White Sox

Tim Anderson headlines Baseball America's White Sox prospect rankings


Tim Anderson headlines Baseball America's White Sox prospect rankings

Tim Anderson has climbed to the top of the White Sox farm system as Baseball America named him the club’s top prospect on Monday.

The shortstop and 2013 first-round pick tops a revamped list, one altered by last month’s trade for third baseman Todd Frazier.

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Last year’s first-rounder Carson Fulmer is ranked second while Spencer Adams moved up to third when Frankie Montas was included in the three-team Frazier deal. Baseball America originally had Trayce Thompson ranked fifth and Micah Johnson at No. 8 until they also went to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the deal for Frazier, a two-time All-Star.

The 17th pick of the 2013 draft, Anderson produced a .312/.350/.429 slash line with five home runs, 46 RBI and 49 stolen bases at Double-A Birmingham last season.

He also continues to make defensive strides. One National League scout who didn’t see Anderson until late in the season after having seen him in spring training was impressed by the strides the third-year pro had made.

Back in spring, Anderson showed a flair for making spectacular plays and impressed the White Sox coaching staff in big league camp. The White Sox think Anderson is on the cusp of the majors and he’s expected to be at big league camp again in February. But the team also wants to give Anderson — who was drafted out of community college and is considered baseball young — time to further hone his approach and refine his defense. Last season, Anderson, whom Baseball America had rated as the No. 92 prospect in baseball, struck out 114 times and walked 24. He also committed 25 errors.

While he’s close, Anderson is expected to start the season at Triple-A Charlotte. But general manager Rick Hahn has said Anderson could force the issue with a strong start to 2016.

[MORE: White Sox reportedly continue to pursue Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes]

Whereas last year’s top prospect Carlos Rodon was in the majors by the third week of April, Fulmer isn’t likely to follow the same path. Drafted eighth overall out of Vanderbilt, the right-hander excelled in 10 minor league appearances. He finished with a 2.08 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 26 innings, including a three-inning performance against Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League playoffs. But the White Sox intend to take their time and allow Fulmer to develop.

Adams excelled in his second season after a strong debut in 2014. The 6-foot-3 right-hander went 12-5 with a 2.99 ERA in 24 starts between Single-A Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. A year after he posted a 59:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the Arizona Rookie League, Adams struck out 96 batters and walked 18 in 129 1/3 innings.

Trey Michalczewski, Jacob May, Tyler Danish, Adam Engel, Jordan Guerrero, Courtney Hawkins and Corey Zangari round out the rest of the club’s Top 10.

Rick Renteria voices frustration with Reynaldo Lopez during start in Detroit

Rick Renteria voices frustration with Reynaldo Lopez during start in Detroit

Reynaldo Lopez’s outing Sunday in Detroit didn’t get off to a good start and his performance led to a couple lengthy lectures from his manager.

After giving up a two-run home run in the first inning, Lopez allowed a leadoff single to Dawel Lugo in the second. White Sox manager Rick Renteria paid Lopez an early mound visit.

This wasn’t pitching coach Don Cooper going to the mound to talk to Lopez about mechanics or strategy on the next batter. Renteria walked up, looked Lopez straight in the eye and talked at him for 15 seconds without Lopez getting in a word. At one point in the interaction, Renteria appears to say "It's time to wake up."

MLB.com’s Scott Merkin asked Renteria about the mound visit after the game. If it wasn’t clearly apparent by watching the interaction, Renteria wasn’t pleased with Lopez.

Lopez threw over to first a couple times before getting behind 2-0 to the next batter, Grayson Greiner. Greiner grounded into a double play, but former White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham homered off Lopez right after that.

Lopez gave up another run in the third and Renteria again felt the need to lecture Lopez. This time it took place in the dugout.

With Lopez sitting in the dugout, a somewhat animated Renteria pointed to the 25-year-old’s chest multiple times. Lopez simply took it in and nodded. Watch this interaction and the mound visit in the video above.

Lopez came out for the fourth inning and gave up his fifth run. He was pulled before the start of the fifth. He gave up five runs on nine hits (three home runs) in four innings in a 6-3 White Sox loss.

Lopez has a 5.57 ERA on the season, which is a big drop off from his promising 3.91 ERA in 2018. Lopez was far from a finished product last year, but showed the potential to be a long-term piece in the White Sox rotation. Now? Not so much.

If Renteria’s words about making sure Lopez “was aware that he was actually pitching today” weren’t stern enough, he continued with a more general comment about the future of the White Sox.

If that wasn’t specifically directed to Lopez, it certainly applies to him. Lucas Giolito has established himself as a lock for the 2020 rotation. Dylan Cease will be given a chance to continue to improve. Michael Kopech is coming back from injury. The White Sox likely add a starting arm either via trade or free agency this offseason.

Lopez may not be a part of the future rotation and time to show he deserves a spot is running out.

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Eloy Jimenez reaches 30-home run mark in rookie season

Eloy Jimenez reaches 30-home run mark in rookie season

It took a couple months for Eloy Jimenez to get going in his rookie season, but the prized White Sox outfielder is meeting most reasonable expectations for his first year in the majors.

Jimenez smacked his 30th home run of the season Sunday in Detroit, which represents a notable round number milestone. Jimenez now has eight home runs in September and it’s only the 22nd of the month.

Jimenez launched a 2-0 slider to left center in his first at-bat to give the White Sox an early lead in Detroit.

A 30-home run season is a long way from the player Jimenez looked like in April and May. Entering June 1, the 22-year-old was hitting .220/.273/.390. He was struggling to lay off sliders out of the zone and looked a bit lost at the plate.

In June, Jimenez looked like the talented hitter the White Sox believed he was capable of becoming. He hit .284/.340/.602 with eight home runs, including a memorable go-ahead home run in Wrigley against the Cubs.

An injury playing the field in mid-July in Kansas City cost him a couple weeks and seemed to disrupt whatever rhythm he was building in June. This month, Jimenez is once again showing his elite potential. He won AL Player of the Week last week.

Jimenez’s overall numbers now have the look of a solid, promising, albeit still flawed rookie season. After Sunday, Jimenez is hitting .269/.318/.514. The power is there, but the batting average and walk rate are both lower than most expectations for him long-term. However, to put up an above average overall season at the plate as a rookie while dealing with two stints on the injured list is definitely a strong base to build from.

Expectations will be higher for Jimenez in 2020. Many will expect him to take a step towards becoming a middle of the order hitter for years to come. For now, it’s safe to look at Jimenez’s 30th home run as proof of a solid rookie campaign.

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