Results tagged ‘ Jared Mitchell ’

Sox-Wise and Otherwise


My weekly off-season opinions and observations about the White Sox…


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With the World Series in the rearview mirror, The White Sox brass can now get busy preparing for a championship run in 2011.


No huge news has come out of the Sox camp thus far, but there have been some productive and interesting activity as we wait on bigger things to come. Those “bigger” things I’m talking about are the decisions around free agents Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, the attempt to get a solid lefthanded hitter (the Cardinals’ Colby Rasmus has been rumored as a target), a move to shore up the bullpen which will impact the futures of arbitration-eligible Bobby Jenks and free agent J.J. Putz, plus various and sundry other determinations.

Here’s a rundown of what’s happened up until now:


Omar Back in Fold

Omar Vizquel‘s signing for another year at $1.75 million is the most positive move so far. He was a godsend this past season and, aside from Konerko, was probably the club’s MVP as a result of his infield wizardry and respectable .276 batting average. With promising third baseman Brent Morel slated for third base, Vizquel provides insurance there and valuable backup at both second base and shortstop.

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Thornton, Castr
o Return to Unsettled Bullpen and Catching Situations

Next to the Vizquel deal, picking up the options of All-Star setup man Matt Thornton and Ramon Castro, perhaps the best backup backstop in the game, have provided the most positive news. Depending on what happens with the bullpen, Thornton could be next year’s closer. And Castro, who batted .328 with eight homers and 21 RBIs in only 37 games, gives depth to the catching position, especially if Pierzynski walks.

Paulie News

Konerko’s decision will probably take a while, but word is that there is at least one serious suitor–his hometown Arizona Diamondbacks. Paulie, who lives in Scottsdale and grew up in that area, certainly could be tempted to stay home as opposed to re-upping with the Sox.

Pal Joey

Unless something surprising happens, Joey Cora will be back as the White Sox bench coach. Just last week he came in second to Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke for the Milwaukee Brewers managing job.

Peavy on the Mend

Because his shoulder injury is so rare, no one knows when and, frankly, if Jake Peavy will come back close to his Cy Young form. Latest word is that he’s working hard in rehab and it won’t be long until he starts soft-tossing.

Sox Seek New AAA Skipper

The White Sox are looking for a new manager at AAA Charlotte. The previous incumbent, Chris Chambliss, best known for his pennant-winning homer for the Yankees in the 1976 ALCS, is the new hitting coach for the Mariners under new skipper Eric Wedge.
Lucy, Williams Minor League Free Agents

The Sox have outrighted both catcher Donny Lucy and lefty reliever Randy Williams to Charlotte. They are now off the 40-man roster and qualify as minor league free agents.
Rising Stars: White Sox Style

Three White Sox prospects were named to last Saturday’s Rising Stars Game, the Arizona Fall League’s All-Star Game.
Those Sox chosen were standout shortstop Eduardo Escobar (pictured below), right-handed pitcher Anthony Carter and the club’s 2009 No. 1 draft pick, Jared Mitchell.
Thus far, Escobar has been far and away the most impressive of the trio in the AFL. He is hitting .377 with an outstanding OPS (on base percentage plus slugging percentage) while leading the league with four homers along with great play in the field. For the record, he has also added four doubles and four triples.
Carter has recorded two saves while striking out 12 in seven innings of work while Mitchell, sans the gaudy stats, is still making significant progress after missing the entire 2010 season due to a leg injury.
In the Rising Stars Game itself, Escobar and Mitchell were both 0 for 1 and Carter pitched a scoreless 2/3 of an inning. Their team, the West, nipped the East, 3-2.
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Sox-Wise and Otherwise


My weekly offseason opinions and observations about the White Sox and more…


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Is it Cora’s time?

Hahn isn’t the only member of the White Sox family in interview mode. Sox bench coach Joey Cora (pictured above), who has been mentioned for previous managerial openings, is reportedly a serious candidate for both the Toronto Blue Jays and Milwaukee Brewers jobs. Cora has been passed over more than once in the past. Wonder if the powers-that-be around baseball view him as a successful coach who doesn’t have what it takes to manage. We’ll see.


