The White Sox will face Colby Lewis on Opening Day in Texas, followed by Derek Holland and Matt Harrison to round out their three-game set against the Rangers to kick off the 2012 season. Noticeably absent from that list is Yu Darvish, who will make his major-league debut April 9 against Seattle.
Having Darvish make his debut outside of the the national spotlight is probably a good call by Ron Washington -- Lewis and Holland were going to start the first two games no matter what, which left the third game, which is on Sunday Night Baseball, open. The media frenzy would've been nuts, and while Darvish may have handled it well, a nationally-televised five-inning, six-run disappointment could lead to more headaches than necessary.
Darvish will still get plenty of media attention for his debut against Seattle, but it'll be out of the spotlight a little bit. The added benefit, too, is that we in Chicago can now breathe easy knowing horrible puns on Yu Darvish's name (like the one in the headline of this post) won't run rampant across newspapers and websites next week.
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.
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