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Basabe sidelined by broken hamate bone

MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Luis Alexander Basabe, ranked as the White Sox No. 9 prospect by MLB Pipeline, sustained a broken hamate bone in his left hand during batting practice on Monday at Camelback Ranch and he will have surgery on Wednesday in Chicago.

The switch-hitting outfielder will be out 4 to 6 weeks, and he's expected to be back in baseball mode in 12 weeks. The hamate bone will be removed during the surgery.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Luis Alexander Basabe, ranked as the White Sox No. 9 prospect by MLB Pipeline, sustained a broken hamate bone in his left hand during batting practice on Monday at Camelback Ranch and he will have surgery on Wednesday in Chicago.

The switch-hitting outfielder will be out 4 to 6 weeks, and he's expected to be back in baseball mode in 12 weeks. The hamate bone will be removed during the surgery.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"They will be able to clean it up," manager Rick Renteria said. "It will take 4 to 6 weeks to heal and then we get him back on the field. He'll be fine. He'll come out of it OK."

Basabe, 22, came to the White Sox with Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz as part of the Chris Sale trade. Basabe hit .258 with 15 home runs, 21 doubles, eight triples and 56 RBIs last season over stops at Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham.

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, Luis Alexander Basabe

Robert learning ropes from Abreu, Moncada

Rutherford receives expert advice; Fulmer feels fine
MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The clubhouse locker belonging to Luis Robert is nestled between Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada. It's a trio with the potential to stand at the center of White Sox championship contention in the not-too-distant future.

For now, these veterans and fellow Cuban natives are important sources of information for the 21-year-old Robert.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The clubhouse locker belonging to Luis Robert is nestled between Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada. It's a trio with the potential to stand at the center of White Sox championship contention in the not-too-distant future.

For now, these veterans and fellow Cuban natives are important sources of information for the 21-year-old Robert.

"Abreu is a veteran, he knows the league and he knows the things you need to do in order to get better," said Robert through interpreter Billy Russo after reporting to camp Sunday. "Moncada is a young guy, but he has experience, too.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"Because he's younger, I can relate more with him. We're always trying to have fun, but they're always giving me advice on how to think, how to get a better routine and how to get better in order to take advantage of my abilities."

Robert is built more like an NFL safety than a center fielder but enters camp with hopes for a much healthier campaign. The No. 40 prospect overall and No. 4 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline was limited to 50 games and 186 at-bats in 2018 due to a left thumb ligament sprain sustained during Spring Training and pushing his season debut to June, and another left thumb ligament sprain sustained in-season at the end of June.

Video: White Sox settling into Spring Training

Getting 74 at-bats for Glendale in the Arizona Fall League helped Robert make up for lost time, hitting .324 with two home runs. He no longer felt soreness in his wrist, coming from compensating for the thumb soreness and sapping his power with Robert finding it tough to extend on his swing.

"When I started playing in the Fall League, my wrist and my thumb were perfect. I was playing pain-free and that was very important for me to have those stats, those results," Robert said. "When the season ended and I had a few weeks to rest before the Fall League, I think that rest helped the wrist and the thumb become completely healthy and strong."

Rutherford getting expert advice
Blake Rutherford, the No. 7 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, had a pretty good workout group to learn from this past offseason. That crew consisted of National League Most Valuable Player Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun, Mike Moustakas, Tyler Saladino and Trevor Plouffe.

The California natives worked out together, hit together and threw together at the Easton Baseball Headquarters in Thousand Oaks, Calif. By the time Rutherford was departing, the group was going four times per week.

"Not only Christian but watching all those guys go about their work on a day-to-day basis and see how they prepare and talk to them about hitting and their mindset, I was excited for the opportunity again," Rutherford said. "They have a lot of fun.

Video: Chris Getz on White Sox prospect Blake Rutherford

"They mess with each other a lot. But when it comes down to business, they helped me a lot with my swing and I would just kind of watch, and we were all just working on stuff the whole offseason. I got a lot better working with those guys."

Rutherford has been working with Yelich since being drafted by the Yankees in 2016.

"Last year we got close, and this year he's almost like a bigger brother to me just looking out for me, talking and hanging out," Rutherford said. "It's been a lot of fun continuing to watch him have great years and continuing to learn from him and see the changes he makes in his game."

Fulmer feeling good
It was just his first live batting practice session of Spring Training, but Carson Fulmer had a tough time containing how good he was feeling.

"I feel so much better. My command is on point," Fulmer said. "I got ahead of a lot of hitters. I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes. I can't ask for anything else.

Tweet from @whitesox: .@Carson_Fulmer throwing live BP at #SoxSpringTraining. pic.twitter.com/KVKpnIprTw

"It feels like I have my velocity back, my jump. Just something I had to work on this offseason and definitely see it here in camp."

Fulmer has returned to the delivery used when he excelled at Vanderbilt. He reached that point after going over a great deal of video in the offseason, including video from his work at Driveline Baseball in Seattle.

"I've always been a guy who likes to get down the mound pretty quick," Fulmer said. "It's all coming together. The first two bullpens were really good and today was even better. I think it's going to be a really good year for me."

They said it
"He's throwing a no-hitter." -- one White Sox hitter after Randall Delgado's first round of live BP on Sunday

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, Luis Robert

Kopech feels good enough to pitch, but won't

White Sox prospect plays catch, remains on track in rehab process
MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- How good does Michael Kopech feel approximately five months removed from Tommy John surgery?

Let the 22-year-old right-hander explain those positive vibes from White Sox camp on Friday morning at Camelback Ranch.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- How good does Michael Kopech feel approximately five months removed from Tommy John surgery?

Let the 22-year-old right-hander explain those positive vibes from White Sox camp on Friday morning at Camelback Ranch.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I feel like I could pitch if I needed to," said Kopech, ranked as the club's No. 2 prospect and baseball's No. 18 overall by MLB Pipeline. "But honestly, I know that's not in the cards."

Kopech won't pitch during the 2019 season after having a UCL tear repaired last September. He remains on track in his rehab process after playing catch again on Friday.

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He's throwing at about 50 percent, "easing up on the throttle," as described by Kopech. The goal is nothing too strenuous at this point, but just getting his arm used to what it needs to be doing in the early stages.

