'White Sox Cornerstones' specials air tonight on CSN

'White Sox Cornerstones' specials air tonight on CSN

The White Sox tout one of baseball's best farm systems, and CSN is taking you behind the scenes of those teams and top prospects with our latest Original Production.

White Sox Cornerstones: Charlotte and White Sox Cornerstones: Birmingham & Winston-Salem, presented by Ozinga, will air back-to-back tonight at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on CSN. You can also catch a live stream of both airings right here via the NBC Sports app.

White Sox Cornerstones: Charlotte will provide viewers a look at some of the brightest young stars in the game, including baseball's top prospect Yoan Moncada. The 21-year-old Moncada is batting .333 with six home runs and 13 RBIs in 33 games and was recently named the International League Player of the Week. We sit down with Moncada to discuss his development as a player, as well as his relationship with White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu.

The Knights also tout top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito, as well as pitchers Carson Fulmer, Zack Burdi and Reynaldo Lopez. Burdi and Fulmer will "walk to work" with CSN and discuss their mentality leading up to a game, what it means to be part of a rebuild and how their Charlotte teammates remain competitive even off the field.

You'll also hear from White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, Knights manager Mark Grudzielanek and Knights pitching coach Steve McCatty.

Then stay tuned in for White Sox Cornerstones: Birmingham & Winston-Salem as we ride the bus with the Birmingham Barons following their road win over the Montgomery Biscuits. The 90-minute bus ride includes interviews with No. 3 prospect Michael Kopech, who is 2-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 2017. The 21-year-old who came over with Moncada in the Chris Sale deal this past winter has struck out 51 batters in 35.1 innings. Kopech discusses his obsession with being the best and his thoughts on being a part of the White Sox rebuild.

We'll also travel to Salem, Virginia as the White Sox square off against the Salem Red Sox. CSN will sit down with No. 6 prospect Zack Collins and pitcher Tanner Banks. Collins discusses his thoughts on becoming the catcher of the future on Chicago's South Side.

You'll also hear from propsects Luis Alexander Basabe, Dane Dunning, Spencer Adams and manager Willie Harris, among others.

Video pitch helps White Sox sign potential cornerstone Luis Robert to loaded farm system

Video pitch helps White Sox sign potential cornerstone Luis Robert to loaded farm system

The White Sox have reportedly already added a first-round draft pick and it isn’t even June.

According to multiple reports, the team’s rebuild added a potential cornerstone as Cuban free agent outfielder Luis Robert has agreed to sign a deal that would force the White Sox to heavily exceed their 2016-17 international signing bonus pool.

Believed to be the equivalent of a high first-round draft pick, Robert, 19, reportedly has accepted a deal worth more than $25 million from the White Sox. Another key addition to the team’s ongoing rebuild, Robert likely would be the No. 3 prospect in an extremely talented White Sox farm system behind Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech.

It is believed that the other team vying for Robert, 19, the St. Louis Cardinals, offered the outfielder more money. 

While Robert’s deal is reportedly worth $25-30 million, the club’s cost will be double whatever the final amount is as they must pay an equivalent tax to Major League Baseball for going over their allotted amount.

White Sox officials didn't comment on the signing on Saturday. But shortly after word got out, the White Sox made a move that signals the Robert deal is close to final. They announced the trade of minor-league pitcher Alex Katz to the Baltimore Orioles for two international signing bonus slots worth $756,300. The move helps the club offset some of the penalty tax they will pay for exceeding their original bonus pool of $2,973,500, according to Baseball America.

By exceeding their pool, the White Sox also would forfeit the ability to sign any international amateurs for more than $300,000 in each of the next two years. But the thinking is that few international players in those upcoming classes would have the same sort of potential impact as quickly as Robert, who is more advanced than normal international prospects.

[MORE: Report - White Sox, Cuban outfielder Luis Robert agree to $25 million deal]

In many cases, international prospects are signed when they’re 16 or 17 years old, which means they still have a growth period left and are harder to project. At 19, Robert already stands at 6-foot-3, 175 pounds. He also is experienced, having played four seasons in the Cuban National Series. Last year, Robert his .401/.526/.687 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs in 232 plate appearances for Ciego de Avila.

