Connor McKnight hosts this week’s White Sox Weekly. This off season, Connor will break down each position for the 2017 White Sox. This week, it’s shortstop. Connor made a visit to the Arizona Fall League, where he spoke with Outfielder Charlie Tilson, and Shortstop Danny Mendick.
White Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada makes his second start of the spring today against the Mariners. From the start of camp Manager Ricky Renteria has put Moncada and the rest of the high-end prospects in the White Sox newly loaded farm system front and center.
Moncada has five plate appearances, despite just the one start, catcher Zach Collins has five as well–with no starts yet. Adam Engel (who won the Arizona Fall League MVP in 2015 and someone White Sox fans should keep an eye out for) has had five trips to the plate as well. Engel also made one of the better plays in the outfield for the Sox so far this spring. Michael Kopech will start today’s game against the Mariners. Reynaldo Lopez gets the start in the other game (the Sox are using split squads today). Lucas Giolito made his debut against the World Series Champion Cubs on Monday. Zach Burdi was called on in the 9th inning of Sunday’s game to nail down the Sox first win.
There’s a lot of young talent and they’re getting run early.
While the playing time is plentiful for the youngins early on, it may not portend breaking camp with the team–or even an early call-up. The World Baseball Classic is making spring extra-long this year. The Sox also have a few injuries to projected regulars (Todd Frazier, Brett Lawrie and Charlie Tilson) which gives more opportunities. Further, forty percent of the White Sox rotation will work in the WBC–Jose Quintana will pitch for Columbia, Miguel Gonzalez for Mexico–while Nate Jones and David Robertson will both pitch for Team USA. Those pitchers are on a different schedule, altogether. Finally, Carlos Rodon has been backed up in an effort to keep him strong through the season.
Still, “Get ‘Em In Early” works pretty well as a motto for a team hungry to see what all the new (and existing) young talent is able to do. Perhaps the toughest task facing the kids, however, could be keeping things in stride. Knowing that their time in Big League Camp could be limited, it’s got to be tough to no try and hit three home runs in one swing or throw a fastball through the catcher. So far, the kids have impressed and that’ perhaps the most important part of the White Sox spring.
After opening Cactus League play with a 5-3 loss to the Dodgers, the morning before Game Two of Spring was spent catching up with some of the White Sox walking wounded. Fortunately for the Sox, none of the injured are all that banged up, and Spring Training is longer than usual this year due to the World Baseball Classic.
Let’s start with the banged up:
Todd Frazier– A side/oblique injury (he’s termed it as both over the last few days) has pushed him out of action. He hopes to resume baseball activity on Monday and doesn’t think the injury is all that serious.
Charlie Tilson– A stress reaction continues to sideline the could-be Sox centerfielder. Tilson seems understandably bummed by the problem (it’s his first spring where there’s a job he could easily win) but was prepared for a “set-back” type injury stemming from his hamstring pull last season. It’s a long road back but Tilson has extended runway this spring.
Brett Lawrie– He’s spoken to reporters twice this spring and updated them on his battle back from orthotics. He wore them for the first time last season, came down with a host of nebulous and migrating leg injuries, and hasn’t been back to 100% yet. Lawrie stressed there’s no lingering “soreness” but that he’s rehabbing to get “everything aligned properly.” It’s his contention that once he’s able to move around confidently, he’ll be back on the field.
I’m just fine, thanks:
Carlos Rodon– Is just fine, thank you. He hasn’t thrown much at all this spring but the 24-year old lefty reassured reporters that it’s all part of a plan to last deep into the season this year. Rodon said he has a live BP session coming up later this week before he gets into game action. It’s odd to think that Rodon, who’s thrown 304.1 MLB innings could be the ace of the White Sox staff before too long. Jose Quintana is the biggest piece on the trade block and, should the White Sox move him, it leaves Rodon as perhaps the most talented starter on the roster.