After announcing the first 44 names of their 60-man player pool a fortnight ago, the White Sox foma;;u got around to (nearly) filling out the rest of the picture this afternoon. The team unveiled the 16-man roster for the taxi squad training in Schaumburg, but there’s still one spot remaining due to Michael Kopech dropping out for the season.
There are no surprises or brand-new names. All the calls are coming from inside the house, whether they’re 40-man guys, spring training non-roster invitees, or, in one case, a 2020 draft pick. Let’s sift through the names.
40-man roster remainders, pitchers
This morning, we looked at all the right-handed relievers in front of Kelvin Herrera, and there are several other interesting righties behind him at Guaranteed Rate Field. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of daylight for Burdi or Foster despite what would otherwise be a favorable roster status. Flores has a clearer path since there are fewer lefties and starters in the bunch.
40-man roster remainders, position players
The Kansas City Royals have lost all three of the catchers on their 40-man roster — Sal Perez and Cam Gallagher to the COVID-19 list, and Meibrys Viloria to an undisclosed injury. The White Sox still have all five of their 40-man catchers in the game, with Zavala being the least interesting hitter, but the third-best receiver. Adolfo will get some sorely needed reps, and they can’t hurt for Rutherford, either.
Non-roster pitching depth
If 2020 is truly the Year of the AAAA Player, then we might see a few of these guys before the year is over. Mejia struck me as the most likely call-up during the first iteration of spring training, given the lack of proven lefties behind the wobbly Jace Fry.
Non-roster players worth watching
González allows the White Sox to restore their entire Birmingham outfield in Schaumburg, especially once Luis Basabe isn’t needed in the Chicago workouts. His ability to cover center puts him ahead of Rutherford, both both have problems stinging the ball. It’s good to see Stiever back in the mix, as a forearm injury took him out of action in the first spring training.
Burr is entering his 13th month after Tommy John surgery, so he could theoretically be of service at some point, although he faces the same pile of righties that block Burdi and Foster. Lindgren, whose return from back-to-back Tommy John surgeries finally found some traction last year, gets a chance to resume his climb with fewer lefties in the way. One of those southpaws is Sousa, whom the White Sox have pushed up the ladder (and in the Arizona Fall League) after drafting him as 10th-round senior signing in 2018. Another one of those lefties could be Crochet, depending on whether the White Sox want to try putting him on the Chris Sale plan, debuting him in relief mere months after taking him in the first round.
James Fox expected Burger to be part of the Schaumberg crew, but instead the 2017 first-round pick is going to be playing in the CarShield Collegiate League in St. Louis. There’s no way Burger should be expected to contribute to a team in 2020, and that roster spot could end up being useful, especially if a few other spots are already devoted to projects. Still, the controlled environment of the taxi squad seems like the best place for Burger to get tailored reps under team supervision as he attempts to return to live game situations for the first time in years.
The White Sox ultimately gave Burger their blessing to play baseball in his hometown, with Chris Getz endorsing Burger’s condition.
At some point, everybody is going to have to learn if Burger’s body will hold up. If he has the opportunity to play where it’s fun, comfortable and an appropriate level of competition, it’s hard to see the harm.
(Photo of Boomers Stadium in Schaumberg courtesy of the Chicago White Sox)
Glad to see that most of the players who sorely needed reps this season will still be getting them, even if only in intrasquad practice (or a local collegiate league).
It is a liitle puzzling that Burger is left off, if he is in fact cleared physically, and there is a current need for 3 rd base depth. First rounder. Sigh.
He is our Jay Williams