White Sox 2016 first round pick Zack Collins joins the podcast to talk about his future with the White Sox, when he hopes to make the big leagues and the doubters who question whether he can be a major league catcher. He discusses comparisons with Kyle Schwarber, his impressions of Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, why his dad took him to a Linkin Park concert when he was 6 years old and much more.
Charlie Tilson is back in action this week for the White Sox just five months after he needed season-ending surgery to repair a torn left hamstring.
The White Sox rookie outfielder is a participant at the team's hitters minicamp in Glendale, Ariz. alongside top prospect Yoan Moncada and 2016 first-round pick Zack Collins, among others. Tilson's action at the three-day camp at Camelback Ranch is his first since the local-product suffered the significant injury in the middle of his major league debut on Aug. 3 in Detroit. The centerfielder had to be helped off the field after trying to run down a fly ball in the right-center field gap only a few innings after he picked up his first big league hit.
"I can’t complain," Tilson said. "The rehab process has been going good. I'm still working through it. I'm able to pretty much compete and participate in everything, but there's still some barriers I've got to break. So I'm taking it one day at a time. But I'm really confident in the timeline I've got right now and hopefully I can get out here early and make an impact for the team."
The White Sox acquired the speedy Tilson from the St. Louis Cardinals in late July in exchange for left-handed reliever Zach Duke. The team intended to give Tilson a two-month tryout to see if he was worthy of being the club's everyday centerfielder in 2017.
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At the time, Tilson was thrilled for the opportunity to start for his favorite childhood team. Though he was initially disappointed by the news, Tilson afforded himself a few days to feel bad before he determined it was time to refocus his efforts. He's hopeful that the strong desire to return the field he displayed during his rehab will have him ready for spring training. The team holds its first full-squad workout on Feb. 18.
"Obviously it was a shame getting injured in that first game, but it's part of the game," Tilson said. "It's the nature of the game and those things happen and my whole focus has been 'How can I work through this and put myself in the best position to help this team out?' I'm taking it in stride and appreciating the opportunity I had for sure. Being able to get out there in Detroit and get my first hit in front of my family, incredible experience. Memories I won't forget.
"I let myself maybe feel bad for myself for a quick moment. But you've got to collect yourself and you've got to get back on your feet.
"After that moment I just decided to put all my energy and focus towards working to get back and I'm in a pretty good spot right now."
Next week’s hitters minicamp will afford White Sox prospects and the franchise’s player development staff a chance to get accustomed to each other.
Newly acquired prospect Yoan Moncada and 2016 first-round pick Zack Collins are among the 15 White Sox minor leaguers set to attend the three-day camp, which begins Monday at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.
New player development director Chris Getz and first-year hitting coordinator Mike Gellinger will facilitate the event along with White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson. Getz said he’s eager to get a wide-ranging group of players together roughly 5.5 weeks before the team’s first full-squad spring training workout (Feb. 18).
“There’s a lot of benefit,” Getz said. “Just to get acquainted.
“It’s good to get them all together.”
The session gives the White Sox their first close look at Moncada, who MLB.com has rated as the No. 1 overall prospect in baseball. The infielder was acquired from the Boston Red Sox last month as part of a four-player package in exchange for Chris Sale.
“It’ll be nice to have him out there,” Getz said. “He can hit. He has power. The upside is impressive.”
Also scheduled to attend the camp are Alex Call and Jameson Fisher, the team’s third- and fourth-round picks in 2016. Kevan Smith, Jason Coates and Charlie Tilson are also set to appear. Tilson, who had surgery last August after he tore his left hamstring, has made enough progress in his road back to health to participate.
“He’s had fairly positive signs in his rehab,” Getz said. “He’s trending in the right direction.”
The same goes for third baseman Matt Davidson, who has worked his way back after he broke a bone in his foot last June.
Though spring training is right around the corner, Getz said January is normally the time when hitters “establish their solid habits.”
Ideally, the White Sox would love for a group of their prospects to form a bond in the minors and learn how to win together before they reach the majors. Getz spent the past two seasons in Kansas City and also played alongside a core that developed together and later helped the Royals reach the World Series in 2014 and 2015, winning the latter. He’s aware of the benefit of that chemistry but knows it doesn’t always work that way.
“We’ve got some guys a little further down the line,” Getz said. “It’s definitely valuable to get them to grow up together. But at the same time, we have to remember they’re individuals at different stages and on different paces.”
A member of the organization since he was a minor leaguer, Gellinger is in a different role, taking over as the hitting coordinator for Vance Law, who moves to infield coordinator.
“It’ll be good for him to get together with the other coaches,” Getz said.