Sox Drawer: Will Santos be the man?

Sox Drawer: Will Santos be the man?

Friday, April 22, 2011
Posted: 7:37 p.m. Updated: 7:55 p.m.

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

White Sox fans who have been asking, even pleading for Sergio Santos to be the White Sox closer, you might soon get your wish.

Santos, who has yet to give up a run in the regular season (9 23 innings) and spring training (same number: 9 23 innings) received praise from manager Ozzie Guillen before Fridays game, hinting that he might start handing the ball to the young pitcher in save situations.

"Now I have confidence in Santos," Guillen said. "I dont mind closing a game with Santos if three righties are at the plate. I dont mind at all. You talk about (Miguel) Cabrera, Magglio (Ordonez) and (Austin) Jackson, you might see Santos in the ninth. Thats the way were going to go to right now when we start to set everything ready to go.

It takes a certain personality to be a successful closer. Its easily one of the most isolating, pressure-packed jobs in sports, ranking right up there with hockey goalie and field goal kicker.

You need to have the right kind of DNA to handle the ninth inning stress, not to mention the ups and downs. Judging by his career so far, a player who was able to transform from a struggling shortstop to a lights-out pitcher in a matter of weeks, he might have the right genetic code to succeed.

"This kid (Santos) is hungry," Guillen said. "This kid wants to be good. I know everybody else wants to be good, but this kid is hungry. He knows he has good stuff. He knows he is a great candidate to be a closer. Thats all it takes - the confidence, cockiness, arrogance - however you want to call it. This kid has the good potential to be that."

Santos showed the traits Guillen spoke about on the first day of spring training. When the team reported to Glendale, the competition for White Sox closer was thought to be between Matt Thornton and Chris Sale. But not to Sergio, he went out of his way to say that he wanted it as well.

If left-handed batters are set to come up in a close game in the ninth, Guillen said he will decide between Thornton and Sale. But if righties are due up, Santos will be the guy.

But first the White Sox need to be in position to actually use their closer. Yes, its been a while.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

Where does Yoan Moncada fit in the White Sox lineup of the future?

Where does Yoan Moncada fit in the White Sox lineup of the future?

It may be fun to project what the White Sox lineup could look like in 2020, after waves of prospects land in Chicago and, potentially, the organization has splurged on a big-ticket free agent or two. But until those players make it to 35th and Shields, it's just a projection -- and even for the first hyped prospect to come to the White Sox, there's still plenty to figure out. 

Yoan Moncada is expected to be the centerpiece of that lineup of the future. But first, the White Sox need to figure out where in that batting order he’ll fit. 

After hitting sixth in each of his first four games since being promoted from Triple-A, Moncada hit second in Monday’s Crosstown opener against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. It’s a tantalizing possibility to hit Moncada ahead of Jose Abreu or whatever middle-of-the-order hitters the White Sox have down the road, given the 22-year-old’s ability to put together quality at-bats and drive in runs. 

“I know he handles the bat very well,” manager Rick Renteria said. “I think he’s showing he has some plate discipline. These are some of the things that were worked on and talked about with him. We’ll have to see how he continues to develop and where he’s at.”

Moncada’s speed and on-base skills could make him an intriguing leadoff. If his power continues to develop, he could hit third, fourth of fifth -- and if not, he still should be able to be a run producer hitting ahead of middle-of-the-order mashers. Or maybe the White Sox lineup in 2020 is so deep that he could hit sixth. 

It’s far too early to make any sweeping declarations about where Moncada could hit, of course. But the White Sox will have plenty of options, and have plenty of time to figure out which one of those will be the best. 

“He probably could be anything,” Renteria said. “Do I see him anywhere from the first to sixth spot in the lineup? Yeah, possibly. It would be very difficult for me to give you that assessment yet. 

“… Lineups the way they’re set up day, the way they’re configured, there are a lot of different variables people use, but certainly a guy with speed like that and if he can handle the bat, you can see him pretty much anywhere throughout the lineup.”
 

Cubs and White Sox release lineups for Game 1 of Crosstown Classic

Cubs and White Sox release lineups for Game 1 of Crosstown Classic

It's about that time again: the Crosstown Classic.

The Cubs (51-46) and White Sox (38-57) released their lineups ahead of Monday's series opener at Wrigley Field.

Kyle Hendricks (4-3, 4.09 ERA) will square off against Miguel Gonzalez (4-9, 4.89 ERA).

Here's how Joe Maddon's Cubs will line up behind Hendricks, who's back after missing six weeks.

CUBS

1. Jason Heyward - RF
2. Kris Bryant - 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo - 1B
4. Willson Contreras - C
5. Kyle Schwarber - LF
6. Ben Zobrist - 2B
7. Jon Jay - CF
8. Javy Baez - SS
9. Kyle Hendricks - P

On the South Side, Rick Renteria is shuffling things up a little bit, as top prospect Yoan Moncada has moved to the No. 2 spot. Melky Cabrera is also back in the lineup after leaving Sunday's game early.

WHITE SOX

1. Melky Cabrera - LF
2. Yoan Moncada - 2B
3. Jose Abreu - 1B
4. Avisail Garcia - RF
5. Matt Davidson - 3B
6. Tim Anderson - SS
7. Adam Engel - CF
8. Kevan Smith - C
9. Miguel Gonzalez - P

A reminder that Crosstown coverage begins at 12 p.m. with White Sox Pregame Live on CSN and streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports app.