White Sox

White Sox ACE program produces 15 more scholarships

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White Sox ACE program produces 15 more scholarships

The White Sox Amateur City Elite baseball program produced its biggest recruiting class ever Tuesday as 15 student-athletes signed letters of intent.

The class, which included five signees from Simeon High School, brings the total number of scholarships signed in the program’s nine-year history to 106. Since the program’s inception in 2007, 16 players have been selected in baseball’s amateur draft.

One of many club dignitaries on hand, White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams said he thinks the program’s increased popularity is because of past successes and positive examples set. Speaking in front an auditorium packed with family members, coaches and friends, Williams implored signees to remember the examples they set for their community.

[MORE SOX: Offensive upgrade will come at cost for White Sox]

“It is growing in talent,” Williams said. “More kids are playing. I think it’s something that speaks to the greater need in some of our communities that are struggling, and that’s a little hope and a little vision … When you can see possibilities in your life, that causes you to make decisions that are in alignment with that. It causes you to put that extra effort maybe in the classroom or maybe on the athletic field as well.

“When you see class after class, and these guys are putting on these hats and getting these scholarships and opportunities, it can only give you hope. So, I think more than anything, yes, it affects these young men that are in this room. But I always think, ‘Ok, who outside of this room is getting inspired?’ That’s kind of cool.”

This year’s class includes: Christian Bullock (University of Michigan), Jalen Cole (Harris Stowe University), De’jon Collins (Hannibal LaGrange University), Lorenzo Elion (Michigan), Andrew Garcia (Prarie View A&M), Tyler Gordon (Prarie View A&M), Bryce Gray (Notre Dame), Jeremy Houston (Indiana), Tyler Laux (Prarie View A&M), Alfred “AJ” Lewis, Jr. (Missouri), Gerald Powell (Illinois-Springfield), Connor Rektorski (Western Illinois), Josh Shaw (Kentucky State), Austin Straley (Kalamazoo) and Tavaris Terrell (Chicago State).

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

White Sox second baseman Micah Johnson also briefly addressed the class.

Johnson, who attended Indiana University, spoke to signees about the different challenges attending college provides.

“It really put a smile on my face to hear all those parents cheering because college is expensive,” Johnson said. “It’s awesome and they get to play baseball. It’s good for them. You learn a lot. The lifting programs in college, you lift four times a week and it’s early, 6 a.m. You can’t do anything else but lift and play baseball so it’s good for these guys.”

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ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

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USA TODAY

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

On Wednesday morning, ESPN.com released their rankings of all 30 MLB team's starting rotations. The rankings were a nod to the current structure of the rotation, as well as how they were likely to perform in the future. And that is why the Chicago White Sox being ranked dead last in the league is somewhat alarming. 

Overall, the White Sox rotation is 28th in WHIP and 29th in strikeouts. 

Lucas Giolito is currently the team leader in wins with four, but his ERA sits at an unsightly 7.19. James Shields has been decent in spurts, but a general lack of run support has limited his effectiveness. Carlos Rodon has been a mixed bag since returning, but was able to reach the seventh inning in his last start. This is encouraging considering that he hadn't made it that far in any of his previous three starts. And Reynaldo Lopez continues to rack up quality starts—much like Shields—but has two wins to show for it. 

Veteran players like closing pitcher Joakim Soria and Shields are sure to be hot names on the trade market, and that could go a long way towards bringing in additional prospects to build up the White Sox farm system, and lead to a much improved rotation in the future.

So the White Sox obviously deserve to be ranked lowly until they can groom their minor league starter prospects into MLB-ready staff members, something that looks like it could take longer than originally expected. Flame-throwing top prospect Michael Kopech is still amassing high strikeouts numbers, but he is walking over six batters per outing, showing an obvious issue with control. 

White Sox fans can take their mind off of ESPN ranking the team's rotation 30th in the league by turning their attention to Eloy Jimenez. He has been absolutely crushing it in Double-A Birmingham, and will likely be making his debut with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights on Saturday. That game will be live on NBC Sports Chicago. So sit back, relax and look forward to the future, wherever it may take White Sox faithful. 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

In Part 2 of "Ask Us Anything" we answer the following questions: Who will be the biggest free agent the White Sox sign this off-season? What are the chances they trade Avi Garcia before the deadline? What's your assessment so far of Luis Robert?  Who's on your all-time busted prospect list? Is Omar Vizquel the next White Sox manager? Would the 1994 White Sox have won the World Series if there wasn't a strike?  What's the long term plan at third base? These questions and many more on this edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

If you missed Part 1 of 'Ask Us Anything', you can listen to the full episode here 

Listen to the full Part 2 of 'Ask Us Anything' at this link or in the embedded player below: