White Sox

White Sox: Chris Sale named June's AL Pitcher of Month


White Sox: Chris Sale named June's AL Pitcher of Month

In what could be the first of many awards this season, Chris Sale has been named the American League Pitcher of the Month for June.

The White Sox ace received the honor on Thursday after a spectacular month in which he went 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA with 75 strikeouts and only eight walks in 44 1/3 innings.

Sale, who on Sunday or Monday will attempt to set a major league record with nine consecutive starts of 10 or more strikeouts, is the first White Sox pitcher since he accomplished the feat in May 2012.

[MORE: White Sox: The remarkable stats behind Chris Sale's dominance]

Though the White Sox have disappointed through their first 76 games, Sale has not. Not only did he match Pedro Martinez’s major league record with his eighth consecutive double-digit strikeout performance on Tuesday (he struck out 12 in eight innings against St. Louis), he also earlier tied a mark set by Martinez and Randy Johnson with five straight starts of 12 or more strikeouts.

Sale made six starts in June and allowed 10 runs (nine earned), 28 hits and two home runs.

The White Sox — who have the second-worst record in the AL at 34-42 — only went 3-3 in Sale’s starts as they scored two runs or fewer in four of them. According to MLB Network, Sale, Johnson and Curt Schilling are the only pitchers in MLB history to go winless despite having eclipsed 10 strikeouts in four straight starts.

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get a Chris Sale jersey right here]

While Sale has been outstanding in each of the past three seasons, he has been even better in 2015 despite a slow month of May. His 141 strikeouts leads all major league pitchers and his 3.7 Wins Above Replacement are second to Max Scherzer (4.2), according to fangraphs.com.

At 2.87, Sale’s ERA is more than a full point higher than Scherzer’s (1.79) but that can be attributed to a defense that has struggled all season long. Sale’s FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is 2.09, which is right on the heels of Scherzer, who leads the majors at 2.01. 

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


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.”


“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


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.