So far, Sox faring well in recent drafts

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So far, Sox faring well in recent drafts

The White Sox brass has said over and over theyre not concerned with what the rankings say. Yes, nearly all analysts have the White Sox as having the worst farm system in baseball. But the Sox are more concerned with what they actually get out of their minor leagues, which lately has actually been pretty good when looking at players taken in the MLB Draft.

Since the 2008 draft -- the first players selected and signed by the White Sox have the most WAR of any group of draftees in baseball. Gordon Beckham, Brent Morel, Jordan Danks, Dan Hudson, Chris Sale and Addison Reed have accumulated 15.4 WAR (Baseball-Reference), slightly more than the 14.8 WAR that Nationals draftees have racked up.

Its not completely fair to add in the 4.2 WAR Hudson accrued with Arizona, though, and when you eliminate players that are no longer with their original organization, Washington takes the No. 1 spot. Without Hudson, White Sox draftees have been worth 11.3 WAR, as Hudson was worth 0.1 WAR over parts of two seasons with the White Sox. Washington only loses Tommy Milone -- who went to Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez deal -- and his 1.7 WAR.

But regardless, the Sox have the second-highest total WAR of players drafted in 2008-2011. Of course, thats just right now, when no players from the 2011 draft have played in the majors and only a few from 2010 have made it, and it doesnt include international free agents and players acquired via a trade.

Chris Sale has been the largest value-provider, approaching 8 WAR since his call-up in 2010. While Gordon Beckham has tailed off after 2009, hes provided about 3 wins to the White Sox since 2009. Addison Reed, Brent Morel and Jordan Danks have also contributed in relatively minor ways, with Reed the most likely to boost the WAR total down the road.

A few years from now, the White Sox may not be in the top two, top five, top 10, and so on. But for now, as the White Sox contend for a playoff spot, the contributions of Sale, Beckham and Reed have helped get the team to where they are. And that's certainly worth noting.

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia will both return to the White Sox in 2017.

The team announced it reached deals with both players shortly before Friday’s 7 p.m. CST nontender deadline. Lawrie will earn $3.5 million next season and Garcia received a one-year deal for $3 million.

The club didn’t tender a contract to right-handed pitcher Blake Smith, which leaves its 40-man roster at 38.

Acquired last December for a pair of minor leaguers, Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs in 94 games before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Lawrie produced 0.9 f-WAR when he suffered what then-manager Robin Ventura described a “tricky” injury on July 21. Despite numerous tests and a lengthy rehab, Lawrie never returned to the field and was frustrated by the experience. Last month, Lawrie tweeted that he believes the cause of his injury was wearing orthotics for the first time in his career.

He was projected to earn $5.1 million, according to MLBTraderumors.com and earned $4.125 million in 2016.

Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 453 plate appearances over 120 games. The projected salary for Garcia, arb-eligible for the first time, was $3.4 million.

The team also offered contracts to Miguel Gonzalez and Todd Frazier, who are eligible for free agency in 2018, first baseman Jose Abreu and relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, among others.

The White Sox have until mid-January to reach an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players. If they haven’t, both sides submit figures for arbitration cases, which are then heard throughout February.

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

Crain's Chicago Business released its latest 40 under 40 project and White Sox announcer Jason Benetti made this year's list.

The 33-year-old just finished his first season with the White Sox as play-by-play announcer, working the home games at U.S. Cellular Field (before it was renamed Guaranteed Rate Field last month) alongside Steve Stone as longtime broadcaster Hawk Harrelson saw his workload reduced to mostly road games.

Benetti quickly became a fan favorite among Chicagoans on CSN and other networks in 2016 and his cerebral palsy became more of a backstory, with his work alongside Stone and his affable sense of humor taking center stage instead.

Among other topics, Benetti discussed how he approaches his job of broadcasting for the team he grew up rooting for:

Law school taught me that there are always two sides of the argument. I see it from the Sox prism, but I can’t believe in my heart of hearts that, if the Sox lose, the world’s over anymore. That first game, I was like, “All right, it’s just a game.” And then Avi Garcia hits a homer late in the game against the Indians and I call it like I would call it with a little more. And as the ball cleared the fence, when it was rolling around, I got a slight tear in my eye. And I was like, “What’s that?”

Check out the entire interview with Benetti and the full list at ChicagoBusiness.com.