Recently on MLB Network, the Chicago White Sox were featured on the 30 Clubs in 30 Days series. For those who are not familiar with this show, the network showcases one Major League team each day leading up to the regular season. The crew does a great job at interacting with the players and discussing what’s in store for the upcoming season. As you could probably guess, the prospects were all the rage in this year’s White Sox edition. If you did not get a chance to see the episode, here is a recap of what was shown.
Greg Amsinger and Kevin Millar opened up the program by talking about all of the young talent in the organization. “The White Sox could have a juggernaut here, because they have stud pitchers and young position players,” said Amsinger. He even drew comparisons to the Mets’ 2015 pitching rotation and the young position players drafted by the Cubs during their rebuild, to describe the quality of talent the Sox have up and down their system. Kevin Millar concluded the intro by praising the culture that Rick Renteria instilled into the camp, calling it “high-energy.”
Pitchers Michael Kopech, Carson Fulmer, and Lucas Giolito were featured in the first segment of the show. The right-handers shared their excitement for the future and the possibility of having five aces on the staff. One thing that caught my attention was Fulmer’s statements about the brotherhood the teammates have created off the field. For those of you who follow these White Sox prospects on social media, you have seen just how close these players really are. All of these guys are constantly commenting on each other’s posts and hanging out off the field. The chemistry is really something special that is often hard to create when building a team. Greg Amsinger later asked Michael Kopech for his thoughts on whether or not he wanted to throw the greatest fastball ever. Kopech explained how this used to be a goal of his, but he has since shifted his focus to throwing his change up more. This is interesting to hear from Kopech, since he essentially acknowledged that the fastball will always be there and understands the importance of good secondary pitches.
Yoan Moncada, Jose Abreu, and translator Billy Russo joined Kevin Millar for the next segment of the show. Millar tried to mix in some Spanish and show off for the cameras a little bit, though Billy Russo helped translate the majority of the conversation. The exchange was very light between the players and Millar as they joked around. When Yoan was asked if he remembered Millar from his Red Sox days, he answered “no” with some laughter. YoYo later talked about how he felt great physically and worked out a lot to get ready for the season. Abreu also brought up his excitement for 2018 and his desire to help out the club in any way possible during the upcoming season.
Greg Amsigner and Avi Garcia followed with an interview by the batting cages. Avi bashed Millar’s poor Spanish before talking about his 2017 breakout season and some of the adjustments that he made. Avi described how before at the plate, his head and body would sway forward when he was swinging. This resulted in some previous struggles as he failed to make consistent contact with the ball. However, he corrected this last season by loading and then keeping his head still as he hit, leading to his breakout campaign.
James Shields talked briefly with Kevin Millar about how “Ricky puts it down” in terms of giving everything you got at camp. Shields also talked about embracing the leadership role while feeding off the energy from all of the young guys around him. Towards the end of this piece, a stat comparison graphic was brought up from last season. The numbers showed the improvement that came after Shields changed his arm slot towards the end of 2017. It will definitely be interesting to see if this new arm slot can bring forth some more success in the upcoming season. I think that James Shields definitely has the potential to have big comeback season if all goes well.
Matt Davidson made an appearance and talked some hitting with Kevin Millar. This segment can be seen in the video below:
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) March 1, 2018
Perhaps the most intriguing interview of the program came when Greg Amsinger talked with GM Rick Hahn. With Eloy Jiménez in the cage behind them, the White Sox current number one prospect could not be avoided in conversation. Rick Hahn described Jiménez by saying, “He is a dynamic offensive player. He has the kind of infectious personality and work ethic that draws other players towards him. You can see what he does behind the white lines but until you’re around him day in and day out, it’s hard to really appreciate that “it” factor.” Amsinger asked Hahn if there were any players that Eloy reminded him of, to which he replied with the trio of Jermaine Dye, Vladimir Guerrero, and Giancarlo Stanton. Luis Robert’s name was brought up in discussion soon afterwards. Rick Hahn described the Cuban star as a, “true, five-tool talent.” Now, if you’re reading this and don’t want to run through a brick wall yet, then you might as well want to start rooting for another team. It doesn’t get much better than this, folks. Rick Hahn also touched on Michael Kopech and how the right-hander will begin the year at Triple-A Charlotte. To close things, Hahn was asked to give a position player and pitchers to look out for this season. His selections were Luis Basabe, Dylan Cease, and Dane Dunning, mentioning how 2018 will be big seasons for their development.
Tim Anderson was the next player featured as he joined Greg Amsigner outside an RV for a laid back conversation. You can see that interview here:
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 1, 2018
Finally, after a brief chat with Ricky Renteria, the show closed with Kevin Millar and John Smoltz giving their 2018 predictions for the team. Kevin Millar made a bold claim, saying that the White Sox will shock the world and return to the World Series for the first time since 2005. John Smoltz joked by saying “the sun’s getting to Millar,” but predicted that the White Sox will be competitive until September. He even compared them to last year’s Minnesota Twins team, although he isn’t quite sure if the Sox will be a playoff team just yet. However, with a little luck, Smoltz believes that they have a shot at sneaking into a Wild Card spot.
Overall, the MLB Network crew made it clear that the future is very bright and the White Sox have the pieces for a special run. The team might not quite reach the playoffs in 2018, though the possibility is not completely out of the question. With so much young talent and potential, who knows what could happen?