White Sox Q&A: Future focus on Lucas Giolito, Yoan Moncada and the upcoming draft
Photos of White Sox top infield prospect Yoan Moncada.
The White Sox have hit a bit of a rebuilding-season funk, entering their three-game series against the Rays on Tuesday with a 24-31 record and a five-game losing streak.
So it’s only natural that this version of the mailbag has a lot of questions about the future.
What improvements has (Lucas) Giolito made recently to spark this run of solid outings? How can he stay consistent? — Doug S., Mount Prospect
After Lucas Giolito threw his seven-inning no-hitter during a double-header for Triple-A Charlotte on May 25, the 22-year-old right-hander said on a conference call with Chicago reporters that he felt everything “click” in that outing — his delivery, his command and his confidence.
He seemed to ride that confidence into his next two starts too. In those two starts combined, he allowed three earned runs on 13 hits with two walks and 14 strikeouts. That includes a six-inning, 11-strikeout game Monday.
Giolito, who is 6-foot-6, said from in early May that the key for him would be to get consistent repetition of his mechanics and improved fastball command.
“There’s always still work to do,” Giolito said after the no-hitter. “The walk numbers are a little too high for my liking. There’s still plenty to work on, but everything felt pretty solid last night. I felt like I repeated my delivery well, I executed more pitches. Especially when I’d fall behind in the count I’d execute quality pitches, and you can get yourself out of bad situations doing that.”
Wondering about the pitchers and their impending call-ups. Most notably Giolito and (Reynaldo) Lopez, which of those would get the call first and when this year do you think they will get the call? — Joe K.
Do you see Giolito/Lopez/(Carson) Fulmer being September call-ups and then starting in the rotation next year? — Adam C., Norridge
Combining these two questions, I still expect the Sox to give Giolito and Lopez ample time in Charlotte to perform consistently enough that they prove they are ready for a return to the big leagues.
I suspected earlier in the year that Lopez might be the first of the three big Charlotte starting pitchers – Fulmer included – to get the call this year, but perhaps if Giolito continues his roll, he’ll force the Sox to consider giving him his first shot on the South Side.
There’s a chance any of the three could be called up before September, if they are performing consistently well. Trade-deadline deals could create openings for them.
It’s too soon to tell if they’ll start next year in the rotation. That would likely be decided based on their performances this year and next spring, but it’s definitely a possibility that the rotation next year at some point could contain all three and Carlos Rodon.
What do you think our White Sox front office will do in the draft? Select the best player overall or what do you think? — Steven, Albuquerque, N.M.
Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler was asked this question last week, and here’s what he had to say:
“We’re looking for the best guy, regardless of position, but also somebody who fits in to what we’re trying to do,” Hostetler said. “We do want to limit a guy with a swing and miss. We want to make sure that we have hitters who put the ball in play and pitchers who pound the zone. … We’re going to take our shots. There’s going to be certain times where you want to step outside the box, and you’ve got to take a shot because if not, you’re going to end up with the same type of player throughout your system, and you don’t want that.”
Vanderbilt outfielder Jeren Kendall was a popular suggestion for the Sox at No. 11 in the latest round of mock drafts. Here’s what Baseball America said of Kendall: “Vanderbilt outfielder Jeren Kendall has struggled with strikeouts all spring … but his other tools earn easy plus grades.”
When is Yoan Moncada likely to get the call up to the "big" team? — Jim D., Garden City, N.Y.
Moncada was slowed last month by a bruised left thumb, which prompted the Sox to put him on the disabled list to make sure it didn’t turn into a bigger issue.
He has had a slow return in 11 games since then, going 5-for-40 with a double, a triple, three RBIs, seven walks and 14 strikeouts. I would expect the Sox to give him time to get back on track before considering the big-league call, but I don’t think sometime in July is out of the question.
Which catcher do you feel will catch the majority of this season’s remaining games? — @Phil_Crivellone
Sox manager Rick Renteria has gone with a plan to mostly split time between Kevan Smith and Omar Narvaez based on opposing pitching matchups and preferred pairings of Sox pitchers. Lately, that has meant more time for Smith, who has caught five of the last six games. He has gone 6-for-24 with four doubles and two RBIs in that span.
I would expect Renteria to continue such a plan with those two, though I could see him giving more time if one gets really hot.
Thanks for the questions. I’m heading to Florida now to catch up with the Sox, but I will do another mailbag soon to get to the rest.