ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Chris Sale struck out a career-high 15, Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer and the Chicago White Sox extended their winning streak to six games with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.Sale (6-2) gave up one run, three hits and walked two in 7 13 innings while finishing one strikeout shy of the team record. Jack Harshman struck out 16 against Boston on July 25, 1954.Sale struck out his 15th batter, Jose Molina, with a runner on third and two outs in the seventh. He retired his final batter, Rich Thompson, on a grounder to lead off the eighth.After Jesse Crain got the final two outs in the eighth, Addison Reed pitched the ninth for his fifth save.Chicago took a 2-1 lead during the sixth when Gordon Beckham singled and scored on Dunn's 16th homer. Dunn has gone deep 11 times in May.Matt Moore (1-5) allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings for Tampa Bay. The left-hander, who given up 19 runs over 19 2-3 innings in his previous four starts, struck out 10 and walked one.The White Sox had scored at least nine runs in each of their previous four games.Chicago's Paul Konerko, who entered hitting .399, went 1 for 4. He flared an opposite-field single to right during the ninth that extended his hitting streak to 14 games.Ben Zobrist singled, stole second and scored to put the Rays up 1-0 on Jose Lobaton's RBI single in the fourth. Lobaton was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game after being out since April 13 due to right shoulder soreness.Zobrist, playing in right field, took a hit away from A.J. Pierzynski in the second with a diving catch.Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton went 0 for 4, including three strikeouts against Sale, and had his 10-game winning streak end.NOTES: White Sox GM Kenny Williams doesn't think LHP John Danks, who is on the 15-day DL with a left shoulder strain, will need a minor league rehab start. Danks could rejoin the rotation around June 5. ... Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria (partially tear left hamstring) increased his agility and running program, and continues taking batting practice and fielding grounder. ... Williams said attendance could impact the White Sox at the trade deadline. "If you can't monetarily make something work, sometimes you have to do it with a greater cost to your talent," Williams said. Chicago is averaging 20,663 this season at home. ... To make room for Lobaton, Tampa Bay optioned C Chris Gimenez to Triple-A Durham.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Only six years after they had the “best farm system of all time,” the Kansas City Royals see a bright future ahead for the upstart White Sox.
Several current Kansas City players who graduated from that farm system and led the Royals to a 2015 World Series title and manager Ned Yost all said they’re intrigued by how quickly the White Sox have built up their minor league talent.
Through four major trades and the signing of international free agent Luis Robert, the White Sox boast a system that features 10 top-10 prospects, according to MLBPipeline.com. Baseball America ranks eight White Sox prospects in their top 100. While the system isn’t yet ready to compete with the 2011 Royals for the unofficial title of best ever, it’s pretty impressive nonetheless.
“Have you seen what they’ve gotten back from tearing it down?” Yost said. “MLB ranks the top 100 prospects. Most teams have one or two. I don’t think we have any. They have 10. They’ve done a phenomenal job of restocking their system with incredibly talented young players.”
Not everything is identical between how these organizations built their farms.
The Royals headed into 2011 with nine top-100 prospects and five in the top 20 alone (Eric Hosmer 8, Mike Moustakas 9, Wil Myers 10, John Lamb 18, Mike Montgomery 19). The Kansas City Star in 2016 reviewed the best-ranked systems of all-time and determined by a point value system (100 points for the No. 1 prospect and one point for the No. 100 prospect) that the 2011 club was better than all others with 574 points.
But that group was the byproduct of a painstaking stretch in which the Royals averaged 96 losses from 2004-12. The slower path taken by Kansas City allowed its young core to develop and learn how to play together in the minors. As pitcher Danny Duffy noted, “we went to the playoffs every year.”
They won at Rookie-Burlington, Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha took home three titles. Working together was a big key to the team’s success at the major league level, said catcher Salvador Perez.
“We didn’t come from different teams,” Perez said. “We all came from here. We had a young team together. We learned how to win and win in the big leagues.
“We learned how to win together, play together and play for the team. It was really important.”
The only time the Royals didn’t win was at Advance-A Wilmington Blue Rocks, Duffy said.
“You learn how success feels and how some failure feels,” Duff said. “We lost in Wilmington and you would have thought the world was coming to an end.”
According to the Star, the Royals haven’t had much recent competition for the best system. Until now.
The 2006 Diamondbacks accrued 541 points and the 2000 Florida Marlins had 472. The 2015 Cubs scored 450 points.
After the addition of Blake Rutherford on Tuesday (the No. 36 prospect on BA’s current top 100 list), the White Sox have 483 points. But the 2017 Atlanta Braves are even better with 532 points, the third-highest total of all-time.
The White Sox farm system has created excitement among the fan base that had wavered in recent years. Not everyone is on board, but the majority seems to be and that can create hysteria.
“We had people at the games who were super excited about the wave of prospects,” Duffy said. “Obviously they have a stacked system over there, very similar to what we had coming up. There was a lot of excitement. It was crazy.”
But excitement didn’t immediately translate into victories. Though a fair amount of the 2011 class graduated to the majors by later that season, the Royals didn’t get on track in the big leagues for a few years.
It wasn’t until the second half of 2013 that the Royals got going. The 2014 club ended a 29-year playoff drought with a wild-card berth that led to an American League pennant. They followed that up with a World Series title in 2015. Had it not been for a Herculean effort by Madison Bumgarner, Kansas City might have had consecutive titles.
Still, getting there takes time.
“The first thing you had to do was get them here,” Yost said. “Experience has taught me that it’s generally 2 1/2 years before they can get to a point where they can compete. They just have to gain that experience at the major league level because it’s definitely a much more difficult style of play up here. The talent is just so incredibly good that it takes a while for talent or players to adjust to where they’re productive. It just takes time then being able to go out and play every single day.”
Even though that means the White Sox will experience difficult times the next few years, Duffy and Co. think it’s worth the wait. While Duffy imagines losing Jose Quintana and David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle and Todd Frazier isn’t fun, he has a good sense what is headed this direction.
“Losing Quintana stings, but they got a king’s ransom back,” Duffy said. “It’s the way of the game. But they’re going to have a really good time in the next few years.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tim Anderson got what sounds like a much-needed day off on Saturday night.
Normally soft-spoken, the White Sox shortstop was even quieter than normal during a pregame media session at Kauffman Stadium. Anderson discussed at length his struggles on and off the field after what has been another few trying days. A day after his mentor Todd Frazier was traded, Anderson bunted into a double play on Wednesday after he failed to quickly get out of the box. He also was surprisingly thrown out on an infield chopper in Friday’s loss, though his manager said that was more about Anderson’s route after he made contact. Either way, Anderson is learning how to handle the grind in a difficult season.
“It’s going to be — it was an up and down season,” Anderson said. “I’ve learned a lot. Just from on a maturity level. And just on the field. I still have to keep working and keep having fun with it.
“It’s easy to lose focus when you are not doing good. It’s something I have to keep grinding through. The game won’t stop for nobody. I have to keep playing.”
Anderson had a trying night during Friday’s four-plus hour affair played in 100-degree plus temperatures. Not only did he fail to beat out the infield chopper in the third, he also had a base running mistake to end the sixth inning. Anderson reached on a one-out single with a line drive to left. But he aggressively tried to advance from first to third on Kansas City pitcher Scott Alexander’s errant pickoff throw not noticing the ball rebounded most of the way back toward first base. Anderson got caught in the middle as Eric Hosmer quickly retrieved the ball and started an inning-ending rundown.
That play came three innings after Anderson hit an infield chopper that Alcides Escobar fielded near third base and fired to first just in time. Manager Rick Renteria said Friday he was a little surprised Anderson wasn’t safe but attributed it to his route out of the batter’s box. Renteria said it’s an adjustment the team is working on with Anderson.
“He's got a tendency to run out of the box, almost like he's going to start rounding a banana, and he does that a lot,” Renteria said. "We're trying to clean him up from going out and creating a straight line. I don't if it's because he ends up finishing his swing, he starts to fall out toward that side. But once he got down there he was busting his butt. I thought he got down there once he got himself back on track and line to try to give himself a chance and beat it out. Was I surprised? Yeah, it was close.”
Anderson said there’s been some discussion about his route from the box to first base but not a ton. He also said it’s an involuntary action.
“I don’t feel it,” Anderson said. “It’s something I’m still working on. I don’t feel it coming out of the box.
“When I get down the line a little bit, I kind of feel it. But I don’t feel it directly when I come out of the box.
“Sometimes my finish could throw me back a little bit and kind of take me to that route.
“It’s just naturally.”
It’s only natural that Anderson is down about Tuesday night’s deal that sent Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees. Frazier has taken Anderson under his wing since the second-year player arrived in the majors last June.
Anderson said Frazier helped him improve his positioning and was a constant presence with their ongoing conversation.
“It’s tough to see people like him go,” Anderson said. “He’s kind of the voice of the locker room. So, it’s kind of, I’m on my own really. Just trying to figure it out myself.”
Anderson’s had plenty to deal with already this season. The sudden death of his friend, Branden Moss, in May is well documented. He’s also struggled at the plate and in the field as the league adjusts to him. Renteria doesn’t think any one thing is responsible for the toughest year of Anderson’s life as a professional.
“There’s probably multiple factors,” Renteria said. “There are a lot of things going on in his life this year. I think the opponents are adjusting to him a little bit more. I think he’s having to deal with the newness of trying to also make his own adjustments. I’m sure he’s frustrated at times and still trying to kind of put himself in a position where he feels good about how he’s handling his at-bats. The truth is, though that’s the nature of the game of the big leagues.
"We’ve talked about process obviously, but we’ve also talked about, you’re always going to be making adjustments, but you’re also looking at some form of a finality in terms of trying to figure out exactly where you’re at and who you are as a hitter and as a player. And even then, you’re still always evolving, because the game’s always changing; the opponent’s always changing. You’re always having to make adjustments along the way and what will be I believe a very good and long career for Timmy.”