Sox Machine Live!: White Sox roster holes that need patching

Recorded 9/12/2019

Despite Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Jose Abreu, and Eloy Jimenez hitting, the White Sox continue to lose. That’s because James McCann and Leury Garcia have struggled greatly since the All-Star Break, so much that the White Sox should consider other possible starters for 2020. Josh and Jim share ideas on who a couple of targets that would be great fits if the money will truly be spent. 

Plus, the transformation of Jorge Soler, and a preview of the upcoming series in Seattle. 

Presented by SeatGeek.

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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at

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McCann’s second half is an eye opener to anyone not associated with the sox. Sox doing what they do probably extend him.

Grandal fits this team perfectly. I expect an awesome 2nd place offer.


I just looked at McCann’s second half, what exactly is eye opening? He had a pretty horrific July, .173/.212/.309 and a 34 wRC+. That one month is dragging down his overall value. August, .274/.330/.476, 113 wRC+ and September to date .250/.314/.438, 99 wRC+ with good defense. McCann is under team control next year, but I am with you on Grandal. I would also like a Bumgarner haha.

Do you know what is really eye opening though? How about these numbers, July .278/.333/.511, 117 wRC+, August .221/.289/.337 67 wRC+, September to date .162/.279/.270 53 wRC+. That is what Manny Machado has done the last few months. In fact, McCann 2.2 fWAR over 110 games and Machado, 2.6 fWAR over 142 games indicates that James has been more valuable than Machado on a per game basis. Hahhaha, baseball is a funny game. In an alternate universe White Sox fans are complaining about what an awful signing Machado was!


This year has got to be considered a “solid” year for the minor league system, and I would definitely take it if every year were like this one: 

-Graduated two players (Cease, Collins) as major league contributors 
-The two most important players (Robert, Madrigal) jumped 3 levels and look like average or above Major Leaguers
-Had at least one player (Steiver) take a step from obscurity (4th round or later?) to possible Top 100 prospect 

If that happens every year, the White Sox will be in great shape. I’m just skeptical they’ll continue to acquire the talent to make this happen. But, overall, I’m pleased at the progression.


I agree that the top end of the system performed well. It’s the rest of the system that sucked. When Madrigal, Kopech and Robert graduate by May-June of 2020, the Sox farm system will be in the bottom 3rd. They are already down to 12th. And what do they have to show for it? The major league team is still awful because Hahn has done absolutely nothing to supplement the young talent.


At best this years minor league development as a system has been average. You have to consider the players traded for the talent that came in, the huge money spent to bring in Robert, the high first round picks they have had etc etc.

Jim Margalus

Yeah, a “solid” year to me involves a kind of progress that seems renewable (development of second-day draft picks, international signings, etc.). Stiever is the only one who counts.


Absolutely. You also have to have context, where did a team draft, what did they spend internationally, what vets did they trade for prospects, etc etc.

Stiever looks like a good find, but it seems like something that happens once a decade for the sox.


Why do the developments of Madrigal and Robert not count?

The developments of Robert and Madrigal should have been at the top of the checklist for Chris Getz in March, and this is a win for player development (so far). The Sox should know better than anyone that 1st round picks/talented players aren’t guarantees.

Maybe Stiever’s jump is a bigger feather in the hat, and I agree that a glaring weakness here is the development of those “B” level players. But when looking at the whole I can’t see why Robert and Madrigal aren’t a part of this being a “solid” year. 


No one said they dont count. I think you have to weigh carefully how much they do count when you spend effectively 50 million on Robert and a top 5 pick on Madrigal. THey also certainly dont offset a rash of injuries to other elite prospects like Kopech and Dunning, tank jobs by other first round picks Collins Burger Fulmer, Burdi…. they also dont off set almost all your AA OF’s being different parts of terrible, a former top 100 prospect hansen falling off the map of prospect status… even cease honestly didnt exactly have an overwhelming minor league season based on his potential. I stand firmly by this being an average year on the farm.


A few things… 

First, Jim said “Stiever is the only who counts.” I took that to mean Madrigal and Robert do not. 

Second, just because they spent lots of money on a player or got him at a high draft pick doesn’t mean there isn’t development. And, by all accounts, they’ve done a great job with those two. 

Third, you can hardly count injuries against player development. 

There are certainly reasons to be critical about the state of the minor league system. My point is simply that, from the perspective of Getz and White Sox player development, this was a “solid” year. And, if the three things I listed above happen every year like they did this year, I’d be thrilled. 


If you spend 52 mil on someone from Cuba I would assume you think they can at a minimum be a top prospect.

If you are a team consistently drafting in the top 5 or 10 year in year out for what 5 years now, you should be stacked with high end 1st 2nd 3rd round picks, cause obviously you are drafting at the top of every round and have the biggest signing pool so of course it matters if you have totally whiffed on collins, fulmer, burdi, and burger and MAYBE hit on Madrigal and Vaughn.

Look at the top 30 overall, you had injuries all over the board and by hook or crook that matters anyone that got hurt is a bad thing their stock went down. Your entire AA roster of prospects choked bad, plenty of hopefuls at AA and they all couldnt get over a 700 ops.

Stiever is a nice story, but overall if you think a team that paid this kind of foreign money, has drafted this high for multiple years, and traded away the kind of premium talent they had to cheap contracts they did should be 9th in most rankings I think your expectations are far too low.


Sure, given where the Sox have drafted in recent years, you’d like to see a more filled out system. But I don’t think that can be blamed on player development. Injuries have ravaged the depth of this system. That might be the fault of someone in the Sox organization, but it’s not the fault of player development. Based on the healthy players they had in the system this year, they had a solid year. 

This seems to me to just be the flip side of people who give Rick Hahn credit for everything good that happens but find a way to push blame elsewhere for anything bad. You can’t just say “oh, this was a highly drafted prospect” or “oh, they spent a bunch of money on him.” So what? They still get credit for developing them. 


The first round picks under Hahn actually aren’t that bad. Taking out the injured players (Birdi, Burger), the picks since 2013 look like this: Anderson, Rodon, Fulmer, Collins, Madrigal, Vaughn.

Jury is still out on the last 3, but right now I think you’d only see Fulmer as the only true bust.