Hahn on
Mets short list

Pale Hose Assistant General Manager Rick Hahn is one of the leading
candidates for the New York Mets GM job along with the likes of long-time MLB
exec
Sandy Alderson
and L.A. Dodger Assistant GM
Logan
White
. How valuable has Hahn been? Just listen to his boss, Kenny Williams: “I know I’m going to lose him
(at some
point)
and it’s going to be a heavy blow.”
An unnamed baseball exec told
the New York Post: “
His
fingerprints are on everything Kenny does.”

 

Arizona
Fall League report

While the Sox have six prospects with the AFL’s Peoria
Saguaros (a seventh, catcher
Josh
Phegley
,
was set to play but was sent home with a health issue), the
main player to keep an eye on is centerfielder
Jared
Mitchell
. The MVP of the 2009 College World Series with LSU and the
No. 1 Sox draft choice just weeks later was injured in spring training and
missed the entire 2010 season. So his performance this fall is the first step
on his road to recovery. For the record, Mitchell knocked out three hits in his
first game and in his  initial five
contests he boasted a .389 on base percentage.

 

The
magic of Herm Schneider

Year after year, the White Sox are at the top or among the
healthiest teams in the major leagues. Highly respected
Herm Schneider is the reason why. During
the course of the 2010 season, the Sox tied the Arizona Diamondbacks for fewest
trips to the disabled list and had the fewest days spent on the DL.

 

A.J.
offers his two cents

Viewers of the ESPN week-day show First Take are being treated to a pundit
better known around Chicago as the White Sox starting catcher. That’s right,
A.J. Pierzynski,
appearing from an Orlando, FL studio, is offering his analysis of the
postseason–and he’s doing a pretty good job. Any Sox sighting in October is a
welcome addition to the universe, though it’s  still up in the air whether A.J., a free agent, will be in the Sox fold come 2011.

 

Paulie
update (sort of)

Speaking of free agency, it would be a shocker if news concerning Paul Konerko‘s status would come out before the end of the World Series. But, just for
the record, he hasn’t gone anywhere yet.


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A Fun Win, the Roster Narrows Down and Another Day in Paradise

GLENDALE, AZ–After witnessing a tie on Sunday against the Reds and a blowout loss against the Royals last night, it was fun to be part of yesterday’s 6-1 Sox win over the Rockies at Camelback Ranch.

Juan Pierre was 3 for 5 with an RBI, Mark Kotsay 3 for 4 with an RBI and Alex Rios clouted a stand-up triple, driving in two first inning runs. The struggling Mark Teahen singled and laid down a nice sacrifice bunt.
On the pitching side, Freddy Garcia gave up a run and five hits in three frames. Dan Hudson and Randy Williams pitched two perfect innings each. Sergio Santos had some control issues in the eighth, but was rescued by Greg Aquino who got the last out of the inning and pitched a flawless ninth.
Speaking of Hudson, Santos and Aquino, it appears that they are the last men standing for the seventh and final spot in the pen as Jhonny Nunez and Freddy Dolsi were both optioned to Charlotte. Others on the chopping block were pitchers Lucas Harrell, Brian Omogrosso, Clevelan Santeliz (optioned to Charlotte), Brian Hynick (outrighted to Charlotte after an injury-plagued spring) and Santo Luis (Birmingham). The lone non-pitcher cut was catcher Cole Armstrong, who was assigned to minor league camp. The Sox are left with 44 players in the major league camp–20 pitchers, four catchers, 11 infielders and nine outfielders.
Sox notes of note: Nothing serious, but both Rios (left quad) and Carlos Quentin (left shoulder after being hit by a pitch for the second time) were taken out of yesterday’s game for precautionary reasons…Jared Mitchell‘s surgery was a success, but he’s definitely out for the season…Spent a great day at the ballpark yesterday with a group of friends, including Jeff and Lee Weiss who are fellow natives of Northwest Indiana. The only negative was that their sister, Lynn Garson, was in Florida and couldn’t join us. She’s at the top of the list when it comes to fans of the Pale Hose.
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   Jake Peavy, who will be on the mound against the Dodgers in today’s St.
   Patty’s matinee, and Alex Rios, one of yesterday’s hitting stars. 

