White Sox

With season a week away, Todd Frazier is 'right where I need to be'

With season a week away, Todd Frazier is 'right where I need to be'

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After he pulled the ball more than ever in 2016, Todd Frazier has worked to hit it the opposite way more often this spring. Even if he struggled.

But as the Opening Day nears, Frazier doesn’t want to cheat himself. Though he struggled last season, Frazier hit a career-high 40 homers. That kind of success means Frazier will continue to pull a pitch if it’s where he likes it. That approach led to a double and Frazier’s first home run of the spring in a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. Both balls were hit to left field.

“I’ve been working on a lot of things and sometimes when you work on something the results aren’t going to be there,” Frazier said. “But I still stay true to myself. And once we start getting going here, pretty close, close as can be -- it’s time to have those things in the back of your mind. But at the same time, you have to hit it where the pitch is and put in play. I was working on a lot of things. I was still trying to go right field, couldn’t get it out there. And now you go to what you know best and just react.”

According to fangraphs.com, Frazier hit 22.8 percent of all balls he put in play to right field last year, which is actually above his career mark of 22.5 percent. But en route to slashing .225/.302/.464, Frazier saw a second consecutive dramatic drop in the number of balls he hit to center. Of the balls Frazier put in play, only 28.5 percent went up the middle, down from 37.7 percent in 2014 when he produced a career-best wRC+ of 122.

To correct that trend, Frazier has worked to give himself a better chance to hit outside pitches the opposite way. Now that his focus is back on hitting to all fields, Frazier thought it was a good sign to homer with a week left before the season starts.

“It feels good,” Frazier said. “It’s showing I’m in the right place. It was a changeup and I’ve been out in front on a lot of those. I’ve got about 10 or 12 more at-bats before the season starts and it’s go time. Get back in the rhythm of things. Whatever you worked on, keep that there. If it’s outside now I have that weapon too as well. I’m right where I need to be.”

Did the Yankees just copy the White Sox in their quest to sign Manny Machado?

Did the Yankees just copy the White Sox in their quest to sign Manny Machado?

"It's a copycat league," you'll often hear. And now the White Sox are getting copied. Kind of.

The White Sox raised a few eyebrows last weekend with their surprising trade for Yonder Alonso. Alonso, acquired from the Cleveland Indians, brings a ton of positives to the 2019 and 2020 White Sox. Their lineup needed a boost, and he gives it one. Their clubhouse needed some more veteran leadership, and he brings that. He allows Jose Abreu to take better care of his body and could have long-term benefit as a positive influence on young players.

But everyone looked past all that and noticed that he also happens to be Manny Machado's brother-in-law.

Machado is one of the two free-agent superstars the White Sox are pursuing, along with Bryce Harper, and the popular opinion on social media was that the South Siders brought in Alonso to help with their pitch to Machado. Heck, they announced the trade just two days before Monday's meeting with Machado.

Rick Hahn shot down all that, saying this was a baseball move, and the benefits of Alonso's arrival, independent of his relationship with Machado, are listed above.

But now the New York Yankees, just two days before their meeting with Machado, have gone and done something similar, hiring Carlos Beltran as a special advisor to general manager Brian Cashman. Why is it similar to the White Sox acquisition of Alonso? Machado's agent used to represent Beltran.

If it's not coming through, this all a bit joking, of course. Hahn had a laundry list of reasons the White Sox traded for Alonso, and Beltran has his own appeal to any team after his lengthy big league career and his recent role as a veteran leader with the Houston Astros during their championship season.

But the coincidences — or conspiracies, if you will — are a little fun to point out.

Alonso and Beltran are assets to their respective teams. But if they can help sway Machado, well that will go down as a nice added benefit.

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.

Top White Sox stories of 2018: Adam Engel's week of home-run robberies

Top White Sox stories of 2018: Adam Engel's week of home-run robberies

As the new year approaches, we're counting down the top White Sox stories from 2018.

Somewhat quietly, Adam Engel was a Gold Glove finalist in center field this fall.

But he had one week in August that was anything but quiet, and that week alone might have put him in the running for the annual fielding award.

In the span of seven days, Engel made a trio of jaw-dropping home-run robberies against the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians.

First, on Aug. 6, he stole one away from Yankees hitter Greg Bird.

He followed that up the very next night, with this robbery of a home run off the bat of Kyle Higashioka. This theft came right near the "The Catch" sign in center field and brought to memory Dewayne Wise, who made, under the circumstances, the best catch that Hawk Harrelson had ever seen.

White Sox pitcher Reynaldo Lopez really appreciated that one.

"I just wanted to take off my glove," he said through a team translator that day, "and go out there and kiss him."

And if that wasn't enough, Engel stole the show (literally) in the Sunday afternoon game Aug. 12, this thievery of Indians slugger Yonder Alonso — now one of Engel's White Sox teammates — the best of the bunch.

While Engel's offensive production has been slow to come along, his defensive ability has never been questioned, and spectacular plays like this show how valuable his glove can be to the White Sox moving forward.

"That’s something I take a lot of pride in, show up every day and trying to help the team win in any way that I can," Engel said that Sunday. "Defensively, it’s something I know I can count on. Just make sure to try to work on that every day. Make sure I stay sharp, and offensively hopefully I can get it going."

A season's worth of high-quality defense got him the title of Gold Glove finalist, but this week in August surely brought his skill to the attention of the baseball world.

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.