The White Sox spring training has been full of storylines up to this point. This spring, the team has given fans just another reason to be excited for the future, and that future will be on the South Side of Chicago sooner than people think. From the dominance of guys like Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech to the chemistry on and off the field that the guys in the clubhouse seem to have, this ballclub is starting to shape into what Sox fans have dreamed about since the rebuild began in the offseason following the 2016 season. Although a majority of things seem to be on rise for the Sox, there have also been some unfortunate things happen when it comes to injuries. Let’s go through some of the main storylines so far…
Early into spring training, the organization and the fans recieved devastating news regarding third base prospect Jake Burger. Jake went down legging out a ground ball, which resulted in a ruptured left achilles tendon. Sidelining Burger for the entire year and most likely pushing his path to the majors back another season, this was a heartbreaking injury after Jake played very well to start spring, showing everyone just how good he has the potential to be. Burger remained positive after the injury, commenting on his hot start by saying, “Another thing that’s going to keep me going is I realize that I belong and that I can play”. After seeing how well Burger can put the bat on the ball and how well he fields the third base position that the Sox haven’t had a long-term solidified starter at since Joe Crede left in 2008, it is clear that Jake belongs. Everyone should be excited for his return and for the potential impact he can have on this team.
Every single time Dylan Cease has taken the mound this spring training, he has impressed. I got the chance to see Cease pitch live against the Rangers when I was in Arizona and he has electric stuff. His fastball is incredible, hitting 98 and up to triple digits consistently, it seems unhittable. He pairs the fastball with great offspeed pitches. He keeps the hitters guessing and it shows in his 0.00 ERA in 6.1 IP with 9 strikeouts so far this spring. Dylan, who was a part of the Quintana deal, has the potential to become one of best guys in the future White Sox roatation that at the moment seems like it may have 5 aces.
Hector Santiago began his second stint with the Sox, signing a minor-league deal this offseason. He was originally drafted by the Sox in the 30th round of the 2006 draft, made his debut in July of 2011, and was dealt during the 2013 offseason in a three team deal to acquire Adam Eaton. Santiago, age 30, came into this spring training competing to pitch for a spot in the starting rotation. In competition with Carson Fulmer for the 5th spot, Santiago has been fantastic while Fulmer has struggled. In 10.0 IP, Santiago has 10 strikeouts and a 0.90 ERA. Santiago would join James Shields and Miguel Gonzalez as the veterans of the White Sox pitching staff in 2018.
Eloy started the spring sidelined with an injury, but recently came back against his former organazation, The Cubs. He convinced Ricky to get an at bat in that game and made the most out of his chance, launching a ball over the wall for his first home run of the spring. The next day, Eloy went yard again and tripled. In just 7 at bats, he has 4 hits for a .571 AVG, 2 HR, and 3 RBI. Today, Eloy was reassinged to AA Birmingham as the White Sox start to bring the major-league roster together.
Robert was getting playing time here and there for the Sox this spring training. In 10 at bats Robert hit .300 with a clutch grand slam in the 8th inning against the Reds. Earlier this week it was announced that he is going to miss 10 weeks with a sprained ligament in his left thumb, an injury he suffered sliding into second base. He will have his hand immobilized for six weeks. Robert will most likely begin his season in Class A ball after returning from this injury.
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15 days until Ricky’s Boys are back.