White Sox

Scott Boras on board with White Sox plan for Carlos Rodon

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Scott Boras on board with White Sox plan for Carlos Rodon

Scott Boras thinks the White Sox were lucky Carlos Rodon was available when they picked third in last June’s amateur draft. But the super agent also feels pretty fortunate for his client, who was promoted to the majors on Monday, to have been picked by the White Sox, a franchise well versed in the development of young pitchers.

Whereas Boras made headlines in March with his belief that Bryant -- who was promoted by the Cubs on Friday -- deserved to start the season in the majors, he sees his two clients in different stages. Not only did Bryant, the No. 2 pick in the 2013 draft, already have parts of two seasons in the minors to Rodon’s two months, but pitchers and position players are akin to apples and oranges. Boras likes that the White Sox intend to go slow with Rodon’s workload this season.

“The Bryant situation and Carlos’ situation are very different because of the innings issue,” Boras said. “Because of the idea that frankly, you really want this process to get a foundation to it for a pitcher rather than building -- because there’s no repetition in amateur baseball that prepares you for what major league pitchers have to go through. Its part of what they have to go through isn’t about ability, it’s about truly building to durability.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

By promoting Rodon and starting him in the bullpen, the White Sox get an extremely talented arm and can control his workload at the same time. The White Sox could move Rodon into the rotation at some point this season, but for now they plan to use him in a variety of bullpen roles while giving him more time to work with pitching coach Don Cooper. General manager Rick Hahn considers this the final step in Rodon’s development and it’s a tested method previously used with Chris Sale in 2010-11 and Mark Buehrle in 2000.

“We are dealing with a scarce resource,” Hahn said. “I don’t think anyone could reasonably expect any pitcher a year out of college to make 32 starts and average six innings a start. It will be some level below that in terms of what we will be able to get out of this guy physically and developmentally. A way to maximize that is to start him out in the bullpen, get him some work here, get his feet wet, get him acclimated to the big leagues, everything that goes about being a successful big league pitcher and then make that transition to the rotation when the time is right.”

[MORE: Rodon doesn't want Bryant hype]

Boras is on board with the plan. Rodon has to make the leap from pitching once a week in college to once every five days in the majors. He has a strong lower body, the kind that appears to be built for endurance. But Boras doesn’t just want to see his client thrown into the fire.

“Still the process is one where I don’t in any way think that too many innings too young, being a big leaguer, right there right now and throwing 180 innings your first year of pro ball, I don’t find too many careers where athletes do that that have worked out too well as far longevity goes,” Boras said. “So bringing him along slowly and monitoring his innings and doing things like that, I think it’s a very good plan.”

James McCann leads charge for White Sox in running for starting spots in MLB All-Star Game

James McCann leads charge for White Sox in running for starting spots in MLB All-Star Game

Major League Baseball released a second voting update for All-Star Game starters and three White Sox players are still in the mix.

The top three spots at each position (and top nine in the outfield) are all that matter for now, with those players advancing to MLB’s new Starters Election. James McCann is the only member of the White Sox to sit in one of those spots for now.

McCann is second at catcher behind Gary Sanchez of the Yankees. He is nearly 800,000 votes behind the Yankees backstop.

Jose Abreu was in third in the last update at first base, but has fallen behind Carlos Santana of the Indians. Luke Volt, another Yankee, leads with C.J. Cron of the Twins in second. Santana is just under 43,000 votes ahead of Abreu.

Tim Anderson is still in fourth at shortstop. Jorge Polanco of the Twins and Carlos Correa of the Astros are comfortably in the top two spots. Gleyber Torres, yet another Yankee, is just over 45,000 votes ahead of Anderson for third.

There aren’t any other White Sox within striking distance of the top three. Yoan Moncada remains in eighth among third basemen.

Polls close Friday at 3 p.m. CT.

 

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Breaking down Eloy Jimenez's improvement

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USA TODAY

Breaking down Eloy Jimenez's improvement

When Eloy Jiménez returned from the Injured List in late May and rejoined the White Sox lineup, he went on the road to Houston and Minnesota and he struggled to the tune of a .148 batting average and .148 on-base percentage, with four hits (three went over the fence), 11 strikeouts and no walks.

For the season, his slashline was .217/.259/.406 with five walks and 36 strikeouts. He was swinging at 49.8 percent of all the pitches he saw (a bit above the 46.7 percent league average); he was swinging at 38.8 percent of pitches outside the zone (quite a bit above the 30.9 percent league average).

He returned to the comfort of Guaranteed Rate Field on May 27 and took a pair of walks. From that point forward, things started to look a lot better… and the results were in line with that observation.

Eloy Jiménez this season:

  PA AVG OBP SLG BB K Swing % Outside zone swing %
Through May 26 112 ,217 .259 .406 5 36 49.8 38.8
Since May 27 71 .297 .366 .594 7 18 45.9 30.8

Not only has he improved quite a bit, but that 30.8 outside the zone swing percentage is second only to Yonder Alonso’s 29.9 percent mark among White Sox with at least 40 plate appearances since May 27. Jiménez hasn’t been chasing nearly as many bad pitches lately.

Those pitches he has been laying off of have for the most part been the low and away stuff, as indicated by his swing charts below. First, his swing rates before getting hurt and then since he came back from injury.

These charts are from the catcher’s perspective, and from what you can see, he has done a much better job of laying off the low and away pitches. Look at the three zones furthest low and away. There’s a big difference.

Start of the year through May 26:

Since May 27:

Through May 26 he swung at 33.8 percent of pitches (51 of 151)  low and away and out of the zone. Since May 27 he has swung at 14.5 percent of those pitches (10 of 69).

It’s only an 18-game sample, so there will certainly be more adjustments made to combat Jiménez, but I believe we’re watching Eloy begin to mature into the middle of the order force as he was advertised.

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