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Young talent mirrors '93 group that won West

MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen has a prediction for the state of Major League Baseball three or four years down the line.

"In a few more years, wow," Guillen said. "This ballclub, Detroit, Kansas City, it's going to be fun to watch baseball, because all of those kids that aren't here, they're going to be playing every day."

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CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen has a prediction for the state of Major League Baseball three or four years down the line.

"In a few more years, wow," Guillen said. "This ballclub, Detroit, Kansas City, it's going to be fun to watch baseball, because all of those kids that aren't here, they're going to be playing every day."

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Guillen was one of the numerous players from the 1993 American League West champion White Sox honored on the field prior to Saturday's game with Kansas City. It was a team featuring three eventual Hall of Famers in Frank Thomas, Tim Raines and Carlton Fisk, and two eventual White Sox managers in third baseman Robin Ventura and Guillen, who led one of the more underrated World Series champions in '05.

There was plenty of talk about what made the 1993 group so special, finishing 94-68 and winning the division by eight games over Texas. But there also were almost as many questions comparing the current White Sox rebuild to how the team came together for the title run in '93.

Jack McDowell (1987), Ventura ('88), Thomas ('89) and Alex Fernandez ('90) represented four straight top picks by the organization in the MLB Draft who played key roles in '93.

"That doesn't happen too often," Thomas said. "We were all superstars in college and we came up right to the big leagues and played like big leaguers. The way they are doing it now is getting younger kids and putting them in the Minors, getting them more seasoning.

"Whatever they are doing, I'm hearing a lot of great things. Our Minor League is loaded. Potential doesn't mean anything. You have to get it done at this level. We have eight potential superstars? Maybe four or five pan out. That happens, and you have a great team."

The White Sox have done a good job of not rushing top prospects before they are absolutely ready for the big leagues, even when Major League needs might dictate a promotion. Other teams have followed similar development paths, leading to Guillen's comments about the plethora of young talent arriving in a few years.

That 1993 group developed together, and fit well together. The current White Sox hope to find the same combination in the next few years.

"We were all pulling toward the same thing, and that's really what it's all about when it comes down to it," McDowell said. "You can do anything you want individually, but you win a championship, you're the last team standing for that goal."

"It's history and pride," Thomas said. "We played very good baseball on the South Side. I see signs we'll get back there. They have some very good players in the Minor Leagues, and hopefully they develop and turn into the talent everyone says they have."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox