White Sox

Five storylines to watch as White Sox begin spring training

Five storylines to watch as White Sox begin spring training

The White Sox open spring training on Tuesday and they’ll do so with a new manager, a slew of fresh acquisitions and headed in a considerably different direction than they were a year ago. As they begin camp ahead of the 117th season in franchise history, manager Rick Renteria and the White Sox are in the midst of their first rebuild since 1997. Despite describing the ensuing process as painful and deliberate while trading away stars Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, general manager Rick Hahn has re-energized the fan base by acquiring seven highly-touted prospects.

Here’s a look at what’s in store over the next 6 1/2 weeks.

1. How will the veterans handle the situation?

Hahn has laid it all out for the fans -- while the next few seasons may be fruitful for the long-term view, there’s sure to be trying times ahead in the interim. One area that could very well surface is in how players who aren’t part of the big picture handle their time in limbo. Though there’s the possibility for some awkward moments, Renteria, Hahn and a number of veterans said they don’t expect anything less than to handle the situation professionally.

2. Prospect push

White Sox officials have only had a glimpse of many of their new prized possessions and thus far they’ve been ecstatic. How couldn’t they be as they get their first extended look at a farm system revamped by a pair of franchise-altering trades? Each of the team’s top eight prospects, according to MLB.com, will spend part of the spring in big league camp, which will give the staff and front office a good idea how far along are their prospects.

Renteria and his player-development friendly staff get an early chance to mold the team’s future before they arrive in the majors. He looks forward to familiarizing himself with the team’s newest players.

“We are going to have a vigilant eye for what we recognize in terms of where we believe they are in the process,” Renteria said. “But we have to trust each other.

“We have many voices that can chime in to give us each their individual opinion so we can assess and draw best conclusion at the end.”

3.  The World Baseball Classic effect

There aren’t any position players competing in next month’s exhibition, but the White Sox pitching staff features four participants, including Jose Quintana, Miguel Gonzalez, Nate Jones and David Robertson. Pitching coach Don Cooper spoke to all four players in advance of their official selections to have them prepared for the event, which runs March 6-22. Cooper also has a plan in place how to have his pitchers ready for the regular season once they return to camp.

4. What’s next for the young guys?

During a Winter Meetings press conference, Hahn implied that the only Carlos Rodon and Tim Anderson had no chance of being traded. Both men have had success at the major league level, but both are still developing. Anderson is looking to improve upon a very good start in the field and at the plate while Rodon continues to look for consistency with his strike throwing.

5. Filling the vacancies

Though there don’t appear to be many openings on the pitching staff, the everyday lineup has several starting jobs to be determined. Catcher, center field and designated hitter are the spots in question with plenty of potential candidates for playing time.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 1

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 1

We asked you to ask us anything about the White Sox and you delivered in a big way. We got so many questions, we had to do two different podcasts! Among the questions here in Part 1: should the White Sox send Yoan Moncada to Triple-A? What players will be traded before the deadline? Who are some sleeper prospects in the minors? Will Jordan Stephens be called up before Michael Kopech? Should Juan Uribe be a team ambassador? What's our all-time White Sox team from 2000 to the present and many more.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Rick Hahn says 'there will be many' promotions for White Sox prospects this week

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USA TODAY

Rick Hahn says 'there will be many' promotions for White Sox prospects this week

The White Sox have a number of highly-rated prospects performing well in the minors and some of them will be on the move within the system in a matter of days.

General manager Rick Hahn talked to reporters ahead of Monday night's White Sox game in Cleveland, a 6-2 loss, and gave the news. Well, sort of.

He didn't include names, but he did say that "there will be many" promotions after the minor league all-star games for Double-A and both Single-A teams take place on Tuesday.

Hahn added that Chris Getz, the White Sox player development director, will address the media before the White Sox host Oakland on Thursday about the moves.

If the all-star games are a reason to wait, it's safe to think some of the players involved will be playing in those games. So who could be on the move?

Double-A Birmingham has six all-stars: Eloy Jimenez, Zack Collins, Seby Zavala, Danny Mendick, Dane Dunning and Ian Hamilton. Jimenez is the name everyone wants to see on the move. He has torched the Southern League since getting off to a late start to the season due to injury. Hahn was asked about Jimenez, but didn't tip his hand as to whether he would be one of the promotions.

Dunning has been good in Double-A (2.78 ERA, 65 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings), but was already promoted this season so he may not be on the move again.

Single-A Winston-Salem has five all-stars: Dylan Cease, Luis Alexander Basabe, Joel Booker, Bernardo Flores and Matt Foster. Cease, 22, could be due for a promotion with a 2.89 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings. There's also that outfield logjam the Dash, which won the first-half division title, have had all season.

Other than Basabe and Booker, Blake Rutherford and Alex Call are also noteworthy prospects being forced to split time in the Dash's outfield. If Jimenez is moving up to Triple-A, one or two names from this group could be on the move to take his spot in Birmingham.

This would especially make sense if highly-touted outfield prospect Luis Robert, who was supposed to be in Single-A Kannapolis for a short period before joining the Dash, is ready to move up as planned. Robert is hitting .289/.360/.400 in 13 games with the Intimidators.

Birmingham, Winston-Salem and Kannapolis were all off Monday. The various all-star games will take place Tuesday and the three teams will be off again Wednesday. The promotions could be announced Thursday ahead of Getz's scheduled media availability.