White Sox

MLB Power Rankings: Week 18

836535.png

MLB Power Rankings: Week 18

Every Monday throughout the regular season, we'll be ranking all 30 MLB teams.

Take a look and offer up your thoughts in the comments or to us on twitter @CubsTalkCSN or @WhiteSoxTalkCSN.

Previous rankings: Preseason Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 First Half Week 15 Week 16 Week 17

Tony
JJ Comments 1
Tony: Still the top dawgs, and 'bout to get Joey V. back.
JJ: 16-4 since Votto hit DL July 15. Incredible.
2
Tony: Morse has helped solidify this lineup.
JJ: Forget Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann could win the Cy Young.
3
Tony: Avoided a serious scare with Big Tex's wrist injury.
JJ: Great to see Eric Chavez holding his own: .264.327.478, 10 HR.
4
Tony: Josh Hamilton is not a happy man lately. JJ: Chipper Jones may be retiring, but hopefully his twitter lives on.
5
Tony: Paul Maholm will get his first taste of the playoffs.
JJ: Very talented, will be there in the end, but playing some rough ball.
6
Tony: Not even a 101 mph fastball can take The Cutch off his game.
JJ: Burnett on pace for lowest BB9 & ERA of career.
7
Tony: Lead majors in run differential, Craig is big reason why.
JJ: Youkilis since switching Sox: .260.387.512, 9 HR.
8
Tony: Survived the alien invasion by Trout and Co. this weekend.
JJ: Finally making their run. Gonna be a fun last two months in NL.
9
Tony: Angel Pagan's awakening will be key at top of order.
JJ: Plenty of small mistakes cost them series vs. White Sox.
10
Tony: Fister, Scherzer are key down the stretch.
JJ: An Oakland-Pittsburgh World Series would be awesome.
11
Tony: Think we'll see good ole Karl Welzein at a playoff game?
JJ: Buried Cleveland, but get New York & Texas this week.
12
Tony: Mike Trout can't pitch...or can he?
JJ: Lincecum finally looking better. After AS break: 2.48 ERA.
13
Tony: They're a playoff team right now. For serious.
JJ: Hanley since trade: .238.347.405. Not bad, but not vintage HR.
14
Tony: Could they complete a playoff push? Upton could lead charge.
JJ: Still lurking in AL Wild Card chase, and when Longoria returns...
15
Tony: They need an August trade or something. Need a roster boost.
JJ: Will be tough to compete with SFLA, but not out of it yet.
16
Tony: If Carl Crawford keeps smiling, this is a brand new team.
JJ: After taking care of CLE, is Pythagoras coming for Baltimore next?
17
Tony: Edwin Encarnacion is a bonafide star now, right?
JJ: Dustin Pedroia: .262.318.397. Needs to turn it around.
18
Tony: Seriously don't see how their record is still this good.
JJ: Darren Oliver, 41, is only getting better: 1.34 ERA in 40.1 IP.
19
Tony: Harvey creating some excitement for the future.
JJ: Santana's coming back, but much too late.
20
Tony: Felix likes the concrete jungle where dreams are made of.
JJ: At 55-55, no AL West team has an xW-L of below .500.
21
Tony: Utley looks rejuvenated...but Howard does not. At all.
JJ: Too bad they're in 4th, otherwise Chooch is a legit MVP candidate.
22
Tony: Brewers bullpen has more drama than a Jersey Shore marathon.
JJ: Quietly, Aramis Ramirez has picked things up: .291.353.500.
23
Tony: Worst. Road. Trip. In. Franchise. History.
JJ: Totally agree with Ozzie's rant on coconut water from The Franchise.
24
Tony: Yeah...Zambrano will totally be cool staying in bullpen.
JJ: Entering week, only MIN & KC have worse winning percentages in AL.
25
Tony: Think Mauer's regretting signing that long-term deal?
JJ: Mauer's homer the other night in Boston was pretty cool.
26
Tony: Headley, Quentin, Alonso could be pretty good 3-4-5 punch.
JJ: Quentin at Petco: .728 OPS. Away from SD: .999.
27
Tony: Jeff Francouer is the least valuable player in baseball.
JJ: Making Francouer's situation worse is that he's blocking Wil Myers.
28
Tony: The kids will be fun to watch rest of the way.
JJ: After ERA went over 5, Samardzija has a 2.82 ERA in last 6 starts.
29
Tony: Dexter Fowler quietly putting together a very good season.
JJ: Tyler Colvin: .280.318.556, 13 HR.
30
Tony: Headed toward one of worst road records of all time.
JJ: Lucas Harrell hasn't been a bad pickup: 3.98 ERA in 22 starts.

