White Sox

John Danks looks for colder start to 2016 than Trevor Story's


John Danks looks for colder start to 2016 than Trevor Story's

OAKLAND, Calif. — John Danks doesn’t feel as bad now that Trevor Story has homered four times in his first three games for the Colorado Rockies.

He wasn’t in as good of a place on March 28 when Story blasted “a ball 500 feet” against him in a Cactus League contest in Scottsdale, Ariz. After that one, Danks joked he was worried the ball, one that actually traveled 449 feet, would have hit his rental car.

But Danks — who is scheduled to start in Friday’s home opener against the Cleveland Indians — has come around now that Story has continued his torrid run and is the first player in baseball history to homer in his first three games.

“It makes me feel a lot better,” Danks said. “He’s got some long ones, too. I wasn’t the only one.”

[SHOP: Get your White Sox gear right here]

Danks would love for his 2016 campaign to get started on similar terms, though he prefers cold weather. The left-hander said he’s flying back on Thursday ahead of his teammates, who close out a four-game series against the Oakland A’s that afternoon.

“I don’t enjoy the cold by any means,” Danks said. “Certainly on my day I want it to be as cold as possible. I feel like it’s more advantage pitcher the colder it is. I’m not real concerned about the cold to be honest. I hope it’s 20 degrees and sleeting.”

Danks won’t wear anything heavier in the cold weather despite a forecast of 43 degrees with a 50 percent chance of snow, according to weather.com. He intends to wear a tank top under his jersey and short sleeves as always.

“There’s times I’ll go in the clubhouse and stand in front of the heater,” Danks said. “But for me in my experience, once I’m out on the field, your focus is so much on everything but the cold.

“You really don’t even notice it.”

Danks did notice that Story has hit four homers already in his first three contests after blasting six this spring. Two of Story’s first three traveled 436 and 428 feet.

“He looks like a player,” Danks said. “Physically, he looks like a strong guy, athletic guy. He has pop. Outside of that I don’t know a whole lot about him. But he’s off to a good start.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Future looking bright for White Sox rotation

USA Today

White Sox Talk Podcast: Future looking bright for White Sox rotation

Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber take a look at the young guns in the White Sox starting rotation (Giolito, Lopez and Cease) who are coming off their best week together as a trio and why they are excited about the future (1:00). Ivan Nova has a lower ERA than some of the best pitchers in baseball. Seriously. (5:20). The competition going on behind the scenes with the starting rotation (6:40). What will the rotation look like in 2020? (13:00) and more.

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

White Sox Talk Podcast


With young arms dealing, Reynaldo Lopez sets high expectations for White Sox rotation in 2020


With young arms dealing, Reynaldo Lopez sets high expectations for White Sox rotation in 2020

The White Sox starting rotation of the future won’t be complete until Michael Kopech returns from Tommy John surgery. It won’t be complete until Rick Hahn’s front office is done shopping this winter.

But what the team’s young pitchers, the ones throwing right now at the major league level, have done of late has to have everyone feeling good about the starting staff’s prospects in 2020.

Lucas Giolito called his most recent outing, a shutout of the high-powered Minnesota Twins, the “best I’ve ever felt pitching in my life.” Dylan Cease settled down nicely after some early struggles against the Texas Rangers on Friday and called his performance the best he’s had as a big leaguer. Reynaldo Lopez had to leave Sunday’s outing after just five innings, his days-old sickness a little too much to handle, but he didn’t allow a single hit before his departure.

All in all — and that includes recent strong showings from veterans Ivan Nova and Ross Detwiler, too — the rotation has a 2.09 ERA in the last seven games, five of which have ended in White Sox victories.

“We’re excited,” Lopez said through team interpreter Billy Russo after Sunday’s game. “This is a very, very exciting moment for all of us and for the organization.

“I think the expectations that you can have right now and that we have right now for the future are really, really high because we all know what we’re capable of doing. And if we’re just doing it right now, then it’s going to be just part of the process, just continuing doing what we’re doing right now.

“The learning process for all of us, for the young guys, has been outstanding. I think all of us have been learning a lot outing by outing and just putting those lessons on the field, too. It’s not just learning and, ‘OK, yes, learning this today and going to apply it in a week.’ No, you need to apply it right away and we’ve been doing that.

“I think you can see the results and for us as a group, it’s a very good moment.”

To those not so sure, there are perfectly valid reasons to be skeptical about the makeup of the 2020 rotation.

Lopez has been terrific since the All-Star break, his second-half ERA down to 2.82 after the five scoreless innings Sunday, but that doesn’t erase the woeful 6.34 number he had in the first half.

Cease has shown what everyone, including manager Rick Renteria, calls “electric stuff,” but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s got a 5.76 ERA and has allowed a homer in all nine starts he’s made since his promotion.

Giolito has been an ace but will have to show that his transformation from the guy who gave up more earned runs than any pitcher in baseball in 2018 into an All Star is permanent.

Kopech’s next start will be just his fifth as a big leaguer and will come, at the earliest, nearly 19 months after his fourth. And while the White Sox remain confident, there’s no telling, until we see him in action, what kind of pitcher he is following the surgery.

And though Hahn has pledged aggressiveness this offseason, we don’t know what kind of pitcher the White Sox will be able to add this winter.

But all that can be effectively countered by what’s happening right now before our eyes.

“They continue to mature, grow, learn,” Renteria said. “It's not necessarily the outcomes, even though you want those good outcomes to occur. It's what they're feeling in terms of what they believe they're capable of doing in certain moments. They're starting to trust themselves a little bit more and able to execute and get through games.”

No matter what the White Sox front office does this offseason, it figures to have four 2020 rotation spots spoken for: Giolito, Lopez, Cease and Kopech. That’s 80 percent of a rotation made up of homegrown arms, or if you’re a stickler on the definition of “homegrown,” guys acquired in those rebuild-jumpstarting trades in 2016 and 2017.

With Giolito and Lopez dealing of late and Cease getting positive reviews while going through his learning process in his first taste of the major leagues, Lopez’s words ring true. There should be excitement and high expectations for next season. These young arms and what they’re doing right now, not hypothetically but in reality, is part of what makes a transition from rebuilding to contending in 2020 look possible.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.