White Sox attack early, top Royals 5-4 as part of a Sunday sweep!

Ready to go: Tim Anderson was all smiles before his matchup against the Royals this afternoon (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)


GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox had split squad action today, with most of the regular players facing off against the Kansas City Royals at Camelback Ranch. The Royals did the same with their lineup, giving the fans in attendance what was close to an early AL Central matchup this afternoon. The early goings made it seem like this would be a shootout, but with both teams went on to stay somewhat quiet the rest of the way in what ended up being a 5-4 win for the White Sox.

Right-hander Alex McRae took the mound this afternoon. He ran into some trouble in the first inning where he gave up a run on a wild pitch, after allowing the first two batters to reach base. Even though he walked two in the inning, McRae kept the damage to a minimum by only allowing the one run to score. He would eventually settle down and went on to have a pretty good outing where he gave up one run on one hit through three full innings.

Luckily for McRae, the White Sox answered immediately by knotting things up at 1-1 in the bottom of the first. Tim Anderson started the game off with a single and would later come around to score on a fielder’s choice. Anderson, who bobbled a grounder in the top half of the inning, made up for it with his bat and he went on to have a good day in the field. He took charge on fly balls, and nearly nailed a runner as the cutoff man at second base on a deep fly out. And even though he had an early bobble, he kept the ball in front of him and still made the play.

The White Sox continued their early momentum in the second inning by putting three more runs on the board. Luis Robert reached on a dribbler down the third base line in his first at-bat. Robert was driven in immediately by Zack Collins, who had an opposite field, two-run home run off left-hander Kris Bubic. Later in the inning, Blake Rutherford doubled and was driven in on a sacrifice fly by Yoan Moncada. The White Sox jumped out to a 4-1 lead after the second inning and they maintained that lead throughout the rest of the game.

It seemed like both teams got all of their scoring out of the way early, as both the Royals and the White Sox remained relatively quiet for the rest of the way. However, the Royals made things interesting in the eighth inning. With Caleb Frare on the mound, the Royals blasted three solo home runs to make it a 5-4 game.

Fortunately for the White Sox, they added an insurance run in the sixth inning which proved to be needed after the Royals late rally. Jacob Lindgren took over in the top of the ninth and secured the win by striking out two and going 1-2-3. Lindgren, who joined the org last year, has put together a very impressive spring and today was no different story.

[For a look at the White Sox’s 6-0 whitewashing of San Diego, hop over to South Side Sox and check out Year of the Hamster’s take on the game.]

The White Sox will be back in action on Monday, March 9 as they host the Reds at Camelback Ranch. Dylan Cease will take the mound with first pitch set for 3:05 PM CT.

Robert and Jiménez shine, but White Sox fall to Rangers 7-6

Bash Bros: Luis Robert and Eloy Jiménez ignited the White Sox offense this afternoon in Surprise. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)


SURPRISE, Ariz. — It was a dream day for White Sox fans, as Luis Robert and Eloy Jiménez both connected on their first home runs of the spring season. Additionally, Yoán Moncada had a multi-hit day and the White Sox starters put together a performance that fans should be excited about.

The only downside to the day? The strong performance wasn’t enough, as the Rangers hit a walk-off home run to beat the White Sox 7-6.

Drew Anderson took the mound for the White Sox this afternoon, and it was a tough day for the righthander. He struggled to throw strikes, got behind in a lot of his counts, and was being hit hard by the Rangers. They attacked Anderson early and often, which eventually led to the White Sox having to play from behind after the first inning. Luckily for Anderson, the bats backed him up and after his two innings of work, he left with the game tied.

Jiménez got the scoring started for the White Sox with an opposite field, two-run home run. That long ball gave the White Sox their first lead of the day in what was a back-and-forth battle for both teams. This was Eloy’s only hit this afternoon, but he also had a deep fly out to center field, where he just missed leaving the yard for the second time.

Jiménez would be one-upped by Luis Robert this afternoon. Robert had by far and away the best day out of any White Sox hitters. Shocking, right? In his first at-bat, Robert singled and then immediately stole second base. While at second, he kept getting a big lead, and shuffling back and forth between second and third base to mess with the rhythm of the opposing pitcher, Jonathan Hernandez. And Robert definitely had Hernandez’s attention, as he threw to the bag and had to step off another time because of Robert. While all of this was going on, Leury García was at the plate and ended up drawing a walk, as Hernandez struggled to focus on the strike zone.

In his second at-bat, Robert shot one over the left-center gap for a solo home run. According to Statcast data, the ball was hit with an exit velocity of 113 mph, and it got out of Surprise Stadium in a hurry. This shot came in the fourth inning, and gave the White Sox a 3-2 lead. For those keeping track at home, Robert had a single, home run, stolen base, RBI, and a run scored by this point. He was the star of the show today, and showcased all of the tools that he’s flooded with.

For the rest of the hitters this afternoon, Jaycob Brugman came up clutch with a three-run home run that gave the White Sox a late lead. Moncada collected two singles and hit the ball hard in each at-bat; he looks like he’s starting to get his timing down again, so I expect him to start putting the ball in play more frequently. And lastly, Andrew Vaughn went 1-for-2, picking up a single in his first at-bat of the afternoon. He’s playing in his first spring training with the big league club, but you wouldn’t think that’s true, as he looks extremely comfortable at the plate and continues to hit.

