June 2011

Draft Production

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Impressive Production

This might surprise some of the constant critics of the White Sox farm system, but the White Sox are the only organization in baseball to have produced four major league players (current rosters) from the past three drafts (2008-10).

Three players from the 2008 draft — Gordon Beckham (first round), Brent Morel (third) and Daniel Hudson (fifth, traded to Dbacks) — are joined by Chris Sale (first round, 2010) in the big leagues.

Only Washington and Detroit have three players, while Kansas City, San Diego, Atlanta and San Francisco have two.  Fourteen clubs have one player.

So maybe one reason our farm system isn’t viewed as deep is because are draftees are already helping us win games at the major league level.

Draft Day

Monday, June 6, 2011

Draft Day

Tonight is the start of Major League Baseball’s annual June First-Year Player Draft, and the first White Sox pick (47th overall) will come at around 9:30 pm CT, sandwiched between the first and second rounds.  You can follow the draft on mlb.com and the MLB Network, and I will offer a few thoughts from inside the White Sox draft room via twitter (@whitesox).  The draft continues Tuesday and concludes Wednesday.

With Chris Sale (1st, 2010) and Gordon Beckham (1st, 2008) well along in their Major League careers, it’s pretty easy for White Sox fans to see the immediate impact of the draft.  But obviously, fans know that kind of return is rare, with most draftees taking years to reach the big leagues.

Heading into tonight, it is interesting to take a look at the White Sox 25-man roster.  A whopping 10 guys, including Sale and Beckham, were first round picks by someone.  Another, Mark Teahen, was a sandwich pick in 2002 (39th overall by the A’s), two rostered players were second rounders (Crain and Dunn) and two more were third rounders (Morel and AJ).  So 15 of the 25 players on the Sox roster were third rounders or better. 

Who is the highest pick on the current Sox roster (not counting Harold Baines who went first overall in the country in 1977)?  Would you guess it is pitcher Phil Humber, who went third in the nation in 2004 for the Mets.  The others in addition to Sale, Beckham and Humber: John Danks (first/ninth, 2003, Texas), Gavin Floyd (first/fourth, 2001, Phillies), Paul Konerko (first/13th, 1994, Dodgers), Carlos Quentin (first/29th, 2003, Dbacks), Alex Rios (first/19th, 1999, Jays), Sergio Santos (first/27th, 2002, Dbacks) and Matt Thornton (first/22nd, 1998, Seattle).

A More Important D-Day

Today really is D-Day twice over.  Not only is today Draft Day, but June 6, more importantly, is a day to commemorate, remember and thank a generation of Americans who helped fight World War II, beginning the liberation of Europe on this day 67 years ago.

Sunday Stuff

Sunday, June 5, 2011


One of this season’s “All In” television commercials features footage of the game last year when Paul Konerko was struck in the face by a pitch, yet stayed in the game and later homered.  During the spot, PK shows tiring runners a film clip of his resilience and they are motivated to keep running.

Paulie has played with an occasionally sore wrist for some time now — it’s just one of those things veteran professional players battle — but it grew worse Friday night.  Scratched from the lineup, he headed over to Rush Hospital for a procedure on the wrist.  Amazingly, we were told he could possibly pinch-hit once he re-gained feeling in the wrist.  Saturday, it was still sore and he sat out the game, but here he is Sunday, driving in a run with a first-inning double.


The June 6 edition of The Sporting News included a profile Q&A of White Sox great Robin Ventura.  Among his answers that caught my eye as “typical Robin” were …

Favorite Physical Attribute About Myself: I did make a living hitting, so my eyes — not the color but the function.

And least: I have a very large back yard — that was usually the butt of every joke.  Pardon the pun.

Robin mentioned in the piece that he bookmarks mlb.com, Baseball America and capitalonecup.com.  Other RV answers:

My bucketlist: I like sports.  Having played, now I get to go to games as a fan, and I enjoy going and watching things.

My motto: When people are stressed out, I just tell them to relax.

A perfect answer from RV, the most laid-back professional athlete I have ever met.  Check out The Sporting News for the entire interview and keep your eye open for other RV news this summer.

Lilly Bridge

Yet another amazing defensive play by infielder-turned-outfielder Brent Lillibridge last night.

The Oakland Raiders

Did you know White Sox closer Sergio Santos grew up a fan of the Oakland Raiders?  Must be something about black and silver.

Very Special Thanks

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Thank you” isn’t saying anywhere close to enough after several hundred White Sox Volunteer Corps members worked together today to renovate two local Chicago Public Schools and a Boys & Girls Club.

Several Sox players, coaches and announcers donated their time, including Matt Thornton, John Danks, Phil Humber, Brent Morel, Juan Nieves and Darrin Jackson.

The Volunteer Corps members painted, created murals, performed landscaping work and light construction to renovate and beautify all three locations … all in 95-degree heat.

Quote of the day came from a volunteer who interrupted his mural painting when Danks walked past.

“Hey, John,” the volunteer called out.  “Can I show you how to paint the corners?”

I walked into the White Sox clubhouse today to encounter clubhouse manager Vince Fresso.

“C’m here,” he said.  “Something I want to show you.”

“Is this a good thing or a bad thing?” I asked, knowing the answer.

Vince holds up John Danks’ pinstripe jersey.  A broad brush stroke of maroon paint covers the back of the jersey’s right shoulder.  Vinnie starts to laugh.

“Someone got a little too involved in today’s appearance.”

So I went to John.

“Now I have to pay for your jersey,” I joked.

“Don’t blame me, it was Thornton,” Danks responded smiling like a 10-year-old.



Big Homestand

Friday, June 3, 2011

Home Cooking

The White Sox have won three straight and 16 of 25 as they open a 10-game homestand tonight vs. the Tigers.

For whatever reason, I always like it when Mark Buehrle starts at homestand.  In this case, Mark is 16-9 with a 3.18 ERA lifetime vs. Detroit and 8-3 with a 2.93 ERA at home against the Tigers.

But the Sox have lost nine straight to Detroit.  Time to change that tune.

Minnie Driver

Actress, singer and songwriter Minnie Driver (think Good Will Hunting) will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before tonight’s game.  Earlier today, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski stopped by the TV set of Windy City Live to show Driver some tips about throwing out the first pitch.  Watch the video.  She does not need any help.

Monday Draft

Baseball’s annual First-Year Player Draft begins Monday night with Daryl Boston and Eddie Einhorn representing the team at the MLB Network studios in Seacaucus, NJ.  Without a first-round pick (lost to Washington as compensation for the signing of Adam Dunn), the first White Sox pick comes at No. 47 during the compensation round (obtained from Arizona for the Dbacks signing of J.J. Putz).  This year’s draft marks the 30th anniversary of the White Sox selecting Boston in the 1981 draft.  Watch the entire first round and compensation round coverage of the draft on MLB Network.  MLB.com will carry the entire two-day draft (50 rounds).

Vote Often

Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez headline the list of White Sox regulars who deserve consideration for this season’s All-Star Game, scheduled for July 12 in Paulie’s “hometown” of Phoenix.  Get all of your friends and family to vote early and vote often for your deserving White Sox.