Ozzie on Mitchell: “Very, Very Bad, It’s a Shame…”

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Something pretty awful happened in what was expected to be a routine spring training game yesterday between the White Sox and Angels in Tempe. After entering the contest as a defensive replacement in the sixth, top prospect Jared Mitchell made a spectacular catch off the bat of Juan Rivera for the first out. The bad news is that Mitchell crashed into the wall, tore a tendon inside his left ankle, will have surgery next week and is most likely out for the season. 
Ozzie put it perfectly. This is really a shame, especially considering how much speed is part of Mitchell’s game. The 2010 season was going to be Jared’s first full year and, after an eye-opening spring, was certainly headed in the right direction on his quest to play in Chicago.
Back to the games: The Sox did defeat the Angels, 10-7…Jake Peavy pitched three scoreless innings, Gordon Beckham was 3 for 4, a homer and two RBIs and Alex Rios went 2 for 3, a homer and two RBIs. Beckham is now hitting .364 this spring, Rios is at .357…Sox lost to the Cubs, 6-5, in yesterday’s other game in Las Vegas…Alejandro De Aza was 2 for 4 with two RBI. He now sports a .471 Cactus League batting average.

The Interesting Case of Alejandro De Aza

When the White Sox picked up outfielder Alejandro De Aza off of waivers from the Florida Marlins last October, it was pretty much greeted with a ho hum attitude. I had heard of De Aza, but knew very little and wondered how he would fit in with the 2010 Sox.

So who is Alejandro De Aza?

A native of the Dominican Republic, he will be 26 in April. He bats and throws lefthanded, is six feet tall, 175 pounds with great speed and the ability to play outstanding defense. He was originally signed by the Dodgers, but picked up by the Marlins in the 2004 Rule 5 draft. He actually earned the starting centerfield job for Florida in 2007 and started the season on fire. In nine games he went 20-33 (.606), but went on the disabled list with a hairline fracture of an ankle. He didn’t appear in the big leagues in 2008 and in ’09 he batted .250 with a .385 on base percentage for the Marlins in 22 games.

So far this spring De Aza has made the Sox brass look good. He’s played in six games, going 5 for 11 (.455) with two RBI and a .538 on base mark. Yesterday, in the South Siders’ 9-5 win over the A’s, De Aza went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored while playing both left and center.

The Sox outfield picture is a crowded one with Juan Pierre, Alex Rios, Carlos Quentin, Andruw Jones, Mark Kotsay plus Jordan Danks and even Jared Mitchell (who was just sent to the minor league camp) in the wings. As a result, it is very unlikely De Aza will make the major league club out of spring training. But if he continues doing what he’s doing,  I can certainly see him fitting in nicely with Ozzie‘s “new look” White Sox some time this season. 

Is Jared Mitchell Beckham Redux?

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Last year the folks around Camelback Ranch were all abuzz about Gordon Beckham, the White Sox’ 2008 No. 1 draft pick out of the University of Georgia. After winning two different player votes for Rookie of the Year, GBeck is now becoming a household name around the American League.

This spring, a lot of the buzz is being directed toward another Sox No. 1 draft pick out of the SEC–Jared Mitchell, the club’s top selection in 2009 from LSU.

Both a football and baseball star in college, Mitchell (pictured here at the plate against the Dodgers last Saturday) began his pro baseball career last summer in impressive fashion. At high-A Kannapolis he hit .296 with a .417 on base percentage and a .435 slugging mark.

Mitchell, who is a non-roster invitee in the major league camp, has already turned heads in Arizona. In his first three games he has gone 4 for 9 (.444) with two doubles, a triple, a .500 on base percentage and an astronomic .889 slugging percentage.

Yesterday, in the 5-4 loss to Mariners, Mitchell was electrifying as he hit an opposite field triple to left. Some observers were trying to figure out the last White Sox player who was such a blur around the bases.

