White Sox

Cubs minor league update

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Cubs minor league update

On the heels of their first three-game sweep of the season the Cubs have finally given their fans something to cheer about, at least for the time being. But the front office focus should not deviate from their plans for the future. Here is how Cubs minor league standouts fared this week.

Anthony Rizzos onslaught on opposing pitching continued this past week as he raised his season average 10 points up to .354 by going 9-for-21 (.429) on the week. Along with hitting for a solid average Rizzo added three more home runs and seven RBIs to his season total. His consistent approach at the plate coupled with unparalleled power produced a ridiculous 1.175 OPS and Rizzo now leads the Pacific Coast League in OPS (1.128), SLG (.713), and HR (17). He is also third in RBIs (46), and top 10 in AVG (.354).

Brett Jackson finally showed signs of improvement last week as he went 8-for-23 (.347) with two triples, a homerun, and five RBIs. This was the first week this month that Jackson has hit over .300. Jackson also swiped two bags showing off some of his great athleticism. The rest of the season is going to be an great challenge for the North Side hopeful, but with a few consecutive weeks of production, no one will ever remembered his rough start to the month of May even happened.

Tennessee AA standout Junior Lake had a rather pedestrian week at the plate as he managed to go 8-for-28 (.285) with a homer and only one RBI. Lake had trouble finding his way on base this week (OBP .283), which did not help a Smokies team in desperate need of wins (1-6 on the week). Although Lakes average still sits above .300 the Smokies are going to need to see better production out of what many consider a top five Cubs prospect.

Smokies right-hander Trey McNutt made one start last week and he tossed five innings allowing two runs on five hits with only one strikeout. McNutt did pitch his way out of a number of jams he got himself into but ultimately the two runs were enough to credit him with the loss. He is now 2-4 on the season with an ERA of 2.88.

Daytona Cubs first baseman Greg Rohan caught fire last week. He was 7-for-19 (.368) with six RBIs. Rohan showed the ability to spray hits to all parts of the field including over the fence as he homered in three consecutive games. This is nothing new for the 26-year-old righty, who has been providing solid run support for the Single-A affiliate all season long. In fact, he is leading the Florida State league in RBIs (45). Rohan can count on a promotion if he continues to produce at this accelerated level.

Matt Loosen made only one start last week but he made the most of it. Loosen was locked in surrendering only one run on four scattered hits. He struck out seven in his six innings of work, and improved his record to 2-1. Loosen also managed to give up no walks on his way to helping his club snap a three-game losing streak.

Last week Javier Baez received a long awaited call. The Peoria Chiefs added the Cubs first round pick of 2011 to their roster and in his first performance he did not disappoint. Baez went 2-for-4 and appeared comfortable both at the plate and in the field. The 19-year-old is ranked by Baseball America as the Cubs number two prospect in the entire organization. This talented youngster will be a solid addition for a Peoria club struggling to find run production and wins.

Joe Musso contributed to this report.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

One thing you better do if you play for Rick Renteria is run to first base.

Yet again, Renteria benched one of his players Monday for the sin of not hustling down the line.

Welington Castillo, a veteran, not a developing player in need of ample “learning experiences,” popped up to first base with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning of Monday’s eventual 3-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. He did not run down to first, instead staying at home plate.

So when the inning ended and the White Sox took the field, Castillo stayed in the dugout.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, or so the slogan goes. But what happens when a player doesn’t live up to that mantra? What happens when they don’t play their absolute hardest for all 27 outs, as the T-shirts preach? This is what happens. A benching.

“It was towering fly ball in the infield at first, probably had 15, 20 seconds of hangtime,” Renteria explained after the game. “I assumed the dropped ball. It has occurred. He could, at minimum, at least start moving that way.

“That’s uncharacteristic of him, to be honest, it truly is. Maybe he was just frustrated in that he had the fly ball and just stayed at the plate, but there was no movement toward first at all. And you guys have heard me talk to all the guys about at least giving an opportunity to move in that particular direction.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, 99 out of (100) times he’s going to catch that ball.’ And then that one time that he doesn’t, what would I do if the ball had been dropped? Would it have made it easier to pull him? Well, it was just as easy because you expect not the best, but the worst.

“That is uncharacteristic of that young man. I had a quick conversation with him on the bench, and he knew and that was it.”

It might seem a little overdramatic, a little nutty, even, to sit down a veteran catcher brought in this offseason to provide some offense and to do it in a one-run game. But this rebuild is about more than just waiting around for the minor league talent to make its way to the South Side. It’s about developing an organizational culture, too. And Renteria feels that if he lets this kind of thing slide at the big league level, that won’t send the right message to those precious prospects who will one day fill out this lineup.

“There’s one way to do it, you get your action, you start moving toward that direction in which you’ve got to go,” Renteria said. “What would’ve happened if everybody’s watching it — and I’m setting the tone for not only here, our club, (but also for) everybody in the minor leagues — and they’re saying, ‘Well, at the top, they said they’re going to do this and then they don’t do it.’

“It’s really simple. And people might like it, not like it. I’ve got to do this, do that so everybody understands what we’re trying to do here. We’re not done with what we’re trying to do.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2018. Avisail Garcia was taken out of a game during spring training for not giving maximum effort. Leury Garcia was removed from a game earlier this month for not busting it down the first-base line on a weak grounder that went right to the first baseman.

It’s become a somewhat common tactic for Renteria, and while it might strike some as taking things a little too seriously, what good is this developmental season if a culture goes undeveloped? The White Sox have placed their bright future, in part, in Renteria’s hands, and they’ve talked glowingly about how the players have bought into his style and how the team played last season under his leadership.

If Renteria truly is the right man for the rebuild, things like this are how he’s going to establish his culture. And it will, he hopes, impact how all those prospects play when they’re no longer prospects and the White Sox are contending for championships.