Results tagged ‘ Chicago White Sox ’

The White Sox and Carlos Rodon

As of this writing, our Draft signing tracker has a total of 26 of the 34 first-round picks from the 2014 Draft as having signed or agreed to terms. We have bonus figures for seven of the top 10 picks.

The top pick still unsigned is Carlos Rodon. The NC State star went to the Chicago White Sox at No. 3. While it’s not surprising he didn’t sign immediately — it’s not uncommon for a player advised by Boras Corp to wait, especially one who was considered a potential No. 1 overall pick — it’s clear the White Sox aren’t thrilled with how things have developed. Or not developed.

 

Assistant general manager Buddy Bell was recently quoted as saying (On CSNChicago.com):

“I’m sort of old school on this, that it is what it is. You want to get started sooner than later. You are losing out. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this. But I just think the sooner you sign and with his ability and how I see him, this kid is going to be in the big leagues soon. It just seems to me if money is the issue, he’s going to make a helluva lot more getting it started than not. This kid is a tough, big, solid big leaguer. I just hope he gets in going sooner than later.”

Waiting until the July 18 deadline may not seem like the end of the world. He could still get out and pitch for a while — that’s the biggest benefit of the earlier deadline. But the delay in signing has likely cost the southpaw the potential for a big league callup this year. He hasn’t thrown since May 16, so to get him ready for big league action isn’t likely to happen at this point.

Don’t think the White Sox would do it? Remember what they did with Chris Sale. Rodon could have, if he had signed earlier, been shortened up in a bullpen role for the short-term (returning to starting in 2015). There’s little question his fastball-slider combination could get at least lefties out in shorter stints right now at the highest level.

Even if all the White Sox did is offer the slot value bonus of just over $5.7 million, it seems like there’s little wiggle room at this point. The White Sox have signed nine of their 10 picks from the first 10 rounds for a total of $3,402,600. They have saved $385,600 of their overall pool money. Pick value for the No. 3 overall selection was $5,721,500. That means the White Sox could offer Rodon $6,107,100 and not incur any penalty of any sort. They can go over that amount, up to five percent over their total pool of $9,509,700, and they would just have to pay a fine, but not forfeit a pick in the 2015 Draft. That brings the total potential bonus up to around $6.5 million.

In the end, Rodon will likely sign, but it might not be until close to the deadline.

More talk about season rebounds

Last week, I wrote a feature that focused on Courtney Hawkins, Brandon Nimmo and Trevor Bauer and how, in different ways, they were all bouncing back from either up-and-down or subpar seasons in 2013 to have solid-to-outstanding 2014 campaigns to date.

As is often the case, I had way  too much information from the conversations I had with players and farm directors. Rather than send them into the vitrual trashbin, never to be seen again, I figured I’d post them here for your perusal. Some of it was used partially, but most of it didn’t make it into the final version of the story.

 

Brandon Nimmo:

“The numbers weren’t horrible, but they weren’t where I’d like them to be. This year, one of the biggest things was in the offseason, I got to some warmer weather sooner. I was little more focused on bringing the baseball aspect of it into my workouts instead of just focusing on strength and speed. Going to IMG for seven weeks really helped. We worked on everything from mental to vision to strength and speed and flexibility. We also would go on the field and work on the swing, get out there, hit with guys like Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Starlin Castro. To hit with those kinds of guys, I really benifitted from picking their brains a little bit. I’m stronger, more control of my body, which is going to happen as I mature.”

“I put the work in this offseason, lets see the results. So far, so good. There will be some bad times, but I’m trying to be more consistent and iron out those down times more.”

“You can’t let one bad game spiral into a week or two of bad games. Or maybe you had a good game, or got some cheap hits, you need to realize that’s not what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to hit the ball on the barrel all the time. You’re picking up small things that might help you not fall into those long droughts. When you’re in the droughts, you try to [remind yourself] it takes a little bit of time. Maybe you created a bad habit and it’s not going to take one swing to get out of it. [Learning to deal with success and failure are] both essential in developing for a Major League career.”

 

 Courtney Hawkins:

“I had my times where what I was capable of would pop out. I’d start feeling good and say, ok time to breakout. You really do have to take things pitch by pitch, day by day. If you let one at-bat get to you, you’re going to be screwed that whole game. I can tell you from personal experience.”

“I don’t worry about the media stuff this year. Last year, I’d read stuff and say, ‘I’m going to prove them wrong.’ I just go out and play ball now.”

“At instructs, I was hitting well again. It didn’t really click until this offseason. My second offseason, I knew how to go about stuff. I didn’t take much time off. I stayed in the groove and kept going at it. When I came into the hitting camp in January,they could tell the difference. I felt good in Spring Training. Toward the end of Spring Training, they lowered my hands more. Since then, I’ve been putting my bat on the ball more.”

“Last year, whenever they told me to do something, I did it. That’s why you saw so many different stances. I kept tyring to find something that was clicking. You ‘d be back to square one every time.  Lowering my hands clicked fast for me. But it doesn’t always work that way. You have to work on it.”

