CHICAGO -- Rick Renteria can't contain his excitement, and to be honest, the White Sox manager doesn't want to contain it. But it's an excitement more geared toward the future.In this development phase of the White Sox rebuild, a plethora of top prospects will be practicing their craft beginning when
CHICAGO -- Rick Renteria can't contain his excitement, and to be honest, the White Sox manager doesn't want to contain it. But it's an excitement more geared toward the future.
In this development phase of the White Sox rebuild, a plethora of top prospects will be practicing their craft beginning when pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 14. But don't lose sight of this word: development. The White Sox far more focused on letting this talent grow together as opposed to vying on the outskirts of postseason contention in 2018.
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"I'm very excited about the men we've been watching at the [January hitters] camp, and last September, the kids we've seen at instructional league and in the Dominican," Renteria said. "But I can control my patience.
"I want everybody to see my excitement, because it is real. Not everybody is going to make it, not everybody is going to be the guy. But there is a lot here. If we do it the right way, at the end of the day, we're going to have a chance for some successful seasons and to have a lot of fun."
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The 2017 season -- and thus the '16 Winter Meetings -- carried more of a talent-procurement theme. The White Sox aren't done adding talent, just as they practiced patience prior to '17 in the cases of former top prospects such as second baseman Yoan Moncada and right-handed starters Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. All the challenges were answered at Triple-A Charlotte by this trio before they were afforded a big league opportunity.
Right-handed starter Michael Kopech, the No. 10 prospect on MLB Pipeline's latest Top 100 list, and outfielder Eloy Jimenez, who is perched at a lofty No. 4, will be afforded that same developmental plan in 2018 despite being pushed toward big league preparedness. Both will receive extensive looks during Spring Training, as will outfielder Luis Robert (No. 28 on the Top 100) and right-handed pitchers Alec Hansen (No. 54), Dylan Cease (No. 61) and Dane Dunning (No. 92), to name a few, but they won't be rushed.
"It's going to be a fun year to watch White Sox baseball," left fielder Nicky Delmonico said. "The fans have something to be proud of and look forward to. We have a lot of things going."
Non-roster relief additions in Xavier Cedeno, Jeanmar Gomez and Bruce Rondon give the White Sox bullpen options to choose from during Spring Training. If controllable talent Rondon can get back on track, he could help both in the present and when the team moves into its contention phase. It's a pickup along the lines of free-agent catcher Welington Castillo, which will give catchers Zack Collins and Seby Zavala the proper time to develop.
A competitive season isn't out of the question. But gaining a deeper understanding of how the individual pieces fit into the bigger rebuild picture becomes a greater barometer for 2018 White Sox success.
"We are not looking to jump up and win one Wild Card," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "We are trying to build something to annually contend for championships. We are not going to deviate from this plan for a short-term gain."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.