The White Sox started their 40-man roster pruning by clearing out five spaces.
The club outrighted Brad Goldberg, Rob Brantly, Chris Volstad, David Holmberg and Rymer Liriano to Charlotte. Goldberg remains in the organization because it’s his first outrighting, while the others declared free agency.
Liriano is the only one who might have loomed in any Opening Day 25-man roster mix, as he had a nice season in Charlotte that put him on the cusp of a major league role. The White Sox gave him 46 plate appearances in September, and while he didn’t look terribly overmatched (.220/.304/.341), he also showed the limitations of carrying him. His strength is hitting left-handed pitching, but he faced righties in 39 of his 46 plate appearances because the Sox were short on outfielders. There’s probably a lot of redundancy with Willy Garcia, a right-handed corner outfielder who is a year younger and can fake center.
The White Sox’ 40-man roster is at 33. After accounting for the guys on the 60-day DL (Charlie Tilson, Zach Putnam, Geovany Soto) and the free-agents to be (Soto, Mike Pelfrey), it leaves six open spots for Rule 5 protection, although there’s plenty of bullpen chaff if the Sox need more room to accommodate a crowded field.
In a lengthy interview with 670 The Score, Hahn tipped that “Casey Gillaspie is going to be an interesting guy going forward,” so you can pencil him into one of those spots.
Zack Collins struck out an alarming amount at Winston-Salem for a polished collegiate bat, so he headed to the instructional league after the season to get a head start on reducing noise. Josh Norris provided an update.
The most noticeable difference in Collins involves the way he sets up at the plate. During the season, Collins held his bat high over his shoulders and waggled his bat. In instructs, he begins his approach with his bat rested flat on his shoulders. From there, he brings it straight up, then cocks it back and forth before starting his swing.
It’s still a busy swing, but the newer version helps him get ready more quickly.
Having lost his best friend to gun violence in Alabama, Anderson is trying to use the experience to connect with kids in Chicago who face similar threats in their day-to-day existence.
One of the victims of the Las Vegas massacre was Christiana Duarte, the sister of Mikey Duarte, whom the White Sox selected in the 23rd round of the 2017 draft. The UC Irvine baseball community started a GoFundMe drive for the Duarte family.
James Fegan flips the script by writing a “best shape of his life” story at the end of season. It’s worth following up here, because Garcia had his third consecutive BSOHL spring in 2017, and this was the first one that actually amounted to anything. Under further scrutiny with White Sox conditioning director Allen Thomas, the previous weight-loss stories don’t really hold up:
Garcia's speed, and even his current weight in the 240s is nothing the Sox hadn't seen before, but Thomas said the difference this year was that Garcia came into spring training already in top shape, rather than getting there over the course of the year.
One takeaway that can be applied elsewhere: Thomas isn’t a fan of winter ball, especially for players who have already accumulated substantial MLB reps.