"It's baby steps and it's looking at every progression as a stepping stone, and not being too worried about how small the steps are," Kopech said. "I know that the throwing I'm doing right now doesn't look very significant from the outside looking in, but to me it's a very big step.

Video: Kopech is back to throwing

"So, I'm excited about where I'm at. I know we've got a longways to go, but I feel good for the time being."

Carlos Rodon is one of those White Sox hurlers who can relate to the process Kopech is following. The southpaw had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder at the end of the 2017 season, and Rodon didn't return to the mound for Chicago until June 9, 2018.

As Rodon explained, some guys coming off an injury want to go hard and lift big, and those are the same guys that might need to be pulled back a little bit. That responsibility falls upon trainers and strength coaches, with Rodon adding he never wants to tell a guy to back down.

"I've been here for about a month now and he was here before me. He already has his whole routine," Rodon said. "Kopech is a guy you are not going to worry about because he's a guy who works so hard that you know he's going to come back probably even stronger."

"We'll be the ones who slow it down," manager Rick Renteria said. "We understand it. Every player who has ever put on a uniform wants to get back on the field and do everything they can. He's no different. He's actually a little more driven than most."

Getting to throw for Kopech was both relieving and filled a void that was missing as he watched his teammates work on a daily basis. Kopech points to bullpens as his next milestone, although he doesn't know when that time comes.

In the long run, as in next February when he's fully back in action, Kopech will be better for having gone through the process.

"Yeah, I'm probably doing a lot more of the tedious stuff I didn't do so well before," Kopech said. "I'm going to be better in the long run because of it and not going to have to really worry about what the future is going to be.

"More cautious on my shoulder program, really just more caution. I feel like I did everything pretty well before. Maybe I went a little too fast on reps when I was doing the shoulder program. Maybe I didn't really activate my [scapula] the way I needed to. It's just the small stuff that I didn't really focus on before that I am now, that will pay off in the long run."

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, Michael Kopech

White Sox prospect Burger on comeback trail

Third baseman hitting in cages, doing some pre-running work
MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jake Burger steps into the batting cages at the Camelback Ranch complex and rips off a series of line drives.

Even though the White Sox top pick in the 2017 MLB Draft has been sidelined for almost one year because of two different left Achilles ruptures, and he is not part of big league camp in Spring Training, it's no surprise to anyone he's swinging with such gusto.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jake Burger steps into the batting cages at the Camelback Ranch complex and rips off a series of line drives.

Even though the White Sox top pick in the 2017 MLB Draft has been sidelined for almost one year because of two different left Achilles ruptures, and he is not part of big league camp in Spring Training, it's no surprise to anyone he's swinging with such gusto.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I just feel like the ball is jumping off of my bat. I'm feeling really good," Burger told MLB.com after his Wednesday workout. "Swing is feeling great. Really don't think I've lost anything in that aspect. I think I've gained some stuff, too, learning the game a little more."

"He could fall out of bed and hit," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said of the club's No. 13 prospect per MLB Pipeline. "That was always the case with Jake Burger. He's got a compact, powerful stroke that we really didn't think he was going to lose because of the time off because of the Achilles."

Burger sustained the second rupture in early May after simply walking in his Arizona backyard while wearing sandals. If a second rupture was going to happen, it came at a time for the third baseman where it really didn't alter his rehab program too much.

But it was the mental part of the injuries getting to Burger as much as the intense physical work needed to slowly get back to baseball. Burger understands the inherent injury risk every time he steps on the field, but when it happens at home, there's a hesitancy to do certain things and take certain steps.

Luckily the 22-year-old had a great support system. Burger pointed to director of player development Chris Getz and the White Sox training staff. Burger also credited his parents and sister, as well as friends and former teammates from Missouri State.

"We went through a lot together at Missouri State, two Super Regionals," Burger said. "We always look at each other like family."

There also was a de facto support group comprised of rehabbing White Sox prospects Zack Burdi, Andre Davis and J.B. Olson. They held each other accountable, picked each other up, and were able to vent among the group.

Hitting started for Burger in November, throwing started about the same time, and he's now doing some pre-running work. There's a target of June 1 for Burger's return to an affiliate, but Hahn admitted that date could come later or move up a bit.

"Day by day, my body and my mind will tell me when I'm ready," Burger said. "That's the bottom line. I don't want to come back and go into it at 80 percent. I want to be 100 percent mentally and physically."

This recovered version of Burger also should be more polished. As Burger joked, he's done more than Twitter polls and Fortnite during this time off.

His legs are stronger, helping him get his legs more a part of his swing. He's worked on driving the ball more to right, his grip strength is the best it has been in his career, and he's watched a great deal of baseball trying to pick up the game's nuances.

Remember that support group with pitchers Burdi, Davis and Olson? Well, he's been able to pick their brains as to how they attack hitters in certain situations.

Third base remains in Burger's mind, as he's worked into solid shape with the help of a Peloton. But Burger is ready for anything the White Sox need once he comes back, a comeback he is doing for himself, for the team and for the plethora of fans who supported him.

"We've still got work to do," Burger said. "I feel like I'm setting myself up for success, hopefully, here in the next couple of months."

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

Kopech playing catch as he begins long rehab

White Sox pitching prospect underwent TJ surgery in September
MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Michael Kopech played catch again Wednesday on a back field of the White Sox complex at Camelback Ranch as part of his rehab work following Tommy John surgery last September to repair an ulnar collateral ligament tear.

General manager Rick Hahn said the right-hander is exactly where he should be right now.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Michael Kopech played catch again Wednesday on a back field of the White Sox complex at Camelback Ranch as part of his rehab work following Tommy John surgery last September to repair an ulnar collateral ligament tear.

General manager Rick Hahn said the right-hander is exactly where he should be right now.

"Physically he's in a very good spot, and mentally we have to keep him in a good spot," Hahn said. "The rehab from this procedure obviously is very precise and very proven. But it's difficult to keep mentally focused through the whole period.

"In reality, he needs to be on one of those mounds a year from today, and he's well on his way to doing that. There is no need to accelerate the thing whatsoever. From time to time, we might need to remind Michael of what the actual goal is. He's eager to get back."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

That eagerness or high level of competitiveness only will help Kopech in this recovery, per White Sox manager Rick Renteria.

