White Sox

White Sox try to aide Tim Anderson in 'one of the toughest times of my career'

White Sox try to aide Tim Anderson in 'one of the toughest times of my career'

BALTIMORE — The White Sox have done everything they can to alleviate some of the pressure that Tim Anderson may be feeling.

Dropped down to the seventh spot in the order for Saturday’s contest, the White Sox shortstop has essentially endured a little of this and a little of that littered throughout the early part of the season. Anderson not only has struggled at the plate, but he hasn’t looked sharp in the field, either. Though he scuffled at the start of the 2016 campaign at Triple-A Charlotte, Anderson considers his current struggles as some of the most difficult he has faced.

“This year has been one of the toughest times of my career,” Anderson said. “It’s hard to stay up when you’re struggling. I’ve been sticking with it. I’m learning a lot more than I have been throughout my career because every stop that I’ve made I’ve dominated and kept going. It’s kind of like I hit a wall real quick and I’m learning more and studying more and now it’s time to break the game down and learn a lot more about it.”

While his bat has begun to heat up, Anderson’s overall offensive numbers haven’t recovered from a slow start. He’s hitting .207/.235/.228 with five extra-base hits and six RBIs in 115 plate appearances despite hitting .271/.314/.375 in his last 51 PAs.

Anderson has also struggled defensively this season. After he produced 6 Defensive Runs Saved and a 6.3 Ultimate Zone Rating last season, Anderson is at minus-1 and minus-3.5, according to fangraphs.com. He also has committed seven errors and had two misplays in Friday’s opener.

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Manager Rick Renteria said part of the reason he dropped Anderson from the leadoff spot to seventh in the order is to “give him a minute to take a breath.”

“He has expressed (the struggles),” Renteria said. “But I think he knows ultimately it comes back to him continuing to trust the work he puts in and to trust himself. He’s a young player, and like most young players, every now and then, when you hit a little skid, you have a tendency to possibly lose your confidence. But I think we’re encouraging him to be himself, continue to work, not beat himself up as much, because everybody wants to perform. But don’t beat yourself up. Just go out there and keep playing the game.”

Anderson said he’s trying to work through his early struggles and focus on the process, the parts that are in his control. He also said he hopes to model himself after Todd Frazier when it comes to how he handles his struggles.

“You don’t know if he’s struggling or not,” Anderson said. “He plays the game the same way. That’s something I definitely try to control, just staying even keel. When you struggle for the first time or go through something it’s kind of hard to not think about it and play with it on your mind. That’s something I’m learning and as I grow and mature and become a better player and a better teammate and just keep working.”

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