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South Side skinnies: February 16

Today’s roundup of the endless spring training storylines that pockmark the pre-games phase in Glendale

Kim Contreras (@Cu_As)/South Side Sox

The Glendale spring hits with fury. Guys with numbers that might as well be in the three digits hit the main fields, everyone has put on 15 pounds of muscle and/or is in the “best shape of his life,” reporters garrulously start counting down to Opening Day or adding up the tiresome tropes of spring training.

Meanwhile, we eat it all up, because, for some of us, it’s like, 20° out. Or, it’s been a third of a year since there was any White Sox baseball. Or, it’s been more than a year since the last Chicago White Sox team that lost fewer than 100 games ...

To that end, rather than waxing insightfully about any one aspect of spring training so far (“what was Hahn wearing?” ... “Rawlings glove intrigue?” ... “Rick Renteria blah blah blah,” let’s just have a little fun with the dumb days of spring, shall we?

We’ll keep this daily update going until games start, or Machado signs, or the dumb stuff stops.

Carson Fulmer

Chris Cwik at Yahoo took a dive into Fulmer’s offseason work at Driveline, and you have to come away impressed with the young pitcher’s willingness to go back to his roots — offseason work more closely related to his program at Vanderbilt than with the White Sox — to regain what made him a first round pick. (Also, SSS writer Eric Sim has trained at and heartily endorses Driveline, so what else do you want?)

So what has changed about Fulmer adopting the Driveline method? Well, there are a lot of moving parts, but perhaps it comes down to Fulmer trusting himself again. Chris Sale, whose delivery made him look like a candidate for spontaneous combustion, had instant success after being drafted. Fulmer, less fast-tracked to begin with, didn’t, and thus some mechanical tinkering began.

Fulmer is no longer listening: “What makes me good is body parts flying everywhere.”

If Fulmer owns spring training and heads north with the White Sox, it may be time for less of a one-size-fits-all approach to pitching by the club.


OK, it’s not directly related, as Fulmer is not one of the players cited by Eric Longenhagen or Kiley McDaniel writer in their FanGraphs piece, but what they wrote represents a truly fascinating inside look at Driveline, and is a highly recommended read.

Kelvin Herrera

Today’s I’m-just-so-happy-to-be-here sunshine where the sun don’t tidbit comes from one of our new relievers:

Michael Kopech

Nice stuff from Merk regarding Kopech’s progress. Sure is good to see him throwing.

Ricky Renteria

Not Rick’s fault, but Paul Sullivan’s. Not a recommended read, but I gotta slap this here, anyway:

Ken Williams/Rick Hahn

An interesting tweet from Baseball Savant creator Darren Willman, as he dove into every first-rounder this century and came up with a major league success rate for each team:

The White Sox rank 21st in rate of getting first round picks to the majors. About what you imagined — or maybe even a little better.