"His personality is one that drives him to even speed it up, at which point in time we're going to slow him down, obviously," Renteria said. "But to say that I would want somebody to be less driven than him? No, not at all. I'm glad that he's driven to be who he is, and that he wants to be out on the mound, and it will be up to us to slow him down when we need to."

Kopech is ranked as the 18th-best prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline.

Video: Renteria discusses talented Moncada's improvement

Moncada drawing Renteria's focus
Renteria pointed to how Yoan Moncada continues to improve as one major thing he would be curious about during the upcoming weeks at Spring Training.

"I know he's been very conscientious about what he wants to do over the course of the winter to get himself ready for the coming season," Renteria said. "A lot of young new guys in our organization, some pitching we've acquired, I'd like to see all those guys."

More than anything, Renteria believes the organization is in a different phase entering this season coming off of a 62-100 effort in 2018. So he's studying how some of these younger players step forward.

"We expect a lot. We don't sell ourselves short," Renteria said. "We're going to shoot high and there's a way you go about doing that. I think these guys, once they are all together and we have our initial big meeting, it should be a pretty good one and we'll have insight as to how we want to move forward."

Tweet from @whitesox: Back in action. #SoxSpringTraining pic.twitter.com/hP93p4kS3Y

Side sessions start camp
Carlos Rodon, Carson Fulmer and MLB Pipeline's Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Dylan Cease, were three of the hurlers who threw bullpens during Wednesday's first day of White Sox camp. A fully healthy Rodon looks to be the early favorite to get the Opening Day nod at Kansas City.

"It's fun to see Carlos out there now," Hahn said. "He looks free and easy. Ricky and I were talking about it during his sideline just a few minutes ago. He looks very comfortable. He's coming in here just like any other pitcher.

"You can tell that the psychological burden of being hurt or recovering is gone. He's ready to take that next step in his career now. Knock on wood he looks good. He's in a really good spot to take off on some of the success he's been able to piece together while healthy the last couple of years."

Tweet from @whitesox: .@DylanCease kicked off #SoxSpringTraining looking 🔥������ pic.twitter.com/wbMqHgh1Lh

McCann maintains Central focus
After playing the first five years of his career with Detroit, catcher James McCann stayed with the familiarity of the American League Central by joining the White Sox via free agency.

"It's definitely a bonus. I can't lie," McCann said. "When the White Sox came calling it was definitely intriguing to be able to stay in the AL Central and to play the Tigers 19 times.

"Most important for me in Spring Training is to learn the new guys, what makes them tick and their repertoire. Being here and getting to meet guys in an atmosphere where we're not competing against each other has been crucial."

They said it
"I think it's going to be exciting. I think the guys are ready to go. You look all around here, I got here at 6:30 [a.m.] and all the guys were pretty much here. That shows you the attitude and how we're going to go about things this year." -- Yonder Alonso, on the team's excitement for 2019

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, Michael Kopech

Kopech clears hurdle with throwing session

White Sox prospect will miss 2019 after Tommy John surgery
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- White Sox right-hander Michael Kopech, ranked as the No. 18 prospect overall and the club's No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, participated in his first throwing session since undergoing Tommy John surgery last September.

The session took place at the team's Spring Training facility in Glendale, Ariz.

CHICAGO -- White Sox right-hander Michael Kopech, ranked as the No. 18 prospect overall and the club's No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, participated in his first throwing session since undergoing Tommy John surgery last September.

The session took place at the team's Spring Training facility in Glendale, Ariz.

"Today's like that milestone, that first little hurdle to jump before everything kind of starts to take off," Kopech said in a video of the throwing session provided by the White Sox. "Ultimately a year from now, I know that I'm going to be better because of all these minor tweaks.

"These tweaks are going to be what makes me the type of pitcher I want to become in the future, which is top-of-the-rotation caliber and a pitcher that helps us win a World Series."

Kopech, 22, made four starts for the White Sox after being called up from Triple-A Charlotte last season, posting a 5.02 ERA with 15 strikeouts and two walks in 14 1/3 innings. He allowed four home runs and seven runs over 3 1/3 innings at home against the Tigers on Sept. 5, and it was two days later when general manager Rick Hahn announced Kopech sustained a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament and he would be lost for the 2019 season following surgery.

Hahn pointed to boredom as the biggest challenge Kopech will face as he works his way back this season. But Kopech seems to be on the right path and a good path in the recovery.

"I'm feeling good," Kopech said at SoxFest. "I've put myself in a good position with the rehab I've done down there in Arizona and in L.A. this offseason. I'm in about as good of a position as I can be.

"I mean, I'm going to get to watch these guys go out there and compete, and it's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be tough to sit back and not participate, but I'm going to be the biggest cheerleader there is."

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, Michael Kopech

Kopech was once outdueled by this quarterback

NFL MVP and White Sox top pitching prospect were high school rivals in Texas
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Patrick Mahomes II was given the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award on Saturday in Atlanta, after throwing for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns and propelling the Kansas City Chiefs to the AFC Championship Game this season.

But to Michael Kopech, the White Sox top pitching prospect and a friend of Mahomes from their youth in Texas, Mahomes always was a baseball guy.

CHICAGO -- Patrick Mahomes II was given the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award on Saturday in Atlanta, after throwing for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns and propelling the Kansas City Chiefs to the AFC Championship Game this season.

But to Michael Kopech, the White Sox top pitching prospect and a friend of Mahomes from their youth in Texas, Mahomes always was a baseball guy.

"In my opinion, Pat Mahomes the pitcher also plays football," Kopech said during a SoxFest interview. "To everybody else, it was probably the other way around.

"I thought he was going to sign when he got drafted. I thought he would get drafted higher than he did, but he wanted to play football. He knew what he wanted to do and obviously that's panning out for him pretty well."

Tweet from @MichaelKopech5: .@PatrickMahomes5 I remember when that was a baseball & it was 95 MPH #DamnSon https://t.co/dfTro8g3QO

Kopech, 22, says the duo's competitive friendship took root when they were 8 or 9 years old. They would begin to pitch against each other as they grew older and developed their craft. Although Kopech went to Mount Pleasant High School and Mahomes attended Whitehouse -- schools not in the same conference -- they became big rivals, according to Kopech.