Offensively, the White Sox scored six runs on nine hits and the bats were the story from this afternoon. However, there were a few pitchers that turned in a good performance despite the loss. Adalberto Mejía entered the game in the fourth inning and he got a pop out for his first out, but that would be the only ball in play he would allow for the rest of his outing. He went on to strike out three consecutive batters before handing the duties off to Carson Fulmer with one out in the fifth inning. Fulmer looked great today, he pounded the strike zone and only allowed one ball to leave the infield. Fulmer finished the day perfect through an inning and two-thirds, with two strikeouts.

Despite the offensive surge this afternoon, the White Sox were on the wrong end of a one-run ballgame. They had some timely hitting, but it wasn’t enough to overcome what was an overall subpar day for the pitching staff. After using a little bit of spring training magic over the last few games, the White Sox got a taste of their own medicine in the loss today. The team will head to Tempe tomorrow to take on the Angels with first pitch scheduled for 2:10 CT. Joe Resis has the game coverage for SSHP.

Subs provide spark, pitching shuts down Reds in 7-2 win

Young blood: Yermín Mercedes, Luis Basabe, and Micker Adolfo all contributed to a key ninth-inning rally this afternoon. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)


GOODYEAR, ARIZ. — After yesterday’s game was cancelled, the White Sox were able to squeeze in their first Cactus League matchup this afternoon, as they traveled to Goodyear to take on the Reds. The lineup was stacked, giving White Sox fans a look at most of the guys that will be playing regularly once the season starts on March 26.

However, it wasn’t the starting lineup that was the story of the day, but the subs who came in and helped seal a 7-2 victory.

Dylan Cease took the mound this afternoon for his first Cactus League start and came out of the gates firing, hitting 99 and 98 mph consecutively to start his day. Cease went for two innings, which is the norm for starters at the early stages of spring training. He allowed at least two batters to reach base in each inning, but they never amounted to anything thanks to his defense and three strikeouts.

All things considered, Cease’s command was pretty good for his first outing. There were moments where he struggled to find the strike zone, but those moments never hurt him — and for his first in-game action in months, his performance could’ve been a lot worse.

As for the rest of the White Sox starters, it was a very quiet day. At the start of spring training, it’s common for pitchers to be ahead of hitters, and that was evident this afternoon. Tim Anderson had an infield single in his first at-bat, but that was the only hit among starters until James McCann had a double to lead things off in the top of the fifth. Yoán Moncada, Eloy Jiménez, José Abreu, and Luis Robert all went a combined 0-for-11 on the day. Moncada, Abreu, and Robert each hit the ball hard on different occasions, but they have nothing to show for it.

But even though most of the starters struggled, they managed to give the White Sox 2-0 lead thanks to some timely hitting in the top of the fifth.

After Carson Fulmer put runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the fourth, Matt Foster entered the game in a tough situation. However, Foster would rise to the occasion. He generated a weak fly ball and a grounder to quickly get two outs after facing just two batters. McCann helped get Foster completely out of the jam by gunning down Shogo Akiyama trying to steal, for the third and final out. Foster went on to pitch in the following inning, where he once again shut down the Reds and didn’t allow a run.

At this point in the game, there were all new faces in the field for the White Sox — and when the fun began. Seby Zavala took over for McCann and blasted an opposite-field, solo home run to give the White Sox a 3-0 lead in the top of the seventh. A lot of hitters were aggressive today, wanting to make a statement early. Seby, however, was not. He was patient at the plate, wasn’t fooled by junk outside of the zone, and once he got his pitch he deposited over the wall in the right, center gap.

Zavala wasn’t the only sub who would come through for the White Sox this afternoon. After the Reds made it a 3-2 game in the bottom half of the eighth, the White Sox were looking to add insurance runs in the ninth and they would do just that.

Micker Adolfo got the rally started with a double, and would later come around to score on an error, the first of two unearned runs in the inning.

Nick Madrigal would also join the party by scorching a RBI single to left field. Madrigal made a few mistakes in the field this afternoon, but he made up for it with this RBI. All told, the White Sox plated four runs on four hits in the ninth and put the game out of reach for the Reds.

Tyler Johnson finished this one off with a 1-2-3 inning where he picked up two strikeouts and was sitting in the upper-90’s with his fastball.

The White Sox will be back in action tomorrow as they take on the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 PM CT, with Alex McRae taking the bump. This is the first of six games televised by NBC Sports this spring, so don’t miss it.

New kids on the block had a strong showing at full squads

New club, new me: Nomar Mazara is all smiles as he heads out to the field in his first day with the White Sox. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)


Today was the first opportunity for White Sox fans to get a look at the more complete package of what the team will be putting out on the field this season. Everyone has officially reported, and after a later-than-usual start, the team took the field for standard batting practice and fielding drills. The only difference today was that major league players were grouped together and the prospects worked separately on a different field.


One of the biggest positional story lines heading into the regular season concerns second base. The White Sox have done a great job of upgrading the roster this offseason, but second base is still a hole while we wait patiently for Nick Madrigal to take over after the first month or so of the season. Madrigal has spent time working in the field with the regular big leaguers, but today he was sent off with the other prospects when the team broke off into fielding drills. Leury García and Danny Mendick took turns fielding grounders at second base with the rest of the guys to start the day. García would end up staying put at second base, but Mendick shifted around and got some reps in at shortstop and third base as well. Could this be a sign of the job being either García’s or Mendick’s to lose? Time will tell, but it’s worth noting that those two got the first set of reps with the full squad present in Glendale this afternoon.


After spending the past few days working behind the scenes, Yoán Moncada went back to work with the rest of the team today and he looked like one of the best of the bunch. During fielding drills, he made on error by letting a ball get through his legs, but aside from that, he was fantastic in the field. He handled nearly every grounder with ease and all of his throws across the diamond and to second base were right where they needed to be. After fielding drills were finished, Moncada took batting practice, where he continued to shine. All of his work came from the left side of the plate, and he demolished the ball all afternoon.


Speaking of everyone being present, Nomar Mazara hit the field today for his first official workout with the team. I did not have a chance to watch him in the field, but I did sit through his full rounds of batting practice, where he put on a show. He put together better rounds than everyone besides Moncada. Mazara’s hitting session consisted of mainly line drives and deep fly balls; granted it’s only batting practice, but you can see the power potential in his bat.

For a while, it seemed like the White Sox might explore external platoon options with Mazara because he’s had a rough time with left-handed pitching. However, with everyone being in Glendale, it seems like the White Sox are going to roll with what they have. There has been mentions of the team having confidence in what Mazara brings to the table and that he will get the bulk of the playing time in right field. The club’s new hitting coach, Frank Menechino, watched Mazara closely this afternoon as he was hitting and frequently gave him praise throughout his session. Mazara is a bit of a project, thus there’s still some potential that can be unlocked there. It seems like the White Sox are going to give him every opportunity to break out and reach that potential this season.


In addition to Mazara, White Sox fans also got to see Edwin Encarnación for the first time this afternoon. Before swinging the bat, he participated in fielding drills at first base. He made a handful of errors and you could tell he is still getting some of the dust off his glove, but he was fine at that position for the most part. Encarnación participated in live batting practice against pitchers and also regular batting practice with coaches pitching to him. His session went just about how you would expect: He showed easy power and drove the ball to all fields. It didn’t seem like Encarnación was going at full speed, but he still managed to put together some loud sessions.


Now that the full squad is finally together, we are getting closer to seeing what the finished product will be. There are still some holes to fill, but soon that will no longer be the case. Cactus League games are coming up fast, and it will be interesting to see who can carry the momentum from camp into game action and who will win roster spot battles. The team is back together, the players are having fun, and we are just a few days away from seeing all the hard work they put in all offseason on display as the spring training season opens.

Welcome to the La Pantera party!

It’s go time: Luis Robert arrived at Camelback Ranch today, ready to get his 2020 season started. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)


We are one day away from position players officially having to report to spring training. Luckily for the White Sox, most  are already in Arizona, and have been for a few weeks, and the team is just waiting on a few more guys before they have the full squad together.

Today, Luis Robert arrived at Camelback Ranch, and White Sox fans got a first look at their Opening Day center fielder.

If you follow Robert on social media, you know he’s put in a ton of work this offseason. It seemed like he was not familiar with a day off, as he was constantly posting workout or BP videos. This afternoon, Robert took batting practice, and then shagged fly balls in center field while other players were hitting. He looked like a guy who came prepared, and with the way he was swinging the bat you would’ve thought that this was not his first official workout and that he has been at spring training for a month already.

In center field this afternoon, Robert was equally as impressive as he was in the batter’s box. He was not taking it easy on his first day, going full speed in the outfield and covering a lot of ground to make a hard play look routine. After he was done in the field, Robert practiced foot first slides (please continue to do that and protect that thumb, Luis!) before he called it a day.

Robert probably was the most impressive player on the field today, which is easy for him because he is blessed with all those tools and has the body of a Greek god. Even on his “bad” days, Robert can still look better than the average player.


Yasmani Grandal has been around Camelback Ranch for a while, but he’s strictly been working with pitchers and hasn’t done much hitting due to a mild calf strain that will keep him out of the first week of games. Today we got to see him take batting practice, and he got all of his work in from the right side of the plate. As a veteran, you would expect Grandal to be more prepared than some of the other guys (even factoring in his injury), but he still managed to impress. Grandal drove the ball consistently, with easy power. Obviously Grandal’s defense and ability to make pitchers better will make him well worth the money that the White Sox invested in him, but he’s a huge upgrade on offense, too, which was obvious this afternoon.


Another outfielder who had a good day was Adam Engel. He was driving the ball all over the field in batting practice and had some of the best rounds among all participants today. Take that with a grain of salt though, because we have seen this a few times in years past. It seems like Engel always comes prepared and looks good during spring training, but once the season starts we see a completely different player. Engel would be useful as a defensive replacement, but if he wants to have any kind of role beyond that he’s going to have to earn it. He hit well against lefties last season, so there’s the possibility that he can be used in a platoon role. However, 2019 was the first time in his career where Engel showed he can be successful in those situations — again, he will have to earn it if he wants to maintain a platoon role.


Today was another somewhat quiet day at Camelback Ranch, but the sound of Robert’s bat woke up everyone in the Glendale area. Tomorrow marks the first official full squad workout, as everyone on the spring training roster will be in camp. Baseball is finally back, and we will soon get a look at more of the players that Rick Hahn and Co. brought in this offseason. I expect the vibe to be a little more loose moving forward, as some of the players will be reuniting for the first time in months.

Exciting times are on the horizon for the White Sox — and tomorrow will be the true beginning of that.

Camelback Confidential: Beefed-up rookies impress

The Magic Man: Nick Madrigal is getting ready to take over second base in the not-so-distant future. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)


The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. as pitchers, catchers, and the position players who have reported early took the field this afternoon for batting practice and fielding work at the complex.

What was otherwise a quiet day was broken up at times by Eloy Jiménez‘s laugh and infectious personality, echoing throughout the back fields. He was excited to be there, as well as the rest of the guys, all who appeared to be having a good time. But when it came time to work, they were all business as well.

Speaking of being all business, Blake Rutherford participated in today’s workout and there were mentions of him hitting the weight room during the offseason. After seeing Rutherford in person today, I can confirm that he definitely looks like he’s packed on a lot of muscle and overall, he looks really good heading into the spring. He took batting practice this afternoon and had some of the best rounds among all participants. Even though it’s just batting practice — which can make anyone look good — Rutherford was consistently driving the ball, and the ball was exploding off his bat all afternoon.

After struggling in Double-A last season, the clock is ticking with Rutherford and he needs to find a way to make himself stand out if he wants to earn a role in Chicago down the line. Perhaps today was the start of that for him. His launch angle was solid during batting practice, and if he can continue to do that there’s potential for Rutherford to have a major increase in power this season when factoring in his added muscle as well.

Joining Rutherford in the unofficial White Sox offseason weight club was Nick Madrigal, who also came to spring training looking more filled out. Madrigal has talked about strength training being a focus of his since he joined the organization, and he backed that up by displaying a more muscular build at Camelback Ranch today. Madrigal didn’t hit this afternoon, but he did go through fielding drills, where he excelled just as you’d expect. Madrigal went through standard drills that involved fielding grounders and either flipping them to second base or throwing to first base. He was getting some reps with regulars like Tim Anderson and José Abreu. With Anderson and Madrigal working on turning double plays together, fans in attendance got a glimpse into the future.

White Sox 2019 first round selection Andrew Vaughn also took the field today to work on defense with the rest of the guys. For the most part, Vaughn had a good day in the field. He scooped up a glove-side chopper on a tough play that drew praise from the members of the coaching staff. Overall, he held his ground during drills, and his throws to second base were almost completely accurate — you can tell that Vaughn played all over the infield while growing up into the game. This marks Vaughn’s first invite to spring training and while he obviously won’t break camp with the team, it will be interesting to see how he handles playing against guys in the majors or close to it.

You can tell that the players who were at Camelback Ranch today are ready to get the season started. In previous years, the vibe was more loose and fun. Don’t get me wrong: There were still glimpses of that same vibe today. However, it seems like these guys are a little more serious this time around, as they get ready to close the book on the rebuild and grow into a winning team.

Wheels down, it’s time to show (R)yu the money

Back to the drawing board: The White Sox should shift their focus towards signing Hyun-Jin Ryu. (@Dodgers)


On Wednesday afternoon, the White Sox learned that they lost the bidding war for their primary pitching target, Zack Wheeler. The Philadelphia Phillies made a late push and eventually inked the righthander to a five-year, $118 million contract that will keep him in the NL East. It hurts when you come up empty on someone who was your priority, although it’s worth noting that the White Sox did offer Wheeler the most money, but it was his fiancee’s preference of being closer to home that ultimately led to signing with the Phillies.

Go figure. The one time the White Sox don’t make any moves to acquire family or friends of a free agent and they go the route of offering the most money yet they still come up empty. Wheeler would have been a great addition to a young pitching staff and would’ve had the opportunity to solidify himself near the top of the rotation for many years down the road, but it’s not the end of the world. There are still plenty of good free agent starters that the White Sox can shift their focus towards.

One starter the White Sox should make a run at is Hyun-Jin Ryu from the Los Angeles Dodgers. If Ryu was in any other free agent class, he would be more popular among teams looking for pitching, but he gets a little lost alongside Wheeler, Gerrit Cole, and Stephen Strasburg. Ryu is a bit of a unique situation, given the fact that he will be 33 at the start of next season, but has only had four full seasons where he’s made 20 or more starts.

Staying healthy has been a struggle for Ryu, especially in the early portion of his career. After debuting in 2013, he landed on the 60-day injured list four times with various shoulder, elbow, and groin injuries. Even with all of the injury history, he has still managed to put together a very successful career: Through 125 starts in six seasons, Ryu has a 2.98 career ERA with 665 strikeouts and 164 walks in 740 ⅓ innings. Those numbers have given him a 8.1 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, and a 1.16 WHIP, which is very respectable for a starting pitcher.

The Dodgers have been careful with Ryu returning from injury, making sure they didn’t stretch him out too long and trying to limit the stress he puts on his body. In 2019, Ryu had a much healthier season, and the results were incredible. He made 29 starts while posting a 2.32 ERA with 163 strikeouts and just 24 walks through 182 ⅔ innings. That earned Ryu his first All-Star appearance, and he ended the season second in Cy Young voting. Given his history, this might not have seemed like a possibility, but Ryu showed just how great he can be when he’s feeling like his normal self.

His success as a pitcher is due in large part to the fact that Ryu generates a lot of weak contact and ground balls. His career average exit velocity is 85.9, placing him below the league average of 87.5. In 2019, his average exit velocity was 85.3, which was good enough to place him in the top 4% in all of baseball. In 2019, Ryu generated a ground ball on 50.4% of batted balls, giving him a slightly better percentage than the 48.4% total for his career.

Ryu has a wide arsenal that consists of a four-seam fastball, cutter, sinker, changeup, curveball, and slider. His fastball isn’t overwhelming, registering in the low-to-mid 90s, and he pairs it with a changeup that sits in the mid-80s. However, Ryu’s ability to locate his pitches makes up for his below-average velocity and helps him generate the consistent weak contact and ground balls. He’s become a “master” of painting the edges of the strike zone, throwing 44.2% of his pitches throughout those areas and targeting places where batters struggle to barrel the ball.

All of the ballparks in the AL Central rank among the top 20 in baseball, with two in the top eight, for most average runs scored and average home runs per game. Bringing Ryu into the mix would be a welcoming change, as his pitching style would play well at those parks and he would be set up to have a successful run with the White Sox, assuming that he can continue to stay healthy. In addition, Ryu has always been a pitcher who doesn’t walk many batters. The most walks Ryu has allowed in a full season is 49 over 192 innings during his rookie year in 2013. The White Sox issued the sixth-most walks in baseball last season, and that has been a consistent trend over the last few years.

One factor that could help influence Ryu to sign with the White Sox is their recent addition in Yasmani Grandal. The two of them worked together during Grandal’s time in Los Angeles, and Grandal trails only A.J. Ellis as Ryu’s most frequent catcher. When working with Grandal for 28 games, Ryu has a 3.02 ERA with 45 walks and 139 strikeouts in 143 innings. That’s good for the second-best ERA among catchers who have worked with him for 20 or more games. The pair has had success being battery-mates, and a reunion on the South Side would be in both their best interests.

Ryu’s market seems less robust than the other pitchers at the moment, and while there hasn’t been any information linking the White Sox to the lefty, it would be wise for the team to get in contact with his agent. The only downside to this? Ryu’s agent is Scott Boras, and the White Sox haven’t had the best working relationship with him in the past. Knowing Boras and how he’s able to suck money out of teams better than anyone in the game, he might use Chicago’s recent failure with Wheeler as a way for them to pony up more money for Ryu. While there’s plenty of reasons as to why Ryu makes a lot of sense and why it would be worth it to sign him, spending a lot of money on him is a risk given his injury history.

As a Plan B after failing on Plan A, Ryu makes a lot of sense for the White Sox. He’s a ground ball pitcher who doesn’t allow much hard contact, and he’s lefthander who would bring balance to the rotation. In 2019 not only was Ryu healthy, he looked like a guy who can pitch at the top of a rotation. There is risk involved with this signing, but it’s a risk the White Sox should be willing to take.

Non-tendered players on the market: Which make sense for the White Sox?

Heating back up: After recovering from Tommy John, Taijuan Walker now has his eyes set on joining a new team (@Dbacks)


Monday night was the deadline for MLB teams to decide whether to tender a contracts to eligible players. For the White Sox, they avoided arbitration with James McCann, as the two parties agreed to a one-year, $5.4 million contract that will keep McCann on the South Side for the upcoming season. The club also agreed to tender contracts to Alex Colomé, Leury García, Evan Marshall, and Carlos Rodón. Additionally, Yolmer Sánchez, Caleb Frare, and Ryan Burr were all declined contracts for this upcoming season and Thyago Vieira was released. According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Vieira agreed to a deal with the Yomiuri Giants, giving him the opportunity to head to Japan for his next destination.

While there were no huge surprises for the White Sox on Monday, the same can’t be said about some other teams. There are now a lot of new names to hit the market who could benefit many clubs. The White Sox are in the process of filling holes on their roster, and some newly-nontendered names make sense as potential additions.

Let’s take a look at some players who would make sense for the White Sox:

Taijuan Walker, RHP

It’s no secret that the White Sox need to add to their starting rotation this offseason. Walker seemed like he was going to be a sure thing in the Diamondbacks rotation after being acquired from the Seattle Mariners in 2016. The following year, Walker put together some pretty impressive numbers: 28 starts, 157 ⅓ innings, 61 walks, 146 strikeouts, a 3.49 ERA, his lowest since becoming a full-time starting pitcher at the MLB level.

Unfortunately for Walker, Tommy John surgery in 2018 has limited him since the 2017 season, but he was activated off the 60-day injured list and now has an entire offseason where he will be healthy and able to continue working on his comeback. Walker’s arsenal consists of a four-seam fastball, sinker, split-finger, cutter, and curveball. He throws in the mid-to-low 90s and has shown the ability to limit walks throughout his career.

While the White Sox already have four starters (two tickets for the major league rotation) coming back from Tommy John this season, it might not make much sense to add another to that list. However, given the fact that Walker is still only 27, it might be worthwhile to check in with him. He still has a lot of innings left on his arm, with potential as a solid middle- to back-of-the-rotation starter. If the White Sox were able to land one of the bigger starting pitching names on the market, Walker would be a good second-tier signing to fill out another rotation spot, assuming that his health checks out and there aren’t any red flags.

Steven Souza Jr., OF

Sticking with the Diamondbacks, Steven Souza Jr. was another player who was non-tendered on Monday night. His time in Arizona has been injury-riddled and one to forget. Souza Jr. has played less than half a season over the last two years. He missed all of 2019 with a knee injury that occurred during an exhibition game at the end of spring training. Talk about a tough break. Even though Souza pairs power with good defense in the outfield, it seems like the recent string of injuries made the Dbacks feel like it was best for both parties to move on.

Before coming over to Arizona, Souza was making a name for himself during his final season in Tampa Bay. In 2017, he slashed .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBIs, 84 walks, and 179 strikeouts in 148 games. His performance that year was good for a wRC+ of 121 and a 3.8 fWAR, and he paired that with a 7 DRS in right field. Aside from 2015, Souza has posted a positive DRS every season, making him an average fielder at the very least.

Time will tell if Souza can continue that trend of being a good fielder, especially after his knee injury this past season. However, right field is a glaring hole on the White Sox roster and Souza would be a welcomed addition given the fact that he’s a two-way player. If he was a left-handed hitter he’d be almost a perfect fit, but Souza is still an intriguing option. He would have the ability to DH, of course, and wouldn’t have to wear down his knee by playing in the field every game. He wouldn’t be a huge upgrade, but he would be a good gap-filler for a few years until the White Sox decide if they want to go in another direction.

Blake Treinen, RHP

Treinen is probably the biggest name who was added to the free agent market on Monday, and this was a move we saw coming a few days prior. There were rumblings that the Athletics had interest in trading him and if they were unable to, he was a non-tender candidate.

In 2018, Treinen was elite, one of the best bullpen arms in baseball. That year, he posted a 0.78 ERA with 100 strikeouts and 21 walks over 80 ⅓ innings. Those numbers were good for a 11.2 K/9 and a 2.4 BB/9. Treinen was lethal out of the back of the bullpen, and he looked like one of the most exciting bullpen arms for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately for Treinen, 2019 was a very tough year. He lost some velocity on his fastball, cutter, and sinker. His hard-hit percentage increased by more than 6% and he was walking hitters at a much higher rate than he usually does. In 2019, Treinen posted an uncharacteristic 4.91 ERA (a career worst) with 37 walks and 59 strikeouts in 58 ⅔ innings. The sudden regression, and being projected to make around $8 million this upcoming season, was reason for the Athletics to move on, even though he was not far removed from a stellar season.

There’s a very good chance that he will get signed quickly, most likely by a contending team that needs bullpen help. The Yankees were linked to him before Monday’s deadline and and could have the inside track to signing him. However, Treinen is a player that not only the White Sox, but most teams, shouldn’t even think twice about signing. Solid bullpen arms are always tough to find on the market, and it’s common to see those signings backfire. However, Treinen has put together a very impressive six-year career and is a good bet to get back on track in 2020.

Domingo Santana, OF

After finding a new home in Seattle for the 2019 season, Santana will be on the move again as the Mariners decided not to tender him a contract. Known for his bat more than his glove, Santana has hit 20 or more home runs in two of the last three seasons. Before that, with less at-bats, he hit just 19 combined home runs over his first three seasons in the majors.

Santana started to make a name for himself in 2017, which marked the first time he played in more than 100 games. That year, he slashed .278/.371/.505 with 29 doubles, 30 home runs, 85 RBIs, 73 walks, and 178 strikeouts. After splitting time between the minors and the show due to Milwaukee’s outfield jam after the Christian Yelich trade and Lorenzo Cian signing, in 2018, Santana saw himself as a regular in the Mariners lineup during the 2019 season. It was a tale of two halves for Santana in 2019: The first half boasted a slash line of .286/.354/.496 with 19 doubles and 18 home runs, but the second half was the polar opposite, hitting worse than .150 with just three homers. Santana was battling an elbow injury, which could’ve led to the significant decline. However, he still posted a 107 wRC+ on the season, making him slightly above average in 2019. Santana would finish the year slashing .253/.329/.441 with 20 doubles, 21 home runs, 69 RBI, 50 walks, and 164 strikeouts.

His career splits are fairly even against lefties and righties, but his power numbers have been significantly better against right-handed pitchers throughout his career. Santana’s career average exit velocity of 89.5 mph and hard-hit percentage of 41.8 are both better than league average. Now, with Santana, you are sacrificing defense by keeping his bat in the lineup. But he’s still only 27 years old, and his power potential makes him an interesting option for the White Sox. With his age, there might still be some room for improvement defensively, but he will still be somewhat of a liability in the field throughout his career.


All of these players would help improve the White Sox roster, and while none of these guys should be Plan A or B, they would be solid additions to fill out the roster as “finishing touches” this offseason.

Early moves close the book on the rebuild — it’s time to start winning!

It’s a Yaz! So far, White Sox fans are seeing less of the labor and more of the baby this offseason. (YouTube)


At this time last year, the White Sox were embarking on a seemingly endless journey in pursuit of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. The club had a minimal payroll heading into the 2018 offseason, and seemed like they were in a good position to land one of the big fish. Even though the team wasn’t completely ready to start winning and they still had to work on the development of some of their own key players, Rick Hahn and Co. knew this was an opportunity that they couldn’t pass up.

With Harper and Machado having a smaller market due to their steep price tag, the White Sox were aggressive in their pursuits early as they tried to sell both players on the future of the ballclub, and how they would have a great opportunity to win consistently on the South Side. Unfortunately, we all know how this story ends, as the White Sox came up completely empty. It was yet another offseason where the White Sox were actively engaging with the big free agents, but swung and missed, leaving a lot of fans in doubt about the team’s future.

Sure, the White Sox do have talent in the farm system. However, it’s almost impossible to win on homegrown talent alone. Teams need to be able to supplement what they already have with players from outside of the organization, whether to fill holes, bring over veterans to guide younger players, or make the most of an opportunity to sign/trade for a player who once might’ve looked like a longshot. There are many reasons why free agency and trades are important, and after last offseason’s shutout it started to feel like the White Sox were running out of time to strike and make an impact move.

Fast forward to this offseason, where the White Sox once again found their name in the rumors surrounding almost all of the top free agents available. There was a little more skepticism from fans this time around, and rightfully so, as they didn’t want to get their hopes up again in what could be another failure of an offseason. Hahn acknowledged the frustration, and knew this offseason was important when he addressed the media at the GM Meetings earlier this month:

And he was right. White Sox fans are tired of “having a seat at the table” as Hahn likes to say, and want the front office to start making things happen. Being in the mix for top tier free agents and coming up empty is an exhausting practice, especially for a fan base that is starving for a winning team. At the conclusion of the 2019 season, the team was trending upwards, in large part due to the developments of core players, the arrival of Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease, and with Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal on the way shortly. In addition to that, the team would be getting Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodón back for the upcoming season as well.

With all the positive developments that came from last season, the White Sox still needed a few dominoes to fall, and had to make something happen this winter in order to start putting out a product that could win consistently. The team still has quite a few holes to fill with starting pitching, left-handed hitting, and right field being the most notable. This free agent class was littered with plenty of names that could fill those gaps and instantly be an upgrade, and it was time for the White Sox to, in Hahn’s parlance, show us the baby.

It didn’t take long for the organization to show they were serious about winning this offseason, as they came out of the gates quickly and inked Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal that gave the catcher the largest contract in the history of the franchise.

Grandal checks off a lot of boxes for the White Sox. He’s a switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate, gets on base frequently, and is one of the best defensive backstops in the game. This is that type of immediate-impact signing that will benefit the club and pitching staff in many ways. Everything Grandal brings to the table makes him the complete package, and his name was up there as one of the best available free agents. The White Sox were able to get the deal done and outbid the rest of his suitors, which is a result that isn’t common on the South Side.

After a painfully long 2018 offseason, it was beyond refreshing to see the White Sox get a deal of that significance done early in the process. It also goes to show that Hahn and Co. are ready to get down to business this year. Not to mention, having Grandal as a member of the team now makes the White Sox a more attractive destination for other free agents, especially pitchers. He’s a highly-respected catcher throughout baseball, and just about anyone would benefit from working with him full-time. His elite framing ability is going to get the most out of the pitchers he works with, as he’s sure to get them a ton of extra strikes during his time in Chicago.

One free agent pitcher that the White Sox have been linked to this offseason is Zack Wheeler, one of the most prized pitching targets this winter. Members from the Mets media and other Mets outlets started mentioning the White Sox as serious suitors for Wheeler. Danny Abriano of SNY even went as far to say that the White Sox were among the “leading group” of teams bidding for Wheeler’s services. This news dropped just days before the Grandal signing became official, so Hahn was working on signing not just one significant free agent right away, but two.

Hahn could’ve sat around and celebrated the first big signing, but instead immediately went right back to work, focused on making the White Sox a winning team, and making them a winning team now. There hasn’t been much movement on the Wheeler front since those initial tidbits of information dropped, but at least the club has identified what would be another major upgrade — and they wouldn’t have to spend $200 million or more for that upgrade, as they would have last year. Sure, Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg would both be incredible additions, but those two are likely going to be out of price range. It would be wise to allocate the money among multiple players, as opposed to sinking most of it into one arm. Wheeler is in a tier slightly below Cole and Strasburg, but he has the potential to be a very good pitcher for a long time — and at half the price.

In addition to that, the White Sox outrighted Yolmer Sánchez and signed José Abreu to a three-year, $50 million dollar contract. The Abreu deal didn’t make much sense at the time, especially considering the fact that he recently accepted the qualifying offer. However, with the extension, the White Sox will save money this year and it won’t hamper their ability to continue to sign free agents. Not to mention, Abreu has been around some rough teams during his White Sox career and he deserves some security for the next few years. As far as Yolmer goes, that decision was made primarily because he was due to make $6.2 million in arbitration. Even though he’s fresh off of winning a Gold Glove, defense is about the only value he provides to the team, unless you count being a clubhouse guy/Gatorade showers.

The White Sox could’ve easily been OK with paying Yolmer the $6.2 million, because they still aren’t committed to a high payroll as of now, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have been surprised if they did that. However, with Madrigal being ready to take over second base in the not-so-distant future, it didn’t make sense to pay Yolmer to ride the bench. The team also has Danny Mendick, who can contribute much more offensively than Sánchez, and while he’s not a Gold Glove-caliber defender, he is solid defensively and can play multiple positions. Mendick is a perfect fit to hold it down at second base while Madrigal finishes up his development in Triple-A. Barring any surprise trades or signings, I would expect Mendick to take that job for now.

So what happens next? Well, the White Sox are off to a good start this winter, but their work isn’t even close to being done. Grandal was a great signing, but they still need to add more. We know the White Sox are once again in the mix with a lot of free agents, but this time around it feels a little different. They’ve made some noise early, and it finally seems like the front office is ready to shift their focus towards winning and being more competitive. They’ve already shown the willingness to outbid other teams and set the market for certain players, and hopefully they will continue to do that with their other targets.

The AL Central is the worst division in baseball right now. With a few more moves and the arrival of some of the highly-touted prospects, the White Sox could potentially be in the heat of a divisional race for most of next year. At the very least, there should be significant improvement, and the team might be able to squeeze their way into a wild card spot. A lot would have to go right for the White Sox to be fighting for the playoffs in 2020, but for now, at least the team is closing the book on the rebuild and is ready to start winning.

2019 was the year of Yoán —and he’s just getting started

Locked in: Yoan Moncada before a game at Guaranteed Rate Field. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)


Once again, it was a losing season on the South Side in 2019. This year, however, felt much different than the last couple of losing seasons due to some of the developments that came out of it. Tim Anderson won a batting title, Lucas Giolito had a massive bounce-back year and looks like someone that can lead or be near the top of a rotation, and last but not least, Yoan Moncada looks like he’s becoming the next superstar in Chicago.

White Sox fans leave 2019 with quite a bit of hope, which is something that isn’t always common among the fanbase. The aforementioned players put together very successful seasons, helping provide a jolt of confidence in the team as the end of the rebuild gets closer and the White Sox are ready to take that next step.

Prior to the 2019 season, it was difficult to gauge if Yoán Moncada was going to live up to the “top overall prospect in the MLB” hype. There were times where he showed flashes of his potential, and there were others where he looked lost at the plate and in the field. Between 2017 and 2018, Moncada was unable to hit better than the .230s, and in 2018 he struck out a lot … 217 times to be exact. Striking out is something to be expected for a young player, but doing it that many times can create some uncertainty.

After nearly two seasons where we were left with more questions than answers about the player he could be, Moncada blossomed into a star in 2019. Not only was his season the best among members of his team, it was also good enough to place him among the Top 20 players in the MLB during the 2019 season.

A big reason for Moncada’s breakout was his work ethic — he attacked the offseason. Shortly after coming off the 217 strikeouts, Moncada decided that enough was enough and he was ready to become the player that White Sox fans hoped he would be. He voluntarily spent time in Arizona, working with different members of the staff to identify some of his weaknesses and figure out some changes he could make to help turn things around.

It’s safe to say that all his offseason work paid off in a big way. In 132 games last season, Moncada slashed .315/.367/.548 with 34 doubles, 25 home runs, 79 RBIs, 40 walks, all while lowering his strikeout total to 154. Those stats were good enough to give him a wRC+ of 141 and a 5.7 fWAR. That 5.7 fWAR was the 16th-best in baseball, and his 141 wRC+ was the 15th best in the game, putting his name next to some of the best that this game has to offer.

Moncada changed his approach in 2019, becoming more aggressive at the plate. As a result, his walk total was much lower this year, but given the results, that’s all right. There were frequent times in the past where he laid off good pitches to hit, waiting for something better. More often than not, this usually resulted in a strikeout, as pitchers realized that Moncada wasn’t going to swing early in the count.

Moncada’s change in approach obviously led to statistical improvements all across the board, but the most refreshing improvement was his ability to cut down his K%. Moncada’s K% in 2017 and 2018 was in the 30% range, getting as high as 33.4% in 2018. In 2019, he was able to cut that down to 27.5%.

Moving forward, if Moncada sticks to a more aggressive approach — possibly continuing to sacrifice walks for fewer strikeouts — White Sox fans should be happy with the tradeoff. His average exit velocity in 2019 was 92.8 mph, placing him in the top 3% of the league. His hard hit percentage was 47.9%, placing him in the top 8% of the league. By taking a more aggressive approach, Moncada has a much better opportunity to put the ball in play, And when he does, he’s a tough out for opponents when combining speed and ability to barrel up the ball.

As a switch-hitter, it’s common to see a player hit much better from one side of the plate, and this was the case with Moncada — until this season. In 2018, he was well below league average as a righty, slashing .209/.287/.297 and a wRC+ of 64. In 2019, it was a completely different story, as Moncada appeared to be much more comfortable swinging from the right side. Last season, he slashed .299/.345/.500 and posted a wRC+ of 122, making him better than league average.

The 2019 season also saw Moncada move over to third base. When he was coming up as a prospect many scouts noted that third base was Moncada’s more natural position, and it wasn’t hard to see that during the 2019 season. According to FanGraphs, Moncada finished fouth among third basemen in UZR (4.3) and Defensive Runs Above Average (6.2), placing him in the above average-to-great range in both categories. After the White Sox missed out on signing their third baseman of the future during the offseason, they were able to watch one develop right before their eyes, as Moncada looked like a human highlight reel at the hot corner.

After having a very impressive breakout year in 2019, is this something Moncada is going to be able to repeat again next year, and for many down the road? Yes: This is now the bar for him. He showed us what he can do just by improving and fine-tuning some of his tools, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t continue to do the same moving forward.

There’s been mentions of Moncada going back to Arizona this offseason to break down what he can do better moving into next season. This time around, there won’t be as many drastic changes or adjustments — he’ll just work on sharpening the skills that are already above-average. After all, Moncada is not just one of the best players on the White Sox — he’s establishing himself as one of the best players in baseball.

While Moncada still has a long way to go, and it will be pretty much impossible to surpass someone like Mike Trout as the very best in the game, Moncada is on the right track. After many people claimed he was a bust and were unsure if he would live up to his hype, Moncada now looks like that type of player who can be a cornerstone piece for a franchise that is looking to contend for many years.

And the best part about his development so far? Moncada is only 24 years old, just scratching the surface of the type of player he can be.

Moncada was one of the, if not the biggest development of the White Sox this past season. The way he attacked his struggles and worked hard to improve is going to continue to pay off down the road, too. He’s destined to be a star on the South Side for a long, long time. This is just the beginning of what will be a very exciting career.