While word of the signing didn’t leak until around 1 p.m. CST, Robert had signaled his intentions in the final hours that he indeed was headed to the White Sox. The prospect changed the avatar on his Instagram account to a new picture with him wearing a White Sox hat.

It is believed that Robert was extremely impressed by the White Sox, who made a presentation to accompany his live workout for the team. General manager Rick Hahn and executive vice president Kenny Williams attended the workout. But the team also presented Robert with a video narrated in Spanish by manager Rick Renteria that included testimonials from fellow Cubans Jose Abreu and Moncada urging Robert to join them in Chicago.

Robert is yet another talented addition to a White Sox farm system that has rocketed up the rankings, according to Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB Pipeline, among others.

The team added Moncada and Kopech as well as No. 8 prospect Luis Basabe in a 4-for-1 deal for Chris Sale in December. A day later, the White Sox added top prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez as well as Dane Dunning (who is expected to move up the charts) in exchange for Adam Eaton.

The trades netted the White Sox seven prospects and came on the heels of what looks to be a strong 2016 draft class. The White Sox added catcher Zack Collins, reliever Zack Burdi, outfielders Alex Call and Jameson Fisher, and starter Alec Hansen in the first four rounds. Before the December trades, all five were listed among Baseball America’s top-10 White Sox prospect list.

With James Shields out, White Sox turn to Mike Pelfrey and won't disrupt development of pitching prospects

With James Shields out, White Sox turn to Mike Pelfrey and won't disrupt development of pitching prospects

James Shields' strained right lat created the second hole the White Sox have to fill in their rotation this year, with the right-hander being placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday evening. But as was the case with Carlos Rodon's left biceps bursitis, Rick Hahn and the front office won't accelerate or disrupt the development of the organization's trio of highly regarded pitching Triple-A prospects to temporarily take the place of someone at the major league level. 

So instead of seeing Carson Fulmer come up, or Reynaldo Lopez or Lucas Giolito make their White Sox debuts, it'll be 33-year-old right-hander Mike Pelfrey filling Shields' spot in the rotation on Saturday against the Cleveland Indians. 

"From the start, we talked about when these guys do get to Chicago for that last stage of development that happens in the big leagues, we want them to feel comfortable they will get the ball every fifth day," Hahn said. "It's not going to be snatched away from them because someone is coming off the DL or their performance isn't up to snuff in any individual start. That's the ideal path. 

"You can't always follow through on those plans in the end, but right now, we are going to do everything in our power to make sure when any of the prospects get promoted, they will be here to stay."

Fulmer (17 IP, 4.24 ERA, 11 K, 3 BB, 3 HR), Lopez (14 1/3 IP, 5.02 ERA, 19 K, 9 BB, 4 HR) and Giolito (14 IP, 6.43 ERA, 16 K, 9 BB, 3 HR) haven't got off to particularly strong starts, though none of them could've pitched their way back into the major leagues after only three starts. The White Sox will be patient with all three right-handers to make sure that, if and when they do earn their way to 35th and Shields, they're here for good and don't have to go back to the minor leagues. 

While the White Sox did consider promoting right-hander Tyler Danish, who has a 2.00 ERA in three Triple-A starts, he threw six innings Thursday and wouldn't have been able to take Shields' spot in the rotation on Saturday. Pelfrey, then, offers the smoothest transition to replacing a guy in Shields who had a 1.62 ERA in his first three starts of 2017. 

To make room for Pelfrey on the 40-man roster, outfielder Charlie Tilson will be moved to the 60-day disabled list, Hahn said. Tilson, who's been sidelined with a stress reaction in his foot since February, will be out of a walking boot on Monday but wouldn't be ready to re-join the White Sox for at least another month. 

The White Sox described Shields' lat strain as "mild" and expect he'll only miss two or three starts due to it. 

"There's no reason for me to believe right now that he won't be able to pick up where he left off once he comes off the DL here in a couple of weeks," Hahn said.