Danks to the 40 and 25-man rosters. With the incumbent backup on the shelf, Danks earned his way on to the roster, and the Sox cut Fukudome loose rather than send Danks back to the minors.

The ultimate goal for Danks is to start, just like everyone else occupying a spot on a minor-league roster or major-league bench. But for now, Danks is just happy to in the major leagues.

"Anything's better than being back down there," Danks said of the minors. "I'll stay up here, I'll wait my turn and that's pretty much all I can do."

White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

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USA TODAY

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.

In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.

Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.

Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.

But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.

While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:

4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen