GLENDALE, AZ – Early on Tuesday morning, the White Sox first day of Spring Training camps for pitchers and catchers, new top-prospect Yoan Moncada showed up at Camelback Ranch, reporting five days earlier than positional players are required too. Moncada was not alone in reporting early as far as the position players are concerned, he was joined by fellow youngsters Matt Davidson and Tim Anderson, as well as veteran third-baseman Todd Frazier on Tuesday morning.
“It’s impressive. There are quite a few guys who are here early that are working,” Manager Rick Renteria said. “It speaks to their desire to want to get back out on the field. I think they’re all excited about getting the season started. But the fact they put themselves in a position to be ready moving forward tells us a lot.”
But before the presently reported players even got to work on Tuesday morning, new White Sox Manager Rick Renteria spoke with the media about his way of doing things, and while he didn’t outline any sweeping changes, he certainly made it known that he intends to push the young core of talent to work hard at doing the small things well. Renteria stressed the importance of doing things like battling with two strikes, having an error free presence on the base-paths, and defensive fundamentals that sometime go by the wayside at the most elite of levels in baseball.
Renteria also stressed that he believes that his ability to create relationships and positive rapport’s with his players, especially the young players, will help him to get his message to resonate with the current group of players in camp.
Giolito and Cooper Working to Get Back to the Basics
Lucas Giolito confirmed on day one of Spring Training that he is already working closely to get back to his old delivery in an attempt to fix some mechanical issues that Giolito experienced in 2016 with the Washington Nationals.
Giolito related that he has already thrown multiple bullpens in front of White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, and confirmed that the two have a plan in place already for this spring to correct mechanical changes that the Nationals pushed for prior to the 2016 season, changes that many scouts have attributed to a slight dip in velocity, and a lack of consistency in his delivery to the plate.
Giolito also took the time to express his happiness about being acquired by the White Sox back in December, saying that he is happy to have a fresh start in Chicago, and happy to get back to the basics this spring.
“For me, it’s get back to basics, keep it really simple.” Giolito said, “Last year, I overcomplicated things a little too much in my head, got a little out of whack.”
“I experienced a lot of hardship in the big leagues last year,” Giolito said. “I took a lot away, about dealing with adversity, being able to make adjustments on the fly, slowing things down when they’re speeding up.”
Giolito is currently the Chicago White Sox second ranked prospect, you can read more about Giolito in yesterday’s Prospect Profile featuring the right-hander.
Rodon Absent from Throwing Thus Far, Coaching Staff Insists He is Fine
Carlos Rodon has been absent from all throwing over the first two days of camp, in fact, Rodon hasn’t even warmed up with his teammates to this point or played catch, instead standing off to the side during throwing activities. Rodon and the coaching staff insists that there is zero injury concern, but the White Sox want to keep him fresh in what may be a longer spring workload due to the World Baseball Classic next month.
In addition to the possible increased spring workload, Rodon will be expected to assume a larger workload this season, pitching deeper into ballgames by limiting his control issues that have plagued him sporadically through his first two seasons at the major-league level.
The Kids Will Play this Spring, Talent Already on Display in Glendale
The Chicago White Sox have a clear plan for this spring, and that is to let the kids play early and often. Both General Manager Rick Hahn and Manager Rick Renteria have stressed that the White Sox will give their myriad of youthful talent every opportunity to show what they’ve got this spring, saying that they already have a solid idea of what the returning players can offer, and they are eager to see what guys like Charlie Tilson, Matt Davidson, Omar Narvaez, and the group of top-tier prospects like Michael Kopech and Zack Burdi will bring to the table.
Speaking of Michael Kopech and Zack Burdi, the two flame-throwers have been putting on a show with their power arms in the earliest days of camp, showing off their upper 90’s fastballs in bullpen and throwing sessions. The two have even partnered up as catch partners, with Burdi joking about the beating that his glove hand is taking from his partner Michael Kopech‘s throws saying, “He blew me up pretty good today but he’s good to throw with.”
Yoan Moncada, as I mentioned, is already in camp working hard to force his case to become a staple in the White Sox major-league plans sooner, rather than later, and is putting a large emphasis on improving his defensive ability. Moncada will be playing second base for the White Sox, his natural position and the one that he feels most comfortable playing, and Manager Rick Renteria, a former middle-infielder himself has been hard at work critiquing the 21-year-old.
“He has a fundamental base to work with,” manager Rick Renteria said Wednesday after getting his first look at Moncada in the field. “We’re going to try to get him to be a little more stable underneath. We saw a couple where his feet spun out from underneath him, which means he’s getting his head over his body a little bit too much. You can do that as a hitter too. The balance points are lost and you end up losing your footing. As long as he keeps his legs underneath him, he’ll be pretty stable and turn some of the double plays.”
“We’re going to try to get him to be a little more aggressive to balls,” Renteria said. “He has a tendency to get around balls, kind of time it a little bit. We want to make sure we’re fundamentally sound in approaching the ground balls and securing them as quickly as we possibly can.”
Jose Quintana is Not Interested in Speaking About Trade Rumors
Jose Quintana, who is largely believed to be on the move sometime in the not so distant future, acknowledged the belief, but reiterated that he is happy to be a part of the White Sox, and happy to be at Spring Training.
Quintana insisted that he would rather not continuously address trade rumors all spring, and would rather enjoy being at camp for the start of a new season, and “take in the smell of the fresh grass that let’s you know you’re here”.
Quintana is certainly right about that, Spring Training is in fact here, and the White Sox will have a bunch of things to look forward to this spring. Stay with us here at The Loop Sports all spring as we will be providing frequent updates of the happenings around Camelback Ranch, Cactus League game recaps and analysis, and deep-dive analysis into the story-lines to watch for this spring!