CHISportsNation

As I write this I am in a Madison, WI hotel, looking out the window at the beautiful sky. The weather is slightly warmer and spring is on its way. So sure, I could talk about the bad defense the White Sox have been showing in Glendale, AZ this past week or the fact that Todd Frazier is still nursing injuries and Brett Lawrie is gone. However, I choose to be positive like the weather outside so here are the positives from this first week of spring training.

  1. It cannot be forgotten that the White Sox do not plan to contend in 2017. The eyes of the franchise are on the future so it should not come as a surprise that many of the future stars of the team are getting valuable playing time. Even if the Sox lose a spring training game it should be counted as a positive if Yoan Moncada and  Zack Collins get at least 3 at bats a piece. The injury to Todd Frazier has allowed the team to take a longer look at Matt Davidson and Nicky Delmonico, the later of which has been tearing the cover off the ball and has caught the eye of Manager Rick Renteria. Delmonico and Dan Hayes are players to continue keeping an eye on as the White Sox system is not very deep at first and third base so those players may see major league playing time sooner than originally expected.
  2. The next positive is that Tim Anderson is a man among boys and is showing that he is the clear shortstop of the future for the Sox. Todd Steverson, Sox hitting coach, said this morning when asked who has stood out the most, “TA, that man can hit.” He is not lying. Anderson was hitting above .500 before the Padres changed his single last night to an error. He is still hitting around .460 for the year and his speed is just as dangerous as it has ever been. While there may be some growing pains for fans this year, Anderson should bring plenty of excitement on his own.
  3. Choking up on two-strikes? That seems like little league basics but the majority of teams have walked away from the notion. The idea is that when a hitter has two-strikes on them they should choke up on the bat to make sure they at least make contact. Most teams have stopped doing this as they want their players to swing the same on every pitch but Renteria and the Sox hope to get back to the basics with this method. ‘Take a look,’’ Steverson said. ‘‘It’s not giving up when you [choke up]. It’s making a little adjustment and saying, ‘If I have one pitch in the strike zone, I want to put it in play, put it in play hard.’ Strikeouts happen, but we don’t want them happening without a fight,’’ Steverson said. ‘‘You’re seeing a lot of our guys choking up now with two strikes because I want some barrel control. We need to scratch, claw and bite to score runs.’’ Tim Anderson hit an opposite field home run this week on an 0-2 count while choking up on the bat. Seems to me that this is a positive trend to keep an eye on.
  4. The last positive is Carson Fulmer. I have already gone on the record saying he has had a good spring and should not be forgotten in the the crowd of pitching prospects. Fulmer has pitched 4 innings, giving up two runs and striking out 7. If you think about those numbers, in two innings he has thrown 12 outs. More than half of them have come via the strikeout. The Sox still see him as a top of the rotation pitcher and he is definitely deserving of that trust so far.

 

 

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