White Sox

MLB Draft Tracker: White Sox stockpile farm system on Day 3

MLB Draft Tracker: White Sox stockpile farm system on Day 3

The White Sox went with a heavy dose of productive college players on the first two days of the 2017 MLB Draft.

Sam Abbot, a first baseman out of Curtis High School, is the only preps player the White Sox have selected during the first 10 rounds of the draft.

With final day of the draft underway, CSNChicago.com is tracking all the players the White Sox add to their farm system Wednesday afternoon:

Round 11: Will Kincanon (RHP), Indiana State

The Chicagoland native went 5-5 with a 5.24 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP with 93 strikeouts in 14 starts with the Sycamores this season.

Round 12: Justin Yurchak (3B), SUNY-Binghampton

After transferring from Wake Forest, Yurchak had a slash line  of .320/.474/.442 with a 41/12 K/BB ratio in 2017.

Round 13: Tate Blackman (2B), Ole Miss

In his junior season at Ole Miss, Blackman had nine homers and 30 RBI. He also added nine stolen bases.

Round 14: Alex Destino (OF), South Carolina

Destino belted 26 homers with 135 RBI during his three years with the Gamecocks.

Round 15: Tyler Frost (CF), Gonzaga

Frost had a .284/.372/.442 slash line with nine homers and 39 RBI in 2017.

Round 16: Logan Taylor (CF), Louisville

Taylor becomes the third player the White Sox have selected out of Louisville in the 2017 MLB Draft.

Round 17: Blake Battenfield (RHP), Oklahoma State

The 6-foot-3 right-hander made 22 appearances for the Cowboys in 2017 and had a 5-4 record with a 4.91 ERA.

Round 18: Hunter Kiel (RHP), LSU

No relation to former Notre Dame quarterback Gunner Kiel or D2: The Mighty Ducks star Gunnar Stahl.

Round 19: Anthony Herron (RHP), Missouri State

Before transferring to Missouri State, Herron had a 15-4 record with a 2.41 ERA and 219 strikeouts at Jefferson College.

Round 20: David Cronin (2B), UIC

The Sandburg High School graduate batted .313 and had six home runs and 32 RBI for the Flames.

Round 21: John Parke (LHP), South Carolna

The 6-foot-3 left-hander had an 8.53 ERA in 14 appearances with the Gamecocks this season.

Round 22: Joseph Benitez (LHP), South Carolina Aiken

Benitez was named PBC Pitcher of the Year and was a first-team all-league selection in 2017.

Round 23: Mikey Duarte (SS), UC Irvine

Duarte had a .320/.395/.448 slash line with a 19/19 K/BB ratio in 2017.

Round 24: Vince Arobio (RHP), Pacific

In 24 appearances, Arobio had a 3.86 ERA with 44 strikeouts.

Round 25: Jose Garcia (OF), Texas Rio Grande Valley

Garcia led the Vaqueros with seven homers and was third on the club with 33 RBI.

Round 26: Michael Staudinger (OF), Azusa Pacific

Staudinger batted .359 with 11 home runs and 38 RBI.

Round 27: JJ Muno (SS), UC Santa Barbara

Muno had 31 stolen bases in his three years with the Gauchos.

Round 28: Laz Rivera (IF), Tampa

After transferring from Chipola College, Rivera had four home runs and 32 RBI in his first season with the Spartans.

Round 29: Joe Mockbee (LHP), Michigan State

The Ohio native made 28 appearances out of the Spartans bullpen had a 5.15 ERA in 2017.

Round 30: Ryan Erickson (LHP), Iowa

Erickson started 12 games for the Hawkeyes in 2017 and had a 3.00 ERA in 75 innings.

Round 31: Parker Rigler (LHP), Kansas State

Parker made Wildcats history this season when he tossed the program's first no-hitter since 1991 in a 14-0 victory over Eastern Illinois in March.

Round 32: Greg Minier (LHP), Washington

Minier had a 3.53 ERA with 41 strikouts out of the Huskies bullpen

Round 33: Kevin George (LHP) Menlo College

Can't confirm, but there's a chance he could be a distant relative of Curious George.

Round 34: Michael McCormick (RHP), Eastern Illinois

McCormick had a 1-6 record with a 7.45 ERA in 12 starts last season.

Round 35: Riley Crean (RHP), Bloomington High School

Riley Crean is the son of former Indiana basketball head coach Tom Crean.

Round 36: Alex Widmer (RHP), Norwayne High School

The right-handed pitcher is committed to play baseball at Malone University. 

Round 37: Ted Andrews (RHP), Tulane

Andrews had a 6.06 ERA in 15 appearances for the Green Wave in 2017.

Round 38: Dylan Horvitz (C), New Trier

Horvitz helped the Trevians to a 4th place finish in Illinois.

Round 39: Chance King (RHP), IMG Academy

Chance King is the son of television personality Larry King (from his eighth marriage).

Round 40: Angelo Smith (LHP), Richards

Smith was on the pitching staff at Richards High School in the Chicagoland area.

Michael Kopech absent from White Sox camp, adding another unknown to 2020

Michael Kopech absent from White Sox camp, adding another unknown to 2020

On the first day of "Summer Camp" workouts at Guaranteed Rate Field, there was one important absentee.

Michael Kopech has not yet reported to the second round of spring training ahead of the abbreviated, 60-game 2020 season, and the team has no timetable on when he'll rejoin the club.

General manager Rick Hahn said Friday that Kopech, who missed the entirety of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, is dealing with a personal matter. Recognizing that speculation could immediately turn to COVID-19, Hahn assured that the 24-year-old flamethrower is healthy.

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"It's obviously never ideal when any individual is dealing with off-field matters," Hahn said. "It's easy, I suppose, at times, to lose sight of the fact that you're dealing with human beings here. People have lives, people have families. People have all the same assortment of items to attend to that each and every other individual has. And this is obviously a very unique time we're all living through.

"It's not ideal, but fundamentally, we're looking to put all our players in the best position they can be to perform and maximize their abilities on the field, and if there's anything standing in the way of that, we're going to provide them with whatever support and resources they need to help address those matters. ... We fully support Michael and are going to provide him with whatever time and resources he needs and look forward to seeing him in the future."

Kopech missing more time is certainly unfortunate, especially when considering the long layoff he had following the surgery at the end of the 2018 season. He spent all of 2019 in recovery mode and participated in spring training earlier this year, throwing one inning of Cactus League action — and a pretty spectacular one at that — before baseball was abruptly shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under normal circumstances, Kopech was expected to begin the season in the minor leagues, building arm strength with so much time between competitive games. When the season was squeezed down to 60 games in two months, it appeared Kopech, three more months removed from the surgery, could have been utilized as a full-season option for the White Sox. Other pitchers, such as Carlos Rodon and Dane Dunning, could also be part of expanded pitching depth for the White Sox that they wouldn't have had if the season started in March, as scheduled.

But with no idea how long Kopech will be away from the team, those plans could again be forced to change.

RELATED: White Sox do not expect Mayor Lightfoot's travel order to impact MLB season

It's already a huge question what shape starting pitchers will be in after a halted spring, a three-month layoff and only three weeks' worth of ramping up before the regular season begins. Pitchers might be only capable of throwing three or four innings per start as opposed to their usual six or seven as they take time to get back into in-season mode. Who knows how Kopech, individually, has kept himself in shape during the layoff, or how large a benefit "Summer Camp" will provide for pitchers.

While the White Sox continue to have options with guys like Rodon, Dunning and Jimmy Lambert to go along with their starting rotation of Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Dylan Cease, Reynaldo Lopez and Gio Gonzalez, Kopech was expected to play a role of some significance either as a member of the rotation, a "piggybacking" starter out of the bullpen or even, potentially, as a late-inning option.

Any of that can still happen, but Kopech's beginning-of-camp absence adds another unknown into a season already full of them.


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White Sox do not expect Mayor Lightfoot's travel order to impact MLB season

White Sox do not expect Mayor Lightfoot's travel order to impact MLB season

Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued an emergency travel order Thursday that requires travelers visiting Chicago from states experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases to quarantine for two weeks.

By the end of the month, a certain group of travelers — Major League Baseball teams — are scheduled to visit Chicago to play games against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Likewise, the White Sox will be traveling to play road games in other states, as well, from which they will eventually return.

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But the White Sox say they aren't expecting the new order to impact their upcoming 2020 season.

"Based on our current understanding, we do not expect this to impact our operations as presently planned," a White Sox spokesperson told NBC Sports Chicago on Thursday.

Currently, no states that are home to Central Division teams from either the AL or NL are impacted by Mayor Lightfoot's order. But as has become extremely apparent, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can change things quickly, and there's no knowing which states might be impacted come Opening Day or at any point during the two-month baseball season.

At the moment, the mayor's order, which goes into effect Monday, applies to visitors from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. Landing on that list involves a specific metric. Per the city's website, "a state will be designated if it has a case rate greater than 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 resident population, per day, over a 7-day rolling average."

Major League Baseball is imposing a geographic schedule to minimize travel for teams during the shortened, 60-game season. Teams will only play their division rivals and teams from the same geographic division in the other league. The White Sox will play their four AL Central rivals and the five teams from the NL Central.

As of the mayor's order being issued Thursday, the states of Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were not part of the travel order. But every one of those states except Missouri, as well as Illinois, is currently experiencing a week-to-week increase in the number of new cases. The number of new cases is also rising in Iowa, where the White Sox are still on schedule to play in the Field of Dreams game on Aug. 13.

The city has the ability to grant exemptions, though, and Major League Baseball's extensive health and safety measures could come into play. According to the city's website, "the Commissioner of Health may additionally grant an exemption based upon an organization’s or business’ testing and other control policies or in extraordinary circumstances, which warrant an exception from mandatory quarantine."

So the city has the power to let the MLB season, as it pertains to teams traveling in and out of Chicago, to operate as planned. It can allow the Cleveland Indians come to town, or allow the White Sox to return from a trip to Detroit, even if other travelers from Ohio or Michigan, for example, are mandated to quarantine for two weeks.

As mentioned, the evolving status of the pandemic and the response to it, not just in Chicago but across the country, can change everything in a hurry. Major League Baseball faces its own internal hurdles when it comes to safely getting the season off the ground and completing it.

But as the White Sox understand it, there might not be reason to believe Mayor Lightfoot would be throwing a separate wrench into the difficult task of playing the 2020 baseball season.


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