When a tie feels like a win

Yesterday was a fun game between the Chicago Cubs and White Sox at Sloan Park even though it ended in a tie, four to four. Fans were treated to an excellent pitchers duel for Spring Training. Lucas Giolito set the tone striking out the first four batters he faced. The only mistake Giolito made was a curveball that hung up just enough for Victor Caratini to smack it out for a home run. Other than that, Giolito struck out eight in four innings.

During the television broadcast, there was an interview with pitching coach Don Cooper. He highlighted that the most significant change for Giolito was him overcoming the mental aspect of the game. That his arsenal no longer contains a 98-mph fastball, Giolito is beginning to learn to work elevating the fastball and gaining confidence in throwing his curve. Add in his changeup and Giolito will make it a difficult day for hitters as we saw yesterday. Even though it is Spring Training, the way Giolito looked was very promising.

Speaking of promising, how about Eloy Jimenez’s home run in the eighth inning?

It was initially announced that Jimenez would start today against Arizona, but the story told postgame was Jimenez convinced Rick Renteria to give him an at-bat against his former club. Even with an off-balance swing with two strikes, Jimenez demonstrated what makes him so unique as a hitter. His ability to hit for power to all fields is a big reason why so many think he’s destined for great things.

Now, if Jimenez can do that again in late September, it would be even better. Maybe a walk-off shot in Hawk Harrelson’s last broadcast. Couldn’t think of a better way to transition to a new age of White Sox baseball.

My other baseball thoughts from the weekend.

Minnesota Twins sign Lance Lynn

Lance Lynn finally found a home by signing a one year, $12 million deal to pitch for the Minnesota Twins. A friend of the podcast, Eno Sarris of The Athletic, wrote what I thought was a good attempt at trying to understand the direction Minnesota is taking after losing out on signing Yu Darvish. Minnesota’s starting rotation, I think, is in better shape than how they ended in 2017. Yes, losing Ervin Santana for awhile with an injury is going to make things tough but they have added Jake Odorizzi and now Lynn. If Jose Berrios takes another step forward in his progression, that is a solid three-man starting rotation.

I just don’t think it’s enough to be considered serious challengers to Cleveland. Especially when the Twins are planning to have Anibal Sanchez start games for them. If the Twins could convince Jake Arrieta to sign with them, then maybe they have enough once Santana comes back.

According to Bob Nightengale, we should get closure on Arrieta and Alex Cobb next week.

Will Renteria go with seven or eight pitchers in the bullpen?

After today, there will only be 13 games left in Spring Training. Still plenty of time for those competing for a spot on the 25-man roster to show their worth. One of those players is Ryan Cordell, who is batting 9-for-22 with four extra-base hits and six walks with just two strikeouts. The White Sox bench is probably going to consist a backup catcher between Kevan Smith and Omar Narvaez, Leury Garcia, and Tyler Saladino. There could be a fourth bench option, but that will depend on how big of a bullpen Rick Renteria wants.

The only way I can see Cordell making the team out of Spring Training is if the White Sox begin 2018 with a seven-man bullpen. Looking at Joakim Soria, Nate Jones, Luis Avilan, Juan Minaya, Danny Farquhar, Hector Santiago, and either Aaron Bummer or one of the non-roster invitees. Once the season starts on March 29th, the White Sox only have four planned off days until May. Not sure if it would be wise to hope that the starting rotation can average six-plus innings per start out of the gates. Renteria could be looking at a tired bullpen if James Shields, Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez, or Carson Fulmer/Santiago can’t hold up their end.

That’s why I wouldn’t be shocked if Renteria decided to go with an eight-man bullpen. Having both Bummer and awarding someone like Jeanmar Gomez the last roster spots. It would just eliminate the place for someone like Cordell who is having a nice spring and could help the White Sox as a fourth outfield type and pinch-hit late in games. Maybe it would be better if Cordell started the year in Charlotte just to get consistent at-bats. Unless the White Sox cut ties with Saladino, I just don’t see a place for Cordell.

MLB Draft: Casey Mize throws a no-hitter

On Friday, Auburn’s Casey Mize threw a no-hitter against Northeastern University on Friday with 13 strikeouts on just 105 pitches.

In his four starts, Mize has a 2.13 ERA in 25.1 innings with 38 strikeouts and just three walks. With a dominant start to 2018, already seeing whispers of Mize possibly going #1 to Detroit.


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Yeah I think what Giolito needs to improve is the same with the other young pitchers, and that’s maturity and confidence in what he has. I think for example Rodon has pretty much learned how to be a pitcher, know when to throw what and when and not try to be too cute. I’m glad Cooper realizes that with Giolito, and will instill that mindset into Lopez, Kopech, Dunning, Hansen, et al.

Trooper Galactus

I think there was also a need to learn about just what it is he has in order for him to build that confidence. As the article stated, he’s not throwing 98mph heat like he did a few years back, but he did tick up a bit since we first acquired him. So dealing as he was with both less pure stuff as well as a much increased level of competition, it’s not surprising he went through some serious growing pains. But the talent is still there, and it looks like his curveball still has as much bite as ever and now he can locate it. I think he’s gonna be pretty darn good.

