White Sox

White Sox officially transition from U.S. Cellular Field to Guaranteed Rate Field

White Sox officially transition from U.S. Cellular Field to Guaranteed Rate Field

A new era is underway on the South Side.

The White Sox have officially changed their stadium name from U.S. Cellular Field to Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday.

The White Sox naming rights deal for the ballpark will be Guaranteed Rate Field through at least 2029.

The White Sox went 1,140-1,129 in 14 years at U.S. Cellular Field and had their best season in 2005, where Ozzie Guillen led the 99-63 White Sox to a World Series title.

Since then, the White Sox have only made the postseason once (2008) and are looking to avoid their fifth consecutive losing season in 2017. GM Rick Hahn & Co. feel confident in the direction the team is headed, especially after making a managerial change at the end of the season.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

The new era kicked off with Rick Renteria, who was hired to lead the White Sox after Robin Ventura opted not to re-sign with the team after five seasons.

Hahn believes Renteria was the "right guy" to help turn things around on the South Side and feels "very strongly" about moving forward.

"Even if we go with the say full rebuild, take it to the extreme, Ricky’s background in player development and as a teacher is going to serve us extremely well as we go through that process," Hahn said. "However, the end result of that process is a team that is able to win a championship.

"So we feel he’s the right man whether that championship caliber team is on the field in 2017 or something that were built over a number of years leading up to that year when eventually we’re ready to win again."

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

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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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Luis Robert checks in at No. 3 in MLB Pipeline's final Top 100 Prospects list of 2019

Luis Robert checks in at No. 3 in MLB Pipeline's final Top 100 Prospects list of 2019

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Luis Robert is generating year-end buzz after a phenomenal 2019 campaign.

Three days after the official conclusion of the 2019 Minor League Baseball season, MLB Pipeline released its final Top 100 Prospects list of the year and, as expected, Robert made an appearance near the top. He didn’t quite nab the first spot, though. Despite taking home MLB Pipeline’s minor league hitter of the year award just over two weeks ago, Robert checked in at No. 3 in the site’s rankings, trailing only Dodgers middle infielder Gavin Lux (No. 2) and Tampa Bay shortstop Wander Franco (No. 1). 

Lux and Robert have vied for a number of Minor League accolades. In addition to being named Pipeline’s minor league hitter of the year, Robert also recently took home USA Today’s minor league player of the year. Lux edged Robert out for Baseball America’s MiLB player of the year, though, and now finishes one spot ahead of him in Pipeline’s Top 100. Franco spent 2019, his age-18 season, split between Class-A and High-A ball, slashing .327/.398/.487 with 18 stolen bases in 114 games between the two.

Robert jumped from No. 5 to No. 3 in the latest update to the Top 100, and this time last year was ranked No. 44. A season slashing .328/.376/.624 (1.001 OPS) with 32 home runs, 96 RBIs and 36 stolen bases will do that.

Michael Kopech (No. 18), who missed the 2019 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last September, joins Robert in representing the White Sox in the top 20. Andrew Vaughn (No. 22) and Nick Madrigal (No. 41) also appear later in the list. 

Additionally, Robert and 22-year-old starting pitching prospect Jonathan Stiever were named the White Sox's 'Prospects of the Year' by MLB Pipeline.

News like this - and there has been an abundance of it recently - only adds to a burgeoning sense of optimism for the future around the White Sox and its fanbase. Now, to count the days until the 2020 season, and Robert’s eventual call-up.

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