White Sox

Robin Ventura: White Sox have 'improved, definitely'

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Robin Ventura: White Sox have 'improved, definitely'

He wouldn’t go so far as to predict a 2016 playoff appearance, but Robin Ventura is pleased with recent upgrades to the White Sox roster.

Ten months after he opened spring training with the suggestion his 2015 club was postseason worthy, the White Sox manager said Thursday he likes the additions of infielders Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie. Both were traded for in an eight-day span in which the White Sox have dramatically overhauled their infield. Those additions came on the heels of the signings of catchers Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro.

Even though fangraphs.com’s early projections have the teams’ four newest players providing 8.1 Wins Above Replacement, a significant increase over last season, Ventura wouldn’t go overboard with any White Sox predictions.

“We’re improved, definitely,” Ventura said on a conference call. “We’re also in the division that has the World Series champion. We know it’s a tough division. Everyone in that division is getting better and this is our way to improve and make ourselves a viable candidate, so we’re much improved from last year. Just look at the people that we got. And again, you’re going to have to play to be able to make an impact and make it happen because it doesn’t happen on paper.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: Rick Hahn: White Sox to stay 'aggressive on numerous fronts']

Until they can prove it on the field, the White Sox only have projections and scouting reports upon which to base their moves.

So far, the White Sox have done well in that arena.

A number of scouts and a National League executive praised the White Sox on Wednesday for their acquisition of Frazier, even though they had to part with three major league ready (or close to) players, including outfielder Trayce Thompson.

Responses ranged from “love Frazier” to “fantastic” to “real good deal for Sox.”

Frazier is expected to provide the White Sox with a middle of the lineup presence behind Jose Abreu and a strong glove at third base. The two-time All-Star projects for 3.7 WAR next season just one season after White Sox third baseman combined for minus-1.3 WAR.

Lawrie is predicted to provide 15 home runs at second base and 1.8 WAR, a number the White Sox hope is low given they believe he’ll benefit from a change of scenery.

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Last season, White Sox second baseman hit five homers and were valued at minus-1.3 WAR.

Navarro and Avila — who signed for a combined $6.5 million — are expected to produce 2.6 WAR, according to fangraphs.com, an increase of 1.1 WAR over Tyler Flowers and Geovany Soto in 2015.

Though Ventura wants to see it on the field first, it’s reasonable to expect improvement over an offense that scored 3.89 runs per game and hit an American League-low 136 homers last season.

“We haven’t offensively got production out of some areas (on the infield),” Ventura said. “You have to try to go at it and try to improve it. This is one of the ways to do it. We did give up some young talent to be able to do it, but you have to give up something to get something. That’s the way it works in this game. Todd was definitely a target, and when you start to look around and look at the landscape of what you can do and the moves you can make and how you are going to do it, Rick (Hahn) is the one who went through it and figured out how to make it all work.”

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.