Big Night for the Good Guys–and the Anderson Era Begins
Friday, June 10, 2016
A Good Day’s Work
A satisfying win, a top catcher and two elite right-handed pitchers selected in the MLB draft and an Amateur City Elite (ACE) product picked with the fifth overall selection. Those were the happy headlines in the world of the White Sox yesterday.
The montage above shows a little bit of everything, from last night’s winning pitcher Miguel Gonzalez, to top Sox draft pick Zack Collins, a hard-hitting backstop chosen at No. 10 overall, and former ACE standout Corey Ray who was plucked early by the Brewers.
And things got a bit more exciting today with the promotion of No. 1 prospect Tim Anderson (his shortstop counterpart, Jimmy Rollins, was designated for assignment to make room for Tim on the 25-man roster). Anderson (pictured below) will wear No. 12.
Here’s a recap:
White Sox 3, Nationals 1
Gonzalez (1-1, 3.57) earned his first victory in a White Sox uniform with six strong innings, allowing just one run on three hits, no walks and five strikeouts in the 3-1 victory…The Sox scored their three runs in the first inning. With one out, Austin Jackson and Jose Abreu walked and with two outs, Melky Cabrera doubled to right, scoring Jackson and Abreu. Cabrera came home on Brett Lawrie’s double…The bullpen–Zach Duke (0.2 IP), Nate Jones (1.1) and David Robertson (1.0)–finished off what Gonzalez started with three scoreless innings. Robertson chalked up his 14th save.
The Sox Draft
In the words of the White Sox’ director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler, the club couldn’t be happier with their first three picks in the draft. “I couldn’t tell you how excited that room is right now,” he said about the Sox war room after the selections were made. The draft continues today and tomorrow up to 40 rounds. Day 2 coverage begins on whitesox.com and the MLB Network at 11:30 a.m. CT.
* Zack Collins, C, University of Miami
In Collins, the Sox got the man they targeted since April. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound, 21-year-old left-handed hitting junior is batting .358 with nine doubles, 13 home runs, 53 RBI, 49 runs scored, one stolen base, 69 walks, a .534 on-base percentage and .631 slugging percentage in 57 games for No. 3 Miami this season. He’s the Division I leader in walks and fifth in on-base percentage.
Collins was named First Team All-American by Baseball America and is a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award and semifinalist for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes and Dick Howser awards.
Hostetler expressed his happiness to get Zack’s catching ability and middle-of-the-order bat into the organization:
“He has great plate discipline and understands the strike zone as well as anybody. Big, raw power. This is something we’ve been looking for for a long time in our organization, and we think we found it today.”
Former major leaguer and current MLB Network analyst Sean Casey heaped praise on Collins:
“(He) has an advanced approach at the plate. He’ll be a great bat in the big leagues some day.”
Another MLB scout said that he believed Collins was the top impact bat in the draft.
Collins himself said being picked was “a dream come true” and explained the reason he was wearing a Sox cap at his celebration party was because his girlfriend bought every major-league cap just in case.
“It’s hard to explain,” Collins added. “My dad was crying tears before I was. I started hugging everybody. It’s probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had, especially in my baseball career. It’s an amazing honor to be drafted.”
Major-leaguers Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Buster Posey have influenced Collins and he revealed that some people compare his swing to Jim Thome‘s.
Take a look for yourself:
* Zack Burdi, RHP, University of Louisville
At pick No. 26 overall and their second selection of the night, the White Sox chose another Zack–right-handed pitcher Zack Burdi of the University of Louisville, a native of nearby Downers Grove, Illinois.
“We are thrilled to add Zack Burdi to our organization,” Hostetler said. “He possesses dynamic stuff with a fastball that has reached 102, a plus slider and a devastating changeup. We’ve known him for a long time, we’ve scouted him since high school, and we love his tremendous leadership and work ethic.”
Burdi, 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, went 8-3 with a 1.98 ERA, 82 strikeouts and 20 saves in 59 career appearances for Louisville. He limited opponents to a .167 average. His brother, Nick, was a second-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in the 2014 MLB Draft out of Louisville.
Others outside the organization echo Hostetler’s excitement about the White Sox drafting Burdi.
Baseball America draft expert Jim Callis, speaking on the MLB Network, said that Burdi could “be the first guy in this draft to make it to the big leagues.” Former Mets and Orioles GM Jim Duquette, now with MLB Network Radio, tweeted: “Not surprised the White Sox went here. There’s the makings of three pitches that could see him in the starting rotation.”
Being from the Chicago area, it is great to know that Burdi is a Sox fan and especially loved Mark Buehrle:
“It’s an absolute dream come true, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Chicago kid. Being a White Sox fan growing up, going to games, seeing the Konerkos and Frank Thomases, it was something I looked forward to and always wanted to be part of.”
