White Sox announce first 44 names of 60-man player pool

(White Sox on Twitter)

It may be summer camp instead of spring training, but the White Sox made it feel closer to normal by taking their sweet time sharing their initial roster of 60-man players.

The White Sox got around to unveiling the first 44 names involved this morning, saying they “will announce additional players who will be invited to join the taxi squad in the near future.” Texas Rangers beat writer Levi Weaver explained some of the rules, regulations and logistics in this new form of rosterbation in a Twitter thread, and he notes that teams can add to the 60-man roster at any point. Removing players from the 60-man roster becomes trickier, which might explain why the Sox want to give themselves lots of room to operate.

Given the lack of precedents and the room for the White Sox to add, I can’t say I know exactly what a spot on this roster at this point in time means. It stands to reason that “getting included now” reflects a player’s standing more favorably than “getting included later,” and I’m operating under that premise for the time being. This position is subject to change as the 60-man fills out and we hear from the people in charge.

With all that said, there’s one big difference between spring training and this summer edition: Players on the 40-man roster aren’t necessarily locks to get invited to this major-league camp, while non-roster guys can sneak in from off the radar. The lack of development time gives AAAA talent a little more value in this picture for reasons pragmatic (they’re more capable of delivering a quality week in an emergency) and cynical (few long-term implications if they fail).

I might recommend opening up the “Who’s who among 2020 White Sox spring training non-roster invitees” post in order to brush up on some of the journeyman whose names will be mentioned here.

Pitchers on the 60-man, not on the 40-man

Heuer looked like a potential bullpen breakout candidate early in spring training, while Johnson previously fit that label before injuries and mechanical changes forced him to adopt a slower track. The White Sox claimed Guerrero in December and outrighted him in January, so his omission from the 40-man roster isn’t necessarily a reflection of their interest. Everybody here knows Detwiler, and Anderson is a right-handed, less accomplished kind of Detwiler.

Position players on the 60-man who aren’t on the 40-man

Cuthbert and Romine both provide infield depth to a team that isn’t loaded with it beyond Danny Mendick. Back before the pandemic, Delmonico was trying to recapture his former glory to be a potential 26th man candidate. We all know Madrigal‘s gunning for the starting job at second base, so a spot on the 40-man needs to be earmarked for him.

It’s hard to imagine Vaughn being a factor for this season — there are so many bats, right-handed and otherwise, in that first base/DH logjam — but this is an opportunity for reps, and better understanding when they need to clear a path for him.

Pitchers who are on the 40-man, but not (yet) on the 60-man

All three of these pitchers were reassigned to minor league camp over the first two round of cuts, but that alone doesn’t explain it (the cuts of Dane Dunning, Jimmy Lambert, and Luis Basabe all healed). I suppose oxygen is the reason — there are only 60 games, and the White Sox have already earmarked 24 pitchers — but it’s curious that Burdi wasn’t among the automatic candidates given how much they’ve invested in him, and how much he’ll need reps.

If I were more certain about how teams went about constructing these rosters, I’d say the Sox are signaling their intent to maximize their talent for a 60-game sprint by putting Heuer on in front of somebody like Foster, but who knows?

Position players who are on the 40-man, but not (yet) on the 60-man

The White Sox are carrying four catchers already, even if Zack Collins and Yermín Mercedes aren’t great bets to see much time there. Still, that makes it hard times for a fifth catcher like Zavala. Likewise, the White Sox have seven outfielders ahead of Adolfo and Rutherford. Adolfo will get a fourth option due to all the time he’s missed due to injury, but Basabe only has one left after this year*, so he’s more of a priority.

(*This assumes option years work as they previously did.)

Notable omissions

Recent draft picks: If Garrett Crochet truly were another form of Chris Sale, the White Sox would get him introduce him to the majors via the bullpen mere months after drafting him. He’s not (yet) on that plan.

Notable prospects: It’s a little noticeable that Dunning and Lambert are on the roster while Jonathan Stiever isn’t. Hopefully that doesn’t mean Stiever’s forearm issue from the spring is still a factor. Gavin Sheets can’t break through the 1B/DH bottleneck right now, but he might also read some writing on the wall when Vaughn gets a faster nod.

Extra outfielders: This might be the end of line for Daniel Palka, while Luis Gonzalez was another one of those guys whose prospect stock looked especially affected by a lost year. As we’ve seen with Adolfo and Basabe, Gonzalez isn’t unique in that regard, either.

