Since the last White Sox mailbag, we received 1,000 percent more questions. Thank you. Many of the questions were challenging and I’ll do my best to provide a fair answer.
Matt: Which second-tier pitching prospect (Adams, Guerrero, Clarkin, Flores, Puckett, Stephens, etc.) has the best chance at making an impact as a major-league starter?
Wow! Great question. Finding left-handed pitching is always difficult and with only one southpaw in the current rotation, I’d like to see Jordan Guerrero or Bernardo Flores succeed. Neither are going to blow the doors off opposing lineups, but given the power arms set to enter the rotation (including Michael Kopech when he returns from Tommy John surgery) mixing in a crafty lefty would compliment the rotation nicely.
Yet, Jordan Stephens and Spencer Adams were value picks early in the draft and while not sexy compared to flamethrowers Kopech and Dylan Cease, might serve mid-rotation roles if injuries infect the rebuild. Adams posted a 3.79 earned run average this season but his WHIP was surprisingly high (1.38). Stephens suffered a bit more this season with an ERA over four and similar WHIP to Adams, and given his “advanced” age (he’s already 26) I’d say he needs to make noise right now and could even be a cut candidate this offseason.
Ian Clarkin and A.J. Puckett could easily fill the gap left by Stephens and by most accounts, have higher ceilings anyway. But if I had to choose one that would have an impact on the rotation in the next two seasons I’d say it’s likely to be Adams given his youth and performance at Triple-A.
@CooleyTerron: Is Lopez the next Quintana for the White Sox?
Lopez has a plus curveball that enhances the deception in his changeup if he pitches off the fastball well. And the fastball can reach triple digits making it a supreme out pitch. If he runs into trouble he can reach back for a heater that beats bats.
The difference will be his command. Quintana was sharp for most of his career, but if Lopez can tame his pure stuff he has a chance to be much better than Quintana, and that speaks volumes about his ceiling.
Colin: When is Eloy coming up?
Monday, April 15, 2019, against the Kansas City Royals. Book it!
Colin: Given the lack of on-base skills on the current White Sox roster, is our batting coaching flawed somehow or is it purely the lack of talent? Would changing coaches or other changes improve us?
I’d say the lack of situational hitting with runners on base is more unnerving than the merely getting hits. Coaching plays a role in building an offensive philosophy and general approach at the plate, but the players have to execute at some point.
It’s no secret that I like bunting and Rick Renteria‘s commitment to this practice and refusal to accept excuses when players don’t get the job done is music to my ears. Players have to play to the situation. The White Sox have more talent on the roster than people acknowledge (as a fan base I think we’re dangerously blinded by the reflection of prospect promise) and the roster is built for speed, so situational hitting should be their strength.
A coaching change might help wake some players up from the general malaise of the past two seasons, but the most glaring issue in the lineup is Yoan Moncada‘s refusal to swing at anything close with two strikes. If there’s someone in this universe that can help him with this I’d like to bring him in.
Thank you for your questions. We’ll keep this effort rolling, so make sure you submit your questions to the next White Sox mailbag.