White Sox Talk Podcast: Jim Callis believes White Sox will pounce on best MLB draft class in years

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Jim Callis believes White Sox will pounce on best MLB draft class in years

It's a fight to the finish between the White Sox, Phillies and Giants for the top pick in next year's MLB draft. But with the talent in the draft expected to be some of the best in years, how much will it really matter if the White Sox draft first, second or third? Chuck Garfien and Chris Kamka speak with Jim Callis, senior writer for MLB.com and MLBPipeline.com. He says the 2018 MLB draft will be the best since 2011. Will the White Sox go with a high schooler or a college player? Does Seth Beer fit into their plans?

Callis breaks down the top names and predicts who he thinks the White Sox will draft with their number-one pick. Callis also analyzes key players in the White Sox farm system: Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez, Jake Burger, Blake Rutherford, Micker Adolfo, Dane Dunning and many more.

Later, Garfien and Kamka talk about what Jose Abreu has meant to the White Sox both on and off the field. Kamka shares some incredible statistical data that puts Abreu in a class by himself. 

All this, and more, on the latest White Sox Talk Podcast:

Why White Sox are hopeful Yoan Moncada's first right-handed homer is sign of more to come

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USA TODAY

Why White Sox are hopeful Yoan Moncada's first right-handed homer is sign of more to come

He’s put in the work against left-handed pitching, but thus far Yoan Moncada hasn’t received the desired results.

The White Sox rookie is hopeful that Saturday night’s contest, when he hit his first-ever home run off a lefty in a 13-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants, is the first step toward that success. Moncada’s OPS against left-handed pitchers is nearly 200 points lower for his brief career than it is against righties. That’s led to questions from an impatient fan base about why he’s a switch-hitter instead of batting left-handed only. But Moncada thinks it’s important to not overthink the matter and continue to stick with an approach he ultimately believes will lead to success as long as he sticks to it.

“You have to keep to your approach, your motivation, your routine and I have to work hard every day,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “I have to be relentless in my work and in my approach, my preparation. That’s the only way I can do better and get the results that I want.”

While Moncada has performed OK against right-handed pitchers, he’s never fared well versus lefties. He has a .746 OPS against righties this season and was below .400 headed into Saturday against lefties.

But his solo homer off San Francisco’s Josh Osich was his first-ever and only his third extra-base hit of the season against a lefty. It raised Moncada’s OPS versus lefties to .507.

The White Sox think Moncada will improve with time and experience. To date he has only 50 plate appearances against southpaws compared with 110 against right-handers.

“He’s a young man who is gaining more and more experience,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Having more at-bats against lefties. Understanding what guys are trying to do with him. Trying to get pitches he can handle when he puts a swing on it. Trying to make good contact and on that one he did.”

James Shields shows no effects of Tuesday's comebacker off knee in win over Giants

James Shields shows no effects of Tuesday's comebacker off knee in win over Giants

Five days after a comebacker hit him flush on the side of his knee, James Shields was dealing on Saturday night.

The White Sox pitcher didn’t show any effects from Tuesday’s outing as he delivered his strongest performance of the season. Shields limited the San Francisco Giants to a run and two hits in seven innings in a 13-1 White Sox victory. The right-hander said it’s another step in the right direction as he continues to pitch from the lowered arm angle he switched to during a start last month.

“I’ve been having some good quality starts in the last six or seven outings or so. It’s still a work in progress, but we’re moving forward, and I’m getting the results that I want. I think the games like today are going to start coming along a little bit more. We’re going to keep working at it.

It was in the middle of an Aug. 5 start at Boston that Shields opted to drop down. He’s worked on the lowered angle for a decade and finally tried it out during a loss. It has resulted in more consistent performances for a pitcher who boasted a 6.19 ERA through July.

In seven starts, Shields has a 4.32 ERA in 41 2/3 innings. He’s allowed 33 hits, walked 16 and struck out 39 in that span. Even as he lay on the ground writhing in pain on Tuesday, Shields said had no doubts he’d make Saturday’s start.

“My adrenaline kind of took over,” Shields said. “My fastball location was pretty much on point. I got behind the count on a few hitters, but overall didn’t really leave anything over the plate besides the home run. I got a ton of ground balls today. That’s what I wanted to do. Again, those guys did a great job of getting me some runs early and making me feel a little more comfortable out there.”

The White Sox were pleased with the effort. Shields threw strikes on 69 of 106 pitches and worked deep into the game.

“James’ outing was fantastic,” Renteria said. “He was extremely efficient. Did everything he could. A lot of ground balls, a lot of strikes. Just for himself again, kind of reinventing himself with his new delivery and attacking the strike zone and it’s been working very well for him.”