"For some reason, we really hated their team, and I don't know if their team hated our team back," Kopech said. "We really decided that we wanted to beat Whitehouse more than any other team we played. We were able to really compete but kind of build a friendship out of everything because we knew that we wanted to compete at the next level. It was much deeper than a high school baseball game for both of us. Those were always the most fun games, pitching against him."

Quite possibly their most memorable matchup came in early March 2014, when Mahomes outdueled Kopech in a 2-1 victory. According to various news reports, Mahomes threw a no-hitter, struck out 16 and touched 92 to 95 mph on the radar gun. Kopech reached 98 mph and struck out 12.

At the plate in that game, Kopech struck out in all three at-bats and Mahomes reached on an error and struck out twice. Kopech texted with Mahomes before sitting down for this interview, and Mahomes wanted it to be known that he took Kopech deep on a couple of occasions -- a statistic that a smiling Kopech would not corroborate.

Tweet from @PatrickMahomes5: I got the 🔥 never was good on throwing the strikes lol https://t.co/3OsF8Ul9l6

What he would talk about is the immense number of scouts in attendance for that contest. Game coverage lists the total at around three dozen, but Kopech believes there were more.

"If I had to guess how many scouts were there? 60, at least," Kopech said. "There's a picture of it somewhere, and you just see waves of radar guns.

"That's a Top 5 [game] for me. I know that's kind of silly to say. It's a high school game and I've pitched in so many. I will never forget that game. It was a lot of fun."

Unfortunately for Kopech, he actually got ejected with two outs in the seventh after trying to mediate a dispute between his teammate and an opposing player at second.

Mahomes was selected by the Tigers in the 37th round of the 2014 Draft, but he elected to play football at Texas Tech instead of following the career path of his dad, Pat, who pitched in 308 games over 11 big league seasons. Kopech was selected 33rd overall by the Red Sox in the same Draft and now stands as a potential future White Sox ace after coming to Chicago in the Chris Sale trade.

Video: NYY@KC: Chiefs QB Mahomes throws out first pitch

There's a big part of Kopech that is happy for Mahomes' great success. But on a much smaller level, he misses their baseball rivalry.

"Once he has his MVP and the NFL Hall of Fame, once he's done with all that, he's going to come play baseball," Kopech said. "We'll do it again. In the back of my mind, I still think he's going to come back and play.

"We really pull for each other. There's not many guys who come out of the 903 area, as we call it. To see him perform at the highest level -- and hopefully me being back there pretty soon -- it's pretty cool for both of us."

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, Michael Kopech

Dunning, Burdi to begin year in Minors camp

Prospects both working their way back from elbow injuries
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Dane Dunning, who was rated No. 80 by MLB Pipeline in the 2019 preseason Top 100 prospects list released Saturday night, and Zack Burdi, sitting No. 17 among White Sox prospects, were not invited to Chicago's big league Spring Training.

Burdi had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on July 27, 2017, but made seven relief appearances for the Arizona Rookie League affiliate in '18 and continued working in the instructional league. Dunning continues his way back from a moderate right elbow sprain which ended a promising 2018 season at Double-A Birmingham on June 23, which also included pitching during instructs in October.

CHICAGO -- Dane Dunning, who was rated No. 80 by MLB Pipeline in the 2019 preseason Top 100 prospects list released Saturday night, and Zack Burdi, sitting No. 17 among White Sox prospects, were not invited to Chicago's big league Spring Training.

Burdi had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on July 27, 2017, but made seven relief appearances for the Arizona Rookie League affiliate in '18 and continued working in the instructional league. Dunning continues his way back from a moderate right elbow sprain which ended a promising 2018 season at Double-A Birmingham on June 23, which also included pitching during instructs in October.

But their lack of an invite should not be construed as a problem in the pitchers' recovery.

"They're healthy, ready to go," said White Sox director of player development Chris Getz, who talked to both players about the plan during a prospect trip to the Dominican Republic last week. "There's no hesitation with those guys. They're on normal progression right now.

"The thought of them going to minicamp instead of Major League camp was because of what they went through last year. The environment was the best route for them. 2019 is an important year, so let's get off on the right foot in an environment where they can control their intensity."

Banuelos in play at No. 5
Keep an eye on left-hander Manny Banuelos as the leading candidate for the White Sox fifth starter. There was enough interest in the one-time highly-touted prospect to make a trade with the Dodgers for the 27-year-old on Nov. 1, instead of waiting for him to possibly be non-tendered.

"When we were viewing that [prospective non-tender] list with our scouts, [scout] Bill Young was the one who pounded the table and said this kid is back to who he was before. He can help us now," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "We made a small trade for him with the Dodgers and added him to the 40-man [roster] ourselves to sort of beat that market."

Banuelos is out of options. So, the White Sox will have to decide on keeping him by the end of camp. The southpaw, who primarily will be competing with Dylan Covey for a rotation spot as of now, could work out of the bullpen as well.

Third to first
• Catchers Zack Collins and Seby Zavala will open the 2019 season with Triple-A Charlotte, as announced by Getz during Sunday's final SoxFest seminar at the Hilton Chicago. Right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease, ranked No. 21 in the latest Top 100 list, also will begin with the Knights but could move quickly to the big league club.

"He's a very level-headed kid. Very competitive," said Getz of Cease. "Has a very good understanding of himself. We'll see how it goes in Spring Training. I have a lot of confidence in Dylan Cease."

Video: Mayo on No. 21 prospect Dylan Cease's potential

• Getz had praise for the offseason work put in by Eloy Jimenez, the team's top prospect and No. 3 overall per MLB Pipeline.

"He's really taken his nutrition seriously," Getz said. "His body is in great shape and I think we will see that in the field this year."

Video: MLB Network on talent of No. 3 prospect Eloy Jimenez

Yonder Alonso made it through an entire seminar Sunday without being asked about his brother-in-law, Manny Machado. The first fan question he received dealt with comparing the Cleveland atmosphere, where he played in 2018, to the White Sox.

"God bless you for that question," a smiling Alonso said. "I was not expecting that."

Hahn talks Machado, next steps at SoxFest

Alonso, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu Facetimed Machado during SoxFest opening ceremonies. Moncada said they told Machado how much they wanted him and needed him with the White Sox.

