White Sox

White Sox move Alexei Ramirez to No. 2 in lineup

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White Sox move Alexei Ramirez to No. 2 in lineup

MINNEAPOLIS -- Robin Ventura has decided the White Sox offense could use a little variety.

With his offense in the bottom third of the American League in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, the White Sox manager moved Alexei Ramirez up into the second spot on Thursday night and dropped everyone else down a slot. A notoriously slow starter, Ramirez -- who mostly has batted sixth or seventh in 2015 -- enters a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins with a .194/.235/.274 slash line and nine RBIs in 68 plate appearances.

“It hasn’t really jelled just yet,” Ventura said. “So something to mix it up. It’s not a major change. Kind of mix it up. Alexei has done well in the past batting second, you try to give him a jumpstart in there at the top of the lineup and see what happens.”

Ramirez has batted second 361 times, including 133 times the previous two seasons. He’s hit more in the two-hole than anywhere else in his career and believes he knows how to handle himself. He also expects to see better pitches now that he’s hitting in front of Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu, the team’s hottest hitters so far this season.

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“I have to take more pitches, try to get on base and give the guys an opportunity to bat with men on base,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “I feel good in that spot because I have the opportunity to see more good pitches, more fastballs and more pitches to hit and I think that’s good for me and also good for the team.”

The offense is in desperate need of a jolt, the kind you might get from slamming a Red Bull. Through 18 games, the White Sox are averaging 3.44 runs per game despite the additions of Cabrera and Adam LaRoche. There could be any number of reasons from excess days off to cold weather to Ramirez and LaRoche both have poor April track records.

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But there’s no time for excuses, Ventura said.

“We’ve kind of sputtered offensively and being inconsistent,” Ventura said. “For some reason it takes a while for some guys to get going. At this point it doesn’t matter. You have to find a way to kind of keep going and find something that works and go with it.”

Ramirez has a .277/.318/.400 line in the No. 2 spot and has stolen 35 bases. But his aggressive style and ability to put the ball in play has also led to him grounding into 49 double plays.

After short stint in the majors, White Sox send Zack Collins to Triple-A

After short stint in the majors, White Sox send Zack Collins to Triple-A

When general manager Rick Hahn has talked about bringing up key prospects, he says he wants those players to be able to come up to the majors and stay there. That won't be the case with Zack Collins.

The White Sox sent the catcher down to Triple-A Charlotte following Monday's 5-2 loss to the Royals. No corresponding move will be made until Tuesday, but it is expected Welington Castillo will return from his rehab stint and rejoin the White Sox.

Collins was called up on June 18, but only played in nine games with seven starts in his 28 days on the big league roster. Collins drew a pinch-hit walk in his first plate appearance at the Cubs on June 19. He then homered two days later in his first start in Texas.

After that, Collins struggled. He goes back to Charlotte after hitting .077 (2-for-26) with five walks, the one home run and 14 strikeouts in 31 plate appearances.

It's unclear if Collins had a chance to stick on the roster or if the plan was for him to go back to Triple-A once Castillo was ready to return. Collins certainly didn't do himself any favors at the plate, but he also didn't see regular playing time.

Collins, a first-round pick in 2016, was seen working out at first base in fielding practice before games, but he stuck to catcher and DH. He could have played some first base or DH when Castillo returned. However, the White Sox claimed A.J. Reed off waivers and he debuted after the all-star break. Reed has taken the at-bats at DH, leaving Collins without regular at-bats.

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White Sox prospect Luis Robert on fire fresh off promotion to Triple-A

White Sox prospect Luis Robert on fire fresh off promotion to Triple-A

Luis Robert has been promoted twice in 2019, but nothing has slowed down his red-hot season.

The 21-year-old Cuban has only played in five games for Triple-A Charlotte, but has skipped past the adjustment period and has been productive in all five.

After collecting two hits, a walk and two stolen bases on Monday, Robert is hitting .429/.500/.810 for the Knights. He has reached base at least twice in every game with Charlotte.

Robert has shown some versatility in his game as well. He hit four extra base hits in his first three games, including two home runs in his first game for Charlotte. In the last two he has added three stolen bases. One of the stolen bases on Monday didn’t require a slide.


With Eloy Jimenez coming into his own for the White Sox and Dylan Cease one start into his major league career, Luis Robert is the clear gem of the White Sox system currently. The outfielder is ranked as the No. 5 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline.

Charlotte’s BB&T Ballpark is known as a hitters’ park and Triple-A plays with the same baseballs that have been under fire lately for being juiced for hitters in the majors. It makes sense that Robert would put up big numbers, but it’s still an impressive start that has White Sox fans antsy for his call-up.

It’s just five games and the White Sox haven’t been in any rush with their top prospects, but Robert is showing that he isn’t that far away from being ready for MLB pitching.

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