White Sox

Bears promote from within in personnel department

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Bears promote from within in personnel department

The Bears went with a former member of the scouting staff when they hired Phil Emery to replace Jerry Angelo as general manager earlier this offseason.

They have stayed in-house again with his two top personnel directors among changes that significantly expand the Bears' personnel department.

The shakeup in the front office that began with exits of pro personnel director Bobby DePaul and college scouting director Greg Gabriel two years ago largely concluded Tuesday with the promotions of former scouts Chris Ballard and Marty Barrett to directors of pro and college scouting, in addition to a number of other changes and hirings.

The moves are part of an overall expansion of the player personnel department from 12 to 18 staffers under Emery.

Ballard and Barrett return the organizational chart to its form prior to the DePaul and Gabriel dismissals, after which those two posts were consolidated under player personnel director Tim Ruskell the past two years.

The focus during the selection process for the directors position was not whether the scout came from a pro or college background, rather it was their level of skill as communicators and evaluators, Emery said. We were also looking for people with a successful background in coaching, organizational and administrative experience.

Ballard was the Bears Southwest area scout for the past 11 years after coaching seven seasons at Texas A&M-Kingsville while current Bear center Roberto Garza was a member of the Javelins.

Barrett, who was hired by Mark Hatley in 1997 has been a Bears scout since 1997 after three years with the New Orleans Saints, scouting the West Region for both organizations. He now has worked for Mark Hatley, Jerry Angelo and Emery.

Former Bears cornerback Dwayne Joseph and Kevin Turks will both work as assistant directors of pro scouting.

Joseph has 14 years of experience in scouting and football operations, spending the last eight seasons with the Miami Dolphins serving as a pro scout, adding the title of assistant director of pro personnel for one season in 2007.

Turks is in his 11th season with the Chicago Bears and his fifth as assistant director of pro personnel. He has worked as a pro scout for the Bears since 2002 after serving as an intern in Chicagos scouting department in 2001.

Jeff Shiver will serve as the Bears executive scoutassistant director of college scouting with a focus on the Big Ten Conference. He has 28 years of NFL scouting experience and is in his 26th year with the team. Shiver previously worked as an area scout for the Bears focusing on the Midwest region.

Rex Hogan and Mark Sadowski will both work as national scouts, working the West and East regions, respectively. Hogan joined the Bears as a college scout in 2003 after working five years in college football at the University of Utah and the University of Notre Dame in the areas of recruiting and football operations.

Sadowski has 15 years of scouting experience with the New Orleans Saints (1998-2005) and Bears (2005-12). He has served as Chicagos Southeast area scout after working in New Orleans as a pro scout (1998-99), NFS combine scout (2000) and Southeast area scout (2001-05).

Ted Monago, who is in his 12th season in the Bears scouting department, will serve as an executive scout with a focus on the Southeastern Conference. Monago has worked as an area scout for the Bears since 2003 after working as the teams BLESTO scout for two seasons.

Robyn Wilkey will serve as the executive assistantscouting coordinator in her 15th season with the Bears.

Kent Kahl, James Kirkland, Francis Saint-Paul and Sam Summerville will serve as area scouts.

Kahl will be Chicagos Central States area scout after serving as a regional scout with the San Francisco 49ers since 2007.

Kirkland, in his third year with the team, will be the Bears Atlantic area scout. Prior to his time in Chicago, Kirkland spent six seasons with the Cleveland Browns, including three as assistant director, pro personnel. He also worked one season as a volunteer scouting intern with the Atlanta Falcons in 2003.

Saint-Paul will serve as Chicagos West area scout after working on Northern Arizonas coaching staff for five years, including the last four as a wide receivers coach.

Summerville will be the Bears East area scout after serving as a player personnel assistant with the Browns (2009-12) and pro personnel assistant with the Eagles (2007-09).

The Bears has also hired Breck Ackley, Bobby Macedo, Zach Truty and David Williams as scouting assistants. Ackley joins the Bears personnel department after working two seasons as a graduate assistant football coach at Southern University.

Macedo comes to Chicago after spending the 2011 season as a running backs coach for Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. Truty served as director of player personnel for the Arizona Rattlers in 2011 after working as a recruiting coordinator for Eastern Michigan University for two years. Williams joins Chicago after working as player personnel assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs this past year. He has also served as a football operations intern and equipment intern for the Cleveland Browns.

Less heralded than prospects White Sox acquired with them, it's Dylan Cease and Luis Basabe starring in Futures Game

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USA TODAY

Less heralded than prospects White Sox acquired with them, it's Dylan Cease and Luis Basabe starring in Futures Game

WASHINGTON, D.C. — You don’t need to be a headliner of one of the White Sox major trades to make an impact on the ongoing rebuilding effort.

The White Sox two representatives at Sunday’s Futures Game had one very big thing in common: Neither was the most talked-about player in the trades that brought them into the organization.

Luis Alexander Basabe was the No. 3 piece in the Chris Sale deal, overshadowed by Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech. Dylan Cease was the No. 2 player in the Jose Quintana trade, overshadowed by Eloy Jimenez.

But as their selections to the Futures Game show, these guys weren’t just throw-ins. Cease is having a sensational season, the best campaign of any of the White Sox highest-rated pitching prospects. Basabe had a hot start to the season and showed his potential with a two-run homer on a 102 mph pitch in the third inning Sunday.

Rick Hahn’s talked all during this rebuild about his desire to make the White Sox farm system as deep as possible. Moncada, Kopech and Jimenez brought star power to the rebuild. Cease and Basabe have helped bring the depth.

“I love the fact that Dylan and Basabe are the two down there at the Futures Game, in part because — through no fault of their own — in their own transactions, publicly, they got a little bit overshadowed by the headliners, so to speak, in those deals,” Hahn said last week. “But the Quintana trade doesn’t happen without Dylan Cease being part of it. He was a very important part of that for us, and we’re thrilled to see him getting some recognition for his ability and his accomplishments, and the Futures Game honor is very fitting.

“Basabe, obviously, was overshadowed in the Sale trade by Moncada and Kopech, and they’re bigger names, but our scouts felt very strongly about his upside and what his tool set presented. And you saw it at Winston-Salem, the way he was able to perform at an All-Star level there.

“It’s nice to see guys who might not be at the top of mind for people when they think of our system being recognized in that way and certainly for those two guys, who were important parts of big trades for us but perhaps not perceived previously to the recognition they deserve.”

Until recently, Cease has been the fourth name mentioned when discussing the White Sox fleet of starting-pitching prospects, behind Kopech, Alec Hansen and Dane Dunning. And that’s typically after mentioning guys already in the majors like Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. But Cease has certainly moved to the front of that conversation with his big 2018.

Basabe is still buried, in conversation, behind Jimenez, Luis Robert and Micker Adolfo. Blake Rutherford is ranked ahead of him, too. But he’s shown himself worthy of consideration for a spot in the White Sox future plans. His performance at the Futures Game will keep him in that discussion.

Down in the minors, these guys are going about their business. And as headlining names like Jimenez and Kopech have either dealt with injuries or gone through struggles, “under the radar” guys like Cease and Basabe have produced.

Of course, the descriptors of “headliner” and “under the radar” don’t mean much to them.

“Eloy Jimenez is such a good player. That’s nothing, necessarily, against me, it just happens to be the way it is,” Cease said Sunday. “With Basabe, Kopech and Moncada are really studs, too. You’ve just got to be grateful for the opportunity you have. That doesn’t upset me by any means.”

Projecting lineups and depth charts of the future has become one of the favorite pastimes on the South Side during this rebuilding period. And while it’s easy to pick the highest-rated guys for the starting spots, rebuilds have a way of surprising. And maybe the emergence of guys like Cease and Basabe count as the surprises that awaited the White Sox effort.

Getting to the big leagues is obviously the end goal, and starring in the big leagues would mean usurping the projected place of one of the more-heralded prospects ahead of them. That’s not how Cease is looking at it, though, just sticking to that old baseball axiom of controlling what he can control.

Which is really the only way to get to where he and all these prospects want to be.

“It’s easy to dream on it,” Cease said of getting to the major league level. “It’s just that baseball’s such a difficult game that if you take your focus away from what you’re doing right now, it’s very easy to snowball away. So you can sit and dream about it, but you’ve got to do it and let it happen.”

Is Jordan Howard underrated in fantasy football?

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USA Today

Is Jordan Howard underrated in fantasy football?

Jordan Howard has accomplished some pretty amazing things to start his career. Most notably, he's the only running back in Chicago Bears franchise history to finish his first two seasons with more than 1,000 rushing yards, including 1,313 yards as a rookie, good for a team rookie record.

Still, Howard has been the target of criticism this offseason because of his questionable set of hands. He was plagued by a case of the drops last season and he's been labeled as a guy who can't catch the ball heading into 2018. Combine that with the player nipping at his heels -- Tarik Cohen -- and the overwhelming theory advanced by analysts is that he'll give way to Cohen on passing downs.

This presumption has made its way into the world of fantasy football, too. Howard is rarely if ever mentioned as one of the first running backs that should be drafted this summer and in a recent player vs. player showdown on Pro Football Focus, 49ers starter Jerick McKinnon was selected as a more appealing fantasy starter in 2018.

It’s close, but I give the nod to Jerick McKinnon. Howard’s troubles in the passing game are very real and it’s clear the Bears want to focus on that more this year. Meanwhile, McKinnon was handed a fat contract and has little competition when it comes to carries.

McKinnon, a career backup, was signed by San Franciso to be Kyle Shanahan's feature running back. He has a real chance to be a stud in fantasy circles, but should he be valued over a guy like Howard who's proven to be a contender for the NFL's rushing crown?

All of this offseason chatter will serve as great motivation for Howard who has to prove, first and foremost, that he can be a three-down back for coach Matt Nagy in the Bears' new offense. If he has a consistent training camp as a receiver and carries that momentum into the preseason and regular season, those fantasy players who draft McKinnon or another less-proven player over Howard will long for a redo.