Rowand mentoring young White Sox outfielders

October 29th, 2018
Former Chicago White player Sox Aaron Rowand throws out a ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game between the White Sox and the Kansas City Royals in Chicago, on Friday, July 17, 2015. Former White Sox players were there for a reunion of the 2005 World Series Championship team. (AP Photo/Jeff Haynes)Jeff Haynes/AP

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Aaron Rowand played center field with successful abandon during his 11-year Major League career. He was often referred to as the prototype behind the White Sox popular Grinder Rules developed after the 2005 World Series championship run.

The 41-year-old also enjoyed time as manager for the Glendale Desert Dogs during the 2016 Arizona Fall League. But, for now, Rowand is very content in transferring the vast knowledge gained during his stellar outfield days to White Sox Minor Leaguers as the organization's outfield and baserunning coordinator.

"I enjoy teaching and passing down information that I was taught and that I had learned over the years and try to help these guys achieve their dream," said Rowand during a recent interview at Camelback Ranch. "Getting to know all the players and the relationships with them has been awesome."

"There's a reason he was an elite center fielder, man," said outfielder Steele Walker, the team's second-round pick in the 2018 Draft. "Aaron Rowand is an absolute legend when it comes to what he knows in the outfield. The stuff that I've learned just in these two weeks is, like, incredible."

Walker worked with Rowand for two weeks in the instructional league, but the veteran has spent the last three seasons teaching. Rowand has learned a great deal as well.

, the White Sox No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, known more for his offensive prowess, has the chance to be a good outfielder. His motivation to be great will make him even better, according to Rowand.

"He has an above-average arm. He runs really well for a big guy," said Rowand of Jimenez. "It's just that we're going to continue to work on the fundamentals and the footwork part of it, and that's always going to be the challenge with a big guy.

"You saw that with when he was young. Being a big guy, footwork is everything out there. Now Avi's really turned himself into a good outfielder. I see the same path for Eloy because Eloy cares about it."

Luis Robert, the No. 4 White Sox prospect who is currently playing with Glendale in the AFL, has a "skillset through the roof" and "moves at a different pace," in Rowand's estimation. Rowand added that Robert shows no timidness, a necessity in center field.

"Once he gets more comfortable with the language it's going to be easier," Rowand said. "But his makeup is, he takes everything everybody gives to him and runs with it, and I didn't see him being tentative at all when he was out there in [the midst of] moving guys or whatever.

"Whatever outfielders that played with him and played center field as well also helped him in understanding reading tendencies, reading hitters' swings, reading bat path and bat angle and stuff to be able to get good jumps. He works on that in batting practice."

All the young outfielders rotated across the three spots in instructs, getting comfortable from left to right, with Rowand explaining he came up as a right fielder and ended up playing center field. You never know what can happen at the big league level, an attitude Rowand takes when he considers managing someday.

"Sure, if it came up, [I would consider it]" Rowand said. "I'm really enjoying what I'm doing right now. I don't have any idea of what the future looks like. I enjoy being in the clubhouse, out on the field and all those things, wherever it takes me really. Doing what I do right now has been a lot of fun."