White Sox

Ventura: 'I'm not going to treat everyone the same'


Ventura: 'I'm not going to treat everyone the same'

By Jim Owczarski
Frustrated by a lack of production by several high-priced players last season -- and by a perceived lack of attention by the manager in not benching those players - a White Sox fan asked new manager Robin Ventura during a question and answer session Saturday afternoon at SoxFest how, and when, he would sit a player down.

Ventura lightened the mood with a bit of humor to start his answer, saying you simply invite the player over to the bench. He then related how he had been benched at various points in his 16-year career.

Every time I got sat down a manager very directly and honestly with me explained it to me, Ventura told the fan. Its my belief that Im not going to treat everybody the same, but Im going to treat everybody fairly. Paul Konerko is going to be treated differently than rookie who was just called up. Thats the way it is and thats way Im going to operate.

But I am going to be honest if a guy needs to get a few days off, or if he needs the whole season off, hell get the whole season off.

Ventura chuckled as he made that last statement, but it drew a heavy applause.
During a media session on Friday, Ventura said he and his entire staff will meet and decide whats best for the player and the team, should that situation arise.

As a staff, if we feel like its time to make a change, maybe give a guy a breather were different, Ventura said. We have a few different people in here making those decisions so its going to be different. I havent been to spring training yet, so I cant sit here and say Im going to give them 10 at bats and if hes not hitting .900 hes out. Its an unfair thing to do to a player.

Dylan Cease has one of his best White Sox starts as part of a very good rebuild day


Dylan Cease has one of his best White Sox starts as part of a very good rebuild day

Dylan Cease’s rookie season has had plenty of growing pains, but Friday’s start against the Tigers may have been his best in the majors.

Yes, the Tigers have the worst record in baseball, but Cease will take them however he gets them at this point. The 23-year-old struck out eight while giving up one run in six innings in a 10-1 White Sox win.

Cease has now given up one run in each of his last three starts. That stat is a bit misleading, though, because he only lasted 3 1/3 innings on Sept. 8 against the Angels. In that game, Cease walked five and gave up four hits, but was able to limit the damage.

On Friday, Cease had a 1-2-3 first inning and pitched around a leadoff double in the second inning. A leadoff walk and two singles in the third inning led to the only run Cease allowed on the night.

In the final three innings Cease struck out five, didn’t allow any walks and gave up two hits. He threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of the 24 batters he faced, which is important for a pitcher who has struggled with his command this year both in Triple-A and the majors.

In four starts in September, Cease has a 3.00 ERA with 28 strikeouts, 12 walks and 16 hits allowed in 21 innings. He’s not consistently going deep into games yet and his command remains something to improve on, but that stretch is definitely something to build on for Cease.

His overall numbers (5.79 ERA, 81 strikeouts, 35 walks, 78 hits, 15 home runs in 73 innings) leave a lot to be desired, but the White Sox didn’t need (and probably didn’t expect) Cease to dominate as a rookie. This isn’t a contending White Sox team. However, the hope for next year is that the team will start to approach that status. Having Cease show signs of growth and progress late in 2019 so he can be closer to the standout pitcher they believe he can be in 2020 is important.

As 2019 winds down and thoughts of 2020 become more prominent for the White Sox front office and fan base, games like Friday are what everyone will be expecting to see on a regular basis. Cease racking up strikeouts with a quality start and the offense being led by Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson. Jimenez had a grand slam and finished a double shy of a cycle, Moncada reached base three times and homered and Anderson had two more hits to take another step toward the AL batting title.

Sure, it's just the Tigers, but this game was a blueprint for what White Sox wins in the future are expected to be built around.

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Luis Robert, Andrew Vaughn, Michael Kopech and Nick Madrigal make Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list

USA Today

Luis Robert, Andrew Vaughn, Michael Kopech and Nick Madrigal make Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list

MiLB has concluded its actual baseball schedule for the 2019 season, and you know what that means: year-end rankings galore. 

For fans of rebuilding clubs across the league, this time of the year offers an opportunity to reflect on the progress of their teams’ notable prospects and gear up for an offseason of speculation. Earlier this week, MLB Pipeline gave White Sox fans a bit of news to chew on when its year-end Top 100 list had Luis Robert ranked No 3

Well, last night Baseball America added to the discourse by releasing an updated Top 100 of their own, and once again Sox fans can expect to see some familiar faces ranked among the minor league’s best. Four big-name White Sox prospects - Luis Robert (No. 3), Andrew Vaughn (No. 26), Michael Kopech (No. 29) and Nick Madrigal (No. 48) - all found themselves in the top half of Baseball America’s list. Though BA agrees with MLB Pipeline that Robert is baseball’s third best prospect, the site is lower on Vaughn, Kopech and Madrigal, who all registered higher ranks in Pipeline’s Top 100. 

To spin it positive, though, the Sox having four consensus top-50 prospects (from reputable outlets) waiting in the wings is great news, especially considering the strides many key pieces of the team’s core made at the major league level this year. Lucas Giolito had a Cy Young caliber season, Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson are budding superstars, strong second halves for Eloy Jimenez and Reynaldo Lopez inspire great optimism, and Dylan Cease appears to be heading in the right direction as of late. 

As for the minor league guys, Robert’s statistical achievements have been well-documented, but 2019 also saw Vaughn and Madrigal offer a glimpse of what could be on the horizon for them. Vaughn, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 draft, slashed .278/.374/.449 and hit six home runs with 36 RBIs in 245 at-bats between Class-A and High-A this season. Though the power numbers were lower than expected, Baseball America calls him the “best pure hitter in the 2019 draft” and projects him as a potential middle-of-the-order bat down the line. Madrigal, meanwhile, showed improvement in his second year out of Oregon State, ascending from High-A ball to AAA with success at every level, raising his OPS from .701 to .792 and stealing 35 bases in year two. (That's all while striking out only 16 times all year, by the way.)

Kopech missed the entirety of the 2019 season, but maintains his status as one of the premier pitching prospects in the White Sox system - someone the organization is undoubtedly excited to eventually add to an already talented young rotation.

Additionally, Baseball America reported that the White Sox are sending nine of their top 30 prospects to the 2019 Fall Instructional League. You can view the full roster here, but the big names to watch are pitching prospects Matthew Thompson and Andrew Dalquist, the team’s second and third round picks, respectively, from the 2019 draft.

Though the big league Whtie Sox will finish 2019 with their seventh consecutive losing season, it’s hard not to get excited thinking about the future of the franchise.

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