White Sox

Who analysts predict the Bulls will select in the first round

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Who analysts predict the Bulls will select in the first round

By Mark Strotman
CSNChicago.comThe NBA Pre-Draft Combine, held in Chicago over the weekend, had a handful of winners and losers. These changes in certain player's stockcould have implications on who is available when the Chicago Bulls make their selection withthe 29th pickin the draft, whichwill take place on June 28 in New Jersey.The Bulls' second round pick (No. 60) belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Bulls originally traded the pick to the Bucks as part of a deal for John Salmons. The Bucks then traded it to the Nets as part of a deal for Chris Douglas-Roberts, and the Nets finally traded it to the Lakers as part of a deal for Sasha Vujacic.With Pre-Draft Combine measurements, agility and peformancedrills and interviews taken into account, here is a look at who some of the top college basketball and NBA analysts have the Bulls selecting in the first round.Aggrey Sam, CSNChicago.com (64)29. Chicago Bulls: Will Barton, SG, MemphisBarton weighed in at 174 pounds at the Pre-Draft Combine, which was the lighest of the 60 players in attendance. Still, Barton should be able to put on neccesary weight over the summer in order to be ready for the start of the year. As Sam noted, "he still needs to get stronger, but his improved jumper, ability to create for himself and others, versatility and length give him a chance to crack the rotation right away for a Bulls team that will likely have several new faces." Barton would give the Bulls an athletic wing who could replace one of Rip Hamilton, Kyle Korveror Ronnie Brewer.Jeff Goodman, CBSSports.com (611)29. Chicago Bulls: Tyshawn Taylor, PG, KansasTaylor measured in at an impressive 6-foot-4 at the Pre-Draft Combine, and he has the experience and talent to step in right away and help the Bulls point guard situation. With Derrick Rose out indefinitely to begin the season, and C.J. Watson's team option still up in the air, Taylor would be a great fit in Chicago. He is ready to play from Day One, plays solid defense and can score the ball in a variety of ways, something that will help the Bulls' second unit if Watson does not return. Adds Goodman: "Can be the ideal backup to Derrick Rose. Brings speed, toughness and a point guard with experience to the table.NBADraft.net (610)29. Chicago Bulls: Quincy Miller, SF, BaylorMiller is one of the most intriguing prospects in this year's draft. He tore his left ACL in December 2010, which forced him to miss his entire senior season. He arrived at Baylor healthy, and did play in all 37 games for the Bears, but averaged just 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds. Though he was rated as the No. 4 prospect in the 2011 high school class by Scout.com, there are questions as to whether he will ever regain his pre-ACL surgery form. The Bulls could work in the 6-foot-10 Miller slowly behind Luol Deng.DraftExpress.com (69)29. Chicago Bulls: Will Barton, SF, MemphisWhile Barton's weight may be a concern, it's still worth noting that the 6-foot-6 wing averaged 8.0 rebounds per game last season at Memphis. He also averaged 18.0 points per game on over 50 percent shooting. Rated as the No. 12 recruit in the 2010 high school class by Scout.com, Barton has only begun to tap into his potential at 21 years old.HoopsWorld.com (69)29. Chicago Bulls: John Jenkins, SG, VanderbiltThree of four analysts chose Jenkins, with the fourth (Alex Raskin) choosing Doron Lamb. Jenkins was the most prolific shooter in college basketball last year, making a nation-best 134 3-pointers on almost 44 percent shooting. As a senior, Jenkins would be ready to play right away, and he has good size at 6-foot-4. As a bonus, Jenkins also made over 85 percent of his free throws in four years with the Commodores.NBA.com (531)29. Chicago Bulls: Doron Lamb, SG, KentuckyAs one of six potential Kentucky first round draft picks, Lamb would be an excellent fit in Chicago. The 6-foot-4 sophomore averaged 13.7 points per game for the national champions, shooting an impressive 46.6 percent from beyond the arc, and 82.6 percent from the free throw line. In addition, he handles the ball well and could act as a back-up point guard, if needed.Yahoo! Sports (530)29. Orlando Johnson, SG, UC-Santa BarbaraAnother one of the most impressive shooters in the draft class, Johnson averaged 19.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game for the Guachos last year. At 6-foot-5, he possesses an impressive 6-foot-11 wingspan (the same as 6-foot-7 Harrison Barnes) and can defend multiple positions. He would be an instant upgrade on the wing rather than an upside pick and, like Jenkins, is well seasoned after four years at the college level.

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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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.”