White Sox

For on-the-rise White Sox, learning to win also means learning to lose

For on-the-rise White Sox, learning to win also means learning to lose

The White Sox lost Saturday night.

That’s baseball, of course, they’re not all going to be winners. And this rebuilding franchise has seen plenty of losses. But the feelings have been so good of late — whether because of Eloy Jimenez’s 400-foot homers or Lucas Giolito’s Cy Young caliber season to this point or a variety of other positive signs that make the White Sox future so bright — that losing Saturday to the first-place New York Yankees seemed rather sour.

Obviously there will be plenty more losses for this White Sox team before the book closes on the 2019 campaign. Back under .500, these South Siders aren’t expected to reach elite status before all the pieces arrive, and it would be no shock if they’re removed from the playoff race in the American League by the time crunch time rolls around in September.

But don’t tell these White Sox that an 8-4 defeat is a return to reality or a reminder that this team is still a work in progress. Even if, for a lot of players, development is still occurring at the major league level, the “learning experiences” that have been such a large part of the conversation surrounding this team in recent seasons and their daily goal of winning baseball games aren’t mutually exclusive.

“The Yankees are sitting in first place and they lost two games in a row,” catcher James McCann said Saturday night, providing a reminder of how the first two games of this weekend series went. “Just because you're expected to win and expected to be World Series contenders doesn't mean you're not going to lose ballgames. It's how you bounce back.

“And it doesn't mean you're going to win tomorrow, either. It's just, how do you handle a defeat? How do you handle a bad at-bat? How do you handle a bad outing, whatever it may be? But it doesn't mean that we step back and say, ‘Oh, we're back under .500, we're supposed to lose.’

“We expect to win when we show up to the ballpark. You can take learning experiences whether you win or lose. Do I think a game like tonight reminds us we're supposed to be in a rebuilding mode? No. We still expect to win, and we're going to show up tomorrow with that mentality.”

Maybe that’s a description of the much-discussed “learning to win” young teams supposedly need to do on the road to contender status. Maybe that can’t happen until a team figures out how to bounce back from a defeat — until it learns how to lose and how to act in the wake of a loss.

For all McCann’s certainty about the team’s expectations on a daily basis, his explanation was peppered with questions. He said he’s seen the answer to “how do you bounce back?” from this club, and his three-run homer in the eighth inning Saturday night was fairly convincing evidence that the White Sox didn’t use up all their fight just getting back to .500.

So while the White Sox know they won’t win every game — that no team will — they need to know how they handle defeat. Losing, it turns out, might end up being more instructive about when this team is ready to win.

“I think we've done a pretty good job (bouncing back),” McCann said. “You look at the road trip in Houston and Minnesota where we took two out of four from a good Houston team and then played really not very good baseball for three days in Minnesota only to come home and have an extremely good homestand.

“It's the big picture. It's not the very next day. It's not, ‘We've got to bounce back and win.’ It's not a must-win situation in the middle of June. But it's how do you handle yourself? How does a game like tonight, do you show up flat tomorrow and let it snowball into a three-, four-game spiral? Or do you fight?

“And that's what this team's been really good at doing is fighting and not giving in.”

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2020 MLB Draft: Reid Detmers is best player who could fall to White Sox

2020 MLB Draft: Reid Detmers is best player who could fall to White Sox

When the White Sox are on the clock next Wednesday in the first round of the MLB Draft, remember the name Reid Detmers.

If the former Louisville Cardinals left-hander with one of the coolest curveballs you will ever see is still available, the White Sox might have a steal on their hands.

“In my mind, (Detmers) is the best player who could fall to No. 11,” MLB.com draft expert Jim Callis said on the White Sox Talk Podcast. “I’m not saying he will. I think he’s the guy who could. That would be the best player you could probably hope for at 11 would be Reid Detmers.”

At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Detmers isn’t going to wow you with his velocity. His fastball tops off in the low-90s.

What he’s known for is a sweeping curveball that takes a wild scenic route to a whole other area code once it leaves Detmer’s hands, before somehow finding the catcher’s mitt on the other end of the rainbow.

“He has one of the best curveballs in the draft,” said Callis, which to me, is an understatement. Just watch this:


And this:


RELATED: Top 20 MLB Draft prospects: Who will White Sox pick at No. 11?

Right-handed pitcher Max Meyer, who is expected to be chosen ahead of Detmers next Wednesday, was recently asked by Callis on MLB Network if he could take one pitch from last year’s Team USA squad, whose would he take? Meyer chose Detmers’ curveball. Who wouldn’t? That thing is nasty.

During his 2019 season, abbreviated due to the coronavirus pandemic, Detmers dominated in his four starts, finishing 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA, 48 strikeouts and six walks in 22 innings. In 2019, he set Louisville’s single-season strikeout record with 167 strikeouts in 113.1 innings.

Detmers has a chance to not only be one of the best pitchers in the draft, Callis believes he could be the most major league ready, as well.

“To me, there’s a lot of good college pitching in this draft. That’s the strength of this draft. Reid Detmers is probably the first college starting pitcher in the big leagues in this draft,” Callis said.

But before you can pencil him into the starting rotation on the South Side in 2022, he’ll first have to be on the board when it’s the White Sox turn to pick. If he is, will the White Sox, with new scouting director Mike Shirley, choose him? We’ll learn next week.

In the meantime, check out the podcast with Callis. We go over several other options for the White Sox. There are some intriguing possibilities at multiple positions, including a former star shortstop from Mt. Carmel whose idol is Tim Anderson.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Who should the Sox take in the newly formatted draft?

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Who should the Sox take in the newly formatted draft?

Chuck Garfien is joined by Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline and MLB.com to discuss the upcoming MLB draft. With the draft only being five rounds this year, Callis discusses the differences between this year and a normal draft and who the Sox should take.

(2:45) - Differences between this draft and previous ones

(8:20) - Who should the White Sox take with the 11th overall pick?

(13:25) - Where will former Jackie Robinson West Little Leaguer Ed Howard land in the draft?

(20:00) - Should the White Sox take a catcher?

(27:08) - The player in the draft who the White Sox are rumored to like

Listen here or below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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