While Beckham was called up last June after his outstanding spring, Mitchell is surely destined to spend a bit more time in the minor leagues to gain the necessary experience to make the big league roster. But it’s hard not to imagine that Beckham and Mitchell will soon be spearheading the Sox fortunes.

Note of the day: After Carlos Quentin‘s two-homer outburst on Saturday, it was nice to see both Alex Rios and Paul Konerko go deep against Seattle yesterday–especially Rios after his subpar ’09.
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Bing, Bang, Boom–23 Runs, 32 Hits, 0 Errors and the First Two Sox Victories of the Spring

It was a Saturday of epic proportion. Well, maybe not epic, but boy it was fun.

The beautiful Spring-like day in the New York area, didn’t prevent me from spending the day in front of the tube. It all started out with my alma mater, Indiana, halting an 11-game losing streak by upending Northwestern. 
That was followed by Sox vs. Cubs in Mesa and Sox vs. Dodgers at Camelback Ranch in a split-squad doubleheader. Thanks to the Big Ten Network, WGN and the MLB Network, I was able to watch all of the action–albeit the nightcap was on tape delay and I knew the score going in. Gone are the days of having to go to spring training to find out what’s going on.
Sox 15, Cubs 3

The Sox got off to a 6-0 start in the first two innings on the strength of two Carlos Quentin blasts (a two-run homer and a three-run four-bagger) and it just got better and better. The Pale Hose pounded out three more homers (Brandon Short, Cole Armstrong and Jayson Nix) and pounded out a total of 18 hits (Nix had three and Quentin, Andruw Jones, Mark Kotsay, Christian Marrero, Cole Armstrong and Brett Lillibridge collected two apiece).
On the pitching side, Dan Hudson gave up the Dodgers’ only tallies in three innings of work while Carlos Torres, Greg Aquino and Charlie Leesman each hurled two innings of shutout ball. I was impressed with Aquino, who struck out three. He’s had major league experience with four other clubs.
And the Sox committed NO errors and stole four more bases–Jones (2), Tyler Flowers and Jordan Danks.
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                        Quentin led off the hit parade yesterday against the Cubs



Sox 8, Dodgers 4

The Sox were homerless against LA, but full of punch, connecting for 14 hits. The standouts were “can’t miss” Jared Mitchell, who had a pair of RBI doubles, and former Marlin Alejandro De Aza, who added two infield singles and scored a run. Former Dodger Juan Pierre beat out an infield grounder for a single that drove in a run and stole a base. 
Eight Sox pitchers took the mound, including Freddy Garcia and Bobby Jenks, but I was most impressed with Tony Pena, who was on again, off again for us in 2009.
And NO Sox errors and a pair of stolen bases–Pierre and Alexei Ramirez.
If the rain holds off in Glendale today I’ll be in the same place as yesterday, watching Jake Peavy make his spring debut for the 2-1-1 South Siders.
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                                              Peavy hopes to stifle Cubs


It’s Only Spring Training

If it were a game played in the middle of a pennant race, it might have prompted a tirade from Ozzie. But yesterday’s 8-3 loss to the Dodgers in the spring home opener was simply a blip on the way to Opening Day in Chicago.

Of the few bright spots, J.J. Putz appeared healthy as he struck out a pair in one inning of work. Outfield prospect Stefan Gartrell doubled in a run for the South Siders’ only extra base hit of the day in his lone plate appearance. First baseman Josh Kroeger singled in a run and last year’s No.1 draft choice Jared Mitchell also singled and drove in a run.
Mark Buehrle gave up a run, three hits and a walk in two innings, but we know there’s nothing to worry about there. He’s just getting ready.
Split squad action today. Daniel Hudson will start against the Cubs in Mesa and Freddy Garcia will be the first to take the mound vs. the Dodgers in Glendale.
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                               Daniel Hudson begins his bid for a roster spot 

Sox-wise and Otherwise

My final weekly offseason musings on the White Sox and more. In just two days, four hours and 56 minutes, pitchers and catchers officially report and the 2010 season will be underway.

