White Sox to increase efforts in Latin America with additional scouts

942425.png

White Sox to increase efforts in Latin America with additional scouts

The White Sox will hire seven scouts this offseason as the franchise refines and reshuffles its international and amateur departments.

After he spent the last 14 months assessing an international department that has produced one player over the past decade, Marco Paddy, the special assistant to the general manager in international operations, will add five new scouts.

The amateur scouting department will also add two new scouts.

While hes happy for the additional bodies in his department, amateur scouting director Doug Laumann is more pleased with the international hires. Rick Hahn last week described a department, which will add two scouts in the Dominican Republic, one in Mexico, one in Venezuela and another to cover Curacao and other areas, as bare bones.

It will kind of get us up to speed, Laumann said. I dont think its a secret we tried in the amateur department to supplement things werent getting internationally. Its what we need to do.

Over the last season Paddy -- who spent the previous five years as the director of Latin American operations for the Toronto Blue Jays -- determined what were the White Sox international issues and how to fix them.

The department has had recent success in its development of infielders Eduardo Escobar -- who was traded to the Minnesota Twins in July -- and Carlos Sanchez, along with pitcher Andre Rienzo.

But much more production is needed and with restrictions placed on international spending in the most recent collective bargaining agreement, the White Sox felt now is the time to make their move.

(Marco) has a feel for what we need, said Del Matthews, assistant director of player development and scouting. Weve had recent success, but it was definitely needed. With the new rule changes in the basic agreement it kind of made it an even playing field for everybody and it was a great opportunity for us to ramp up our efforts and hopefully well see some fruit in a couple of years.

Laumann believes international production will help the team in the amateur draft in terms of creativity. In years past, because the organization needed to add bodies the international program didnt produce, Laumann was forced to find players to fill holes instead of taking risks on higher potential draftees.

Your hands are tied going to the draft knowing you have to find that shortstop or second baseman, Laumann said. It takes away from your creativity and what you can do.

Laumann still must find one more scout for his own department after he promoted J.J. Lally to a full-time area scout. Formerly an assistant director of player development and scouting, Lally will cover the Northwest as the White Sox reduce Adam Virchis previously large territory -- one that included all of Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Canada.

Weve been spread a little thin, Laumann said. We felt like (Virchis) was spending too much time away from the Bay Area.

The team must also find an area scout for the Northeast as part of the domino effect from the promotion of Nick Hostetler, who became the assistant director of amateur scouting.

Ryan Dorsey, who previously scouted the Northeast, now covers Indiana, Michigan and Chicagoland. His position must be filled.

The two new hires gives Laumanns department 18 area scouts and 25 bodies overall.

The extra personnel can be good as long as your organization has good communication and knows how to weed through the information, Laumann said. We have a pretty good mix now.

Omar Narvaez helps father celebrate his birthday in style with first home run

Omar Narvaez helps father celebrate his birthday in style with first home run

Omar Narvaez’s teammates gave him a beer shower after he blasted the first home run of his career on Friday night.

But the rookie catcher said it wasn’t the best gift he gave or received in a 7-3 White Sox victory over the Minnesota Twins. Narvaez’s father, Omar, was in attendance at U.S. Cellular Field and celebrating his birthday when he son blasted a 377-foot drive to right field.

“It was great, especially because it was my dad’s birthday today,” Narvaez said. “It’s a very special gift for my dad. That’s what I was thinking as I was running the bases. It’s the best thing I could do this day.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Narvaez, who hails from Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela, said his family has been in town all week to see him play. His fourth-inning homer off Twins pitcher Pat Dean put the White Sox ahead 6-0. Narvaez -- who has seven minor-league homers, including two at Triple-A Charlotte this season -- homered in his 111th plate appearance in the big leagues.

“That was awesome,” pitcher Carlos Rodon said. “I’ve been waiting a while because I know he’s got that pop. Took him a little bit, but I was happy for him.”

Young White Sox players star in win over Twins

Young White Sox players star in win over Twins

The word electric was used multiple times to describe several young White Sox players on Friday night and it wasn’t hyperbole.

Carlos Rodon tied an American League record with seven consecutive strikeouts to start a 7-3 White Sox victory over the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field and Tim Anderson was an all-around force. Anderson turned several double plays and finished a double shy of the cycle and Rodon, who was coming off the best start of his career, struck out 10 to close out a stellar second half. Rookie catcher Omar Narvaez also blasted the first home run of his big league career in the victory.

“This was some electric stuff coming out,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I would say the first seven hitters were better than (Sunday’s start). He just, it looked like his confidence and end of the year, letting it out. It was definitely the best stuff-wise of having it all -- fastball, slider, mix in a change. I think that’s just a big confidence boost for him of getting to that point where he can do that.”

Where Rodon is now compared with 2 1/ 2 months ago is vastly different. Frustrated by a 2-7 start and a sprained wrist sustained when he fell in the dugout, Rodon was about as low as he’s been in his two seasons in the majors. But the North Carolina State-product vowed to treat the second half like an entirely different season when he returned from his injury and he has done just that.

Featuring a fastball that topped 99-mph, according to brooksbaseball.net, and with his wipeout slider in tow, Rodon quickly looked in control against the Twins. He struck out the side in each of the first two innings. Only two of his first seven strikeouts came via called third strikes.

Rodon’s third-inning whiff of John Ryan Murphy moved him into a tie for the team and AL record with ex-White Sox hurler Joe Cowley, who struck out the first seven he faced in a May 28, 1986 loss at the Texas Rangers. Coupled with the three strikeouts to end Sunday’s start in Cleveland (part of 11 overall), Rodon’s 10 straight strikeouts between the two games matched the most by a major league pitcher since Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Eric Gagne did it in 2003.

“He was throwing a lot of strikes,” Narvaez said. “The slider was perfect today. He was at his best today.”

Rodon was only slowed down by a 31-pitch sixth inning as he allowed three runs (two earned). He yielded three hits, walked three and struck out 10 to improve to 7-3 with a 3.45 ERA since the All-Star break. The left-hander struck out 77 batters in 73 innings from July 31st through the end of the season.

“It’s easy to play behind him because it makes my job a lot easier when he’s striking out people,” Anderson said.

Rodon feels the same about the way Anderson has played since he arrived in the majors in June. The rookie shortstop continues to excel even though he has never played more in a season than he in 2016.  

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Anderson headed into the eighth inning with a chance to complete the cycle. Needing only a double after he tripled and homered in his first two at-bats, Anderson grounded out and finished 3-for-5.

He turned on his speed when he tripled off the glove of Byron Buxton in the first inning and scored on Melky Cabrera’s RBI double. Anderson flashed his power when he blasted his ninth home run in the third, a two-run shot that traveled 410 feet. And used his glove and arm to turn several nice plays in the field.

“He’s electric,” Rodon said. “Just watching him develop over this few months here, it’s been incredible. Making those plays in the hole and just swinging the bat great. That’s a guy our team can feed off of when he’s in the lineup.”