Trooper Galactus

First I’ve heard that another pitcher might supplant Brady Singer as the #1 overall this year. Lots of baseball still to play, but this draft keeps sounding stronger and stronger, which will be nice for the White Sox with their high draft positions.


In their most recent draft rankings, BA said there are 5-8 players still vying for 1/1.

Trooper Galactus

How many were pitchers? There are several good shortstop prospects and I’m hoping one falls to us.


It’s very pitcher heavy. Turang and DeSedas have slipped a little. On the bright side, the Sox could be choosing the first bat in the draft. Gorman(3B) Madrigal(2B/SS) and Swaggerty(OF) seem to have the early helium.

lil jimmy

If the Sox draft Swaggerty, I’ll crap myself.


Poop due to excitement, shock or disgust? He’s the only College bat that’s got any helium. I’m all in on Singer, Liberatore and Gorman. If they’re gone at 4, there are a half dozen they could draft that would neither excite nor upset me.

lil jimmy

Adding an outfielder to this team, who would be about the same age as a dozen or so outfielders in the system, would be a poor use of a valuable draft pick. Also, he would be a reach at four.

Trooper Galactus

Obviously a lot depends on how things play out in the spring for these kids, but I’m hoping some of the high school shortstops continue to rake and wind up on Hahn’s radar. I think we could use a top guy in the low minors who can be ready when Timmay is nearing the end of his contract.


13 man pitching staff… Jesus. I liked it when it was 11


And what happened to infante? I thought he was great last year? I haven’t followed spring much…. where is he at


First time seeing GIolito up close (made the trip this weekend) and wow was it impressive even for a ST game. The number of bad swings and misses on a pitcher obviously leaning toward his offspeed was encouraging. I don’t know much about mechanics but his delivery looked effortless. Of course, the highlight was Jimenez’s bomb (Cubs fans around me are convinced they let go of a future superstar.) I’m looking forward to his start today.


Anyone think Renteria overmanaged yesterday, treated the game as a revenge opportunity against his former team?


No, no I don’t. Rob Scahill closed.


Did anybody catch a radar gun reading for Giolito’s fastball yesterday?? Josh, does Casey Mize’s injury history give you pause? Or, if he stays healthy and is available at #4, would you hope the Sox nabbed him?


I saw 91 – 92


THX. Sounds like his first start was an aberration. Still hope he can find a few more ticks.

lil jimmy

On Slyder’s top 5, but not on mine. If he stays strong and healthy, one of the first three teams will take him. He could move fast to the big leagues.


Is there really a reason why a guy who can’t even sniff the Mendoza line has an unchallenged hold on the CF job?


Defense. Although the Defensive Runs Saved stat for Engel is not impressive. How does his arm strength/accuracy come into play?

Patrick Nolan

UZR and DRS were somewhat split on whether Engel’s arm was a hindrance or ultimately fine.

In either event, neither metric does a good job of capturing his value. Look at Catch Probability: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/catch_probability_leaderboard

Engel’s in fourth, but even that undersells him, as he had fewer opportunities than some of the guys around him. You could make a good argument that last year, Byron Buxton was the only center fielder in baseball that was better at catching fly balls. UZR and DRS don’t reflect that, but I’m inclined to go with the metric that actually tracks the player’s route and speed.

lil jimmy

Maybe just me but I go with the guy hitting .409, vs the guy who hit .167 last year. Also, Cordell has started more games in center than any other position.

Trooper Galactus

In isolation, yeah, but this is Cordell’s first game action since we traded for him, and I think the org wants to give their bevy of young pitchers as much defensive support as possible to bolster their confidence early.

lil jimmy

” as much defensive support as possible.”

one word “Nicky”

Trooper Galactus

Nicky further necessitates a guy like Engel in center.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I mean, surely he can sniff it. Right?

I think they are going to give him the first shot, but I doubt he has a really long leash. If his swing changes don’t amount to anything I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes another year-long revolving door audition for a bunch of guys. Ultimately isn’t this Robert’s job in a year or two anyway?

lil jimmy

Engel has options. He may be up and down this year.

sausalito pale hose

Engel needs to go back to AAA and see if he can improve on his MLB 166 BA. I can’t see Engel starting ahead of Cordell; who has a possibility of hitting 100 points better than Engel.


Are we still talking about the 2 HR Engel from last night? He’s arrived baby!




I hope I don’t get anybody mad on this site but does anybody know what has happened to SOXTALK.CoM? I can’t get on their website anymore. Are they still in Business? I’ve had other people try to get on their website without any success.


Eloy Jimenez might be very good at baseball.


Still a lack of communication on the Sox. Salad with a concussion and Nicky D to start the year on the DL with a dislocated left shoulder. Damn, I hate this Spring Training.

Lurker Laura

No, not Nicky! Noooooo!


Sorry. Forced to settle for the blond locks of Ryan Cordell.

Reindeer Games

Welcome back on the Gio bandwagon. Don’t worry, I’ve been keeping the seats warm. I’m just glad its filling up again.