White Sox

What should the Sox expect out of De Aza?

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What should the Sox expect out of De Aza?

For some reason, not everyone has been sold on Alejandro De Aza this offseason. That's a head-scratcher, because there wasn't a whole lot else De Aza could've done to prove himself in 2011.

He stayed healthy, coming to the plate over 600 times between Charlotte and Chicago. He posted a .378 OBP with 43 extra-base hits in Triple-A, then had a .400 OBP with 18 extra-base hits in the majors. And De Aza did all of that while playing excellent defense. What more, exactly, could De Aza have done?

The White Sox shouldn't expect to see that .329.400.520 line De Aza had in 2011 repeated in 2012 (if they do, he'll deserve some MVP votes). De Aza had just 171 plate appearances in the majors last year, hardly an ideal sample size. His .404 BABIPstands as unsustainable, too.

But the good news is that even with a regression, De Aza should be a valuable player for the White Sox. A look at what Bill James and Dan Szymborski (ZiPS) project:

Proj.GAVGOBPSLGBBKHRSBCSwOBAOPS James79.291.353.45020435136.350 (wOBA) ZiPS139.271.328.406381008221194 (OPS)
Thoughts:

-- James has De Aza as a backup or a starter who gets hurt. Given his history of injuries and recent status as a fourth outfielder, that's not illogical, although only 79 games would mean De Aza would suffer a serious injury or make multiple trips to the DL.

-- But James has De Aza doing very well for himself in those 79 games, with nearly a 1:2 walk-to-strikeout ratio and a very encouraging OBP. If De Aza can stay healthy and be in the neighborhood of James' numbers, he'll be a fantastic asset for the Sox.

-- Szymborski isn't as high on De Aza as James is, but a .328 OBP may still be the Sox best option to lead off.

-- Szymborski also projects defense and has De Aza as "very good" as a left or right fielder and "average" as a center fielder. "Very good" outfield defense coupled with that line Szymborski projects would equate to nice value for the Sox.

-The caught stealing projections aren't encouraging, but neither appears to be as egregious as Juan Pierre's stolen base mishaps from 2011.

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