On the whole, I thought the White Sox had the right timing in promoting Yoan Moncada to the majors. By the time his chief service-time concern had lapsed in early May -- giving the Sox the ability to retain him through 2023 -- he had started to deal with a hand injury. He went on the disabled list, he returned, he worked through a slump, and he came out on the other side with his typical performance at his toughest assignment yet, and a reduced strikeout rate to boot.
While he worked his way back into shape, the White Sox shed all ideas of a miracle run. The Sox were within two games of .500 as long as May 29, but they’ve lost two games for every win (14-28) since. That allows one to wonder whether the Sox could have contended with Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Adam Eaton and a competent manager, but this organization is designed around Moncada now, and he’ll have ample time to get accustomed without the pressure of propping up a quixotic drive for the postseason.
The only problem is that Moncada was called up the night before an off day, giving his arrival an Opening Day feeling for better (something new and unspoiled) or worse (now we have to sit around for 24 hours).
So ... what else is going on ...
Dave Cameron sizes up the White Sox farm system and notes how many guys have yet to see their performance explode the way their tools foreshadow. Blake Rutherford falls in line with Moncada, Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito and others as potential impact players who could also never quite make it in their assigned roles. The White Sox’ draft strategy seems to reflect this, as their emphasis on collegiate players complements trading for other teams’ high-school picks or international signings.
(Also, as yesterday’s discussion here showed, safe/untouchable prospects like Dansby Swanson and Austin Meadows aren’t lighting it up right now.)
Tommy Kahnle threw a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts in the eighth inning of his debut, which was a 6-1 loss to Minnesota.
Yankees fans I’ve talked to thought they got away light by solving two bullpen spots and upgrading at least one of their corners for Blake Rutherford, Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo. That’s one of the benefits to a deep farm system — when it comes time to make trades, you can do so without feeling it.
- Kenny Williams talks about visibility and setting an example at White Sox’ ACE program — The Athletic
- Panelists discuss MLB’s Duty at Chicago event — MLB.com
While the White Sox were idle, inner-city ballplayers took the field at 35th and Shields for the Double Duty Classic wearing uniforms that always look so damned fresh.
Kenny Williams talked to those kids and others at the pregame panel, where he and former Angels GM Tony Reagins talked about the difficulty in achieving diversity in front offices.
In the vein of instructing young African-Americans how to be competitive in a field that he sees as shifting toward Ivy Leaguers with law or finance degrees and extremely fluent in sabermetrics, Williams, who went to Stanford, doubts that his background would be enough to get him interviews in this environment.
“You’re going to need to compete on that level of business school graduates, law school graduates, finance,” Williams said. “I’m not so sure if I were to go out there into the marketplace with that resume that people would say, ‘You are qualified to do a job that you’ve done for the last 20 years, whatever it is.’ Think about that statement. I’m not so sure I’m qualified in this environment to do this job, or to get in the door. So if you expect to be able to do that, you need to do those things.”
In the same vein, Williams said that the biggest challenge in yielding the floor to Rick Hahn is losing visibility as an African-American in a position of decision-making.
Scott Merkin talked to Charlie Tilson, who is still alive but out of action with a stress fracture in his ankle. The hope is that the recent bout of injuries corrects something he came to Chicago dealing with:
Those recent injuries for Tilson don't tie in with the hamstring tear. Instead, it's a chronic fracture he had last year but didn't specifically know about as he tried to play through. Tilson believed the hamstring injury rehab also would give that soreness time to dissipate, but the fracture needed complete immobilization.
Tilson's Spring Training stress reaction came on the outside part of the foot. While the injury sort of coincided with the navicular fracture, his fracture is located on the inside part of the ankle, so there was no reason to worry about that area until a recent MRI exam and CT scan showed the issue.
The biggest knock on Adam Engel coming up through the ranks was his hit tool, and specifically his swing. He seems open to altering it, as J.J. Stankevitz shows. He came to Chicago looking like Mike Morse, but has now settled into something more traditional.
As the owner of a road gray Jose Canseco No. 31 jersey, this article is relevant to my interests. Joe Posnanski picks Ken Griffey Jr. as the White Sox representative, but his throw home in Game 163 helped the White Sox make their most recent postseason appearance, so it’s a little too easy to visualize. Maybe it’s because Manny Ramirez was already assigned to Tampa Bay.
Giving it a second of thought, if I had to go with the greatest out-of-place White Sox jersey in the new stadium era, I’d probably go with Dave Stieb. He made 439 starts with Toronto, where he built an outside-lane case for the Hall of Fame ... and then four random starts with the White Sox.