White Sox

White Sox Hot Stove spotlight: 2016 first-round draft pick Zack Collins

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USA TODAY

White Sox Hot Stove spotlight: 2016 first-round draft pick Zack Collins

Zack Collins was the first player drafted in Nick Hostetler’s first draft as White Sox Director of Amateur Scouting. The first pick of what seems like a change in White Sox draft philosophy. For years the Sox drafted heavy on tools; many of those top draft picks lacked the approach necessary to make it in the Majors. But then came Zack Collins, whose calling card is power and patience.

I can’t help but point out a few notes of trivia surrounding Collins. First, he was born Feb. 6, 1995 – which is 100 years to the day after Babe Ruth was born. It’s something Collins is well aware of (I brought it up to him). What he wasn’t aware of was that it wasn’t the first time the White Sox drafted a player born 100 years to the day after an all-time great.

The White Sox took Chris Carter in the 15th round in 2005. Carter was born Dec. 18, 1986 – 100 years to the day after Ty Cobb was born. The White Sox also drafted Mike Lowell in the 48th round of the 1992 draft (though he didn’t sign). Lowell was born Feb. 24, 1974 – 100 years to the day after Honus Wagner was born.

That’s three of the five members of the inaugural Hall of Fame class of 1936! They did NOT draft anyone born exactly 100 years after Christy Mathewson or Walter Johnson. I checked.

Also amusing: after Zack Collins was drafted by the White Sox 10th overall in 2016, the Sacramento Kings selected Zach Collins 10th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Anyway…

Perhaps Collins was lost in the shuffle entering 2018, with young players and prospects such as Yoán Moncada, Michael Kopech and Eloy Jiménez dominating headlines. But Collins made headlines of his own this past season.  

While it doesn’t mean considerably much in terms of his development as a future Major Leaguer (although it is fun), Collins won the 2018 Southern League Home Run Derby. Collins definitely has some pop, with 15 home runs in 2018 after hitting 19 the season before. He had a monster 38-game stretch last season where he hit .349/.503/.595 with seven home runs and a phenomenal ratio of 40 strikeouts to 39 walks.

My favorite note on Collins in 2018 is that he was one of three players in the Minor Leagues in 2018 to walk at least 100 times. His 101 bases on balls led all of Double-A, one ahead of Cavan Biggio from the Blue Jays system (Craig’s son). The only other Minor Leaguer to reach triple digits was Ryan Noda (109) of the Single-A Lansing Lugnuts, also in the Blue Jays system. 

The ability to draw walks is desperately needed. There were 11 players who had at least 200 plate appearances for the White Sox in 2018. Of those 11, the two players with the best walk percentages, Omar Narváez (11.8 percent) and Matt Davidson (10.5 percent) are no longer with the team. Somebody needs to draw walks for the White Sox. Hopefully Collins will be part of the solution down the road.

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White Sox reportedly trade for Yonder Alonso

White Sox reportedly trade for Yonder Alonso

After a lot of rumors and not many moves at the Winter Meetings, the White Sox made a notable trade after everyone left Las Vegas.

The White Sox reportedly traded for first baseman Yonder Alonso from Cleveland.

There hasn't been much in the way of information on the deal out there yet, but one thing worth noting with Alonso is that he is the brother-in-law of Manny Machado. This is after the White Sox were reportedly set to meet with Machado next week.

Outside of his connection to Machado, the trade is an odd fit without the context of the entire offseason yet. Alonso is 31 and coming off a bit of a down year by his standards. He hit .250/.317/.421 with 23 home runs and 83 RBIs last season with the Indians. The year before that he was an All-Star for the first time in his career while splitting the season between the Mariners and A's.

Alonso is under contract for $8 million in 2019 and has a $9 million option (that includes a $1 million buyout) for 2020.

The intriguing part of this is that it brings into question Jose Abreu's future with the White Sox. There have been rumors about the Cuban first baseman potentially being involved in a trade this winter. Alonso's addition means something has to give with the first base/DH situation. After non-tendering Matt Davidson because he fell behind Abreu and Daniel Palka as players who only fit those two spots, adding another in Alonso wouldn't make sense unless Abreu or Palka are on the move.

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White Sox reportedly will meet with Manny Machado next week

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USA TODAY

White Sox reportedly will meet with Manny Machado next week

The Winter Meetings didn't bring a resolution to either the Bryce Harper or Manny Machado free agency sagas.

That means we're still waiting on any bit of news to figure out what is going on. The latest, from 670 The Score's Bruce Levine, is that the White Sox plan to meet with Machado next week.

According to Levine, Machado will meet with at least six teams next week. Previously, it was reported that Machado had interest from the Yankees, Phillies and White Sox and three mystery teams. For now, it appears those mysters teams are still just that.

When the White Sox made their pitch to Harper, Jim Thome was reportedly involved. Will they go to the well with Thome again or have a different pitch for Machado? 

Positionally, Machado could be more of a need for the White Sox, but that all depends on how the White Sox would shift bodies on the infield around if Machado joins.

 

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