White Sox

MLB Power Rankings: Week 16

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MLB Power Rankings: Week 16

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 First Half Week 15

Tony
JJ Comments 1
Tony: Awfully close to TEX, but Yankees are half-game better.
JJ: Have emerged from brutal East as best in the game.
2
Tony: Will be interesting to see what they add at deadline.
JJ: Hamilton since June 1: .201.290.396. Yikes.
3
Tony: As we creep closer, Strasburg limit will become top MLB story.
JJ: Rotation can hold up with Gonzalez, Zimmermann and Jackson.
4
Tony: Incredible how hot they are now without Votto.
JJ: Neck-and-neck with Reds, going with PIT here for pitching.
5
Tony: (Potential) Dempster trade is a quality boost.
JJ: If they can play this well without Votto...watch out.
6
Tony: This is the year Pittsburgh. Get ready for Oct. baseball.
JJ: Pujols somehow quietly rounding into form.
7
Tony: To answer my question, yes this is the hot streak.
JJ: Can Sheets keep this up?
8
Tony: Too soon to try to get Trout on Weaver-like discount?
JJ: It's about three months late, but this is the team we expected.
9
Tony: Hottest team in baseball right now. Wow.
JJ: Could Belt be sent down with .341 OBP?
10
Tony: Could they separate from the Dodgers in NL West?
JJ: Incredible that both the A's and Pirates are top 10 teams.
11
Tony: Dang, that was a rough week, eh South Siders?
JJ: Konerko only has six extra-base hits since June 1.
12
Tony: If only they could play the Cubs every weekend...
JJ: Could NL Central get three playoff teams?
13
Tony: Even if they get Garza, would that be enough?
JJ: We're 20 starts in and Chis Capuano's ERA is 2.81.
14
Tony: They're not for real. See JJ's article.
JJ: As of Monday, have best run differential in NL West.
15
Tony: They need Bautista back like now.
JJ: With their rotation problems, pretty tough buy.
16
Tony: Doesn't look like this is Maddon's year with these guys.
JJ: One step forward, two steps back.
17
Tony: Lester doesn't even look like he belongs in bigs right now.
JJ: Maybe could make a run when Longoria gets back.
18
Tony: As Tigers heat up, Indians start to fade.
JJ: Getting absolutely hammered by injuries.
19
Tony: Rejuvenated Chris Young could help them make a run.
JJ: Santana's no-hitter a great moment, but has it killed season?
20
Tony: Wright's future is biggest question mark of this team.
JJ: Fading fast, could be sellers at deadline.
21
Tony: They're out of it. Time to sell.
JJ: Norichika Aoki a bright spot for them.
22
Tony: Carlos Lee trade didn't help too much, did it?
JJ: Just as they near .500, lose five straight.
23
Tony: Utley stole a base this weekend. Gotta be a good sign, right?
JJ: They're pretty well buried, may be too late to turn it around.
24
Tony: Will any of their young guns make first ML starts in '12?
JJ: Liking the future for this club.
25
Tony: HosmerGordon primed to have big second halves.
JJ: Padres are closer to division lead than Phillies.
26
Tony: Still think trading Quentin might have been better.
JJ: Finally dumped Jonathan Sanchez. Worst trade of offseason?
27
Tony: Was hottest team in baseball before STL sweep.
JJ: AS Roma playing at Wrigley Field was pretty neat.
28
Tony: Don't know what to say about them anymore, honestly.
JJ: Should probably trade Willingham, but may not.
29
Tony: Don't have much to offer before deadline.
JJ: Shame Dexter Fowler's solid season is going to waste.
30
Tony: Well, they got Brett Myers off their hands at least.
JJ: Without Jed Lowrie...man, they're bad.

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."