White Sox

Scott Boras on board with White Sox plan for Carlos Rodon

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Scott Boras on board with White Sox plan for Carlos Rodon

Scott Boras thinks the White Sox were lucky Carlos Rodon was available when they picked third in last June’s amateur draft. But the super agent also feels pretty fortunate for his client, who was promoted to the majors on Monday, to have been picked by the White Sox, a franchise well versed in the development of young pitchers.

Whereas Boras made headlines in March with his belief that Bryant -- who was promoted by the Cubs on Friday -- deserved to start the season in the majors, he sees his two clients in different stages. Not only did Bryant, the No. 2 pick in the 2013 draft, already have parts of two seasons in the minors to Rodon’s two months, but pitchers and position players are akin to apples and oranges. Boras likes that the White Sox intend to go slow with Rodon’s workload this season.

“The Bryant situation and Carlos’ situation are very different because of the innings issue,” Boras said. “Because of the idea that frankly, you really want this process to get a foundation to it for a pitcher rather than building -- because there’s no repetition in amateur baseball that prepares you for what major league pitchers have to go through. Its part of what they have to go through isn’t about ability, it’s about truly building to durability.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

By promoting Rodon and starting him in the bullpen, the White Sox get an extremely talented arm and can control his workload at the same time. The White Sox could move Rodon into the rotation at some point this season, but for now they plan to use him in a variety of bullpen roles while giving him more time to work with pitching coach Don Cooper. General manager Rick Hahn considers this the final step in Rodon’s development and it’s a tested method previously used with Chris Sale in 2010-11 and Mark Buehrle in 2000.

“We are dealing with a scarce resource,” Hahn said. “I don’t think anyone could reasonably expect any pitcher a year out of college to make 32 starts and average six innings a start. It will be some level below that in terms of what we will be able to get out of this guy physically and developmentally. A way to maximize that is to start him out in the bullpen, get him some work here, get his feet wet, get him acclimated to the big leagues, everything that goes about being a successful big league pitcher and then make that transition to the rotation when the time is right.”

[MORE: Rodon doesn't want Bryant hype]

Boras is on board with the plan. Rodon has to make the leap from pitching once a week in college to once every five days in the majors. He has a strong lower body, the kind that appears to be built for endurance. But Boras doesn’t just want to see his client thrown into the fire.

“Still the process is one where I don’t in any way think that too many innings too young, being a big leaguer, right there right now and throwing 180 innings your first year of pro ball, I don’t find too many careers where athletes do that that have worked out too well as far longevity goes,” Boras said. “So bringing him along slowly and monitoring his innings and doing things like that, I think it’s a very good plan.”

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

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AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

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USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.