Tag Archives: Reynaldo Lopez

Rick Hahn cautions “There’s a fair amount of work ahead”

The theme of the weekend at Sox Fest 2018 was slightly different than it has been the last few seasons—stay patient and trust the process. Instead of hype over plug-and-play types acquired in a string of deals that have “won the offseason” in the past, the mantra here is about building from the ground up for a strong foundation for the future.

Patience can be hard to preach to a fanbase that’s been hungry for a championship; an ideal that’s fallen through the cracks year after year leading to a jaded and disheartened fanbase. But, in this instance, the journey could be as rewarding as the destination itself.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in the last year-plus,” White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn said to the media Friday afternoon at SoxFest. “We feel we’re much closer than we were when we started this process to being able to field a team that can contend for championships on an annual basis, but we also know there’s a fair amount of work ahead of us,” Hahn continued. In a way, that is almost a refreshing sentiment to hear, simply because of it’s candor.

“I think when we preach patience at this point, to an extent we’re saying it to ourselves,” Hahn said of the team’s rebuilding efforts. “There’s going to be a temptation. All of you that are going to be in Glendale for the first few weeks of Spring Training are going to see players that are going to get you excited, and people are going to want to see them at the big league level, just like a year ago when they wanted to see Moncada start at the big league level, and Giolito and Lopez. But we have to be patient with their development.”

Much of the core the White Sox are moving forward with are extremely young and, as Hahn said, the pure excitement that’s left behind by small triumphs often leads to a strong dose of temptation. Temptation for call ups, for promotions and to make 2018 “the year.” That stems not just from what is seen in the results put forward at Spring Training or in the minor leagues or even the flashes of success the White Sox saw last year, but from the players themselves — who tend to be an enthusiastic and vocal bunch.

“I like when I read quotes from player X saying ‘I feel like I’m ready for the big leagues’, that’s awesome,” Hahn said. “I want that, I want guys regardless of where they are to be enthused and competitive and hungry and almost have a little chip on their shoulder like, ‘I’ll show you I’m ready.’ From our standpoint, whether it was a year ago with Moncada or Giolito or Lopez, you try to articulate the specific reasons why they’re not necessarily in the big leagues, what you’re looking for from them, where they need to show improvement and give them an expectation of generally how you think that’s going to unfold.”

Sometimes we lose sight of what it was like to be in the mindset of someone as young and driven as the faces of this groups are. Tunnel vision can become a powerful driver when paired with motivation and keeping these players on a steady path to sustained major league success is vital not only to the future of this organization, but in each player’s individual careers.

“I think although they might at times be slightly disappointed,” Hahn said. “You know, why wasn’t I the one who got the call up on this day or why didn’t I break with the club, they get it,

“They see enough of it around them and now they can look at examples with Giolito, Lopez and Moncada and see okay we spoke the truth to them and gave them their opportunity when the time was right and mine will come. Again, it’s an odd balance because there is this wonderful level of excitement and people are really diligently following our minor leagues and they’re tracking our guys performance and buying into it, getting excited for it. At the same time we need to be realistic. Michael Kopech is 21 years-old and has thrown fifteen innings at Triple-A. Does he have the ability to contend for Cy Young awards in the future? Absolutely. Is that going to start in 2018? Probably not, given what he’s done.”

That’s high praise for someone who has the small track record Hahn noted, but isn’t an extremely unrealistic expectation of a young hurler such as Kopech. The foundation is being properly built here, which leads to a clearer and more reliable vision of the future. Each of these players has their own “it” factor. These players are not accompanied by blind hopes for success or leaps of faith. They’re accompanied by patience in development and a strong set of tools that simply need to be properly honed. That’s a very different vision for this club than fans saw just a few phases ago.

“There have been past offseasons where we have been excited, we’ve ‘won the winter’ a few times, so to speak,” Hahn said. “We had authentic enthusiasm as we went to camp, that this was a team that had the ability to contend. I think we knew that certain things from a health standpoint or from a performance risk standpoint had to go out way for it to work, which makes you uneasy, where as with this even though we are by no means where we want to be yet, you can see the necessary depth coming together, that will be able to withstand whatever cruelties lay ahead when it’s time to win.”

For a team that is not slated to be taking home a division title and may even find Wild Card hopes a bit of a pipedream in 2018, a sold out SoxFest filled with fans praising Hahn for giving them hope again seems to lend itself to the idea that this team is on the road to something quite big, and that the fun can certainly start even before the celebrating does. All it takes is a little patience.

2017 White Sox Top Five

Despite being in likely the grittiest phase of a rebuild and finishing the season with the second worst record in the American League, White Sox fans have echoed the same sentiment—this has been one of the most exciting 60-win teams to watch grow.

The departure of names such as Chris Sale and Jose Quintana have been harsh realities but the arrival of fresh blood and new leaders in the clubhouse seemed to quickly erase those wounds. Let’s take a look at the top five surprises from the South Side in 2017.

Nicky Delmonico’s record breaking arrival

After a nasty collision with newcomer Yoan Moncada landed Willy Garcia on the disabled list with a fractured jaw on July 31st, the stop-gap recalled from Charlotte was infielder/outfielder Nicky Delmonico. Delmonico was making his major league debut at the age of 25 after a rough road with the Brewers coupled with personal struggles. But, what Delmonico did, was deliver the next chapter of an already unpredictably compelling season. Delmonico hit his first home run off Cy Young winner Rick Porcello at Fenway Park just three days after his call-up. He reached base in 13 straight games, garnered a few multi-hit campaigns, and hit six home runs in his first 19 games. Sadly, Delmonico was then placed on the DL with a sprained wrist, but the minds of Sox fans were simply sent reeling. Delmonico was yet another unexpected and extremely entertaining piece in this 2017 season and looks to be a solid addition to the White Sox outfield contingent in 2018.

Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu’s Impactful Seasons

The need for strong, diligent leadership in was crucial this season and though first baseman Jose Abreu’s role in the White Sox clubhouse was already quite established, Abreu reached new levels of achievement in 2017. From becoming a fourth-year veteran and joining Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols as just the third player in MLB history to hit 25+ home runs and 100+ RBIs in his first four seasons to guiding fellow countryman Yoan Moncada through the start of his big league career, Abreu’s voice was heard and his impact felt on the field and off the field throughout the season. As the longest tenured position player on the team, outfielder Avisail Garcia, who had been known for his struggles during his career, not only began to flourish on the field, but also invigorated a young fresh clubhouse by example. Though both Abreu’s and Garcia’s future with the club may not be certain, the impression that they will leave during this immensely important stage in this team’s development was not only serendipitous in timing, but will leave a strong lasting impression on this team as they continue to grow together — and perhaps even apart.

Reynaldo Lopez’s Early Struggles

After the success of number one prospect Yoan Moncada’s arrival on the scene, everything seemed to be rolling along perfectly as the White Sox continued giving fans a glimpse of their future in calling up Reynaldo Lopez, who was simply the secondary piece in the deal that sent Adam Eaton to the Nationals last December. Lopez dazzled, hitting as high as 99 on the gun during his White Sox debut coupled with exceptional break on his curveball. Lopez wasn’t without his blemishes though, his command seemed shaky and that continued down the road, with Lopez walking 14 batter over 47 innings, closing his season with a 4.72 ERA and 7 homers allowed. Lopez left what was just his second start with the White Sox suffering a strained back and was placed on the DL for two weeks before returning to the rotation. Although Lopez’s debut was less than superb in the eyes of many, taking into consideration the short duration of his time on the big league roster, suffering an injury, and still having less than 100 major league innings under his belt — Lopez’s stuff showed much promise for the future.

Loss and Gain

It was a rough summer on the South Side, day after day watching players pack up their lockers while fresh faces arrived. As is the case with any strong rebuild, those faces weren’t always emerging in the major league clubhouse. The Sox saw the departure of everyone from David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, to those defined as leaders in Melky Cabrera and Todd Frazier, and players they considered part of their bright future such as Jose Quintana. But the rewards reaped from these deals should leave this team hopeful as they saw the arrival of players such as Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech and Lucas Giolito, all whose rapid progress and success during 2017 no doubt caught many folks by surprise.

Alec Hansen’s Success

While we talk so much about the success of players acquired through trades of significant measure, let’s not forget those that came simply at the cost of an educated gamble. Drafted 49th overall in the second round of the 2016 draft, the White Sox’s selection of pitcher Alec Hansen led to some justified skeptics. Hansen struggled during his junior year of college and still struggles with commanding his pitches, but has come onboard and simply dazzled during his short time in the White Sox organization. Hansen lead the minors this season in strikeouts with 191, and was promptly promoted to Double-A Birmingham after posting a 2.93 ERA with 83 strikeouts in just 58 IP at Winston-Salem. Hansen’s main attribute is his fastball that sits between 94-97 mph, coupled with a strong slider and curveball, and is currently working to perfect his changeup in the coming season.

An Ace Up His Sleeve?

After posting a 6.75 ERA during his stint with the Washington Nationals in 2016—which was followed by rumors that the team had tweaked his mechanics—there was lingering concern about White Sox newcomer Lucas Giolito. Giolito came as the headliner in the deal that sent Adam Eaton to Washington last December, teeing off the White Sox’s rebuilding efforts.

The trepidation was warranted as the 23 year-old certainly came with a mildly concerning resume. Giolito fell to the 16th round of the 2012 draft due to concerns about a sprained UCL, after many thought he would be taken in the first. Shortly after the draft, the Nationals scheduled Giolito for Tommy John surgery. Once he returned, the team began to work with Giolito on changing his delivery and, suddenly, the pitcher everyone expected to go in the first round looked as though his stock may be falling rapidly.

That was all before White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, though. Cooper has become renowned for helping reinvent pitchers simply by showing them how to maximize their efforts while being true to themselves on the mound. Cooper isn’t interested in stat sheets; he’s interested in good old-fashioned feel for the game.

“I don’t think his first trip to the big leagues with us could have went any better,” Cooper said enthusiastically of Giolito’s season. “It couldn’t have gone better.”

Giolito was shut down during the final week of the season for precautionary reasons and did not make his last scheduled start. “He’s had enough innings,” Cooper said. “There’s nothing left to prove this year. There’s nothing really to gain.”

Giolito seemed just as satisfied with his success this season as Cooper was.

“Overall, this was such a crazy year,” Giolito said. “I started not the way I wanted to. I had to kind of get over some trials and tribulations down in the Minor Leagues trying to fix some things, trying to find myself and see who I was as a pitcher.”

Giolito threw 45.1 innings over seven starts for the big league club, averaging just over six innings per start to the tune of a 2.38 ERA and 6.75 K/9. He lowered his walk rate from 5.05 BB/9 with the Nationals to just 2.38 with the White Sox.

“He’s throwing strikes with four pitches,” Cooper said. “He’s got angles, he can change speeds, he can ride the ball up in the zone. He’s done everything. He’s been great.”

But for Giolito, his sights are already set on new goals for 2018. “For me, it’s get prepared to throw 200 innings,” Giolito said. “I threw, like, 175-ish this year. I feel like the next step is to get to 200. So that will be a personal goal for me next season.”

“Obviously his stuff was lights out then, his stuff is lights out now,” catcher Kevan Smith said of Giolito’s time in the minors. “I think this year is just boosted his confidence. He can see that he can perform at this level.”

Giolito may have had to work through his trials and tribulations but it’s become evident that the Giolito that once was regarded as one of the best prospects in baseball is still alive and well.

“I feel very confident,” Giolito said. “I’ve hit that point where I trust all my pitches in any count, any situation. I feel like that’s what a top end of the rotation guy has to be able to do is pitch deep into games and put up as many zeroes as possible and at the same time trust all your stuff.”

The White Sox may have moved on from Eaton, who was considered a key piece of their future during the team’s prior attempt at contention, but what they’ve gained in Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, who also came in the Eaton deal, are two young pitchers who have showed the ability to perform at the major league level and will become a pivotal piece of this club’s bright future.

“His personality and just the way he goes about his business, he’s a smart kid,” former White Sox pitcher Miguel Gonzalez said of Giolito. “He likes to learn, he asks questions just like any other guy that’s been getting called up “

With Carlos Rodon no longer a lock to begin the season with the club, the time is now for Giolito to step up to that 200-inning goal. He’ll be leaned on heavily in the near future, something that will help him become accustomed to that feeling for the coming years.

Perhaps for Giolito, all it took was getting back to basics coupled with regaining confidence. And of course, a little Don Cooper magic.

Giolito Feels Right at Home in Sox Rotation

At first glance, you’d never have guessed that Tuesday was Lucas Giolito’s first day with his new club.

Nerves didn’t appear to be a concern for Giolito on the day of his first big league start with the White Sox. His head wasn’t buried in a phone or an iPad. He wasn’t tucked away from everyone, preparing for the night. Instead, Giolito was entertained by his fellow pitching teammates who were playing a game of cards. Laughs and smiles aplenty.

Surrounding oneself with veteran pitchers such as Mike Pelfrey, James Shields, and even the recently successful Juan Minaya on your first day in the clubhouse seems to be a smart way to break yourself in.

“I’m excited to watch him pitch tonight,” pitcher Miguel Gonzalez said of Giolito. Gonzalez’s favorite thing the Giolito brings to the White Sox? Not his power curve or pitch mix, but his personality. “Just the way he goes about his business, he’s a smart kid, he likes to learn, he asks questions just like any other guy that’s been getting called up,” Gonzalez said. “We’re excited to have him with us.”

Giolito joined the White Sox organization last December during the annual Winter Meetings in the trade that sent Adam Eaton to the Nationals for Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning.

With the sudden success and emergence of Lopez, the hype surrounding Giolito was cast aside for a bit after what some would consider a rough start in Triple-A Charlotte. Giolito pitched to a 4.48 ERA in 128 innings with the Knights—the most innings Giolito has pitched in a season so far in his career.

After questions surrounding mechanical changes Giolito made when with the Nationals organization, the White Sox have been patient getting Giolito back to being comfortable with his execution on the mound, as well as working to strengthen his three-pitch repertoire.

“His mechanics are much more sound than they were in spring training, maybe than where they were last year with the Nationals,” Knights pitching coach Steve McCatty, formerly the Nationals pitching coach, told James Fegan of The Athletic. “He’s repeating pitches a lot better. He still has some things he’s working on. The command of the curveball is getting better but also he has a really, really good changeup.”

“His past what, three starts have been really good, I don’t even need to see the video to see what he was doing well,” catcher Kevan Smith said. “Every time he’s commanding the zone, when he’s down in the zone with his heater, dropping his curveball in for strikes first pitch and using it as a put away pitch. He’s an impressive guy out there when he’s on and I’m sure he was doing all of that with his changeup as well, so when he has all three pitches working for him he’s pretty untouchable.”

Giolito’s pitch-to-watch will be that much improved curveball that Smith is so high on—a pitch that Giolito is now consistently throwing for strikes and feels confidence in.

“It’s just a big feel thing for these guys, you kind of see if they have [the curve] or not in the bullpen before the game and obviously [Giolito has] been having it,” Smith continued. “It’s a day-to-day thing, just keep working with him and see what he’s changed and just kind of move him around and just keep working towards success each time.”

Giolito found himself surrounded by familiar faces in the Sox clubhouse on Tuesday. His locker is right next to former Charlotte teammates, and recent alumni, Nicky Delmonico and Yoan Moncada.

“He’s got electric stuff, you know he goes out and competes everyday and he throws the ball well,” Delmonico said. “He’s got great composure on the mound and no matter what I think he’s going to be very successful up here.”

Giolito may no longer stand alone as the headliner in the Eaton trade that helped the White Sox begin a strong foundation for their rebuilding efforts. That space may now be shared with Lopez. Regardless, Giolito has made improvements from a year ago when he pitched just 21 innings of baseball with a 6.75 ERA in Washington.

“Obviously his stuff was lights out then, his stuff is lights out now,” Smith said. “I think this year is just boosted his confidence. He can see that he can perform at this level I think confidence is a big factor in baseball. If you believe that you can success at this level then you will.”

