Yesterday was a fun game between the Chicago Cubs and White Sox at Sloan Park even though it ended in a tie, four to four. Fans were treated to an excellent pitchers duel for Spring Training. Lucas Giolito set the tone striking out the first four batters he faced. The only mistake Giolito made was a curveball that hung up just enough for Victor Caratini to smack it out for a home run. Other than that, Giolito struck out eight in four innings.
During the television broadcast, there was an interview with pitching coach Don Cooper. He highlighted that the most significant change for Giolito was him overcoming the mental aspect of the game. That his arsenal no longer contains a 98-mph fastball, Giolito is beginning to learn to work elevating the fastball and gaining confidence in throwing his curve. Add in his changeup and Giolito will make it a difficult day for hitters as we saw yesterday. Even though it is Spring Training, the way Giolito looked was very promising.
Speaking of promising, how about Eloy Jimenez’s home run in the eighth inning?
He’s going to be scary. pic.twitter.com/sA9etihOAF
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 10, 2018
It was initially announced that Jimenez would start today against Arizona, but the story told postgame was Jimenez convinced Rick Renteria to give him an at-bat against his former club. Even with an off-balance swing with two strikes, Jimenez demonstrated what makes him so unique as a hitter. His ability to hit for power to all fields is a big reason why so many think he’s destined for great things.
Now, if Jimenez can do that again in late September, it would be even better. Maybe a walk-off shot in Hawk Harrelson’s last broadcast. Couldn’t think of a better way to transition to a new age of White Sox baseball.
My other baseball thoughts from the weekend.
Minnesota Twins sign Lance Lynn
Lance Lynn finally found a home by signing a one year, $12 million deal to pitch for the Minnesota Twins. A friend of the podcast, Eno Sarris of The Athletic, wrote what I thought was a good attempt at trying to understand the direction Minnesota is taking after losing out on signing Yu Darvish. Minnesota’s starting rotation, I think, is in better shape than how they ended in 2017. Yes, losing Ervin Santana for awhile with an injury is going to make things tough but they have added Jake Odorizzi and now Lynn. If Jose Berrios takes another step forward in his progression, that is a solid three-man starting rotation.
I just don’t think it’s enough to be considered serious challengers to Cleveland. Especially when the Twins are planning to have Anibal Sanchez start games for them. If the Twins could convince Jake Arrieta to sign with them, then maybe they have enough once Santana comes back.
According to Bob Nightengale, we should get closure on Arrieta and Alex Cobb next week.
Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb expected to be next marquee starters to sign in upcoming week
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 10, 2018
Will Renteria go with seven or eight pitchers in the bullpen?
After today, there will only be 13 games left in Spring Training. Still plenty of time for those competing for a spot on the 25-man roster to show their worth. One of those players is Ryan Cordell, who is batting 9-for-22 with four extra-base hits and six walks with just two strikeouts. The White Sox bench is probably going to consist a backup catcher between Kevan Smith and Omar Narvaez, Leury Garcia, and Tyler Saladino. There could be a fourth bench option, but that will depend on how big of a bullpen Rick Renteria wants.
The only way I can see Cordell making the team out of Spring Training is if the White Sox begin 2018 with a seven-man bullpen. Looking at Joakim Soria, Nate Jones, Luis Avilan, Juan Minaya, Danny Farquhar, Hector Santiago, and either Aaron Bummer or one of the non-roster invitees. Once the season starts on March 29th, the White Sox only have four planned off days until May. Not sure if it would be wise to hope that the starting rotation can average six-plus innings per start out of the gates. Renteria could be looking at a tired bullpen if James Shields, Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez, or Carson Fulmer/Santiago can’t hold up their end.
That’s why I wouldn’t be shocked if Renteria decided to go with an eight-man bullpen. Having both Bummer and awarding someone like Jeanmar Gomez the last roster spots. It would just eliminate the place for someone like Cordell who is having a nice spring and could help the White Sox as a fourth outfield type and pinch-hit late in games. Maybe it would be better if Cordell started the year in Charlotte just to get consistent at-bats. Unless the White Sox cut ties with Saladino, I just don’t see a place for Cordell.
MLB Draft: Casey Mize throws a no-hitter
On Friday, Auburn’s Casey Mize threw a no-hitter against Northeastern University on Friday with 13 strikeouts on just 105 pitches.
📽 Special night at Plainsman Park.
— Auburn Baseball (@AuburnBaseball) March 10, 2018
In his four starts, Mize has a 2.13 ERA in 25.1 innings with 38 strikeouts and just three walks. With a dominant start to 2018, already seeing whispers of Mize possibly going #1 to Detroit.
With the Tigers on the clock, picking first overall in the June draft, the name to watch is Auburn RHP Casey Mize. Threw a no-hitter last night and, as a scout there said, sat 95-96 in the ninth inning. “With a filthy split, too,” another scout said. Tigers love big college arms.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 10, 2018