White Sox

Here's where your favorite White Sox prospects are starting the 2018 season

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AP

Here's where your favorite White Sox prospects are starting the 2018 season

The Major League Baseball season is a week old. But Opening Day in the minors comes Thursday.

In the White Sox loaded farm system, there are highly touted prospects scattered across the organization. With their campaigns getting underway Thursday, here's where each of your favorite White Sox prospects are starting the 2018 campaign.

Winston-Salem Dash (Class A)

Dylan Cease: The "other guy" acquired in that midseason trade with the Cubs last summer, Cease had a great spring, pitching 6.1 shutout innings in three Cactus League appearances.

Dane Dunning: Things didn't go so well this spring, with Dunning posting a 7.00 ERA (seven runs in nine innings) during Cactus League play, but he was good at Winston-Salem last year, with a 3.51 ERA in 118 innings.

Gavin Sheets: Last year's second-round draft pick (after the White Sox took Burger in the first round), Sheets slashed .266/.346/.365 in 52 games with Kannapolis last season.

Micker Adolfo: Adolfo's health status will be of great interest this season after he hurt his elbow during the spring, but he's playing through it as the White Sox hope he can avoid surgery.

Luis Alexander Basabe: A pretty good spring flew under the radar, with Basabe slashing .273/.333/.545 in 22 at-bats in Cactus League play.

​Luis Robert: He'll be out for a significant stretch as he recovers from a torn ligament in his thumb, suffered while sliding into second during a Cactus League game — the same game he later homered in.

Blake Rutherford: Acquired in that seven-player trade with the New York Yankees, Rutherford went hitless in seven Cactus League at-bats after slashing a disappointing .213/.289/.254 in 30 games at Kannapolis in 2017.

Birmingham Barons (Double-A)

Spencer Adams: Adams will be back at Birmingham after posting a 4.42 ERA in 152.2 innings there last season.

Ian Clarkin: Three outings and 5.2 innings are all Clarkin got during the spring, though he didn't allow a single run. He'll move up to Double-A after making just three starts with Winston-Salem last season.

Alec Hansen: He made just one appearance during Cactus League play, giving up three runs in 1.2 innings, but that won't dampen the excitement after he struck out 191 hitters between three minor league levels last year. He'll be here eventually after getting completely healthy in Arizona.

Zack Collins: There wasn't much success to be had in just 11 spring at-bats for Collins, and he'll get a more lengthy crack at Double-A after playing just 12 games there in 2017.

Seby Zavala: What a catching tandem it'll be in Birmingham when Collins gets paired with Zavala, who slashed .282/.353/.499 between two levels of Class A last season.

​Eloy Jimenez: Though he seemed ready to pick up where he left off in the spring — two homers and a triple in seven at-bats — a strained pec will keep Jimenez out of action as the season begins.

Charlotte Knights (Triple-A)

Zack Burdi: He'll stay sidelined as he battles back from surgery last season.

Michael Kopech: The star of the show down at Charlotte, the White Sox top-ranked pitching prospect will have plenty to work on after a mixed bag of a spring that featured an 11.57 ERA in seven innings.

Thyago Vieira: A flamethrower picked up in a trade with the Seattle Mariners, Vieira was a trendy pick to make the big league bullpen, but he'll start at Charlotte after giving up four runs and getting just three outs during spring training.

Casey Gillaspie: He had a rough spring, hitting just .189 in 37 at-bats.

Ryan Cordell: Another popular pick to make the Opening Day roster, Cordell had a great spring, slashing .317/.417/.512 with eight RBIs and eight runs scored in 41 at-bats.

Charlie Tilson: Injured ever since joining the White Sox organization in 2016, a finally healthy Tilson picked up just three hits in 18 spring at-bats.

White Sox teammates on Dallas Keuchel's criticism: 'Someone had to say it'

White Sox teammates on Dallas Keuchel's criticism: 'Someone had to say it'

How the White Sox react to Dallas Keuchel questioning the team’s effort level and accusing some of “going through the motions” will ultimately be determined by the response on the field, but at least two of his teammates backed their starting pitcher Tuesday.

“Somebody had to say it,” shortstop Tim Anderson said.

Catcher James McCann, whose relationship with Keuchel goes back to college, echoed that sentiment.

“I agree with everything Keuchel said. I'll be the first one to tell you he didn't go through the media and say it. He said it to everyone's face in the clubhouse. First off, that's the sign of a leader,” McCann said.

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And perhaps that was the biggest revelation Tuesday. Before Keuchel spoke with reporters following his team’s sloppy 5-1 loss to the Tigers Monday night, the pitcher first gathered his teammates together in the clubhouse and told them the same things he was about to express to the media.

