White Sox

Cubs rally in ninth, capture victory on 11th-inning walk

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Cubs rally in ninth, capture victory on 11th-inning walk

David DeJesus drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Chicago Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.The win came after the teams waited out a 2-hour, 41-minute rain delay, and a ninth-inning comeback by the Cubs.Darwin Barney led off the 11th with a double. Wellington Castillo was intentionally walked and pinch-hitter Jeff Samardzija was hit by a pitch to load the bases. On a 3-2 pitch, DeJesus drew the game-winning walk.With the Cubs trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitter Ian Stewart singled, and Dodgers closer Javy Guerra walked David DeJesus. Tony Campana hit a tying double, but DeJesus, who would have been the winning run, was thrown out at home.It was Guerra's third blown save in 11 chances. Rafael Dolis (2-2) got the win, while Jamey Wright (1-2) took the loss.

Dodgers slugging center fielder Matt Kemp was a late scratch due to tightness in his left hamstring. He pinch hit in the seventh inning and flew out to right field.The Dodgers were in position early to win, thanks to Juan Rivera's two-run homer in the third inning and a quality start from Aaron Harang. Rivera's second homer of the year into the left-field bleachers gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead that held up - until the ninth.Harang posted his best start of the season, going six innings and allowing two runs. He outdueled the Cubs' Travis Wood, who allowed three runs in six innings in his first start of the season. Wood was called up from Triple-A Iowa to fill in for Matt Garza, who was suffering from the flu.The Dodgers scored first in the second inning. Jerry Hairston reached on an infield single and A.J. Ellis and Tony Gwynn Jr. drew back-to-back walks, before Harang drove in a run on a forceout.The Cubs cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the third when Wood led off with a double, DeJesus walked and Starlin Castro hit a two-out, two-run single.The Cubs had chances to tie it before the ninth, but could not deliver a clutch two-out hit. Chicago left runners in scoring position in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth - twice by Castro.The bullpens combined to allow two runs in nine-plus innings. The Cubs bullpen allowed just three hits in five innings.Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair continued his torrid start to the season, going 3 for 4 and raising his batting average to .390.Notes: The Cubs designated Blake DeWitt for assignment before the game to make room for Wood. The Cubs host Atlanta on Monday with Samardzija taking on Tommy Hanson.
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Could Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez reach the majors in 2018?

Could Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez reach the majors in 2018?

It’s no secret that the White Sox and their fans are hoping to see both Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech in the big leagues in 2018. And according to one full-season projection system, it seems that the computers agree that both will be MLB contributors very soon.

FanGraphs’ Steamer600 projections forecast what MLB hitters would do over 600 plate appearances and what pitchers would do over 200 innings – and both Jimenez and Kopech are close to MLB-ready.

Jimenez, MLB.com’s 5th ranked prospect, is projected to provide a 1.9 offensive WAR and Kopech, MLB.com’s 10th ranked prospect, would account for 1.4 WAR over the course of a full season.

So what does that mean?

Here are some comparable MLB players from 2017 in offensive Wins Above Replacement for Jimenez:

Jackie Bradley Jr., BOS – 1.9 (541 PA)                              

Jedd Gyorko, STL – 1.9 (481 PA)

Andrew Benintendi, BOS – 1.9 (658 PA)

Yasiel Puig, LAD – 1.9 (570 PA)

Salvador Perez, KC – 1.9 (499 PA)

Very solid company, considering those five players combined for an average OPS of .788. The Steamer600 projections peg Jimenez for a .770 OPS over 600 plate appearances.

The full forecast is as follows: a .267 batting average, an on-base percentage of .317 and a .453 slugging percentage to go along with 23 home runs.

Meanwhile, Kopech might be a bit further away from being an impact player with a projected WAR of 1.4 over 200 innings.

Here are some MLB WAR comparisons from 2017 for Kopech:

Julio Teheran, ATL – 1.6 (188.1 IP)

Lucas Giolito, CHW – 1.5 (45.1 IP)

Dellin Betances, NYY – 1.5 (59.2 IP)

Miguel Gonzalez, CHW/TEX – 1.5 (156.0 IP)

Greg Holland, COL – 1.4 (44.2 IP)

As you can see, the comparisons are not nearly as promising for Kopech as they are for Jimenez. The comparable range is mostly made up of late-inning relievers or middle-of-the-pack starting pitchers.

With a 100 mile-per-hour fastball and wipeout slider come the occasional control issues, and that is where the Steamer600 projections hurt Kopech the most, with a forecasted walk rate of 5.4 walks per 9 innings pitched.

The full forecast for Kopech includes a 4.84 ERA with 216 strikeouts over 32 starts with 32 home runs allowed. 

Whether these projections come close to reality or not, having Kopech and Jimenez on the Major League doorstep is sure to give the White Sox rebuild yet another boost in the coming season.

Don't call me Carlos: 'I think I’m gonna stick with Yolmer'

Don't call me Carlos: 'I think I’m gonna stick with Yolmer'

After a breakout season in 2017, don’t expect any more name changes from the man formerly known as Carlos Sanchez.

“Yolmer hit more home runs so I think I’m gonna stick with Yolmer,” said Sanchez in an exclusive interview from his Arizona home. “I’m the same person, but Yolmer worked good this year, so I’ll stay with Yolmer.”

After doing away with the name Carlos, the 25-year old infielder set career-highs across the board last year, slugging 12 home runs, driving in 59 runs while posting a .732 OPS.  

He ranked third on the White Sox in Wins Above Replacement with 3.5, trailing only Jose Abreu’s 4.7 and Avisail Garcia’s 4.5. In the three seasons prior, Sanchez totaled just 0.4 WAR in 201 combined games. 

And now, 2018 provides a new opportunity. Sanchez is expected to be the everyday starting third baseman, the spot he took over following Todd Frazier’s midseason trade to the New York Yankees.

With an elevated role comes a vigorous offseason schedule. He took only 20 days off after the regular season before starting to train for the upcoming spring. 

“I don’t want to work just on one thing. I want to do everything and that’s why I start training so early,” he said. “My speed. More power. Agility. A lot of things.”

Sanchez certainly isn’t the flashiest name in a White Sox infield that includes Abreu and the middle-infield tandem of Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson. But he knows his role on the team – being flashy off the field and bringing energy to the clubhouse. 

“If you go with a lot of energy to the game, a lot of things change,” said Sanchez. “That makes a lot of difference in one game. And one game can make a lot of difference during the season.”

But a 70-92 record by the White Sox certainly was not due to a lack of energy as much as a general lack of talent. That should change in 2018 – when fans can expect to see Moncada, as well as other names like Nicky Delmonico, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez play a full major league season. Not to mention prospects like Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech knocking on the door to the big leagues.

And that excites Sanchez.

“We’ve got really young players but really talented [players],” said Sanchez. “We have to get better, but I think we can do a lot of good things next year.”

Are there any young players Sanchez is specifically excited to see develop? 

“They’re all going to be really good if they keep working,” he said. “Moncada could be a superstar.” 

That’s exactly what the White Sox are hoping as well.