February 19, 2019 was a kick in the gut to the many who follow their beloved southside baseball team. A figurative gray cloud hovered above only White Sox fans throughout the fallout of a certain free agent who accepted a certain 10-year, $300 million deal in a certain city that sees rain fewer times a year than the Sox have made the playoffs.
For a minute, there was collective optimism among the fan base. An idea that an accelerated rebuild was possible with a generational talent as its centerpiece. Change of plans, as it's back to our regularly scheduled White Sox Minor League monitoring.
In what can only be described as a dark comedy, the Sox added another punchline to a day with an ominous story.
Luis Alexander Basabe, who was placed on the White Sox 40-man roster prior to the 2018 season, suffered a broken hamate bone in his left hand. The 22-year-old will be sidelined four-to-six weeks following surgery with a plan to return as a full baseball participant around mid-May.
The injury most significantly affects Basabe’s swing from the left side. When batting lefty, his top hand, which would be his injured left, endures most of the stress. The bright side in this cold, shrill sports reality is the injury does not affect Basabe’s throwing hand.
Ultimately, it’s a setback for a guy with potential to make his Major League debut this season. It’s a minor procedure and all the Sox can do is hope the surgery and rehab fit their timeline. Sox manager Rick Renteria told MLB.com’s Scott Merkin, “He’ll be fine. He’ll come out of it OK.”
In our semi-annual Top-30 prospect list, Basabe ranked ninth overall and fifth among position players. In 119 games between Double-A Birmingham and Advanced-A Winston-Salem, Basabe slashed .258/.354/.445 with 15 home runs, 21 doubles and eight triples. The outfielder has also stolen 106 bases across his six Minor League seasons.
UPDATES ON BURGER, BURDI AND DUNNING
Rick Hahn addressed the media last week as White Sox pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training and the GM provided an update on Burger. Our James Fox provided insight on the 2017 11th overall draft pick’s rehab from a ruptured Achilles. Hahn noted the White Sox are eyeing a June 1st return to an affiliate.
Elsewhere, two high-level arms are set to be full go for the 2019 season.
“They’re healthy, ready to go,” Chris Getz told Merkin. “There’s no hesitation with those guys. They’re on normal progression right now.”
Encouraging news for the White Sox as they monitor both right-hander's unique injuries. Burdi had Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow in July of 2017. Prior to the surgery, the soon-to-be 24-year-old made 29 appearances at Charlotte and struck out 51 while walking 17 in 33.1 innings.
The reliever returned to game action at Rookie ball late in 2018 and also threw 4.2 innings in the Arizona Fall League. Entering his first full season since the major surgery, Burdi will be under the watchful eye of the White Sox developmental team, as the flame-throwing hurler has the stuff to pitch in Chicago today.
Dunning dealt with pain in his right elbow as well, but it was diagnosed as a moderate sprain. The Sox shut him down in June of 2018.
The 24-year-old starter was on an upward trajectory in the Sox system before the injury, as he accumulated a 2.71 ERA in 15 starts between Double-A and Advanced-A. Dunning struck out 100 batters with 26 walks in 86.1 innings last season.