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, Dane Dunning

Eloy among 6 Sox prospects in Pipeline Top 100

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Six White Sox players placed in MLB Pipeline's Top 100 preseason prospect list for 2019, as announced on MLB Network Saturday night, topped by outfielder Eloy Jimenez checking in at No. 3.

Jimenez trails the Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and San Diego's Fernando Tatis Jr., who originally was signed by the White Sox and then traded for James Shields on June 4, 2016.

CHICAGO -- Six White Sox players placed in MLB Pipeline's Top 100 preseason prospect list for 2019, as announced on MLB Network Saturday night, topped by outfielder Eloy Jimenez checking in at No. 3.

Jimenez trails the Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and San Diego's Fernando Tatis Jr., who originally was signed by the White Sox and then traded for James Shields on June 4, 2016.

:: Complete 2019 Top 100 Prospects coverage ::

"I've been working on my defense," said Jimenez during this weekend's SoxFest in Chicago and before the Top 100 list was announced. "I want to be a complete player, like not just hitting. I want to play defense, too."

The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLB Pipeline Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams.

Only players with rookie status entering the 2019 season are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 25 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.

Other White Sox prospects joining Jimenez in the Top 100 are right-hander Michael Kopech at No. 18, right-hander Dylan Cease at No. 21, outfielder Luis Robert at No. 40, infielder Nick Madrigal at No. 47 and right-hander Dane Dunning at No. 80. Everyone but Dunning is attending the sold-out SoxFest event this weekend at the Hilton Chicago, creating a buzz well beyond fans' hopes to hear of a Manny Machado or Bryce Harper free-agent signing.

Video: Kopech on his recovery from Tommy John surgery

Kopech aims to get better during injury rehab

Dunning also will be the only one of these six not to be part of White Sox big league camp, beginning on Feb. 13 when pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. The right-hander is coming off a moderate elbow sprain ending his '18 season with Double-A Birmingham on June 23 but has progressed nicely with his most recent work coming during instructional league action.

With the White Sox knowing Dunning will start the 2019 season at Double-A Birmingham, a point general manager Rick Hahn made this weekend, they felt the Minor League mini-camp represents the best environment and pace for him to progress toward Opening Day.

Video: Top Prospects: Dane Dunning, RHP, White Sox

The White Sox system ranks third at 397 prospect points with that total arising from each prospect on the list being assigned a point value beginning with 100 for No. 1, 99 for No. 2 and right on down the line. Their six prospects ranked in the Top 100 leave them tied with the Rays and Astros for third. San Diego checks in with 10 at No. 1, followed by the Braves with eight.

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, Eloy Jimenez

Kopech aims to get better during injury rehab

Righty plans to tweak pitches in recovery from TJ surgery
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- White Sox right-hander Michael Kopech knows it's going to be "god awful" not to be able to pitch in 2019 as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery.

But in describing his current demeanor as "optimistic," Kopech also plans to take advantage of this time away.

CHICAGO -- White Sox right-hander Michael Kopech knows it's going to be "god awful" not to be able to pitch in 2019 as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery.

But in describing his current demeanor as "optimistic," Kopech also plans to take advantage of this time away.

"It's also a blessing," said Kopech, ranked as the club's No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline. "I have a lot of time off, but I have a lot of time to get better.

"I went to the big leagues with practically a non-existent changeup. That's one of the focal points of my rehab. Between that and a few other things, I'm going to try to take advantage of this time off."

Kopech, 22, isn't really working on anything at this point as he's not yet cleared to throw.

"I'll tweak other pitches, and command will be a big part of it, especially not really knowing how my command is going to be when I first come back," Kopech said. "It's going to be a lot that goes into it, but I'm not quite sure yet.

"This is an injury that happens probably way too often nowadays. Now I'm part of the statistic, and to see the success rate of people coming back, I'm glad that the numbers are where they are at. I know I'm too stubborn to not come back as strong as I was. I feel like I could be ahead of schedule, but there's no point in rushing it. There's not a chance I come back this year anyway."

Cease ready for action
Ask No. 3 prospect Dylan Cease, the reigning Minor League Pitcher of the Year per MLB Pipeline, if he needs to start the 2019 season at Double-A Birmingham, and the right-hander will rely on an old adage in response.

"Above my pay grade," Cease said. "I'm ready to go wherever they put me and execute pitches where they put me."

Video: Alonso, Sanchez, Anderson and Cease on preparation

Cease, 23, finished 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA between stops at Birmingham and Class A Advanced Winston-Salem last season. He fanned 160 over 124 innings, held opponents to a .189 average and featured a 1.06 WHIP. Those 124 innings represent Cease's highest single-season total, and with just 10 starts for the Barons, patience is understandable with this front-of-the-rotation type starter.

"You are forced to have patience, so my patience is however long it takes," Cease said. "A couple things came together where I had pretty good fastball command, had a good feel for my offspeed, was able to throw it in any count. All I did was focus on executing pitches and let everything else play out."

"His time is coming," pitching coach Don Cooper said. "It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when Dylan's going to come. My eyes tell me he's got a big, bright future."

Anderson giving back
Tim Anderson recently completed his first youth baseball camp at Hillcrest High School, his alma mater in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and he had nothing but positive vibes concerning the one-day event brought about by his League of Leaders foundation.

"I'm trying to spread baseball out to my community and the youth of my area," Anderson said. "Baseball is not a big deal there or everybody doesn't pay attention to baseball there. We only know Alabama football."

Anderson had somewhere around 80 kids participate. He also sponsored 30 or 40 kids to take part in the event, while working with a number of local baseball coaches. He hopes to move the camp to two days next year and possibly even bring some version to the Chicago area.

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, Tim Anderson, Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech

Madrigal set to get back in full baseball mode

White Sox No. 5 prospect ahead of curve after first pro season
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The 2018 baseball season marked a long but productive one for Nick Madrigal.

Despite fracturing a bone in his left wrist, Madrigal hit .367 with 42 runs scored, 34 RBIs, 16 combined extra-base hits, 15 stolen bases and a mere seven strikeouts over 180 at-bats in helping Oregon State to the College World Series championship. As the fourth pick overall by the White Sox in the 2018 MLB Draft, Madrigal hit .303 with 25 runs scored, 16 RBIs and five strikeouts in 155 at-bats split between three Minor League stops.

