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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Tim Anderson likely heading to injured list as White Sox await MRI result

Tim Anderson likely heading to injured list as White Sox await MRI result

Tim Anderson's status beyond having an ankle sprain is still unknown as the White Sox await the results of an MRI.

The South Side shortstop sparked fears among fans when he was helped off the field with an ankle injury during Tuesday night's game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Anderson landed awkwardly while throwing on the run on the rain-soaked infield in Boston. He fell to the ground in pain and needed assistance getting off the field, to the dugout and into the clubhouse. He was slated for an MRI early Wednesday in Boston as the White Sox for prepping for the series finale against former mate Chris Sale.

Anderson was reported as being in a walking boot Wednesday. The team announced Tuesday night that X-rays were negative and that he had been diagnosed with an ankle sprain. While the injury could still lead to a long layoff, that was a bit of good news, at least, but his long-term status is still unknown.

Manager Rick Renteria had little in the way of new information when he spoke to reporters Tuesday night and against Wednesday morning, but he acknowledged that Anderson is in all likelihood heading to the injured list.

"He's getting checked out still today," Renteria said. "Probably, in all likelihood, he goes on the injured list. In terms of how long it is, we don't know yet. We know that further examination will give us more information."

In another rebuilding season, losing Anderson for an extended period of time wouldn't figure to be the difference between the White Sox being in a playoff race or not come the end of the regular season. But it certainly wouldn't be good for the long-term future of the team, which has looked capable of starting to open its contention window as soon as the 2020 season, as Anderson would figure to have to spend a significant amount of time working his way back from a significant injury.

As for what Renteria and the White Sox will do in the short term, the manager said he can lean on the versatile Leury Garcia, as well as Jose Rondon, to fill the hole at shortstop. Garcia has been the White Sox everyday center fielder all season long but has the versatility to play on the infield. Rondon has disappointed offensively but could be considered the proverbial "next man up" if Anderson misses any time. Renteria could also mix and match, playing Garcia both in the outfield and on the infield and using other reserves elsewhere. The return of Jon Jay helps the White Sox in this case, too.

"Right now, I'm looking to use Leroy there for a little bit," Renteria told reporters Wednesday in Boston. "Obviously he's very capable of playing shortstop. And quite honestly, might give him a little break. His legs have been barking a little bit, it might help him out a little bit to bring him into the infield. We'll be able to use (Ryan) Cordell and (Charlie Tilson) in the outfield, and then we'll see how we mix in the DH spot for all of these guys, try to give them as many at-bats as possible. That's the adjustment we'll make at the moment."

It's still a scary time for the team and the fan base as all parties await the news on Anderson.

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Tim Anderson helped off field with ankle sprain, will be reevaluated Wednesday

Tim Anderson helped off field with ankle sprain, will be reevaluated Wednesday

White Sox fans saw a sight they hoped they'd never see Tuesday night.

Tim Anderson was helped off the field with an ankle injury in the fifth inning of Tuesday night's game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, hurt while making a play on a ground ball on a wet night in Massachusetts.

The White Sox announced later in the evening that Anderson has a sprained ankle and that X-rays were negative. The team added that Anderson will be reevaluated Wednesday.

Anderson made an on-the-run throw to nab J.D. Martinez at first base, but a play that Anderson has made look fairly routine over the past couple seasons this time included a slip on the rain-soaked infield. The White Sox star shortstop fell to the ground in pain immediately. After having his ankle briefly checked by the trainer, Anderson was helped off the field, into the dugout and into the clubhouse.

The rain poured down on Fenway Park on Tuesday night. The start of the game was delayed a half hour, but the teams played through steady rains throughout, worsening playing conditions, something the White Sox and every team across baseball have had to deal with quite often this season.

The degree of Anderson's ankle sprain is unknown, but the sight of him coming off the field was a nightmarish one for the White Sox and their fans. A sigh of relief came with the team's update, which did not include the words "Achilles" or "tear."

Anderson has emerged as one of the faces of the franchise this season, earning AL Player of the Month honors after a sensational April and earning national attention for flipping his bat after home runs and his mission to make what he calls a "boring" game more fun. He's got a .317/.342/.491 slash line on the season.

Anderson is undoubtedly a core piece for the rebuilding White Sox, who can pen him in as their shortstop of the future as well as the present.

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