White Sox morning roundup

727268.png

White Sox morning roundup

From the weekend:

Frank Thomas will make his 2012 debut as part of Comcast SportsNet's White Sox coverage team tonight, appearing on Chicago Tribune Live at 5:30 and White Sox Postgame Live following Monday's game with the Indians. He'll join Chuck Garfien and Bill Melton for select games as well as provide content for CSNChicago.com, including the revival of Big Hurt TV. Needless to say, we're all extremely excited to have Thomas around again.

Opening Day saw the White Sox lose 3-2 to Texas, with Colby Lewis hampering offensive efforts thanks to good command of a wide strike zone. But hey, at least Adam Dunn tied a major-league record.

Saturday's game went much better, with Alex Rios belting a game-winning home run off Joe Nathan to secure Robin Ventura's first career victory as a manager. Sunday was much worse, as the Sox went 0-8 with runners in scoring position in a 5-0 loss.

The closer situation was the hot topic of the weekend, though, with Hector Santiago appearing to nail down that role -- the rookie lefty earned the save in Saturday's win. Chuck Garfien penned an outstanding piece on Santiago's screwball, while I don't think it actually matters who gets the bulk of the save opportunities for he Sox and Chris Kamka reviews the results of bullpens-by-committees.

And the most random news of all: Kip Wells is back with the White Sox.

Jim looked at how Robin Ventura's early returns have been similar to the managing style of Ozzie Guillen, James has a few trends that should carry over from Opening Daythe first weekend, and Alejandro De Aza's baserunning miscues have already drawn comparisons to Juan Pierre (not unfair -- De Aza has to dial things back).

Around the division

Detroit: Scored 23 runs in two games, including a frightening comeback that included a game-tying three-run bomb by Miguel Cabrera and a walk-off homer by Alex Avila. Tigers blog Walkoff Woodward pretty much sums up the message sent from Comerica Park this weekend: "We will kill all of your pitchers." But the news wasn't all good for the Tigs, as No. 2 starter Doug Fister hit the disabled list with a costochondral strain.

Cleveland: Ubaldo Jimenez took a no-hitter into the seventh against Toronto, but it went for naught as Toronto downed Cleveland in another marathon affair. Sergio Santos blew a save for the Jays, by the way.

Kansas City: Ned Yost has succumbed to the "okay with not having a good hitter batting second" epidemic, although it didn't hurt the Royals' offense that helped take two of three games from Los Angeles in California. And in the game Kansas City lost, Bruce Chen -- whose selection to start Opening Day was widely panned -- held the Angels scoreless through six innings of four-hit ball.

Minnesota: Scored five runs in three games against baseball's worst pitching staff from a year ago. Jason Hammel carried a no-hitter into the eighth on Sunday, while Jake Arrieta (5.05 ERA in 2011) threw seven shutout innings Friday and Tommy Hunter (5.06 ERA in 2011) allowed two unearned runs Saturday in seven innings of work. And to top things off, Carl Pavano's velocity is down, which Twins Daily's Parker Hageman is concerned about.

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

The White Sox agreed to one-year contracts with five players on Friday, including a $12-million deal for Todd Frazier.

Frazier established a franchise record for home runs by a third baseman in 2016 when he blasted 40 in his first season with the White Sox. A free agent after the 2017 season, Frazier hit .225/.302/.464 in 666 plate appearances, drove in a career high 98 runs and produced 2.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. 

Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez is set to earn $5.9 million this season. The team also agreed to deals with relievers Dan Jennings ($1.4 million), Zach Putnam ($1.1175 million) and Jake Petricka ($825,000).

The White Sox acquired Frazier in a three-player trade from the Cincinnati Reds in December 2015. It's expected they would try to trade Frazier, who has hit 104 homers since 2014 and participated in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby three consecutive years, before the Aug 1 non-waiver trade deadline as part of the club's rebuilding efforts. 

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

Gonzalez went 5-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) after he was signed to a minor-league deal in early April. 

Jennings posted a 2.08 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. 

Putnam had a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings with 30 strikeouts before he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. 

Petricka was limited to nine appearances before his season was ended by hip surgery.

Both Petricka and Putnam are expected to be ready for spring training.

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

It was a limited look, but Yoan Moncada made a strong first impression on the White Sox this week.

Acquired from the Boston Red Sox last month in the Chris Sale trade, Moncada arrived in Glendale, Ariz., earlier this week with the franchise hopeful he'd offer a glimpse of the skills that earned him the designation as baseball's top prospect.

Moncada didn't disappoint, either, as he had White Sox evaluators excited throughout a three-day hitters camp. Whether it's his physicality, how he carried himself or his baseball IQ, White Sox staffers couldn't have been happier about their first experience with their new prized possession.

"(Moncada) looks like a linebacker, but he moves like a wide receiver," player development director Chris Getz said. "He's got good actions. He's obviously a switch hitter. He's got power. He can hit. He's got a good smile. He seems to be enjoying himself out here, he interacts well with his teammates.

"So far it has been very impressive, and we look forward to seeing more."

Hitting coach Todd Steverson said Moncada, 21, looked every bit the part when he first observed him from across the hall at the team's facility. Steverson spoke to friends in the scouting community and wasn't the least bit surprised when he encountered the 6-foot-2, 205-pound second baseman. Moncada was just as impressive on the field with his skills and effort, Steverson said.

"This is a large specimen right here," Steverson said. "He's put together pretty well.

"On defense it looks like he has some really good hands.

"He got in the box and he hadn't swung for a while. But still, you could tell he had good hands going through the zone, has a nice approach and wants to work real hard."

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

Moncada's fancy tools have been well publicized since he received a $31.5-million signing bonus from the Red Sox in March 2015.

MLB.com graded Moncada's hit tool at 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale while his base running is 65 and arm is 60. Moncada's power received a 55 grade, and his fielding is 50. Moncada received an overall grade of 65, which suggests he has the ability to be a perennial All-Star and worth 4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com.

But the White Sox weren't just impressed with Moncada's physical ability.

One of manager Rick Renteria's top objectives for the camp was to emphasize fundamentals and what's important to the team. Renteria wanted to identify specific game situations and how players are expected to handle them so they're well prepared for the future. Moncada handled that area well, too.

"Yoan is a very knowledgeable baseball player who has experience on a multitude of levels," amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. "In the brief time we had with him this week, he showed a tremendous ability to drive the ball the opposite way as well as drive balls to the gap and out of the ball park from both sides of the plate. That ability will help him handle and any all situations that Ricky asks him to do at the plate. Defensively his hands and feet are very good and will have no problem there. He's a bright hard-working kid that is part of a bright future for the organization."