White Sox

White Sox: Renewed confidence has turned Carlos Sanchez in a threat

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White Sox: Renewed confidence has turned Carlos Sanchez in a threat

SEATTLE -- Two months has made all the difference for Carlos Sanchez.

Whereas he was out of sorts, uncomfortable and hitting a light .160 in mid-June, the White Sox rookie has climbed out of a deep slump and turned around his young career.

On Friday night, Sanchez added a bullet point to a highly productive six-week run with two hits, a walk and a career-high four RBIs, including several late in a White Sox rout of the Seattle Mariners. It’s more evidence that Sanchez, who said he has regained his confidence, might have more pop in his bat than your normal glove-first infielder. Since July 7, Sanchez is hitting .321/.354/.479 with 16 extra-base hits and 14 RBIs.

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“Those times he went through, that’s probably as low as he’s been in this game offensively,” hitting coach Todd Steverson said. “It came down to really learning how to deal with himself again.

“He’s come a long way from where he was and I still think he has more in him. People might look and say he’s a .240 hitting second baseman but look where that .240 came from.”

From May 15 through July 6, Sanchez hit .151/.196/.209 with nine RBIs. He managed to keep his offensive woes from interfering with his defense, but Sanchez struggled far worse than he ever had at any time in his pro career.

Steverson said Sanchez looked at every aspect of his approach as he tried to get back on track but ultimately it came down to being ready to hit the fastball and building from there.

That led to Friday’s performance, where he appeared to put the game out of reach with a two-run double off Felix Hernandez in the sixth inning. After Seattle made it a game again, Sanchez twice more helped the White Sox extend their lead with a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning and an RBI double in the ninth.

“He’s now to the point where he’s just not trying to survive anymore,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “To be a winning player and to be able to do things to help the team win -- and not that he wasn’t always doing that before -- but sometimes when you’re not doing well survival becomes the first thought. Now he’s very confident going into games and he can help us do something. He’s very valuable for us down in the bottom of the lineup.”

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Sanchez said his success has been predicated off improved pitch selection. He and Steverson worked hard to get Sanchez in the right frame of mind to be ready to hit the fastball and everything took off from there.

“The first thing is to swing at good pitches and then be on time,” Sanchez said. “I’m really comfortable. It feels good to help the team.”

Ventura knows the feeling from his own career. He believes Sanchez can only benefit from his slow climb back from the depths.

“When you struggle and your livelihood is put in jeopardy and you’re able to make it back, in his mind now he’s a big leaguer and he knows he can play here and he knows he can go against the best just like he did last night and be able to get some hits and be successful and that’s a big step for a young kid because this game, for a lot of young guys, can bring you to your knees,” Ventura said. “He was pretty close to that early in the year when he first came up.”

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

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USA TODAY

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

The 2017-18 baseball offseason continues to be, well, the 2017-18 baseball offseason, even with spring training games being played in Arizona and Florida.

A bunch of names remain on the free-agent market, including All-Star players who thought they would be in for big multi-year contracts. But as teams continue to deny the wishes of guys who expected to get big deals, the suggestion that those players might end up needing to take one-year offers if they want to play during the 2018 season is becoming a more common talking point.

So with potential bargains to be had for some pretty big-name players, do the White Sox jump into the waters and try to lock up a potential future piece on the cheap? Though they aren’t expected to contend this season, the White Sox have been mentioned in a pair of recent reports surrounding a pair of All-Star position players: Mike Moustakas and Carlos Gonzalez.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi wrote last week that the White Sox are a potential fit for Moustakas, who has sat and watched as former Kansas City Royals teammate Eric Hosmer received a huge contract from the San Diego Padres. Moustakas set a new Royals record last season with 38 home runs but has yet to find a team.

The White Sox, connected to Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado earlier this offseason, seem to have a current big leaguer or highly ranked prospect locked into almost every position on the diamond for the foreseeable future, but third base isn't necessarily one of them. Jake Burger was last year’s top draft pick, though there’s speculation he could slide over to first base. The team still envisions him as a big league third baseman, for what it’s worth.

Moustakas is 29 and already has seven big league seasons under his belt, including a pair of All-Star appearances and a pair of trips to the World Series, including the Crowns’ championship back in 2015. His 38 homers and 85 RBIs in 2017 were both career highs. He slashed .272/.314/.521, the final of those three numbers the best mark of his career.

Moustakas has rarely hit for average or reached base at too high a clip, though those recent power numbers would be intriguing at a hitter-friendly park like Guaranteed Rate Field, where he has 10 career dingers, 26 career RBIs and a .249/.308/.456 career slash line as a visitor.

Certainly Moustakas would be a buzz-worthy addition, and if the White Sox could get him for a good value thanks to this slow-moving market, that adds incentive to bring him aboard. A short contract would have even more incentive for the rebuilding White Sox, who would have the option to either sign him to a long-term deal or deal him away in a deadline deal depending on his immediate production levels.

But for fans hoping the White Sox will spend big on a third baseman in one of the next two offseasons — Machado is a free agent next winter, and Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado is set to hit the market the winter after next — slotting in an outside addition at the hot corner now could impact those plans.

Gonzalez is a completely different story, a three-time All Star during his 10-year big league career who is just three seasons removed from a 40-homer campaign in 2015. The 32-year-old Gonzalez also has a trio of Gold Gloves to go along with his 215 career home runs. FanRag’s Jon Heyman listed the White Sox as a possible landing spot for CarGo this weekend.

But his walk year in Colorado was not a very good one by his standards. In 136 games for a Rockies team that ended up in the playoffs, he slashed .262/.339/.423, all those averages way down from his usual level of production. And his power numbers plummeted to 14 homers and 57 RBIs after he combined for 65 homers and 197 RBIs in 2015 and 2016.

The good news for the White Sox is that down year makes Gonzalez far more affordable. Should he command only a one-year contract, the White Sox could take a flier, stick him in the outfield — which still has an unresolved spot with few strong offensive options for center field — and trade him should he bounce back in a big way. Or, at 32, perhaps he’s a guy the White Sox could opt to keep around should he prove valuable and the rebuild continues to move along ahead of schedule.

Gonzalez seems the less risky move at this point, as Moustakas could still be looking for a multi-year contract. But the White Sox have plenty of financial flexibility and flexibility in their decision-making should they add either guy and he proves worthy of a midseason deal or a long-term look.

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

PHOENIX, Ariz. — One of the White Sox prized prospects will be on the shelf for a little while.

Outfielder Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and a strained flexor tendon that could require surgery. He could avoid surgery, though he could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

Though he hasn’t received the same high rankings and media attention as fellow outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Adolfo is considered a part of the White Sox promising future. He’s said to have the best outfield arm in the White Sox system.

Adolfo had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis.

Adolfo, along with Jimenez and Robert, has been generating buzz at White Sox camp in Glendale, with a crowd forming whenever the trio takes batting practice. Earlier this week, the three described their conversation dreaming about playing together in the same outfield for a contending White Sox team in the future.