Keuchel, who started the game and only allowed three runs in six innings, then told reporters that he saw “sub-par play from everybody” and “it just seemed like we were taking a night off.”

RELATED: White Sox would be wise to listen to Dallas Keuchel

“He's exactly right,” McCann said Tuesday. “Even in a 162-game season, there has to be a sense of urgency. If you go through the motions, you're going to end up looking up in September and chasing the team in first place. And it's even more important this year in a 60-game season ... You have to have that sense of urgency and not just go through the motions.”

Keuchel said some players were taking professional at-bats, while others, well, weren’t. But Anderson didn’t seem to mind a pitcher – let alone one who has only made four starts in a White Sox uniform – making that kind of public observation.

“I just take those words and I use those to motivate me,” Anderson said. “Because he is my pitcher and I do play defense behind him and for a pitcher to tell me we're not taking professional at-bats, I take that to heart. So I'm going to use that as motivation, but all good energy. All positive energy. Nothing against him.”

Anderson certainly wasn’t at fault, as he missed the last 10 days with a minor groin injury. He was activated off the injured list Tuesday and was back in the lineup, leading off. But as the White Sox lost five of their last six games, Anderson could only watch from the bench.

“I don't see anything wrong with anything that (Keuchel) said. Like he said, there is a lot of talent in the locker room, but hopefully that will light a match under some guys and get them going,” Anderson said.

It’s unclear if the entire clubhouse agrees – MLB’s COVID-19 protocols understandably do not allow reporters access to the clubhouse -- but the voices of Anderson and McCann do carry a lot of weight.

“I think it was received great. The way he went about it. No one was singled out,” McCann said. “It was a team type comment. And yeah, it was really the first full team kind of gut check. It couldn't have come from a better guy or at a better time.”

But another interesting revelation is that manager Rick Renteria was not in the meeting that Keuchel held with his teammates. After Monday’s loss, he spoke about a need for players showing accountability in the clubhouse, but at that point, did not know Keuchel was doing just that.

“He felt compelled to do what he did and we encourage all of our guys to do it,” Renteria said. “The way they're going to continue to grow is to be able to know how each feels about each other and the efforts they are giving on a daily basis.”

Renteria admitted that it’s not his “style” to communicate those types of conversations through the media, but he did appreciate that Keuchel talked to his teammates first.

“Prior to the season starting, I had numerous players come up to me and say, 'Listen Ricky, the staff has already taught us how to go about doing our thing. Now it's time for you guys to let us take over and allow us to do the things that we're supposed to do.' That's all they're doing,” Renteria said. “Do I still have a conversation here or there that you guys aren't aware of? Sure. But they are the ones that are holding each other accountable.”

Of course, none of this matters if the White Sox don’t respond on the field.

“Talk is cheap. We can talk all we want. Now we have to back up what was talked about,” McCann said. “It was meant to unite everybody, not to divide guys and I think you're going to see guys with that sense of urgency moving forward."

 

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Chicago White Sox injury update provides good and bad news

Chicago White Sox injury update provides good and bad news

The White Sox announced a lot of great injury updates on Tuesday, but with the good came some bad news as well.

José Abreu is back in the White Sox lineup after he was taken out in the 8th inning on Monday night with a hip stinger. So is Tim Anderson who was activated from the 10-day IL list after he suffered a groin strain. Edwin Encarnacion also makes his first appearance in the White Sox lineup since Aug. 4 when he hurt his shoulder.

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As for Abreu, manager Rick Renteria says the injury was never very serious, and Abreu didn’t even want to come out of the game.

“Looking at the video it looks like he was at full extension when his foot hit the bag,” Renteria said. “Heel to bag is what it looked like, kind of shot his leg up into his hip. It was just a little stinger. We took him out last night with just a little bit of caution.

“He didn’t want to come out, you know ‘Pito,’ he didn’t want to come out. But it was the right thing to do, and he’s in there again. He’s doing well.”

But as three return, another goes down. Leury García, the man who did an admirable job replacing Anderson while he was hurt, was placed on the 10-day IL with a strained left thumb. García hurt himself while sliding head-first into first base on Monday night.

Since Aug. 1, the White Sox’ first game without Anderson, García hit .304 and drove in four runs. But García’s real value to the Sox is his ability to place nearly every position on the field. That versatility is a luxury to Renteria, and will certainly be missed if the injury bug strikes another White Sox position player.


RELATED: White Sox-Cardinals series, amid COVID-19 outbreak, still scheduled to play

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