White Sox

Why the White Sox believe Chris Getz is the right man for a critical role in the team's rebuild

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AP

Why the White Sox believe Chris Getz is the right man for a critical role in the team's rebuild

Buddy Bell’s recent departure without being replaced shows just how much confidence the White Sox have in Chris Getz.

One of two assistant general managers, Bell left the White Sox after 14 seasons last week to join the Cincinnati Reds as a vice president/senior advisor.

Bell, who grew up in Cincinnati and played three seasons for the Reds, said he felt comfortable leaving in part because the White Sox are in good hands with Getz, who is entering his second season as the team’s player development director.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn agreed with Bell’s assessment of Getz, who said he gained a better understanding of the role after working alongside Bell. As the White Sox see it, Getz is the right person to run a department that will play a critical role in their future.

“Chris is a great fit,” Hahn said. “Not only is he an excellent baseball man, but he is a very fine communicator.

“Similarly, as a recently retired player, his level of empathy and understanding of what our players are going through as they develop is an asset. The fact that he’s very open to new ideas also helps ensure that we are looking down all possible avenues to help maximize player performance.”

Getz worked in player development, amateur scouting and major league operations for two seasons in the Kansas City Royals’ front office before joining the White Sox in October 2016. The introduction he received in KC had Getz confident he’d learn the rhythm of day-to-day operations of his new role.

Still, Getz knew he’d have plenty to learn from Bell, a five-time All Star and six-time Gold Glove winner who’d gone on to coach and manage before moving into the front office. What impressed Getz most is how open-minded Bell is to new ideas.

“His handling of people, players is really, really impressive,” Getz said. “Anyone who has true leadership qualities, you try to grab those and make it part of your style. Some of that happens through effort, and some of it happens through osmosis.

“He’s a really disciplined guy, passionate guy. He just cared so much and all those things, I hope I’ll never kind of let that leave me.

“What I’ve learned from that is surround yourself with as many people with different ways of thinking and different abilities, it just makes us all better.”

Though he said it felt “weird” to leave the White Sox, Bell told Reds reporters that the gains made by Getz let him know it was the right time.

“He’s a phenomenal piece,” Bell said. “He’s very smart, and he’s got a great feel for players and staff. I felt like this is a good time for me to maybe possibly go someplace else.”

Hahn is impressed by Getz’s communication, whether with managers, minor league coordinators or the heads of other departments. Getz said his daily routine during the season includes speaking to each of his minor league managers as well as other trusted evaluators. Between learning day-to-day operations and getting familiar with all 200 players in the system, Getz feels confident in his ability to oversee one of the top farm systems in baseball.

“There’s a lot of moving parts,” Getz said. “Just needs that kind of come up every day and you only have 25 slots and you’ve got to make this work. There’s a lot that goes into it. It demands a lot of focus throughout the season. It can be a grind, but once again you kind of figure out a rhythm to it and the people you can lean on and things like that.

“Each day presents something new, but you’ve got to wake up and be excited to take it on, too. There’s going to be challenges, but you’ve got to be looking forward to fixing things some times. And when the day is over — ‘I felt like I attacked that well and accomplished what I wanted.’ The more I take that approach, when you look back, I think it was a good season and we made a lot of progress here.”

If Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez spent 2018 in the majors, what would their production look like?

If Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez spent 2018 in the majors, what would their production look like?

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.