* Alec Hansen, RHP, University of Oklahoma
With the 49th overall pick and last White Sox selection of the night, the Sox selected right-handed pitcher Alec Hansen from the University of Oklahoma. The native of Loveland, Colorado, struck out 75 batters in 51.2 innings, a 13.06 strikeout rate per nine innings.
Hostetler said that Hansen has a 97 to 100 mph fastball and at his best has four plus pitches. He added:
“Don Cooper feels there are some small mechanical adjustments that as soon as we make them, (Hansen) is going to take off.”
The Story of Corey Ray
Ray, from Simeon on the South Side, a product of the White Sox Amateur Elite Program and a star at the University of Louisville, may now be a Brewer but no one or group is as proud of Ray’s accomplishments than the Sox organization. In fact, he got a rousing ovation from the Sox war room when he was selected.
Ray becomes the highest Chicago player selected since Simeon’s Jeff Jackson was picked by the Phillies in 1989. And even more significantly, he becomes the highest draft pick to come out of the ACE program, started in 2007 to help cultivate more youth baseball participation in the inner city and provide college scholarships.
The previous highest selection was Blake Hickman, a Simeon and University of Iowa product who was picked in the seventh round by the White Sox last year. Yet another Simeon and ACE player, Darius Day, is currently in the Texas Rangers organization.
Kevin Coe, the director of youth baseball initiatives for the Sox, has been with Corey on his entire baseball journey. He was naturally emotional last night when he heard the selection. When asked how he felt about Corey being selected so high, Coe paused for about 10 seconds before answering:
“I’m speechless. This wasn’t the reason for the ACE program, It was to help kids with college scholarships, but Corey made himself into a major-league prospect. The credit goes to Jerry Reinsdorf, (scout) Nathan Durst and the whole White Sox organization. It’s unreal, unbelievable. I wasn’t this excited when I was drafted. To help develop a player like this is very satisfying. For Corey to do this is very special.”
Ray, who will certainly be an inspiration to the current and future ACE players, was a Baseball America second-team All-American as a lead-off man with 15 home runs, 60 RBI, 55 runs scored, 35 walks and 39 strikeouts in 62 games for the Cardinals.
“Hard work and surrounding myself with the right people, it has been a combination of both,” Corey told reporters last night. “I’ve had great leadership and great role models n my dad and my grandfather and the mentors who have helped me throughout the years…
“The instruction I got from (the ACE program) the places (I’ve been) and the opportunities I was given definitely helped me. And I think there will be more guys who will do great things in baseball coming out of that program because of everything the White Sox do on the South Side of Chicago.”
Sox Roster Moves
In addition to their success on the field and in the draft yesterday, the White Sox also made three significant roster moves.
–RHP Mat Latos, who signed as a free agent on February 9, was designated for assignment.
–Replacing Latos on the 25-man roster is RHP Tyler Danish (pictured above), who leads the Southern League in innings pitched for Class AA Birmingham. The 6-foot, 200-pound Danish is 21 and was the Sox’ second-round draft pick in 2013. Making his big-league debut, Danish will wear No. 60.
–The Sox also agreed to terms with first baseman Justin Morneau (pictured below) on a one-year, $1-million contract, plus incentives, and placed the former American League MVP, National League batting champion and four-time All-Star on the disabled list to continue his recovery from offseason surgery to repair the primary flexor in his left elbow.
GM Rick Hahn on Morneau: “Justin provides us with a quality veteran threat from the left side who fits in the middle of the batting order…He is close to being ready to begin a rehab assignment, and we project him available in Chicago sometime in mid-to-late July.”
Morneau, a .282 lifetime hitter with 241 homers and 960 RBI over 13 seasons with the Twins (2003-13) Pirates (2013) and Rockies (2014-15), will wear No. 44.
This Weekend’s Series vs. the Royals at U.S. Cellular Field
Tonight: (7:10 p.m. CT, CSN+). Starting Pitchers: LHP Chris Sale (9-2, 2.54) for the Sox, RHP Ian Kennedy (4-4, 3.44) for K.C.
Saturday: (1:10 p.m. CT, WGN). Starting Pitchers: LHP Jose Quintana (5-6, 2.58) for the Sox, RHP Chris Young (2-6, 6.37) for Kansas City.
Sunday: (1:10 pm. CT, CSN). Starting Pitchers: TBA for the Sox, LHP Danny Duffy (1-1, 3.35) for the Royals.
Photo of the Day
Coe and Sox icon Harold Baines represented the White Sox last night at the draft, held at the MLB Network in Secaucus, N.J.