Lopez Lights up the Gun in Sox Debut

Reynaldo Lopez gave up two home runs and walked three batters in his White Sox debut.

Doesn’t sound quite that promising does it? There is much more to the story than the tale of the tape, though.

Lopez, calm and collected during his debut on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field, put on quite the show. His first pitch to Royals leadoff man Whit Merrifield lit up the gun at 97 mph and the heat didn’t stop there.

With six strong innings of work, a longer outing than Lopez had recorded during his last three starts with the Charlotte Knights, Lopez struck out six batters and kept pumping his fastball at 97 mph — even flirting with 99 mph on a few pitches.

Lopez made it clear that hitting 97 mph early on wasn’t simply to be chalked up to excitement.

“I don’t think it was part of the excitement or the adrenaline,” Lopez said. “That was just part of my preparation and all the work that I did in my workout and in the gym and that was the way that it showed up today. I mean, I wasn’t over excited. I was calm.”

“He looked comfortable,” Manager Rick Renteria said of Lopez postgame. “He didn’t look very nervous to be honest. He looked like he was in the right place. Everything he did was very much under control. He looked very happy to be here.”

The only runs Lopez allowed to score on the evening were two solo shots to Mike Moustakas, his 33rd and 34th homers of the season.

Catcher Kevan Smith noted that Moustakas was playing a dangerous game taking a chance on those pitches. “He was hitting fastballs of [Lopez] that were almost going to hit him and I was like “What’s this guy thinking here?” We struck him out in his first at bat, and obviously he got him in his second two but those are all at-bats that we can learn from.”

After walking three batters Friday night and a combined nine in his last three starts at Charlotte, control is still an issue that may tarnish Lopez’s seemingly perfect arsenal, but at just 23-years old, Lopez isn’t a finished product just yet. He’s simply in the next stage of his development.

Lopez has the confidence to not become derailed as he continues to grow, a very strong asset for a young pitcher such as himself. “As a pitcher, I know that I’m going to allow some hits,” Lopez said. “But I think that the key is just to keep your focus on the game and keep your confidence and that was what all I did.”

Lopez made the 18,137 hold their breath as he allowed three straight hits on three pitches in the fourth inning with just one out, already laboring at nearly 60 pitches.

“I thought that was his best inning to test him,” Kevan Smith said of the inning. “I think he got through that great. Obviously had a couple hits off him there but he kept his poise he made some great pitches in some counts that he was behind on that I was proud of him about. … That was a great inning for him to have there because he was kind of cruising a little bit and I was like, ‘When is he going to hit some adversity here?’ So, he got it and he got through it and it was a good run. I told him, ‘That was a terrific outing. Let’s see what our mistakes were and where we can get better and just keep working hard.’”

Lopez’s curveball, averaging 79 mph on the evening, was extremely impressive and garnered five swinging strikes. The curveball gives Lopez a pitch with a 17 mph disparity from his fastball, which averaged 97 mph, and gave him an excellent pitch to use to change eye levels on hitters.

The White Sox earned their fourth straight victory as they beat the Royals 6-3 on Friday evening. Lopez left the game in the sixth tied at two, giving him a no-decision on his first White Sox start. Rookie reliever Aaron Bummer gained his first big league win on the evening.

So far this season, the two biggest call ups the White Sox have seen in Yoan Moncada and now Lopez have done nothing but impress — a good sign for a strong future.

And Soon, Lopez?

The 2017 trade deadline was the end of the first chapter of the White Sox rebuild. While there may be an addendum or two with potential sign-and-trades in the year or two to come, the means to acquire young talent are, mostly, spent. The next chapter will be spent figuring out which young talent will make it in the MLB. While Yoan Moncada seems destined to have the staring role in that part of the drama, there will be others. The next could be Reynaldo Lopez.

While guest speaking at Boston’s Saber Seminar over the weekend, GM Rick Hahn teased that Friday could be the debut of Lopez. He seems ready. While Lucas Giolito may have more prospect shine and Carson Fulmer has had big league experience with the White Sox, Lopez has been the most consistent starter for the AAA Charlotte Knights this season. That’s not to say Lopez is without flash. Over his last five starts, he’s thrown 30 innings, struck out 38 and held a 2.38 ERA. He was voted as the White Sox Minor League Player of the Month in July and has impressed both teammates and coaches with his cool, collected character.

