White Sox

It's still very early for Carlos Rodon: 'It's kind of like a little bit of spring training'

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USA TODAY

It's still very early for Carlos Rodon: 'It's kind of like a little bit of spring training'

Carlos Rodon’s second start of the 2018 season lasted just as long as his first.

After throwing 97 pitches in five innings against the Boston Red Sox last weekend, Rodon threw 100 pitches in five innings against the Cleveland Indians on Thursday. Things didn’t go so hot this time around, though he only gave up two hits. Problem is he put five guys on base in other ways, walking three batters and hitting two others. Oh, and one of those hits was a home run.

He didn’t get shelled, but he acted a little like it after the game, not at all happy with his performance.

“Need to be more consistent,” Rodon said. “Falling behind, putting myself in bad situations. Got to go deeper in the game for the team. Not my best.”

Rodon shouldn’t be expected to arrive from months of recovery from shoulder surgery as a flame-throwing ace. This was just his second big league start since last fall. But he didn’t live up to his own expectations, and struggling with command and issuing walks, hitting batters, have been big problems for other White Sox starting pitchers this season. Lucas Giolito is still battling command issues on a start-by-start basis.

As those issues have subsided rotation-wide and starters have lasted longer in their outings, the White Sox have won more games. There’s no secret there: When the pitchers pitch well, the team fares better.

While he only gave up two runs Thursday, Rodon left to watch the bullpen give up three more.

“He came into the dugout after we told him he was done for the day. He was like, ‘I’ve got to be better,’” manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s not as efficient, obviously, as we need him to be.

“But for all intents and purposes, it’s probably his sixth game or seventh game. Not to make any excuses for him, but it’s kind of like a little bit of spring training. He’s trying to get himself into some rhythm.

“Hopefully the next one will be better, he’ll be able to go deeper, a little more efficient. He’s got good stuff, so that’s good. I think he got up to 95 or 96 (mph) today on some fastballs. Continues to work and we’ll see if he can clean it up.”

The “it’s still kind of spring training for him” explanation didn’t fly with Rodon.

“I don’t want to make that excuse,” he said. “When you show up at this level, it’s time to compete.”

Whatever your opinion on that matter, what is inarguable is that Rodon is just two starts into his 2018 season. The expectations are high, as are the stakes, with Rodon one of many young arms competing for spots in the White Sox rotation of the future.

But he’s got plenty of time this season and beyond to make his case.

White Sox are considering five players for the third pick in the MLB draft

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USA TODAY

White Sox are considering five players for the third pick in the MLB draft

While more key White Sox prospects are making the jump to the majors and progressing through the higher levels of the minors, the farm system is still due to get another significant prospect.

That’s because the White Sox hold the third pick in the draft, which is six weeks away on June 3. This is the highest pick the White Sox have had since the team took Carlos Rodon No. 3 overall in 2014. Last year the White Sox had the fourth pick and took Oregon State infielder Nick Madrigal.

Nick Hostetler is the White Sox director of amateur scouting, which means he is the face of the White Sox draft. In an interview with James Fegan of The Athletic, Hostetler said the White Sox have “dwindled our list down to about five” players they could take with the third pick.

So who could those five players be? This year’s draft class is position-player heavy at the top, which is something Hostetler later admits, but he did said there is “a pitcher still in our mix.” Given that, it sounds like four position players and a pitcher.

MLB Pipeline has six position players topping its rankings while Baseball America had batters occupying the top nine spots. Baseball America added that “four players seem to have put themselves into a tier among their own.” In that group is Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, Cal first baseman Andrew Vaughn and two high school shortstops, Bobby Witt Jr. and C.J. Abrams. FanGraphs and ESPN have the same top four in some order.

Rutschman was Madrigal’s teammate at Oregon State last year when the Beavers won the College World Series. He is the consensus top-rated prospect with Pipeline, BA, ESPN and FanGraphs all putting Rutschman No. 1.

After that things vary a little bit with Vaughn offering comical offensive numbers the last two years for Cal. He had a 1.350 OPS last year as a sophomore and has a 1.219 OPS so far this season.

Witt and Abrams are prep shortstops noted as good athletes. Witt’s father was the third overall pick in 1985. Abrams is known for his elite speed and went to the same high school in Georgia (Blessed Trinity Catholic) as former White Sox players Tyler Flowers and Matt Skole.

Finding out the pitcher Hostetler was referring to is trickier, although TCU left-hander Nick Lodolo is having a dominant junior season with 77 strikeouts, a 2.20 ERA and a WHIP just under 1 in 65 1/3 innings.

The draft is only six weeks away, but things can change quickly as these players wind down their season. Still, these are names that will continue to be named towards the top of the draft.

 

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Eloy Jimenez set to miss a few games after White Sox place him on bereavement list

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USA TODAY

Eloy Jimenez set to miss a few games after White Sox place him on bereavement list

Eloy Jimenez will get a couple days away from baseball to be with his family in the Dominican Republic following the passing of his grandmother.

The White Sox placed Jimenez on the bereavement list and brought up Nicky Delmonico from Triple-A in his place. Jimenez has returned to his hometown of Santo Domingo.


He must remain on the bereavement list for at least three days so he will miss at least all of the three-game series in Baltimore that starts Monday night.

Jimenez takes a knee before his first trip to the plate each game and wears red batting gloves in memory of grandfather. He told Chuck Garfien that story on an episode of the White Sox Talk podcast.

After a surge in his second week in the majors that saw his batting average rise to .319 and his OPS hit .828, Jimenez has hit a bit of a rough patch. He is 3-for-31 in his last eight games, although that does include a home run Wednesday in Detroit. Overall, Jimenez is hitting .231/.286/.372.

Delmonico joins the White Sox for the first time in 2019 after starting the season with Triple-A Charlotte. He is hitting .286/.382/.540 for the Knights. The 26-year-old played 131 games with the White Sox between 2017 and 2018. He struggled with the team in 2018 after showing some potential when he was first called up the year before.

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