White Sox

First Half MLB Power Rankings

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First Half MLB Power Rankings

Every Monday throughout the regular season, we'll be ranking all 30 MLB teams.

Take a look and offer up your thoughts in the comments or to us on twitter @CubsTalkCSN or @WhiteSoxTalkCSN.

Previous rankings: Preseason Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13

Tony
JJ Comments 1
Tony: Almost moved them out of top spot.
JJ: Still have best run differential in baseball.
2
Tony: A-Rod is on pace for his worst season ever.
JJ: Neck-and-neck with Texas for top spot.
3
Tony: Curious to see what this team does before deadline.
JJ: Would they actually shut Strasburg down during pennant race?
4
Tony: Yep, they're a Top 5 team after sweep of TEX.
JJ: Closing the gap with Texas means they're 4 back at break.
5
Tony: McCutchen overtaking Votto for NL MVP?
JJ: Neil Walker's resurgence has been huge in getting them here.
6
Tony: Alright, seriously, Mike Trout for AL MVP?
JJ: 56 from Texas and Toronto mighty impressive.
7
Tony: Can Dusty keep this team in the hunt this time?
JJ: Cueto's All-Star snub was outrageous.
8
Tony: Kemp return will be a HUGE boost.
JJ: Still hanging at the break, although tenuously.
9
Tony: McCann starting to heat up a bit?
JJ: Limping into the break, but should get Kemp back.
10
Tony: Needed to take more advantage of weakened Dodgers.
JJ: Also limping into break. Lincecum has been just terrible.
11
Tony: Allen Craig is a big bopper, but can he stay healthy?
JJ: Pretty much buried the Phillies over the weekend.
12
Tony: Hard to believe they won't make a run late in season.
JJ: Righted the ship after rough patch; very much in WC hunt.
13
Tony: The fade has begun, right? I mean, it's coming, isn't it?
JJ: If Wainwright's luck ever turns, will be huge down the stretch.
14
Tony: Johnny Damon signing not enough, clearly.
JJ: Almost as nuts as Cueto's snub: Dickey not starting ASG.
15
Tony: Thereee it is. A winning streak. Finally.
JJ: Finally turning it around, or just beating bad teams?
16
Tony: Remember when they can't win a series against the Cubs?
JJ: Can't sustain any kind of a run.
17
Tony: This team is just maddening. No consistency.
JJ: Outstanding offense, but pitching not there without Morrow.
18
Tony: Given up third most runs in AL.
JJ: Only 4 back at break. If Upton turns it around...
19
Tony: No way they trade Justin Upton, right?
JJ: Still loitering around race, although may not be serious contenders.
20
Tony: Good for them. Golf clap.
JJ: Playing .500 ball at the break is pretty darn impressive for them.
21
Tony: Why is Corey Hart untouchable?
JJ: Greinke first player to start 3 in a row since Red Faber.
22
Tony: This team bores me. I won't be watching "The Franchise."
JJ: Resembling the talent-laden Ozzie-managed team of 2011.
23
Tony: Utley, Howard not helping matters in City of Brotherly Love.
JJ: Great to see everyone trying the BBQ at All-Star Game.
24
Tony: Too bad their young talent isn't well represented at ASG.
JJ: Getting healthy, but not getting any better.
25
Tony: Mauer bashing the ball like the Cerrano -- er, Mauer -- of old.
JJ: Anyone notice Kevin Millwood has a 3.69 ERA?
26
Tony: Time to call this a sophomore slump for Ackley?
JJ: Only Colorado has allowed more runs.
27
Tony: This team could be a great "spoiler" in 2nd half.
JJ: Haven't lost a series since Rizzo came up. RizzoEffect
28
Tony: Offense will be sad again without Quentin.
JJ: May not lose their grip on last place at this rate.
29
Tony: I feel bad for CarGo. This is a lost season for his team.
JJ: No longer last, because...
30
Tony: Sucks to be in sixth place, doesn't it, Houston?
JJ: 479 runs allowed by one of the worst pitching staffs in years.

Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

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Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

The Cubs made the Jose Quintana deal knowing it would have been more difficult to give up Dylan Cease if he was already performing at the Double-A level, and that the White Sox organization would be a good place to continue his education as a young pitcher.