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

mickeradolfo.jpg
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.

Javy Baez can do anything defensively, but what's next for him at the plate?

Javy Baez can do anything defensively, but what's next for him at the plate?

MESA, Ariz. — You don’t need to spend long searching the highlight reels to figure out why Javy Baez goes by “El Mago.”

Spanish for “The Magician,” that moniker is a fitting one considering what Baez can do with his glove and his arm up the middle of the infield. The king of tags, Baez also dazzles with his throwing arm and his range. He looks like a Gold Glove kind of player when you watch him do these amazing things. And it’s no surprise that in his first media session of the spring, he was talking about winning that award.

“Just to play hard and see what I can do. Obviously, try to be healthy the whole year again. And try to get that Gold Glove that I want because a lot of people know me for my defense,” he said Friday at Cubs camp. “Just try to get a Gold Glove and stay healthy the whole year.”

Those high expectations — in this case, being the best defensive second baseman in the National League — fall in line with everything the rest of the team is saying about their own high expectations. It’s been “World Series or bust” from pretty much everyone over the past couple weeks in Mesa.

Baez might not be all the way there just yet. Joe Maddon talked earlier this week about his reminders that Baez needs to keep focusing on making the easy plays while staying a master of the magnificent.

“What I talked to him about was, when he had to play shortstop, please make the routine play routinely and permit your athleticism to play. Because when the play requires crazinesss, you’re there, you can do that,” Maddon said. “But this straight up ground ball three-hopper to shortstop, come get the ball, play it through and make an accurate throw in a routine manner. Apparently that stuck. Because he told me once he thought in those terms, it really did slow it down for him. And he did do a better job at doing that.”

But the biggest question for Cubs fans when it comes to Baez is when the offense will catch up to his defense. Baez hit a game-winning homer run in his first major league game and smacked 23 of them last season, good for fifth on a team full of power bats. But arguably just as famous as Baez’s defensive magic is his tendency to chase pitches outside of the strike zone. He had 144 strikeouts last season and reached base at a .317 clip. Seven Cubs — including notable struggling hitters Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist — had higher on-base percentages in 2017.

Baez, for one, is staying focused on what he does best, saying he doesn’t really have any specific offensive goals for the upcoming season.

“I’m not worrying about too much about it,” he said. “I’m just trying to play defense, and just let the offense — see what happens.”

Maddon, unsurprisingly, talked much more about what Baez needs to do to become a better all-around player, and unsurprisingly that included being more selective at the plate.

“One of the best base runners in the game, one of the finest arms, most acrobatic, greatest range on defense, power. The biggest thing for me for him is to organize the strike zone,” Maddon said. “Once he does that, heads up. He’s at that point now, at-bat wise, if you want to get those 500, 600 plate appearances, part of that is to organize your zone, accept your walks, utilize the whole field, that kind of stuff. So that would be the level that I think’s the next level for him.”

Will Baez have a season’s worth of at-bats to get that done? The versatile Cubs roster includes a couple guys who split time between the infield and outfield in Zobrist and Ian Happ. Getting their more consistent bats in the lineup might mean sacrificing Baez’s defense on certain days. Baez, of course, also has the ability to slide over to shortstop to spell Addison Russell, like he did when Russell was on the disabled list last season.

Until Baez learns how to navigate that strike zone a bit better, it might make Maddon more likely to mix and match other options, rather than considering him an everyday lock like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.

But like Russell, Albert Almora Jr. and Willson Contreras, Baez is one of the young players who despite key roles on a championship contender the last few years still have big league growth to come. And Maddon thinks that growth is right around the corner.

“I want to believe you’re going to see that this year,” Maddon said. “They’ve had enough major league at-bats now, they should start making some significant improvements that are easy to recognize. The biggest thing normally is pitch selection, I think that’s where it really shows up. When you have talented players like that, that are very strong, quick, all that other stuff, if they’re swinging at strikes and taking balls, they’re going to do really well. And so it’s no secret with Javy. It’s no secret with Addy. Addy’s been more swing mode as opposed to accepting his walks. That’s part of the maturation process with those two guys. Albert I thought did a great job the last month, two months of getting better against righties. I thought Jason looked really good in the cage today. And Willson’s Willson.

“The natural assumption is these guys have played enough major league at-bats that you should see something different this year in a positive way.”