When Lopez makes his White Sox debut, he’ll be pitching for his second MLB team. Lopez worked 44 innings for the Washington Nationals last season. He started six games and relieved in one while also throwing two innings of relief in Game Four of the NLDS against the Dodgers. 2016 saw Lopez miss a fair amount of bats (42 strikeouts in the regular season) but miss a the strike zone too often, as well (22 walks). Lack of command has been, as it is with so many young pitchers, the developmental issue for Lopez thus far. While nothing is a bigger tell than the GM of a team telling fans to buy tickets for Friday night against the Royals, Lopez’ walk numbers since the start of June do a fair amount of talking. He’s given a free pass to 22 hitters over 11 starts (62 innings). Just for the sake of quick review–Lopez walked 4.5 per nine in his 44 innings with the Nationals last season. In his first two months at AAA this year, he walked 5.65 per nine. Since the start of June, the rate has dropped to 3.19 per nine.

Reynaldo Lopez may well have little left to prove at AAA.

Should the White Sox bring him up for Friday’s start, it’s possible he could get 10 or even 12 starts in the remainder of the season. Last season, he threw 155.1 total innings across three levels (AA, AAA and MLB). He’s logged 121 innings so far this season so, when Hahn announces the move, it’s fair to wonder wether an innings cap will be thrown on top of Lopez’ new White Sox lid; the team a has preached patience with their new horde of top-tier talent.

Another question asked will be about how the rest of the rotation will change. With Mike Pelfrey, Derek Holland and James Shields all struggling to get out of the fifth innings on a regular basis, one wonders whether simply adding a sixth man (Lopez) into the rotation might just be easiest on everyone. It’d space out long relief work for a beleaguered bullpen and help Lopez ease into his first go in the Sox rotation.

Either way, listen to Rick Hahn. Maybe buy tickets for Friday night.

Ricky Renteria Pleased with Lopez’ Start to Spring

Reynaldo Lopez showed White Sox fans the flash and promise that’s followed him through his minor league career in his second Cactus League start Monday. While Lopez was wild in the first inning, he harnessed the fastball and made quick work of the Diamondbacks in the second and third inning.

Manager Ricky Renteria went over Lopez’ start to spring and reiterated the team’s desire to start him in the minors–likely at AAA and definitely in the rotation.

Plenty of PT for White Sox Prospects

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.

Sox Fest ’17 Brings Promise

The landscape has changed quite a bit for the White Sox since the final out of 2016 was recorded. We need not relive the ups and downs of the 2016 season but, clearly, the 2017 White Sox are set out on a much different path than just a year ago. With a new manager in Rick Renteria and a new direction after the trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, the White Sox have gotten younger, deeper and, hopefully, better in the long run.

For the media, Sox Fest starts with a press conference held by GM Rick Hahn. After the dozens of questions about the future of starter Jose Quintana, third baseman Todd Frazier, left fielder Melky Cabrera, closer David Robertson and anyone else not named Tim Anderson or Carlos Rodon, we’ll get to the business of getting to know the new comers.

Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito or Michael Kopech will be wanted men at Sox Fest 2017–and for good reason. Giolito and Moncada (along with Reynaldo Lopez) are likely to make their White Sox debut at some point in the 2017 season. Moncada could even break camp as the starting second baseman.

There’s a different flavor about the White Sox rebuild. It’s may not have to be the Astros-type where hope is invisible for years. It may not be the Cubs-type where players acquired were, for the most part, years away from MLB-ready. It could be that the track the White Sox are on is very much their own.

Still, the first questions asked to Hahn at the press conference–the ones about how much further the rebuild will go–will likely establish a tone for the rest of the weekend. There will be anxiety about whether prospects become players. There will be sadness in the departure of Sale. The plan, though, is a smarter and deeper system than the organization has had in some time. There is strength in numbers and in acquiring the the talent they have this winter, Sox fans can diversify their hope as they wait for a winner on the Southside.

Get more information about SoxFest 2017 here.