CHICAGO -- The 2018 baseball season marked a long but productive one for Nick Madrigal.

Despite fracturing a bone in his left wrist, Madrigal hit .367 with 42 runs scored, 34 RBIs, 16 combined extra-base hits, 15 stolen bases and a mere seven strikeouts over 180 at-bats in helping Oregon State to the College World Series championship. As the fourth pick overall by the White Sox in the 2018 MLB Draft, Madrigal hit .303 with 25 runs scored, 16 RBIs and five strikeouts in 155 at-bats split between three Minor League stops.

Madrigal, ranked the club's No. 5 prospect and named to the 2019 All-Defense Team by MLB Pipeline, finally got a break beginning in early October following instructional league action in Arizona, spending time with his family and taking a trip to Hawaii with his girlfriend. But with Spring Training approximately one month away, the talented middle infielder is ready for action after letting his body heal a little bit.

"Toward the end, my body was pretty beat up like everyone else," Madrigal told MLB.com before joining his friends and teammates on a White Sox Minor League trip to the Dominican Republic departing on Monday. "You go through a long season and you are going to have little kinks and stuff.

"Once I got the time off and got back in the weight room, it was nice to get back in there. I enjoy preparing for the season and taking ground balls, hitting, weight room. I love doing that stuff. Once I got the break I needed, I was ready to get back into it. I don't need any more time off."

Video: CLE@CWS: First round pick Madrigal joins Sox booth

Class A Advanced Winston-Salem became Madrigal's highest level of competition in 2018, with 98 at-bats and 26 games played. Yet there has been some mentions of Madrigal rising to the White Sox infield as quickly as later this season.

Of course, the possible free-agent signing of infielder Manny Machado immediately would change that configuration in the short term and long term. And while the White Sox appreciate the advanced status of Madrigal as a three-year college starter, there's no reason to rush him to the Majors.

"He's got a really good sense of how to play the game," said White Sox director of player development Chris Getz, who also is part of the Dominican trip. "He's got a really strong feel of his skill set. Therefore, he certainly is ahead of others. With that being said, we are just getting him started.

"Last year, he was just getting a taste of professional baseball after having a long successful college season. He's just experiencing his first offseason as well and now going into his first Spring Training. There's certainly no reason to get ahead of ourselves, or he needs to get ahead of himself. It's pure preparation mode and I'm sure he's champing at the bit to get that first full pro season under his belt."

There's very little worry on Madrigal's part as to what level he will begin at in 2019 or whether he's at second or shortstop, taking ground balls at both spots as he prepares while working with his dad. He's more focused on getting back with his friends and playing White Sox baseball.

"They are the core group of players and know we are the ones who are going to change it with the people they are bringing in," Madrigal said. "Everyone knows [the White Sox] have a plan, and we are not afraid to talk about it.

"We know that something hopefully soon is coming and it's all exciting. Not one person in the organization is questioning it or what's going to happen here. It's exciting to see what happens."

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

Inbox: What's the latest on free-agent pursuits?

White Sox beat reporter Scott Merkin answers fans' questions
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Here's this week's White Sox inquiries.

What is the realistic possibility that the White Sox sign both Manny Machado AND Bryce Harper? What if the two premier free agents said they would sign with us only if we took them both?
-- Bryan, Big Spring, Texas

CHICAGO -- Here's this week's White Sox inquiries.

What is the realistic possibility that the White Sox sign both Manny Machado AND Bryce Harper? What if the two premier free agents said they would sign with us only if we took them both?
-- Bryan, Big Spring, Texas

I never really thought both players would end up on the same team, and this is not an NBA sort of situation where players go together to form a super team. With that said, the White Sox are positioned payroll-wise to make significant pushes for Machado and Harper, which they already have, and handle the large amount of money needed to sign both.

Merk, I'll save everyone time: When are we signing Machado? -- @MikeSox56

I know the answer, Mike, but I can't tell you. I'm kidding, of course. Most teams are reporting to camp around Feb. 13-14, so there's still some time for negotiations involving both players. But I'm going to guess Machado will pick a team prior to SoxFest from Jan. 25-27.

:: Submit a question to the White Sox Inbox ::

In an effort to convince Machado to sign, will the White Sox hire his dog to check the quality of the grass in center field? -- @JJHantsch

There's no confirmation the Machados even have a dog. First baseman/designated hitter Yonder Alonso (brother-in-law) and outfielder Jon Jay (friend) have received a great deal of publicity for their personal connection to Machado, but they both help the White Sox at this stage of the organization's rebuild regardless of Machado's decision.

For the outfielders not already inked into the 2020-22 lineups (presumably Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert), who is the most likely to play as a regular for the Sox: Blake Rutherford, Luis Alexander Basabe, Micker Adolfo, Luis Gonzalez or Steele Walker? -- @junkcycle

This isn't meant to be a cop out, but they all have chances to contribute. I believe Adolfo, at 100 percent, has a chance to be a star. I've felt that way since I first saw him playing during instructional league action a few years ago.

Does Rutherford have a shot at right field in 2019? -- @jrj360guy

Rutherford had a great season in 2018, flashing some extra-base power with 25 doubles, nine triples and seven home runs to go with 78 RBIs at Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. But the White Sox have stuck fervently by the plan not to rush any prospects, including Rutherford, who I don't see being in the Majors in '19.

Have there been any rumblings in another starter? A guy like Gio Gonzalez or Brett Anderson makes a lot of sense from the outside looking in. -- @dbh1127

If his great progress continues from last year, Dylan Cease will join Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez, Ivan Nova and Lucas Giolito sooner than later in the 2019 rotation. Other pitchers will be added to compete with Manny Banuelos, Dylan Covey and Jordan Stephens for that fifth spot, even if it ends up coming through the non-roster variety.

Video: White Sox prospect Cease excited to attend RDCP

Would the signing of Machado be a sign that the Sox think they can be a contender in 2019 in the same way that the Bears' signing of Khalil Mack was an indicator that the Bears felt they were ready to contend this past season? -- Sol B., New York

The Bears did go from a stretch of four straight last-place finishes to winning the division, and Mack played a huge role in that transformation. So anything is possible. Let's be realistic in that the White Sox lost 100 games in 2018, so that's quite a jump, and the Twins and Indians still have solid rosters. But that goal of the White Sox being competitive put forth by general manager Rick Hahn at the end of last season receives a serious boost with the addition of Machado or Harper -- or dare I say both.

