White Sox

Moves give White Sox prospect chance to mature

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Moves give White Sox prospect chance to mature

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The White Sox made a pair of moves this week that keeps them from making another they feel might be premature at this juncture.

With the addition of infielder Angel Sanchez at Thursdays Rule 5 draft and Wednesdays signing of free agent Jeff Keppinger, the White Sox hope they have fulfilled two big needs without having to rush minor-leaguer Carlos Sanchez to the majors.

Carlos Sanchez, 20, advanced from Single-A to Triple-A in the span of last season and heads into 2013 as the organizations No. 3 prospect, according to Baseball America. He posted a .323.378.403 slash line with a homer and 56 RBIs at three stops and followed it up with a strong performance at the Arizona Fall League.

A combination second basemanshortstop, Carlos Sanchez was one of the most talked about players at the teams organizational meetings last month, enough that the White Sox considered him as a possibility at third base even with limited experience.

But the club will officially announce it filled its hole at third base with Keppinger next week and has covered its utility job with the drafting of Angel Sanchez.

I know we are really hesitant about starting Carlos in the major leagues in April, assistant general manager Buddy Bell said. I think thats a good thing. He hasnt had many at-bats above A-Ball. We sent him to Birmingham and the end of the year in Charlotte because of the playoffs. Theres still some at-bats he needs to get. I think hes proven to all of us that I dont think its out of the question he could be in the big leagues next year at some point.

General manager Rick Hahn noted in November the White Sox have a history of taking the best players with them to Chicago when the team breaks camp. Though Carlos Sanchez hasnt officially received an invite to big league camp in February, the writing is on the wall and he could at least have a shot at the backup infielder job along with Steve Tolleson and Angel Sanchez.

But the team also wants to exercise caution.

Carlos Sanchez has 172 plate appearances above Single-A, including only 39 at Triple-A Charlotte. While his glove has always been a selling point, Carlos Sanchez made significant strides at the plate last season as his OPS jumped up 95 points from the season before. His track has similarities to those of Gordon Beckham and Daniel Hudson -- who breezed through the minors -- but the White Sox ideally would love to give Carlos Sanchez more time to mature. And then theres the fact that a delayed arrival, perhaps in the middle of the summer, also limits the chance of Carlos Sanchez reaching early arbitration.

Wed have to talk about that come Glendale, and were way ahead of ourselves with that one, Hahn said of the potential for a backup infielder job out of camp. Probably the best thing for this kids development is to get more ABs at Triple-A.

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

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USA TODAY

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

On Wednesday morning, ESPN.com released their rankings of all 30 MLB team's starting rotations. The rankings were a nod to the current structure of the rotation, as well as how they were likely to perform in the future. And that is why the Chicago White Sox being ranked dead last in the league is somewhat alarming. 

Overall, the White Sox rotation is 28th in WHIP and 29th in strikeouts. 

Lucas Giolito is currently the team leader in wins with four, but his ERA sits at an unsightly 7.19. James Shields has been decent in spurts, but a general lack of run support has limited his effectiveness. Carlos Rodon has been a mixed bag since returning, but was able to reach the seventh inning in his last start. This is encouraging considering that he hadn't made it that far in any of his previous three starts. And Reynaldo Lopez continues to rack up quality starts—much like Shields—but has two wins to show for it. 

Veteran players like closing pitcher Joakim Soria and Shields are sure to be hot names on the trade market, and that could go a long way towards bringing in additional prospects to build up the White Sox farm system, and lead to a much improved rotation in the future.

So the White Sox obviously deserve to be ranked lowly until they can groom their minor league starter prospects into MLB-ready staff members, something that looks like it could take longer than originally expected. Flame-throwing top prospect Michael Kopech is still amassing high strikeouts numbers, but he is walking over six batters per outing, showing an obvious issue with control. 

White Sox fans can take their mind off of ESPN ranking the team's rotation 30th in the league by turning their attention to Eloy Jimenez. He has been absolutely crushing it in Double-A Birmingham, and will likely be making his debut with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights on Saturday. That game will be live on NBC Sports Chicago. So sit back, relax and look forward to the future, wherever it may take White Sox faithful. 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

In Part 2 of "Ask Us Anything" we answer the following questions: Who will be the biggest free agent the White Sox sign this off-season? What are the chances they trade Avi Garcia before the deadline? What's your assessment so far of Luis Robert?  Who's on your all-time busted prospect list? Is Omar Vizquel the next White Sox manager? Would the 1994 White Sox have won the World Series if there wasn't a strike?  What's the long term plan at third base? These questions and many more on this edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

If you missed Part 1 of 'Ask Us Anything', you can listen to the full episode here 

Listen to the full Part 2 of 'Ask Us Anything' at this link or in the embedded player below: