It's February. In less than two weeks, we will be able to say without preface, 'Pitchers and Catchers, Report!' So this will be our last truly "offseason" News and Notes of the 2017-2018 winter. By the end of February we will be back into weekly mode for Spring Training.
While there have not been any blockbuster trades, there have been plenty of other roster moves, plus prospect rankings, SoxFest, mini-camp and more.
January is nearly bereft of actual baseball being played, but for those who follow the prospects, they know this is typically when national and local outlets are releasing their various lists of top prospects. We released the latest #FS30 recently, listing the top thirty prospects in a very deep White Sox system. And we added a separate article describing 15 players who just missed the list but are worth keeping an eye on. One of our writers and a contributor to the list, Brian Bilek, was even brought onto CLTV to discuss the list, among other topics.
On the national level, the big outlets are releasing their MLB Top 100 lists. The White Sox placed five on Baseball America's list and seven on MLB Pipeline's version. Baseball Prospectus went with a whopping eight South Siders on their T101. Fangraphs' version comes out this week.
National outlets also rank the farm systems as whole against each other. Both Baseball America and Keith Law of ESPN ranked the White Sox 4th among the 30 teams for organizational talent in the minor leagues. Things are looking very good for the White Sox talent pipeline.
The White Sox held their annual offseason fan fest a week ago. For a team that finished near the bottom in MLB the year before and looks to do something similar in 2018, the fans' reactions were very positive as they seem to be fully embracing the rebuild and all that entails.
General Manager Rick Hahn (and others with the team) are preaching patience as the effort moves more into the player development phase, which will indeed take time. Hahn promised that when the time comes to fill in the gaps to contend, there will be plenty of money to spend on free agents, even stating they had previously given out 9-figure offers. Chris Getz noted that every minor leaguer has an individual development plan they are set to follow during the offseason and for the upcoming campaign.
Our Rob Young was there to take in most of the proceedings, and came away with a trove of information. He interviewed Director of Player Development Chris Getz and Director of Scouting Nick Hostetler, and you can read all about the event and their quotes in his article here. He's also been tweeting various tidbits that couldn't fit in the article, at a slow trickle.
The most popular quip from the weekend, judging by twitter reaction, was apparently this from Zack Collins:
Zack Collins says Chipper Jones was his favorite player until he snubbed him in an autograph line. Still holds a grudge
— FutureSox (@FutureSox) January 27, 2018
Hitters' Mini-Camp at Camelback
As has become annual tradition, the Sox invited a few dozen top prospects and young major leaguers to a mini-camp for hitters at Camelback Ranch in Arizona in January. There was a lot of talent on display including top prospects like Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and more.
It's a closed event with a small press contingent covering, and guess who had one of just two White Sox-specific media passes? Our own Kim Contreras was there to soak it in, and provided this detailed report that is a must-read for South Siders. She also got video of about 25 different player in their BP and/or cage sessions, all of which you can see for free on our YouTube channel.
Also perhaps important - the question of how to pronounce Robert's name has been settled:
Talked with #WhiteSox Luis Robert's uncle and agent today. Very nice men, gave the final word on his last name:
"Robert": with a hard-t, just like it's spelled.@billazbbphotog and I - both persnickety about things like correct pronunciation - both satisfied with the result
— Kim C (@Cu_As) January 17, 2018
- RHPs Miguel Gonzalez, Bruce Rondon, Jeanmar Gomez, Donn Roach, Gonzalez Germen
- LHP Xavier Cedeno
- INFs Diego Goris, Juan Perez, Dean Anna
- RHP Chris Volstad
- The White Sox acquired infielder Jose Rondon from the Padres for cash considerations
- OF Jacob May was outrighted off the 40-man roster to make room for Miguel Gonzalez, cleared waivers and was assigned to Charlotte.
Coaching and Player Development Assignments
The Sox announced their 2018 Player Development staff, including the managers and coaches for all the affiliates. Get all the details here in Ken's article covering the highlights and listing all the job roles officialized.
News and Links, to get you caught up...
- Non-Roster Invites for this year's Spring Training were announced by the White Sox, with few surprises. Spencer Adams is not listed because he is still healing up from a torn finger ligament, but supposedly will be ready for a normal open in April.
- In the area of injury updates, Zack Burdi has been throwing for a few weeks at increasing distances, Carlos Rodon has just begun his throwing program, and Ryan Cordell has been back to full activity since December. All reported from SoxFest.
- Our Matt Cassidy dove into the traffic jam of talented outfielders seemingly targeted for A-ball to open 2018.
- The Caribbean Winter Leagues completed their regular seasons around New Year's. Read here about how the White Sox players performed.
- Our Rob Young reports that 3B Justin Yurchak has garnered some trade interest from other clubs this offseason, adding reinforcement that his pro debut was more than a league-inflated mirage.
- Josh Norris and Kyle Glaser of Baseball America put out an informative podcast covering the current state of the White Sox system.
- Jordan Stephens would like you to know that his slider is back.
- Also back, this after a hiatus due to structural issues at the ballpark: the annual Rickwood Classic in Birmingham.
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