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

Prospect Collins: 'I'm going to try to break camp'

MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Discussions concerning White Sox catching for the 2019 season understandably center upon incumbents Welington Castillo and Omar Narvaez.

But Zack Collins, the team's top pick in the 2016 Draft and future behind the plate, intends on interjecting his name into the conversation.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Discussions concerning White Sox catching for the 2019 season understandably center upon incumbents Welington Castillo and Omar Narvaez.

But Zack Collins, the team's top pick in the 2016 Draft and future behind the plate, intends on interjecting his name into the conversation.

"I'm going to try to break camp," Collins told MLB.com during a recent interview in Arizona. "Sometimes you can hit .500 in Spring Training and still not make the team, but I'm going to give it my all.

"Yeah, obviously there's still some development. If they didn't call up Eloy [Jimenez] last year in the last whatever, then I don't really have anything to say. The guy hit [.355] in Triple-A. So trying not to rush the process or think about that, but obviously, I'm going to try to make the team every chance I get."

Collins, 23, most likely won't start the 2019 season with the White Sox, but he made considerable strides last season within and beyond the numbers. He finished with a .234 average and 158 strikeouts over 418 at-bats for Double-A Birmingham, but the organization's No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline worked his way back from a season-opening 2-for-37 slump. Collins also posted a Southern League-best 101 walks, and his .382 on-base percentage left him tied for second overall.

Tweet from @BhamBarons: August 10: The Barons set a season-high for runs in an inning with 10 runs in the 9th inning of an 18-2 rout in Montgomery. @zackcollins0 recorded two HR and six RBI in just the 9th inning alone, including this grand slam to cap the scoring. #WhiteSox pic.twitter.com/rZZWpS3qGO

The lower average and high strikeout numbers don't worry Collins, who feels confident the in-season changes he made eventually will get him back to where he needs to be offensively. The White Sox echo a similar sentiment.

"Offensively, it's kind of what we knew: He's going to take a bunch of walks, he's going to get on base, he's going to have some power," White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler said of Collins, who added 15 home runs and 68 RBIs to his 2018 resume. "He makes contact, good hard contact, and he's a guy that I still believe from a scouting point of view, he's a guy that as he goes to a higher level when the strike zone tightens up, he's going to be better.

"You don't want a guy in the lower level that shows patience and the ability to judge the strike zone well -- you don't want him to compromise that because of umpires or bad calls at the Double-A level. As he goes through the system, I think you are going to see, as he gets to Triple-A and the Major Leagues as the strike zone shrinks, he's going to be better off offensively."

According to Hostetler, 98 percent of the scouting industry polled on Collins would have said he's going to hit. Fifty percent of the same would have said he's going to catch.

That catching part of Collins' repertoire has come a long way during parts of three years in the White Sox system. He has taken to the framing metrics, the advanced analytics and the information provided, doing an exceptional job of knowing the zone, getting pitchers ready for a game and calling the game.

"Understanding the game, learning how to catch," Hostetler said. "Some positioning stuff with his feet has really improved."

Video: Top Prospects: Zack Collins, C, White Sox

Taking nutrition to another level has put Collins in solid physical shape and primed for the next catching challenge, although a 2019 callup to the White Sox figures to feature at-bats at first base and designated hitter as well.

"When you look at it now, in our minds, we feel he's an everyday catcher in the big leagues," Hostetler said. "I think as we continue this, you might see him get some playing time at first base or at-bats at DH. But that's just to get the bat in the lineup."

Added Collins: "Defensively, I made huge strides, especially in the last couple of months when we got a couple of the big prospects up like [Dylan] Cease, [Jimmy] Lambert and [Bernardo] Flores. Working with them was awesome. Learned a lot from [Minor League quality control coach Everett] Teaford, dealing with all the TrackMan stuff and everything calling the games and scouting reports. Definitely made it a lot easier, and I'm looking forward to next year."

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, Zack Collins

White Sox add Cease, 3 others to 40-man

Left-hander Clarkin claimed off waivers by Cubs
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The White Sox purchased the contracts of right-hander Dylan Cease and left-hander Kodi Medeiros from Double-A Birmingham, and right-hander Jordan Stephens and catcher Seby Zavala from Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday.

None of these four moves was unexpected, with eligible players being protected from the Rule 5 Draft to take place on the final day of the upcoming Winter Meetings in Las Vegas via their 40-man addition. Cease, 22, was a no-doubter after being named MLB Pipeline's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2018 with a 12-2 record and 2.40 ERA over 23 starts between Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham.

CHICAGO -- The White Sox purchased the contracts of right-hander Dylan Cease and left-hander Kodi Medeiros from Double-A Birmingham, and right-hander Jordan Stephens and catcher Seby Zavala from Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday.

None of these four moves was unexpected, with eligible players being protected from the Rule 5 Draft to take place on the final day of the upcoming Winter Meetings in Las Vegas via their 40-man addition. Cease, 22, was a no-doubter after being named MLB Pipeline's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2018 with a 12-2 record and 2.40 ERA over 23 starts between Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham.

Cease, who is the No. 25 prospect overall per MLB Pipeline and No. 3 for the White Sox, fanned 160 in a career-high 124 innings pitched. He posted a 3-0 mark with a 0.94 ERA (five earned runs in 47 2/3 innings) and 71 strikeouts over his final nine starts of the season with Birmingham. The right-hander could follow a similar later season path to the Majors in 2019 as Michael Kopech and Reynaldo Lopez before him.

Video: Cease named Pipeline Pitcher of the Year

"It was exciting, and it definitely means that you're heading in the right direction," said Cease, of his MLB Pipeline honor during a recent interview. "Just motivational for getting into the offseason and lifting and getting ready for next year.

"Honestly, it's just being more consistent with it. Continuing to figure out my process with it, taking care of my body, all the little things that go into being a professional. Because all that stuff adds up at the end of the day."

Other 2018 honors for Cease included being named as a U.S. player in the Futures Game during All-Star Week and being named to the Carolina League All-Star team with Winston-Salem. He was acquired by the White Sox from the Cubs with now-No. 1 White Sox prospect Eloy Jimenez in a five-player deal on July 13, 2017, that send left-hander Jose Quintana to the Cubs.