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Eagle Bones

I was thinking the same thing with Stiever (i.e. is the forearm still an issue), though I hope that’s not it. Makes sense to leave him off until they know he’s healthy as they couldn’t get him off the 60-man without a DFA or trade, right?

Can we read anything about Rodon’s and Dunning’s recoveries from Flores being left off? Or is this just them placing guys like Detwiler and Anderson ahead of him in terms of who they’d go to first for a spot start?

Eagle Bones

We have our first player opt-out:

Hearing that #Dbacks RHP Mike Leake will opt out of participating during the 2020 MLB season.

— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) June 29, 2020

Eagle Bones

Two Nats (Joe Ross and Ryan Zimmerman) also opting out. Will be interesting to see how many guys go this route.

joewho112

What are the consequences to the players of opting out? No salary, I assume. Do they get service time/does it count as a year in their contract?

Trooper Galactus

Seems like it would be much more consequential for Ross, given he doesn’t have the ten seasons required to get a pension like Zimmerman does.

asinwreck

I haven’t seen specifics, but Ross was described as at-risk himself, so he would presumably not lose service time or salary.

Trooper Galactus

Oh, well then good. I’m glad he doesn’t have to choose between gaining service time and risking his life.

Trooper Galactus

Was surprised by Basabe’s inclusion, though I guess with his control running out and ability to cover center field it makes sense. Also, I was completely unfamiliar with Drew Anderson, but his transaction history on B-Ref is….confusing, to say the least.

what

Should we expect Jacob Lindgren to be a later addition to the 60 man? I really thought he might have had an opportunity to make the team

blackoutsox

Man I need to get back on the Sox blog reading grind again. Who knew that a complete sports shutdown would make me miss one of my favorite teams?

Check out Ian Desmonds instagram post – extremely powerful and moving. Frankly, Manfred needs to go.

(also I just read the Reinsdorf post from the Bulls doc post back in April – Jim you are fantastic with words as always. I also clicked through the Boras hyperlink back to SSS and oof… saw my comments from a decade ago, sorry for making you all put up with me)

asinwreck

Melky is worth a flier as insurance against the inevitable injuries to the Mets outfield. Last year was bad, but it won’t cost them much to see if it was an aberration.

I selfishly hope Beckham makes the team and a season is played so I can post detailed updates on how many grounders to short he can hit in his share of 60 games.

metasox

Given the expanded rosters, these kinds of moves can make sense. For 60 games, this will be a sprint, not a marathon. Catching lightning in a bottle or playing matchups can win this thing. And it could be a bet that veteran players will be better able to adjust to the changed circumstances.

Jason.Wade17

Beckham is a good pick up for them. Only 33, and I read something this spring about how he is in great shape and was working all winter with his grandpa on his swing. Just 11 years ago he was worth 2.3 fWar in 103 games. He’s a great candidate for a breakout now that he’s in a new location.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Whoosh?

Jason.Wade17

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/so-you-want-to-bunt-in-extra-innings/

This article should be saved by everyone as I think it’s safe to assume the White Sox will bunt often in extra innings this year.

Eagle Bones

Don’t think I’ve seen this mentioned anywhere here, but Ian Desmond is also opting out and offered a pretty well articulated statement on current events in general. Worth a read if you have a few minutes:

https://sports.yahoo.com/colorado-rockies-ian-desmond-opting-out-mlb-season-coronavirus-covid19-black-lives-matter-movement-030250544.html

Eagle Bones

Oops sorry, just saw blackoutsox mentioned this upthread. Included the link here anyway.

dansomeone

Hmmm, only 2 of 24 pitchers with last names in the back half of the alphabet? That seems unbalanced to me, we need some more S’s, T’s and W’s. And don’t get me started on the position player disparity.

asinwreck

I bet Hahn could get Jordan Zimmermann with little difficulty.

Soxfan2

The person screwed most by the 60 game season is Vaughn IMO. With no minor league season, I think the odds they pick up Encarnacion’s option for next year is almost 100% unless he hits like .150 this year. Vaughn might not see the MLB until 2022.

John SF

Yikes. You mean, the 16th day of 2022? (assuming it sti works that way).

Considering how dominant Vaughn was in spring training, and the fact he is going to have these ~90 days this year to work with the major league staff and play intrasquads against top prospects that 98% of his peers won’t have— its hard not to imagine Vaughn crushing his way to AAA next year by mid-season.

If he then starts 2022 in AAA again it will probably be pretty embarrassing.

That’s one of the reasons I want to give preventive extensions to everyone. Vaughn, Madrigal, Stiever, Kopech, Cease, Lopez, Giolito— everybody.