Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the season ahead. Some are competing for jobs in big league camp, others are prepping for the season as they vie for spots at Minor League affiliates up and down a team's system.
Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the season ahead. Some are competing for jobs in big league camp, others are prepping for the season as they vie for spots at Minor League affiliates up and down a team's system. MLBPipeline.com will be visiting all 30 camps this spring. Today, we check in on the Chicago White Sox.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Chris Getz was excited enough to be starting his new job as the White Sox farm director and knew he faced a steep learning curve in getting to know all the new players in the system.
• White Sox Top 30 Prospects list
:: MLB Pipeline Spring Training reports ::
That was November 1, Getz's first day on the job. Since then, of course, via two huge offseason trades, he was basically handed the keys to a player development candy store. Chris Sale and Adam Eaton netted the organization four Top 100 players and seven members of the recently released Top 30 list.
"To be able to get those guys into our system now, it certainly is very exciting for the organization as a whole, for the staff, even for the players," Getz said. "To get them out into Spring Training, getting to see them throw their sides, see them go about their work, it's a lot of fun. I couldn't wait to get out here. We're ready to get the season going as well.
"These new guys that we got, they're new to the organization, I'm new … it's almost like we're coming in together. Sometimes I feel like I'm a little more familiar with the newer guys just because we've been talking about them so much. Now to have them blend in with everyone is helping the process along."
• Q & A with Carson Fulmer
The plus stuff and tools of the players in camp will certainly help the process along. With three of those four Top 100 prospects -- Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez -- all having big league time, they came into their new organization with certain "When will they be ready?" expectations attached. There is no question the White Sox targeted elite-level talent at the upper levels, players who should help out in Chicago sooner rather than later.
But sooner doesn't have to be now, and Getz was sure to make that clear. Yes, everyone wants to see the future in Chicago, but he wants to make sure it's not at the expense of long-term growth and success. That trio in particular was thrust into the big leagues with the added pressure of a pennant race, not exactly a way to ease in.
"Now we can take a step back," Getz said. "Let's breathe a little bit, let's get comfortable with things. I think that's what we can present here in Chicago.
"We feel like they're going to let us know. We're not in a situation where we need these guys up there. Let's be patient with these guys. When we feel the time is right for the individual, then we'll make the decision to bring them up to the big leagues."
Zack attack: The 2016 Draft
With all of the buzz around the trade acquisitions, it's easy to forget about other players who are experiencing their first White Sox Spring Training: Members of the 2016 Draft class. The two first-rounders, Zack Collins, the catcher from Miami, and Zack Burdi, the reliever from Louisville, are in big league camp and have impressed, even if they're in the shadows of those other big names.
Collins was the No. 10 overall pick in the Draft, an advanced left-handed bat with power, the type of college performer who could move quickly based on his offensive tools. That will have to be balanced with his development behind the plate, with those skills not nearly as refined. He went to the Arizona Fall League last fall, not to play much, but mostly to catch bullpen sessions. The White Sox already see a difference in Collins' receiving.
"It really was to get him around advanced players, to be able to catch guys like we're talking about," Getz said about Collins' AFL experience. "I think it helped. I can tell the way he's been operating here. He's in Major League camp and he's continuing to catch Major League arms."
One of those arms will undoubtedly be Burdi. The hard-throwing reliever is a good bet to be the first member of the 2016 Draft class to reach the big leagues. His stuff is big enough to get Major League hitters out now, he was impressive in early Spring Training sessions and tossed two scoreless innings over his first two Cactus League appearances.
"The stuff plays," Getz agreed. "You look at him long term and you think, 'This is a back end of the bullpen arm.' You could probably do it right now. When the time is right, we'll have him there. He's been really impressive. When you have a guy who can hit triple digits and throw three pitches, that'll be nice to have."
Aaron Bummer might be a bit of a forgotten man, but that might not last too much longer.
Ranked No. 25 on the White Sox Top 30 Prospects list, the left-handed reliever was a 19th-round pick out of Nebraska in 2014. Bummer impressed during his summer debut, but then needed Tommy John surgery, forcing him out for all of 2015 and allowing him to collect just 16 2/3 innings in 2016. He pitched well enough in his return, however, to earn an invite to big league camp, and he stuck out four in his first two innings of Cactus League work.
Bummer has been showing a plus fastball and slider, thrown with Major League average command and good deception. It's a combination that should allow him to race up the organizational ladder in 2017, with some thinking he could help out the big league bullpen at some point this season.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.