White Sox

The 10 most important White Sox in 2019: No. 6 Reynaldo Lopez

The 10 most important White Sox in 2019: No. 6 Reynaldo Lopez

Reynaldo Lopez getting his ERA under 4.00 at the end of the 2018 season might not have seemed like that big a deal to most. But it was a nice reward for the then-24-year-old right-hander at the end of his first full season in the majors.

Lopez was the White Sox best starting pitcher in 2018, though that comes with its own discussion. Things are relative, of course, and James Shields' 34 home runs allowed and Lucas Giolito's 6.13 ERA weren't exactly challenging for the title. Carlos Rodon looked like an ace during a good chunk of the summer, but a nasty September changed the story of his season. So it was Lopez, who finished the season on an incredibly strong note, to end 2018 as the best hurler on the staff.

Is the same true heading into 2019? It's not difficult to argue that it is. Rodon's the one who will get the ball on Opening Day, but Lopez made some big strides in the closing months of the 2018 season, enough to make fans and observers wonder if he could again have the best season of any of the pitchers on the starting staff.

Lopez had his own inconsistencies in 2018. His ERA was under 2.00 at the end of April and still under 3.00 with one start to go in May. But during an 11-start stretch in June, July and August, he had a 6.64 ERA. But then he closed the campaign in sensational fashion, with a 1.38 ERA over his final seven starts.

While Giolito's first full season in the majors could still lead to better days in different ways, Lopez's was more what White Sox fans were expecting from a highly rated prospect, and it looks like a strong foundation on which to continue to improve. Lopez providing a reliable arm in 2019 would be huge for the White Sox, with other arms in the rotation still looking to iron out inconsistencies from a year ago.

And moving forward in the long term, Lopez continuing to improve can only be a great thing for the rotation of the future, where Lopez, despite his solid 2018, isn't expected to be a top-of-the-rotation guy. Those expectations belong to Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease. But if Lopez builds on what he did last year, that makes for a deeper rotation of the future, something a contending team needs.

Lopez might no longer have the top-prospect shine the Kopechs and Ceases and Eloy Jimenezes have at the moment. But he still holds a ton of importance for this team in the present and future.

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Prospects Zack Burdi, Luis Basabe to begin rehab stints in White Sox minors

Prospects Zack Burdi, Luis Basabe to begin rehab stints in White Sox minors

Tommy John surgeries have knocked out two top White Sox pitching prospects for 2019 (Michael Kopech and Dane Dunning), but one pitching prospect is set to make a notable step in his return from the surgery.

Zack Burdi will join Single-A Kannapolis on a rehab stint on Monday. Burdi had Tommy John surgery in July of 2017. In his first game action since the surgery, he made seven appearances last August with the Arizona League White Sox (rookie level). The Downers Grove native made five more appearances in the Arizona Fall League before being pulled from the league due to “general fatigue.” He talked about his recovery process on an episode of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

In spring training, Burdi was not invited to major league camp and he wasn’t on a minor league roster when the season began. With this news, he is set to hit another milestone in his return. If all goes well in Kannapolis, it is expected that Burdi will join Triple-A Charlotte, where he was in 2017 when he got hurt.

If Burdi can recapture his stuff, which profiled him as a back end of the bullpen pitcher, he could even join the White Sox sometime in 2019. He has to show he is healthy and back to his old self first though. The 24-year-old was taken with the 26th pick in the 2016 draft and is the No. 16 prospect in the system according to MLB Pipeline.

Another prospect will be joining Burdi in Kannapolis on a rehab assignment. Outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, No. 7 prospect in the system, will also join the Intimidators on Monday. Basabe broke the hamate bone in his left hand during batting practice in spring training. It was initially estimated that he would return in late May, so Basabe appears to be ahead of schedule. The 22-year-old spent the second half of 2019 with Double-A Birmingham and is expected to return there after rehabbing with Kannapolis.

Elsewhere on the White Sox prospect injury watch, Luis Robert left a game on Saturday with soreness in his left hand and is reportedly day-to-day. He was hit by a pitch in the first game of a doubleheader for Single-A Winston-Salem. He made one at-bat in the second game, a leadoff groundout, and then was taken out of the game. He did not play on Sunday.

Robert endured an injury-plagued 2018. He was limited to 50 games, but has been on fire early in 2019. Robert leads the Carolina League in batting average (.475), home runs (6), hits (28), runs (16), on-base percentage (.530) and slugging percentage (.915) and is tied for the league lead in RBIs (18) and stolen bases (7).

 

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Saturday's White Sox-Tigers game postponed due to rain; makeup scheduled for August

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USA TODAY

Saturday's White Sox-Tigers game postponed due to rain; makeup scheduled for August

The White Sox and Tigers were likely to start Saturday's game (12:10 p.m. CT) in a rain delay. Instead, the game has been pushed back altogether.

With rain expected all afternoon in Detroit, Saturday's game has been postponed. A makeup is scheduled for Aug. 6 at 12:10 p.m. as part of a split doubleheader. The originally scheduled game will start at 6:10 p.m. CT.

According to a press release, all paid tickets from Saturday's game will be valid for the first game of the doubleheader.

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