"Now I know that my training in the offseason was good," Cease said. "I can keep doing that. I can add to that. Work on nutrition. This year definitely was a big confidence boost in a lot of these areas."

Medeiros, 22, was picked up from the Brewers with right-hander Wilber Perez on July 26 in a deal that sent Joakim Soria to Milwaukee. Medeiros finished 7-7 with a 3.60 ERA and 141 strikeouts over 137 2/3 innings in 27 games (22 starts) between stops at Double-A Biloxi and Birmingham in '18. He is Chicago's No. 19 prospect.

Zavala, 25, joined Welington Castillo and Omar Narvaez as catchers on the White Sox 40-man. The San Diego State product, who played for Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, hit .258 with 22 doubles, 13 home runs, 51 RBIs and 50 runs during 104 games between Birmingham and Charlotte in 2018. He combined to throw out 32.7 percent (18-for-55) of attempted basestealers and was named a Southern League midseason All-Star with the Barons. He has been mentioned with Zack Collins, the team's top pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, as part of the team's catchers of the future.

Video: MIL@CWS: Zavala crushes a three-run homer in the 2nd

Stephens, 26, combined to go 8-10 with a 4.23 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 146 2/3 inning over 28 combined starts between Birmingham and Charlotte last season. The team's No. 20 prospect originally was selected by the White Sox in the 15th round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Rice University and provides the White Sox pitching depth.

Left-handed hurler Ian Clarkin, who was part of the seven-player deal that sent David Robertson, Todd Frazier and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees and Blake Rutherford to the White Sox in 2017, was claimed off waivers by the Cubs. Following the moves, the White Sox 40-man roster sits at 38.

Right-handed pitchers Spencer Adams, 22, and Zach Thompson, 25, were two of the more interesting players left exposed by Chicago to the Rule 5 Draft. Adams was the team's second-round pick in 2014 and has a 3.82 ERA over 115 games and 114 starts. Thompson, a fifth-round pick in '14, is coming off a breakout season with a 1.55 ERA and 76 strikeouts over 75 1/3 innings between Winston-Salem and Birmingham.

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, Dylan Cease, Ian Clarkin, Kodi Medeiros

Inbox: Any updates on Jimenez, Robert?

Beat reporter Scott Merkin answers fans' questions
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Here are this week's White Sox inquiries. Happy Thanksgiving to all and good luck to Michigan football this weekend.

Do you see Eloy Jimenez breaking camp with the team?
-- Mike, Los Angeles, @filmreviewbyme

CHICAGO -- Here are this week's White Sox inquiries. Happy Thanksgiving to all and good luck to Michigan football this weekend.

Do you see Eloy Jimenez breaking camp with the team?
-- Mike, Los Angeles, @filmreviewbyme

Jimenez will play the majority of the 2019 season at the Major League level for the White Sox: This point, I can all but guarantee. As far as leaving with the team from Spring Training, Chicago's top prospect and No. 3 in baseball according to MLB Pipeline will need to fulfill the checklist the White Sox have to be ready for that promotion. He certainly will receive consideration.

Submit an Inbox question

Do you think the White Sox should spend big in this year's free agency or wait a year or two when the team is more ready to win?
-- Andrew, @supersoxfan79

Chicago will spend via free agency this offseason to improve the team, although I'm not sure that spending will result in Bryce Harper or Manny Machado as the fans desire. The White Sox will be in on these sorts of All-Star players even if they don't view 2019 as the beginning of their contention window.

I agree with general manager Rick Hahn in that the team must be opportunistic within this market and if the players they target as a key part of their planned championship-contending future are available now, then they need to try to make a move. Harper or Machado would greatly improve any team, but they don't absolutely guarantee Chicago taking the next step up with its talented young core. The White Sox need to find the right veteran fits, be it through trade or free agency.

With (Luis) Robert's great play in the AFL, any chance he gets a callup next year?
-- Roger, Nashville, Tenn., @Soxsupporter1

I've heard nothing but positive reports concerning Luis Robert dating back to Spring Training, describing the outfielder as a high-end albeit raw talent with five-tool capabilities shown in part during Arizona Fall League action. He just needs to stay healthy after being limited to 186 at-bats and 50 games during his first full Minor League season in 2018. The White Sox have been very consistent in not rushing prospects, despite the "hype" or good reports, and the same will hold true for Robert, their fourth-ranked prospect. But I see Robert as a fast mover through the system with a '20 arrival as a possibility.

Video: Luis Robert wins Fall League Hitter of the Week

Do you think it was the right thing extending Rick Renteria's contract? Since he's been the manager for the White Sox, it has been all losing seasons. I believe that part of a rebuilding process should also involve managers and coaches that are not doing well not just players. What do you think?
-- Ray, Chicago

Blaming Renteria and/or the coaching staff for the team's 100 losses last season means the context is being lost of the entire rebuild process. There were and are going to be multiple lean years as these players develop. No manager or staff is perfect, but players respond to Renteria and his staff, and this is a hard-working, well-prepared group. Renteria deserves a chance to win as this team matures.

With all the hype about getting Machado, where does that leave Tim Anderson since the former has indicated his preference to remain at short?
-- Joel K., Charlotte, N.C.

I've been asked numerous questions about an Anderson position switch. I've written about it as well, as I discussed in the last Inbox. But Anderson is the White Sox shortstop because he has earned that job and made himself into a solid defensive presence. He is entrenched in this organization. Let's see what offseason moves Chicago makes before any position changes are discussed.

Video: CHC@CWS: Anderson makes a smooth backhanded play

Top 10 Eagles songs: 1) Take It Easy; 2) Hotel California; 3) Victim Of Love; 4) Heartache Tonight; 5) On The Border; 6) Already Gone; 7) James Dean; 8) Life In The Fast Lane; 9) Good Day In Hell; 10) Greeks Don't Want No Freaks. Your thoughts?
-- Vinnie, Chicago, @VinnieDuber

This is the toughest question of the group because there really is no bad Eagles song. I'm going to go with my Top 5 in order: Take it Easy, Already Gone, Take it to the Limit, How Long and One of These Nights ... and anything performed by Joe Walsh is exceptional and worth the price of admission.

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, Eloy Jimenez