White Sox

White Sox think Jose Quintana is All-Star worthy after Saturday's win over Braves

White Sox think Jose Quintana is All-Star worthy after Saturday's win over Braves

Ned Yost and the American League All-Stars have already had to replace two pitchers on their roster, but White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana hasn’t been called upon to head to San Diego. 

Quintana, who earned his seventh win of the season in the White Sox 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field, said he feels he’s deserving of an All-Star bid but realizes that decision is well out of his hands. 

Toronto Blue Jays reliever Aaron Sanchez and Cleveland Indians right-hander Corey Kluber were named the replacements for injured Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel and Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada, respectively. 

“I don’t have control with that,” Quintana said. “But I think I deserve the All-Star (game). I just try to keep going, do my job, and one (day) I can take that opportunity.”

Quintana was given five runs of support on Saturday, which stands as a relative rarity for the 27-year-old left-hander. The White Sox have scored three or fewer runs in 10 of Quintana’s 18 starts this year and have scored five or more runs three times. That lack of run support — which has strangely dogged him since entering the league in 2012 — goes a long way toward explaining his 7-8 record this season. 

Quintana has yet to win 10 or more games in a single season in his career despite a career ERA around 3.40. 

On Saturday, Quintana was supported by three Todd Frazier RBIs — a two-run homer an RBI double — as well as RBI singles from Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera. 

“I don't know if (Quintana) knows what to do with himself,” manager Robin Ventura said.

Nate Jones held on to the lead late, striking out Nick Markakis with the tying run on second in the eighth and finishing off his four-out save despite loading the bases in the ninth. 

While he picked up a win that might lead to him being viewed a little more favorably by some old-school evaluations, Quintana’s ERA rose from 3.06 to 3.21 and his FIP went up from 3.21 to 3.48 after his start Saturday. Still, he entered the day with the second-highest fWAR of any American League starter, only behind Kluber. 

“Jose is a great pitcher, and he’s done an excellent job this year,” White Sox closer David Robertson said. “He’s definitely deserving of a shot to go to the All-Star Game.”

Quintana is on pace for his fourth consecutive season with 200 or more innings pitches and his third straight year with an ERA below 3.40. But for whatever reason — which very well could have something to do with his lack of wins — he hasn’t made an All-Star team yet. 

“Somebody gets dinged every year,” Ventura said. “The list is long. That part's unfortunate. You take away the wins and losses and he's up there in any category that matters. We know how good he is. You'd like to see him get there, absolutely.”

While Quintana and the White Sox might be disappointed to see him left off the All-Star roster, there was a positive takeaway from Saturday’s game. Quintana and Braves starter Julio Teheran — a friend of Quintana’s — combined to become the first pair of Colombia-born pitchers to start against each other in a major league game. 

A group of fans flew a Colombian flag from a suite down the left field line, and Quintana said this White Sox-Braves game was a big deal back in his home nation. 

“That’s good for my country,” Quintana said. “I think we have better baseball now. That’s good for us. I’m really proud for that.

“I think Colombia won today.”

Teheran is heading to San Diego next week to represent the Braves in the All-Star Game. Barring a last-minute change, Quintana won’t be there to join him. But Frazier — who will also be on his way to Petco Park after Sunday’s game to participate in the Home Run Derby — is confident Quintana will make an All-Star roster at some point. 

“People look at numbers all the time, man — I think sometimes it is a shame because he pitches great,” Frazier said. “I don’t know what his ERA is, but I know it’s really good … It’s just the way it goes. If he keeps doing that I know he’s going to (be) an All-Star for sure, eventually.”

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.

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

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AP

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Some teams have it easy, with their 25-man rosters seemingly locked into place before spring training games even start.

The White Sox actually have a lot more locked-down spots than you might think for a rebuilding team, but this spring remains pretty important for a few guys.

The starting rotation figures to be set, with James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer the starting five. Carlos Rodon, of course, owns one of those spots once he returns from injury. But the date of that return remains a mystery.

From this observer’s viewpoint, eight of the everyday nine position players seem to be figured out, too: Welington Castillo behind the plate, Jose Abreu at first base, Yoan Moncada at second base, Tim Anderson at shortstop, Yolmer Sanchez at third base, Nicky Delmonico in left field, Avisail Garcia in right field and Matt Davidson as the designated hitter. More on the omission of a starting center fielder in a bit.

Omar Narvaez would be a logical pick to back up Castillo at catcher, and Tyler Saladino is really the lone reserve infielder with big league experience, not to mention he’s a versatile player that can play anywhere on the infield.

Leury Garcia also figures to be a lock for this 25-man roster. But will he be the everyday center fielder, as he was for a spell last season? He played 51 games in center in 2017 but battled injuries throughout the year. I think Leury Garcia will end up the starting center fielder when the season begins because of his bat. His .270/.316/.423 slash line isn’t going to make anyone do cartwheels, but it’s better than the offensive struggles of Adam Engel, who started 91 games in center in 2017 and slashed .166/.235/.282. Engel would still be a solid inclusion on the bench because of his superb defense, but to create that big a hole in the everyday lineup is tough.

How could that position-player group change? Keep your eyes in center field, where there are a couple other guys who could force their way into a roster spot this spring: Charlie Tilson and Ryan Cordell. Tilson has had a tremendous amount of trouble staying on the field since coming over to the White Sox in a 2016 deadline deal, but that hasn’t dampened the White Sox hopes for him. And Cordell got name-dropped by general manager Rick Hahn during SoxFest, when the GM said he’s received multiple calls about Cordell since acquiring him last summer. Cordell put up good numbers at the Triple-A level prior to a significant injury last year.

But the main battles figure to be in the bullpen. At times this winter, as the White Sox kept adding players to that relief corps mix, that the whole thing seemed wide open. But when you think about it, maybe there are only one or two open spots.

You’d have to think these guys are pretty safe bets to make the team: Juan Minaya, Gregory Infante, Nate Jones, Joakim Soria and Luis Avilan. Though Hector Santiago was just recently acquired on a minor league deal, he’s really the only long man of the group, and he could sub in if there’s an injury to a starting pitcher. That leaves two spots between the group of Aaron Bummer, Danny Farquhar, Jace Fry, Jose Ruiz and Thyago Vieira — not to mention guys signed to minor league deals like Xavier Cedeno, Jeanmar Gomez and Bruce Rondon.

Bummer had a 4.50 ERA in 30 big league games last year. Farquhar had a 4.40 ERA in 15 games. Vieira has gotten attention as a flame-thrower, but he’s got just one big league game under his belt, something that might or might not matter to the rebuilding White Sox. Guys like Gomez, who has 40 career saves including 37 just two years ago, and Rondon, who had multiple shots at the Detroit Tigers’ closing job in the past, could vault themselves into the mix as potential midseason trade candidates.

Then there's the question of which of those guys will be Rick Renteria's closer. Minaya had closing duties after most of the bullpen was traded away last summer. He picked up nine saves and posted a 4.11 ERA in his final 17 appearances of the campaign. Look to Soria, though, a veteran with plenty of closing experience from his days with the Kansas City Royals. If he's given the opportunity to close and succeeds, he could fetch an intriguing return package in a potential deadline deal.

But now it's game time in Arizona.

“The fun part of playing the game of baseball is playing the game of baseball," Renteria said earlier this week. "We prepare. I think they all enjoy what they’re doing in terms of their preparation. They take it seriously, they focus. But ultimately like everything that we do in life, I guess it’s a test. And the games are a test for us on a daily basis. And how we are able to evaluate them and take advantage of the opportunities that we have to see them in a real game situation is certainly helpful for us.”