White Sox

Amid otherwise joyous SoxFest, one fan wanted to know how White Sox could have traded away Fernando Tatis Jr.

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MLB

Amid otherwise joyous SoxFest, one fan wanted to know how White Sox could have traded away Fernando Tatis Jr.

"How could you whiff on him?"

That was the somewhat harsh question lobbed during the final panel of this year's otherwise joyous SoxFest, members of the organization's front office and player-development staff getting quizzed over why Fernando Tatis Jr. wasn't among the fleet of prospects who were omnipresent this weekend at the Hilton Chicago.

Tatis was dealt to the San Diego Padres along with pitcher Erik Johnson in the 2016 in-season trade that brought James Shields to the South Side. It's important to note, of course, that trade occurred prior to the announcement of the now-beloved rebuild, back when the White Sox were trying to best position themselves for a run at an American League Central championship in the final year of the Robin Ventura Era.

Oh, and Tatis was just 17 years old at the time.

Since, Tatis has rocketed up prospect lists, and just Saturday night he was named by MLB Pipeline as the No. 8 prospect in the game. The next morning, at least one fan was wondering why — particularly in the wake of a year and a half of substandard pitching from Shields — the White Sox let Tatis slip away.

"Any time you trade a 17-year-old — obviously we were high on him when we signed him — there’s risk," Jeremy Haber, the White Sox assistant general manager, said in response to perhaps the weekend's only negative query — other than when someone complained to Rick Renteria that he bunts too much. "At the time, we were … competing for a playoff spot. This organization has never been shy about being aggressive when we’re trying to win. And that’s going to come with the potential of trading someone who’s good. We expect when teams call and ask for our players, just like with our major league players, there’s a reason they like them.

"The track record in this business is not 100 percent."

Of course, it would be nice to have Tatis starring alongside Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech and the five other White Sox prospects who landed on MLB Pipeline's top-100 list Saturday night. But the sheer volume of highly touted prospects that general manager Rick Hahn and his front office have injected into this organization in the past year plus remains staggering, and you could still make a case that the White Sox — even after Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez graduated from prospect status — have the most impressive farm system in baseball.

Haber's line about a less-than-perfect track record, though, is an important thing to remember as the rebuild moves along. While the White Sox have a seemingly endless amount of exciting young players right now, the odds nearly guarantee that not all of them will pan out.

"As we sit here today, you look at not just what you hear from us or what you’re seeing with your eyes, but what’s being reported by people outside the organization, we objectively have options at every position, guys who could, if they max out and hit their ceiling, provide us with championship-caliber players at every position on the field and on the pitching staff," Hahn said during his pre-SoxFest press conference Friday. "Unfortunately, player development isn’t always linear and cruel things happen and the baseball gods likely have some hiccups in store for us along the way. So ultimately not everyone is going to hit those ceilings, in all probability."

Given his high ranking, Tatis looks at the moment like one that got away. But there are an awful lot of highly ranked players — Jimenez ranked fourth and Kopech ranked 10th on the same list — under the White Sox control to make sure Tatis' absence doesn't put any damper on this rebuilding process.

MLB The Show: White Sox work around early trouble, comeback to beat Royals

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MLB THE SHOW

MLB The Show: White Sox work around early trouble, comeback to beat Royals

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Result: White Sox def. Royals 10-6
Record: 30-31, 3rd in AL Central (2.5 GB of Twins)

W: Dane Dunning (1-0)
L: Eric Skoglund (3-6)

Game summary: The White Sox' start to a week facing the two bottom-feeders in the AL Central got off to a promising start, though it didn’t appear to be the case early in the opener vs the Royals.

Lucas Giolito was in a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the first and was on the verge of escaping it unharmed. But with two outs, Nick Madrigal made an errant throw to first base that allowed two runs to score. Then, Maikel Franco slapped a two-run single to center and just like that, the Sox were down 4-0.

The South Siders delivered a steady supply of offense the entire night, however. Nomar Mazara immediately halved the deficit with a two-run double in the top of the second. Tim Anderson and Yasmani Grandal each recorded two-run singles in the fifth to put the Sox ahead 7-4. Jose Abreu and Edwin Encarnacion provided insurance by each hitting their 18th home run of the season.

White Sox lineup:

Edwin Encarnacion: 2-3, HR (18), 2 RBI, R (.328 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 0-6 (.269 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 0-3, 2 BB, R (.257 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 1-4, 2B, BB, 2 R (.256 BA)
Jose Abreu: 3-4, HR (18), 2 RBI, 3 R (.313 BA)
Tim Anderson: 1-5, 2 RBI, R (.294 BA)
Luis Robert: 2-5 (.239 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 3-5, 2 RBI, R (.325 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI, R (.251 BA)

Scoring summary: 

Bottom first

Ryan O’Hearn reached on error by second baseman, Adalberto Mondesi and Hunter Dozier scored. 2-0 KC.
Maikel Franco singled to center, Jorge Soler and O’Hearn scored. 4-0 KC.

Top second

Nomar Mazara doubled to right field, Jose Abreu and Yasmani Grandal scored. 4-2 KC.

Top fourth

Edwin Encarnacion singled to center field, Mazara scored. 4-3 KC.

Top fifth

Tim Anderson singled to center field, Yoan Moncada and Madrigal scored. 5-4 CHW.
Grandal singled to right field, Abreu and Tim Anderson scored. 7-4 CHW.

Bottom fifth

O’Hearn homered to center field, Salvador Perez scored. 7-6 CHW.

Top sixth

Abreu homered to left field, Madrigal scored. 9-6 CHW.

Top seventh

Encarnacion homered to center field. 10-6 CHW.

Notable performance: Don’t even bother trying to get Grandal out right now, because it just isn’t happening. After Tuesday’s three-hit performance, Grandal is 9-for-12 in his last three games with two home runs and seven RBIs. He’s batting .325 (9th in AL), has 54 RBIs (second) and a 4.9 WAR (first.).

Next game: Wednesday, June 3 - Game 62: White Sox at Royals (Dallas Keuchel, 2-5, 7.18 ERA vs Jakob Junis, 0-5, 5.93 ERA) 

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Hope in a bad time with Laurence Holmes, Tim Anderson

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hope in a bad time with Laurence Holmes, Tim Anderson

As the country faces tough times not only with the pandemic but the many demonstrations of protest against police brutality, it's time we had a real discussion on the issues.

Chuck Garfien is joined by Laurence Holmes to discuss the murder of George Floyd, and the reactions. Later on, Tim Anderson joins to discuss what he's doing to get involved to help create change.

(5:44) - Getting justice for George Floyd

(14:06) - How to get police reform

(22:00) - How to be a good ally

(29:25) - Laurence getting emotional on the radio

(41:10) - Tim Anderson on the protest in Chicago

(49:10) - Trying to remain positive during this time

Listen here or below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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