“I was tyring to get that callup, but you can’t think that way. It’s so much easier to play when you’re not worrying about the other stuff. That first summer, I had the mentality, all I worried about was just playing ball. My whole mindset changed. Now I’m back to that, just go out and play ball and not worry about anything else.”

White Sox farm director Nick Capra (on Hawkins):

“This last year, experience of first full year of baseball, maturity has a lot to do with it, him learning he didn’t have to be in a hurry to get in the big leagues. In his mind, he thought he was on a fast track. He got ahead of himself.”

“We moved him from CF to LF this year. He’s responded tremendously. His defense has improved. He looks like an OF with a passion to [play defense].”

“There are different personalities, different kids. They have to find themselves somehow, rather than look at what other people are doing. They have to focus on what they are capable of doing and how they’re doing.”

On whether in hindsight they feel they rushed him:

“I don’t think so. When he signed, he progressed rapidly. We got him to Kannapolis and he really stood out in the SAL. We got him to the Carolina League for the playoffs and he excelled. We thought he’d settle in during his first full year and grow on the success he had before. It’s easy to look back, but no I don’t think so.”

On his progress:

“I think it was more of a gradual thing. He worked on things in instructs that he brought into Spring Training. Then we worked on other things in Spring Training. A lot of it was the mental things that figure into how you play. He’s adjusted to things rather well. You have to have confidence and it plays a big factor in how you compete. This kid had never failed before. He failed a little bit last year. Now it’s about how he responds to failure. He is definitely a more confident player last year.”

Indians farm director Ross Atkins (on Trevor Bauer):

“I can tell you I haven’t met many pitchers that are as passionate about delivery mechanics, about pitching philosophically and mechanically, as Trevor. It’s been great for us to learn with and from him about him and about pitching. He has incredible toughts about pitching.”

“Even last year, when he wasn’t at his ‘best,’ we were still extremely encouraged. His results and velocity weren’t where they were. We didn’t see him back off from trying to master his skills and craft. Obviously, this year in Spring Training, you see the spike in velocity and strikeouts, how he’s pitched this year, we’ve been extremely encouraged. Although the results have varied, we’ve never been disappointed with his commitment. I know he had a hard time with last year. He was extremely frustrated. The fact he was coming close to making such a significant adjustment to his approach and still was competing, it gave us faith he’d find that comfort level eventually.”

“With Trevor, we really have been, from the start, extremely impressed and encouraged by his process and how committed he is to being great. He’s never tried or focused on , ‘I’m going to show or prove to someone,’ it’s not about how he was traded. It’s always about how can I be great. That’s why we’ve always been so encouraged. Now that he’s having more productive results, obviously we’re encouraged by that. I can honestly say , there were never levels of discouragement. He’s always been in a very good place.”

“All pitchers have ebb and flow. He’s now higher than we’ve every seen him, consistently in the mid to high 90s. His curve, slider and changeup are all average to slightly above-average weapons. They vary which one is most effective; that makes him more interesting.”

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on the Matt Davidson-Addison Reed trade

Interesting deal announced today, no? A young big league closer for a solid third base prospect. So, who’s the winner?

Twitter was blowing up about it, with most people feeling the White Sox by far got the better end of the deal by getting Davidson, who should have every chance to be Chicago’s starting third baseman in 2014. I had some good back-and-forth with Jason Parks from Baseball Prospectus (@ProfessorParks) and Mike Newman (@ROTOScouting) of RotoScouting.com about it, if you want to check that out.

I think I’m probably the biggest fan of Davidson of the three of us (he was No. 64 on our Top 100, for whatever that’s worth), though I’m not delusional about him. There’s some question about whether he can stay at third — some think he can’t — but I think he’ll be adequate there. And I think there’s enough bat there for him to be a solid regular at the hot corner.

Does that mean the White Sox won this deal? I’m not quite ready to go there just yet. Reed is a 25-year-old closer with 69 saves over the past two years, including 40 in 2013. It also should be noted that he won’t be arbitration eligible until 2015, so the D-backs have two years of closing on the cheap. And they can let Brad Ziegler go back to setting up if they so choose (or the other way around). Or J.J. Putz could reclaim the role and Arizona could have a very solid pen. So I can see the value there.

The larger question is: Does an everyday third baseman trump a relief pitcher? Assuming you believe Davidson can be a regular at third, then it depends on how productive he can be. I think he has the chance to be good enough offensively to give Chicago a slight edge in this deal, though maybe not by as much as some on Twitter were initially saying.

I’ve had the pleasure of doing stories on both of these guys over the years. I dug up a feature I did on Reed when he had gone from being San Diego State’s closer to replacing some guy named Strasburg in their rotation.

I wrote about Davidson this past summer, when he won the Futures Game MVP Award. And here’s the on-field video interview I did with him:

AFL Reports: White Sox, O’s and Braves

Been a busy week, what with participating in our democracy and all. Let’s catch up, shall we?

The report on the White Sox featured Trayce Thompson. The video report focused on Thompson, Carlos Sanchez and Andy Wilkins.


The Orioles’ report featured Jonathan Schoop, while the video report’s focus was on Schoop, Clay Schrader and Chris Petrini.

And, finally, the report on the Braves centered around Nick Ahmed , while the video report focused on Edward Salcedo, Ahmed and Cory Rasmus.

And a quick catch up on Stars of the Day:

Monday: Chris Owings of the Diamondbacks. The D-backs’ No. 5 prospect went 3-for-5 with a double, homer and 3 RBIs.

Tuesday: Nick Franklin of the Mariners. The M’s No. 3 prospect went 4-for-5, with two doubles and 6 RBIs.

Wednesday: Logan Darnell of the Twins. The left-hander went four innings, allowing no runs on one hit while walking none and striking out five in his first AFL start.

Thursday: Rymer Liriano of the Padres. The Padres’ No. 1 prospect went 3-for-5 with two doubles and 3 RBIs.

 

OMG: Chicago White Sox

Take a look at the White Sox Top 10 Prospects. And here’s your OMG (One More Guy) from Chicago’s system:

Jacob Petricka, RHP: Petricka was a fast riser in the 2010 Draft class, one of those latePetricka-Jacob-4_TC-ISPS.jpg comers that scouts run to see last minute to see what the fuss is about. A Tommy John surgery recipient a few years back, Petricka had transferred from Iowa Western Community College to Indiana State, so we’re not exactly talking about a hotbed for baseball. Petricka jumped on radar screens when reports came out about him hitting 97-98 mph on the radar gun last spring. He moved from off the map and into the second round, where the White Sox took him with the No. 63 overall pick.<p>

He threw well in his pro debut, making eight starts with Bristol in the Appalachian League and then nine relief outings with Kannapolis as the White Sox didn’t want to overwork him. The plus fastball is still very much there (9.7 K/9) and he shows a breaking ball that can be above-average as well. He’s got a feel for a changeup, too, which is why he’ll continue as a starter (along with his ability to maintain fastball velocity into starts), at least for the time being. If command becomes an issue, he’s got the arsenal to be a very good short reliever in the future.

All sorts of goodies

Greetings all —

Finally crawled out from under the avalanche that was the Top 50 prospects list. Hope everyone is enjoying it so far. If you haven’t seen it, by all means, go and check it out now. We’re revealing 10 per day and have gotten down to No. 21, so only the top 20 remain. I always enjoy doing it, but man, I’m always glad when I’m done with it.

There are two ways people can get involved. They can send in their own top 10 — and we’ll put together a fan top prospect list based on those. Email that to: Top10Prospects@gmail.com. You can also email me comments, complaints, smart remarks. Honestly, it’s why I do the list in the first place, to elicit response. So respond at will.

On to other things…

B3 friend and colleague Lisa Winston has been an interviewin’ fool over on Got MiLB? Her “Beyond the Box Score: Getting to Know…” series is taking off. Since last I mentioned, there are three more players who you can get to know with these in-depth, off-beat interviews:

Read ‘em all, you’ll be better for it.

Whaddaya folks think about the Javy Vazquez trade? Gotmilby (that’s Lisa) and I were talking about it and both of us first thought the Braves gave up too much. We saw Tyler Flowers hit in the AFL and color us impressed. Even if he can’t catch — and the guess here is that the Braves think he can’t — that’s a big bat to give up for a mediocre starting pitcher and Boone Logan, isn’t it? Unless they felt he was incapable of handling any position at all, I was a bit surprised to see Flowers in the deal. Now, the AFL is indeed a small sample size, so we shouldn’t go too crazy over what he did there.

The other guys aren’t bad, either. Granted, Brent Lillibridge seemed to take a step back in 2008, but I think he still could be a utility guy in the future. Jon Gilmore is just getting started and has a ton of power potential as a third baseman. Santos Rodriguez isn’t known to most, having only played in the Gulf Coast League in the U.S., but he’s the kind of arm that years from now could end up being the key component in the deal. I don’t care what the level is, 45 K in 29 IP makes you take notice. So does the .155 batting average against, not to mention the 6-foot-5, 180-pound frame and age (20).

Thus ends the Jake Peavy drama in Atlanta, huh? Truth be told, I’d rather give a rotation spot to Tommy Hanson on Opening Day than have Javy Vazquez, but those decisions aren’t up to me. 
 

Richar and Masset going to Cincy?

That’s the rumor, anyway. The Reds would get 2B Danny Richar and RHP Nick Masset for Ken Griffey Jr.

Richar was supposed to compete for the big-league job at second, but visa issues made him late for Spring Training and then a broken rib kept him out until the end of May. He’s hitting .262 with nine homers 11 steals in 62 games for for Triple-A Charlotte. The 25-year-old could head to Triple-A Louisville if the trade becomes official. Richar hadn’t spent that much time in the White Sox organization, coming over a year ago in June (he spent some time in the bigs last summer after the trade) from the Diamondbacks in return for minor league outfielder Aaron Cunnigham, who’s since been traded to Oakland. He’s got a career .290 average in the Minors with a .441 SLG and 73 stolen bases.

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