Spring Training Takeaways: March 11, 2019

The White Sox dropped Monday’s contest 8-5. How did some of the key rebuild pieces perform?


Over the course of my few days here in Arizona, I have the ability to watch the White Sox games yesterday, today (Monday), and Tuesday. With so much of the future built on these players, I want to give the fans an update about some of the biggest things I take away from my trip here in terms of development and improvements from some of the guys. You can find my Sunday report here.

Here is my Monday report.

Pitching Performances

Dylan Covey (4 Stars): 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

It wasn’t an extensive performance for Covey, but from what was there, it was pretty darn good. His fastball was sitting at 96-97 mph, and his sinker was at about 93 with pretty decent movement.

In what was a day filled with home runs, walks, and inconsistency from both Ivan Nova and Juan Minaya, Covey’s two quick outs were welcome. Hopefully he can find himself a spot in the bullpen as a solid middle reliever. He has the stuff to do so.

Caleb Frare (4 Stars): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Frare is starting to establish himself as a potential lefty-lefty matchup option this season. He came on today for three outs, striking out Travis Shaw, getting Mike Moustakas to pop out, and getting Eric Thames to fly out. His FB sits 90-93 with some movement (typical of LHP). He located pretty well too, as you can see in the two videos below:

Aaron Bummer has struggled this Spring, and the White Sox need another LHP behind Jace Fry. It looks like Frare is beginning to earn this spot. I happen to really like Frare (plus, it doesn’t hurt that one Yankees scout said Frare was one of the “best young arms” he’d seen in the minors).

Thyago Vieira (4 Stars): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Vieira is starting to look REALLY good. After working with Jose Contreras this offseason, Vieira has seen an improvement in his command while still sitting 97-99 mph on his fastball. His changeup still needs some consistency, but Vieira is starting to look more and more like the high-quality arm we thought we got from the Mariners. Continued control of his fastball will determine his effectiveness at the major league level. I believe he’s earned the chance to start the year on the big league club.

Hitter Performances

Eloy Jimenez (2.5 Stars): 1-3, 2B, RBI, 0 BB, 1 K

Eloy Jimenez, as he has spoken about before this Spring, looks a little off at the plate. His timing is just a bit off, and it is causing him to miss some pitches. However, he continues to work the count well and has shown the ability to lay off tough pitches. He lined a double into RF later in this game, though.

Not much else to report on Eloy. He will get to work through some things the first couple weeks of the season since he will most likely be sent to AAA. But, as I saw in that last at-bat, once he’s on, he has extreme power to all fields. He will be fun to watch.

Luis Robert (3 Stars): 1-3, 1B, 0 BB, 1 K

Robert didn’t look great in his first two at-bats. He looked overmatched in his first at-bat, going down on three pitches, and while he worked the count in his second at-bat, Chacin kept Robert off balance. His third at-bat resulted in a bloop single to center.

So why would he get a high grade than Eloy today? Simply because Robert displayed the tools he has in CF. This kid is an absolute athlete in every sense of the word. He is an absolute natural in CF. He runs great routes to balls in the gaps, and he made a TERRIFIC catch in CF today, coming in on a shallow fly ball just over the infield. He ran close to 100 feet on that play, and he has incredible closing speed on a flyball.

All this kid has to do is stay healthy. He will be on the South Side soon if he does.

Micker Adolfo (3.5 Stars): 1-1, SF, RBI

Micker is a monster. Seriously, the dude is HUGE. He as a lot of power potential. In 2 AB’s today, Adolfo muscled a single into RF and just missed hitting a Grand Slam in the ninth (ball was just off the end of his bat).

Adolfo is still very raw and unpolished – which is to be expected of a player who’s only played at the A+ level. However, I could see this being a monster year for Adolfo. He worked the count well today and laid off some tough pitches. When guys like him are facing MLB pitching, that’s the best you can ask for. Adolfo is someone to keep tabs on this year.

Zack Collins (2.5 Stars): 0-0, BB

Zack Collins only had one at-bat today which resulted in a walk (typical). This grade comes mostly from his work behind the plate. There were three balls that either got behind him or squirted away from him in the dirt. Rather than drop to his knees to block the ball, Collins back-handed the ball.

Now, this evaluation may be a bit unfair – Juan Minaya was on the mound, and he was incredibly wild today. Collins spent a lot of the time setting up on the outside corner (which is something I noticed after all the wild pitches), which may be why Collins could only turn his glove to try and stop balls on the inside part of the plate from Minaya. However, because I didn’t see those specific pitches, I can’t be sure – the official scorer did rule these pitches as wild pitches, so I may be too harsh with this evaluation.

Regardless, Collins continues to have a major-league eye at the plate and still looks good behind the plate. I would love to see him get a few more innings this Spring before being sent to minor league camp.

You can check my twitter (@jlazowski14) for more thoughts/videos from today and Sunday.

Hopefully this isn’t the last report – weather isn’t looking good for tomorrow!

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