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Summer Camp: Chicago’s Top 44

A day late, the White Sox announce their main 2020 roster

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago White Sox
Moving on up: Luis Basabe takes a step forward to the head of the class of blue-chip outfielders.
Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images

After apparently exercising a “dog ate my homework” chip, the White Sox blew off yesterday’s roster cutoff to name their 60 players for 2020 and today announced their 44 regular roster players for 2020 Summer Camp:

(yep, “Summer Camp” is like a legit, sponsored name for this strange kickoff to the 2020 season. Thanks, Camping World!)

Not a ton of surprises here, as you wouldn’t have expected, really. Spring training cut off just at the point where real decisions were going to be made, so a lot of the prelim work was done three months ago.

Still, with a roster swelled (right now, for 2020 purposes, at least) to 44, there are some interesting adds — and omissions.

Luis Basabe is the most interesting name here. Given the group is just six outfielders to begin with, he is the one with no MLB experience. He also doesn’t earn this spot by spring training merit, as in a small sample size Luis González would seem to have been the up-and-coming outfielder add. However, Basabe can play anywhere in the outfield, and in this weird season, might make sense in a pinch. And not to forget, none of the gilded outfielders — Basabe, González, Blake Rutherford, Micker Adolfo — have accomplished anything of note as pros, really.

On the pitching side, Jimmy Lambert is an interesting addition. He’s a very odd choice. His Tommy John surgery was a year ago, so he is very unlikely to be pitching this year.

By contrast, where is Zack Burdi? The club loves him (for good reason, as a top pick), he seemed to have some good momentum in spring training, and (presumably) is now three months stronger.

Also interesting that among a number of non-roster MLB vet arms, Drew Anderson is the only one to make the cut. No Alex McRae, no Adalberto Mejía, no Brady Lail.

The White Sox have named a number of Swiss Army knife players among their infielders, to help cover any outfield issues: Leury García, Danny Mendick, Andrew Romine.

It’s nice to see Andrew Vaughn rewarded for the incredible bat he’s shown so far in 2020. He still hadn’t been reassigned with just two weeks left in spring training, and his inclusion on the 44-man isn’t mere acknowledgement of that. It’s partly for reps, but also for how he’s ingratiated himself with the team, for example last week driving two hours north to Sacramento to take live BP from Lucas Giolito. Vaughn is on a Fast Track.

Still some big names as possibilities for the taxi squad, including arms from the last two drafts Jared Kelley, Garrett Crochet, Matthew Thompson and Andrew Dalquist. There have to be more lefty relievers included, with just Aaron Bummer and Jace Fry on the club right now; with Caleb Frare discarded, that puts wings on Kodi Medeiros and Jacob Lindgren ... or a TBD free-agent pickup.

Later today (presumably), the White Sox will announce their 16-man taxi squad.