Tag Archives: Zack Burdi

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.

Stuff We Learned at SoxFest

The 26th Annual SoxFest this weekend was a blast and we learned stuff, too. After eleven and a half hours of radio, 18 interviews, and a panel or two we learned a few things about the White Sox, their players, and the organizations direction over the next few months.

Because everyone loves lists, we figured we’d write down a few things we learned. Some are big news, some are reminders, some are just goofy. Either way, here they are:

–Ricky Renteria will, in fact, go by “Ricky.” He’s had other nicknames throughout his career but he’s gone by Ricky for a while now. The new White Sox skipper made it official on the Steve Dahl Show, Friday. The manager is Ricky, the GM is Rick.

–Rick Hahn told Sox Fans during one of the panels that he had a trade fall through on Christmas Eve. Hahn declined to offer many details on the deal but did offer, “Many more [offers] die” than end up working out.

–Hahn maintained his stance that the Sox are still looking to make moves. Whether that’s the next Big One, like trading Jose Quintana, or moving other pieces like Todd Frazier or David Robertson, we’ll have to wait and see.

–Tim Anderson will wear No. 7 this year. He offered to buy new jersey’s for a some fans who’d bought the No. 12 jersey.

–Director of Amateur Scouting Nick Hosteler gave out a few nuggets concerning the 2016 draft. One being the White Sox would have taken Zack Collins (who they picked 10th overall) with the first pick had they had it.

–Hostetler also said that if Zack Burdi was off the board at 26, the White Sox were ready to take Alec Hansen. Turns out Burdi was there and they got Hansen with their next pick.

–Everyone in baseball is waiting with bated breath for the Free Agent class of 2018. Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson, Clayton Kershaw, Drew Smyly, Andrew Miller and more could all be had. Hahn said the White Sox have not ruled out making an investment two winters from now.

–Lucas Giolito is massive.

–Ricky Renteria uses lobster in his Queso Fundido. I will spend most of the season learning how to make it.

–Zack Burdi will work out of the bullpen.

–The White Sox made a large shift in draft strategy. They focused more on hitters with a control of the strike zone and pitchers with the ability to throw strikes.

–Renteria plans to rotate players through the DH spot and use it to get players off their feet when needed.

–Nate Jones will pitch for Team USA at the World Baseball Classic. He was put on the roster before being ‘officially’ notified. Said he was ridiculously excited when he found out.

September and the Call-Ups

The White Sox announced Tuesday that they’ve completed their September call-up plan. Added to the roster were outfielder Jason Coats, utility man Leury Garcia and reliever Blake Smith. Coats and Garcia have been seen in these parts before while Smith is on the first big league roster of his career at age 28 after moving from the outfield to the mound in the 2013 season.

With the rosters completed, I figured it’d be a good time to start a series of season wrap up pieces. We’ll do it slowly–it’s baseball after all–and we’ll do it by position.

Leading off the series is the every-sexy Organizational Depth! Before I got into a specific position, I wanted to address some of the depth we’ve seen deep in the system and even some we’ve seen hit the major leagues this year. We’ll hit some of these players once we get to individual positions but I needed space to talk a bit about:

Zach Burdi – The flame-throwing 2016 first round draft pick was not one of the call-ups to the White Sox for the last month of the season. Based on talent alone, he absolutely could have been. Burdi cruised through four levels in his first professional season and threw 38 innings. He struck out 51 hitters. A triple-digit fastball keeps hitters on their heels while command of a hard slider makes him fairly devastating. In a conversation on White Sox Weekly, White Sox scouting director, Nick Hosteler, said Burdi’s change-up, while a work-in-progress, shows signs of becoming plus-pitch. That kind of mix could get Burdi a look at being a starter eventually, but for the immediate future, the brightest piece of the Sox future rests with:

Carson Fulmer – Who’s also not coming up to make a much-anticipated start at the big league level in 2016. Fulmer’s year was most definitely a mixed bag. He was shelled in some outings. He was un-hittable in some. He couldn’t find the plate in others. I think Fulmer’s stuff plays at the major league level. Bouts of wildness seemed to attack him at times and whether that’s attributable to his high-engery, high-effort delivery or another mechanical flaw, the White Sox think they’ve got a handle on Fulmer and think they’ll be able to tame him. For Fulmer’s part, he’s a guy who’s more than willing and able to learn. He’s seems to be the kind of prospect who’s willing to adapt and grow while still walking out to the mound confident he can compete. It’s still fair to wonder whether Fulmer’s future rests in the rotation or the bullpen but the White Sox are doing the right things seeing if he can stick as a starter.

Zack Collins and Alec Hansen – Are both very much out on the horizon for the White Sox but there’s every reason for expectation. Collins mashed through two levels (rookie league and advanced A ball) though the vast majority of his work (36 games and 120 at bats) came at Winston-Salem. What excites me most about Collins is his plate discipline. The guy knows how to take a walk and, so far, seems to know what he can and can’t hit. That kind of approach, mixed with power from the left side, is enough to get excited about. As I’ve not seen it, I won’t presume to have an opinion on his work behind the plate but as a general philosophy, when a guy can hit like he can, you play him in a position until he fails. Hansen, meanwhile, could be the most intriguing pick the White Sox made in 2016. In 12 starts, Hansen struck out 81 hitters in 54.2 innings. Sure, it could simply be an instance of and advanced college pitcher facing young, inexperience bats. The Sox however, identified Hansen as a guy who was working through mechanical issues during his final season at Oklahoma. The team believes they’ve fixed those issues and the results seem to prove it.

That’s some of the high-end depth in the White Sox system. We’ll get deeper into prospects as we run the series through it’s course. Next up, we’ll look at the catchers.