White Sox

White Sox prospect Frankie Montas lights up radar gun in Futures Game

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White Sox prospect Frankie Montas lights up radar gun in Futures Game

CINCINNATI -- The entire World Team dugout expected a triple-digit fastball on Sunday afternoon and Frankie Montas didn’t disappoint.

Though the World Team lost to the U.S. Team 10-1 in the Futures Game at Great American Ballpark, the White Sox Double-A pitcher created quite a stir among his teammates in the sixth inning when he threw consecutive 101-mph fastballs. As if that weren’t enough, Montas backed up those efforts with a 99-mph heater.

While Montas allowed three earned runs and four hits in two-thirds of an inning, he more than enjoyed himself a year after a knee injury forced him to miss the 2014 Futures Game.

[MORE: Robin Ventura would prefer Chris Sale not pitch in All-Star Game]

“Everybody was expecting it,” Montas said. “‘That’s the guy that throws 100.’ So everybody was expecting me to throwing something hard.”

One of three minor-leaguers acquired from Boston in the Jake Peavy deal that also brought Avisail Garcia from Detroit, Montas is 2-1 with a 2.47 ERA over 73 innings for Birmingham this season.

The fastball may have scouts, executives and coaches drooling, but Montas and the White Sox are focused on the development of his slider and changeup. Not satisfied with a slow start -- he had a 3.60 ERA through seven starts in 2015 –- after his first big league camp this spring, Montas has worked hard to improve command of his secondary pitches.

Though he produced a 1.44 ERA in 15 starts, Montas didn’t have as much development time in a 2014 season disrupted by separate knee surgeries for a torn meniscus (the left knee was in March, the right in June). Over his last seven starts, Montas has a 1.42 ERA in 38 innings.

“Slider has been better and the changeup, I’ve started to get a feel for it,” Montas said. “Last year when I was in High-A I was doing great. This year at the beginning I was not doing how I expected to do. Thank God I figured out some things and I’m doing better.

“Everything is going well.”

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Montas’ season has gone so well the White Sox had to limit his June 20 and July 9 starts to an inning so he could pitch in exhibitions. He appeared in the Southern League All-Star Game on June 23, reaching 102 mph on the radar gun. That appearance raised expectations among his teammates Sunday, who went crazy when he topped 100 despite a lopsided score.

“I was like ‘Ok, let me throw a couple,’” Montas said. “It was a really good experience.

“Lot of fans and you get an opportunity to play with the best players on all the teams. It’s real exciting. I enjoyed it even though we lost the game.”

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

White Sox prospect Luis Robert headed to the Arizona Fall League to get more playing time after injuries limited to 50 games in 2018.

He just got hurt in the Arizona Fall League.

Robert is playing with the Glendale Desert Dogs in the AFL and left Friday's game with an injury.

It's not clear what the injury was, but Robert walked off on his own power. He also has pulled out of the Bowman Hitting Challenge (a modified home run derby) that will take place Saturday.

Robert, the No. 4 White Sox prospect and No. 44 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was 1-for-3 in Friday's game before exiting. He has hit safely in all four games in the AFL, going 5-for-17 (.294) with a walk and three strikeouts, but no extra base hits.

The 21-year-old is the third youngest player on the team and the AFL is a respected offseason league for prospects. A good showing from Robert would be a sign that he is beginning to develop his talent into playable tools.

The injury could be minor so no need to ring the alarm bells yet, but the AFL season is barely more than a month long. Even a short-term injury could prevent him from making up for some of the lost playing time from the 2018 minor league season.

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

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USA TODAY

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

The White Sox have a hole or two to plug in their starting rotation. Could Sonny Gray be an answer?

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Friday that he's looking to trade Gray away from the Bronx this winter.

Gray isn't as attractive an add as he was a few years back, when he was coming off a sensational 2015 campaign that saw him post a 2.73 ERA and log 208 innings. He went to the All-Star Game and finished third in the AL Cy Young vote that year.

Since, he's been less successful. He made just 22 starts with the Oakland Athletics in 2016 and had a 5.69 ERA. The following season, he started with a strong 3.43 ERA in 16 starts for the A's before the midseason trade that sent him to the Yankees, where he made 11 starts with a 3.72 ERA. This season didn't go too well, earning Gray a move to the bullpen. He finished with a 4.90 ERA in 30 games, only 23 of those being starts. He threw just 29.1 innings over his final 10 appearances of the season, three of which were starts. He had a 5.26 ERA with 50 walks in 113 innings as a starter in 2018.

Those numbers won't leap off the page (in a positive way) for anyone, but there's no doubt that a potential deal for Gray would be a low-risk move for the White Sox. For a team looking to add 40 percent of a starting rotation, being able to do so cheaply — be it from a dollar or prospect standpoint — would be a good thing, especially if the strategy ends up being to simply add one-year fill-ins while Michael Kopech recovers from Tommy John surgery and Dylan Cease makes his way to the major leagues.

However, Gray's 57-walk total from the 2018 season could be something the White Sox would want to stay away from. After all, White Sox pitchers led the AL with 653 walks this season. They also had five of the top 21 walk-issuing pitchers in the Junior Circuit: Lucas Giolito led the league with 90, James Shields was third with 78, Reynaldo Lopez was fifth with 75, Hector Santiago was 15th with 60, and Carlos Rodon was 21st with 55. Gray slotted in right ahead of Rodon.

But Gray has obviously produced results in the past, and whether the White Sox are looking to simply plug the holes in the 2019 staff or potentially find a sign-and-flip candidate for the 2019 trade deadline — he's slated to hit free agency after the 2019 season — Gray could fit that bill. One thing's for sure: He's available.