White Sox

The White Sox all-time prospect team is sick

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AP

The White Sox all-time prospect team is sick

You know all about the current crop of White Sox prospects. Baseball America has five in its top 100. MLB Pipeline has seven.

But did you realize how many White Sox greats from the past three decades were rated as top-100 prospects?

Baseball Twitter had some fun earlier this week looking back at Baseball America's all-time top-100 prospect lists, the site's top-100 prospects for every year going back to 1990, and assembling all-time prospect squads for big league teams.

Well, I took a crack at assembling a 25-man roster for the White Sox, and it is very, very good.

Pre-2005 stars are well represented in this conversation, with guys like Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Lee and Ray Durham as no-doubt starters. But world champs like Tadahito Iguchi, Bobby Jenks and Jon Garland also made the cut. So too did a Hall of Famer in Frank Thomas and active players like Chris Sale, Jose Abreu and even Gio Gonzalez, who never pitched for the White Sox but had multiple stints in their farm system.

The choices were limited to guys who were ranked as top-100 prospects when they part of the White Sox organization. That, for example, is why you won't see Paul Konerko, who was a top-100 prospect (four times!) when he was part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.

Oh, and I also decided to leave off current prospects like Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez because there's no knowing what they'll be just yet. They might one day dominate this list. Though I did include current catching prospect Zack Collins backing up Tyler Flowers because those were the only two White Sox catchers on the lists.

Here's my 25-man team, and let me know if I left someone off you would've included. The full lists are right here. Just Ctrl+F "White Sox" — or any other team you choose — to zoom down the lists.

Pitchers

James Baldwin
John Danks
Jon Garland
Gio Gonzalez
Roberto Hernandez
Daniel Hudson
Bobby Jenks
Brandon McCarthy
Jon Rauch
Addison Reed
Carlos Rodon
Chris Sale

Catchers

Zack Collins
Tyler Flowers

Infielders

Jose Abreu
Gordon Beckham
Joe Crede
Ray Durham
Tadahito Iguchi
Robin Ventura

Outfielders

Mike Cameron
Carlos Lee
Magglio Ordonez
Ryan Sweeney

Designated hitter

Frank Thomas

And if I was forced to play manager and write up a starting lineup ...

1. Ray Durham, 2B
2. Mike Cameron, CF
3. Jose Abreu, 1B
4. Frank Thomas, DH
5. Magglio Ordonez, RF
6. Robin Ventura, 3B
7. Carlos Lee, LF
8. Gordon Beckham, SS
9. Tyler Flowers, C

Chris Sale, SP

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

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USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

Rebuilds are full of surprises.

Fans can pencil in any names they want into their 2020 lineups, but there’s almost no one who’s going to have a 100-percent success rate when it comes to predicting exactly what the next contending White Sox team will look like.

Reynaldo Lopez carried plenty of hype when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal prior following the 2016 season. He had a high prospect ranking before he was called up last summer. He hasn’t materialized out of nowhere.

But with names like Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Carlos Rodon and others to compete with for one of those coveted rotation spots of the future, was anyone going to use the term “ace” to describe Lopez?

Well, in this rebuilding season’s most pleasant surprise for the White Sox and their fans, that’s exactly what Lopez has been. He’s been hands down the team’s best starting pitcher, and he’s making the case that he shouldn’t be considered an ancillary piece in this rebuilding process but a featured one.

He might not be getting the attention that others are. But he’s doing the most with his opportunity of being at the big league level right now. In the end, as long as you’re getting batters out, who cares how much attention you get?

“It’s not about what people say or what they are talking about,” Lopez said through a translator. “It’s about the confidence I have in myself, and I have plenty of confidence in myself. For me, I’m the best. I’m not saying the other guys are not. I’m just saying that’s the confidence I have. When I’m on the mound, I’m the best and I don’t care about the rest.”

Sunday marked the best start of Lopez’s young career, so said the pitcher himself. He was terrific in shutting down the visiting Texas Rangers, holding them to just two hits over eight scoreless innings.

It was one heck of a bounce-back performance considering what happened last time out, when he was roughed up for six runs in just two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The difference? His attitude, his focus, his intensity, his conviction.

“I just changed my attitude in the game,” Lopez said. “I was more positive today than I was in my last outing and that was one of my biggest differences.”

“I do think he came out a little bit more focused, to be honest,” manager Rick Renteria said. “The intensity level was a little higher today. I think he threw the first couple pitches 97, 98 miles an hour, where his last outing they were at 93, 94. There wasn’t a whole lot of commitment or conviction to his pitches (against the Pirates). I think, as we talked after the last outing, (pitching coach Don Cooper) spoke to him a little about making sure he brought that intensity that he has the ability to do, to bring it from Pitch 1 and he did today.”

Renteria liked it all, and he saw something different in his pitcher when he went out to talk to him with two outs in the eighth. Lopez issued a two-out walk, and Renteria considered lifting Lopez from the game.

Lopez made sure his manager wouldn’t pull the plug on this outing.

“I hid the baseball in my glove because I didn’t want to leave the game,” Lopez said. “I asked me, ‘How are you? Are you good?’ And I told him, ‘Yes, I’m good.’ Then he asked me again, ‘Do you think you are able to get him out?’ And I said yes, ‘This is my game, and I’m going to finish it.’”

What did Lopez do with his extra life? He finished it all right, blowing Shin-Soo Choo away with a 96-mile-an-hour fastball. Then he showed as much emotion as he’s ever shown on a major league field. He earned that celebration.

“When you see your manager come out and you’ve already gone through most of your game in terms of what you might think you have in number of pitches available to you, and you reiterate that you want to finish a particular batter because you want to get out of that inning, and you do it, it's an accomplishment,” Renteria said. “It's a big accomplishment. For him, pretty good hitter. He battled him and he was able to get out of that inning and complete a very, very strong eight-inning outing.”

It’s the kind of exclamation point on a dominant afternoon that could stir some big plans in White Sox fans always dreaming of the future. What Lopez has done this season has been a strong case for a spot in that future rotation and a spot at the front of it, at that. Following Sunday’s gem, Lopez owns a 2.98 ERA with at least six strikeouts in four of his nine starts.

There’s a lot of development and a lot of time left before the White Sox contention window opens. But Lopez pitching like this offers a glimpse into the crystal ball, a look at what could be for an organization that’s acquired so much talent over the last two years.

You might not have seen it coming like this, but the future arriving in the form of Lopez is a sign that brighter days are ahead on the South Side.

Carlos Rodon's first rehab start went well, White Sox set date for next one

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USA TODAY

Carlos Rodon's first rehab start went well, White Sox set date for next one

Carlos Rodon's return to the South Side is coming soon.

The top-five draft pick recovering from last fall's shoulder surgery made his first rehab start Saturday with Class A Kannapolis and threw well. Rodon allowed just one run on three hits in his five innings of work, striking out six and walking none.

The White Sox announced Sunday that Rodon's second rehab start will come Thursday with Triple-A Charlotte.

As for the exact date Rodon returns to the big league roster, it's unknown at this point. General manager Rick Hahn said that Rodon will make multiple rehab starts. One might look to the pitcher's recovery from a spring injury last year as a guide. Rodon made four rehab starts in June before debuting with the White Sox on June 28.

This recovery is different, of course. Rodon is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on May 28.