While Eloy Jimenez keeps drawing ridiculous comparisons – the running total now includes Kris Bryant, Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Martinez and David Ortiz – Cease is more than just the other name prospect from the deal that shocked the baseball world during the All-Star break.

“We still project him as a starter,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said during this week’s GM meetings in Florida. “He certainly has the stuff where it’s easy to envision him as a potential dominant reliever. But to this point – for the foreseeable future – we deal with the starting and continue to develop him as a potential front-end arm.”

The Theo Epstein regime still hasn’t developed an impact homegrown pitcher, but that hasn’t stopped the Cubs from winning 292 games, six playoff rounds and a World Series title across the last three seasons, while still being in a strong position to win the National League Central again in 2018.

Without Quintana and his affordable contract that can run through 2020, Epstein’s front office might have been looking at the daunting possibility of trying to acquire three starting pitchers this winter.

While surveying a farm system in the middle of a natural downturn, Baseball America ranked seven pitchers on its top-10 list of prospects from the Cubs organization: Adbert Alzolay, Jose Albertos, Alex Lange, Oscar De La Cruz, Brendon Little, Thomas Hatch and Jen-Ho Tseng.

So far, only Alzolay, an Arizona Fall League Fall Star with seven starts for Double-A Tennessee on his resume, and Tseng, who made his big-league debut in September, have pitched above the A-ball level.

Cease – who went 0-8 with a 3.89 ERA for Class-A Kannapolis in his first nine starts in the White Sox system – has a 100-mph fastball and a big curveball and won’t turn 22 until next month. That stuff allowed Cease to pile up 126 strikeouts against 44 walks in 93.1 innings this year, putting him in the wave that includes Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech and Alec Hansen.

“Ideally, we have a lot of guys we project to be part of the future, very good, championship-caliber rotation,” Hahn said. “In an ideal world, there’s not going to be room at the inn for all of them. You only have five in that rotation and some of these guys will wind up in the bullpen. In reality, as players develop, you’re going to see some attrition.”

One spot after the White Sox grabbed Carlos Rodon with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, the Cubs did Kyle Schwarber’s below-slot deal, using part of the savings to buy out Cease’s commitment to Vanderbilt University ($1.5 million bonus for a sixth-rounder) and supervise his recovery from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Cease was never going to be on the fast track to Wrigley Field, and now the White Sox hope he can be part of the foundation on the South Side, where it’s easier to sell a rebuild after watching the Cubs and Houston Astros become World Series champions.

“It doesn’t change really for us internally in terms of our commitment or focus or our plan or our timeline or anything along those lines,” Hahn said. “I do think, perhaps, it helps the fan base understand a little bit about what the process looks like, where other teams have been and how long the path they took to get to the ultimate goal of winning a World Series (was). In Chicago, many fans saw it firsthand with the Cubs.

“There are certainly more and more examples in the game over the last several years to help sort of show fans the path and justification for what we’re (doing).”

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

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USA TODAY

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

The White Sox continued their rebuild Thursday by trading for an intriguing young right-handed pitcher.

The South Siders acquired Thyago Vieira from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for international signing bonus pool money.

The 24-year-old Vieira is a Brazilian native and has only made one appearance in the big leagues, striking out a batter in one perfect inning of work in 2017.

While his career minor-league numbers don't jump off the page — 14-19 with a 4.58 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 13 saves and 7.4 K/9 in 290.2 innings \— Vieira has been reportedly clocked at 104 mph with his fastball and was ranked as the Mariners' No. 8 prospect at the time of the deal. He also held righties to .194 batting average in 2017.

Here's video of Vieira throwing gas:

And this may explain why Vieira was even available:

Control has been an issue throughout his career, as he's walked 4.6 batters per nine innings in the minors. He has improved in that regard over the last few seasons, however, walking only 22 batters in 54 innings across three levels in 2017 and he doled out only one free pass in 5.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League in 2016.

What does this deal mean in the big picture for baseball? How did the Sox pull off a move like this while not having to give up a player in return? 

This may help shed light on the situation from Baseball America's Kyle Glaser:

Either way, the White Sox may have just acquired a guy who could potentially throw his name in the hat for "future closer." Or at the very least, throw his name in the hat for "best name."