My Random Thoughts Heading into Spring Training:

*  He’s coming, he’s not coming, he’s coming, he’s not coming, he’s…That’s basically what we’ve been through this week with Johnny Damon. I’m through guessing what will happen. We’ll just have to wait and see and deal with the decision when it comes down. And it very well could be determined before you read this. Who knows?

*  As I look ahead to the 2010 Sox, I can’t help but think that the two keys to whether or not we make the playoffs will be Carlos Quentin and Alex Rios. While the personality of the team will change, putting a priority on pitching, speed, versatility and defense, there still needs to be some significant power now that Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome are no longer on the South Side. Quentin and Rios must rebound from last year whether or not the other factors listed above prove successful.

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 *  Speaking of Jermaine, it’s painful to see he’s still on the outside, looking for a decent
deal. Despite his horrible second half in 2009, you have to think he can help someone. Here’s hoping the news of him signing is imminent. Dye, like the other 2005 guys, holds a special place for us. Even more special for Jermaine, considering he was the World Series MVP.

*  I’m looking forward to seeing Jordan Danks and Jared Mitchell in spring training. It doesn’t seem like either outfielder will make the 25-man roster, but Danks is right on the cusp and actually could make the jump at some point this year. Mitchell is a couple of years away, but inviting him to major league camp is a smart idea–he’ll get a jump start on getting acclimated to major league life.

*  I love this. Jerry Reinsdorf, Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen will be featured in The Club, an original reality series on the MLB Network The show will follow the Sox braintrust to provide “unprecedented behind-the-scenes access” to a major league front office. The Club premieres Sunday, July 4 at 8:00pm, ET.

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*  By the way, has Damon signed yet?

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Sox-wise and Otherwise

My weekly offseason musings about the White Sox and more…

Wheeling and Dealing: Putz Joins Pale Hose, Sox Still Seeking Leadoff Man

Well, the Winter Meetings are now in the rear-view mirror and the hope of some blockbuster White Sox news went right along with it. But we knew that Kenny Williams had something up his sleeve and it’s just been announced, as rumored, that J.J. Putz has signed a one-year deal with the Sox for $3 million. He’s coming off an injury, but if he can get back to his previous form he’ll be a big asset. He’ll be reunited with his buddy, former Mariner Matt Thornton.

While the Hideki Matsui and Coco Crisp rumors are still out there, lo and behold a new name has surfaced–the Yankees’ 26-year-old centerfielder Brett Gardner. With the Yanks outfield pretty well set, it certainly is a possibility New York will deal Gardner under the right circumstances. Word is Kenny Williams likes him, he has dealt with Yanks GM Brian Cashman in the past and it does give us a leadoff hitter. With Scotty Pods holding out for a two-year pact and Crisp still a rumor, perhaps the Sox think this is the answer–though some feel it’s up in the air if he can be an everyday player. In 150 major league games Gardner has hit .270 with 26 stolen bases. He was chosen by the Yanks in the 2005 draft out of the College of Charleston.

GBeck to Lead Off? He Hopes Not

Speaking of the quest for a leadoff hitter, Gordon Beckham has gone on record that he hopes he doesn’t land in that spot. “I’ve heard the rumors,” he told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. “I kinda hope I don’t lead off. I’ve never lead off before.” After saying that, Beckham followed up with what you would expect out of him. “If I have to bat leadoff, I’ll make do. I’ll work at being good at it. I’m OK if they want me to bat there.”

Looking into the Future

The following are the Sox Top 10 prospects as determined by baseball analyst John Sickels:

Daniel Hudson, RHP
Jared Mitchell, OF
Tyler Flowers, C
Brent Morel, 3B
Jordan Danks, OF
Dayan Viciedo, 3B
David Holmberg, LHP
C.J. Retherford, 2B
Christian Marrero, 1B-OF
Santos Rodriguez, LHP

Hudson and Flowers spent time with the Sox at the end of 2009 and could be in the picture next year. The conventional wisdom is that the Sox want Flowers to get more experience at AAA Charlotte instead of serving as A.J.’s backup. Among the others, Danks probably has the best chance of playing in Chicago next season.

Tiger, Take Note

My non-Sox note of the week: If Tiger had only heeded the wisdom of the great John Wooden: “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
 

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