Showing posts with label Chris Bassitt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chris Bassitt. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Jimmy Rollins, Todd Frazier deliver for White Sox

Jimmy Rollins' first home run with the White Sox was a game-winner.
Maybe 37-year-old Jimmy Rollins has a little something left after all.

With the score tied at 4 with two outs in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, the veteran shortstop got a 2-2 fastball from Oakland closer Sean Doolittle and pounded it over the left-field fence for a solo home run that lifted the White Sox to a 5-4 victory.

Doolittle's fastball was clocked at 94 mph, so at this point I think we can safely say Rollins still has some bat speed.

Rollins wasn't the only newcomer to make an impact in Tuesday's win. Todd Frazier hit a three-run homer in the top of the fifth inning that put the Sox ahead 3-1 at that time.

The thing that was impressive about these two home runs: Both came with two strikes and two outs. Frazier had just seen Oakland starter Chris Bassitt strike out Jose Abreu with breaking balls down. And Bassitt grabbed a strike on a curve ball to get ahead of Frazier 0-2. The Sox third baseman was ready for the second breaking ball that came his way, however, and even though it was down, he golfed it over the left-field wall for his first home run of the season.

Once again, this wasn't the cleanest victory for the Sox. Nate Jones let a 4-2 lead get away in the eighth, costing starting pitcher Jose Quintana a win. But Rollins bailed Jones out with the home run, and David Robertson worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his second save in as many games.

Would you believe it if I told you the Sox have started 2-0 in four of the past five seasons? I guess that's a commentary on how being 2-0 doesn't mean much in the big picture, because the Sox haven't made the playoffs in any of those seasons.

In fact, the last time the Sox were two games over .500 at any point was April 15, 2014, when they were 8-6 two weeks into the year.

The Sox have not been three games over .500 since they concluded the 2012 season with an 85-77 record.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

White Sox acquire Jeff Samardzija from A's in six-player deal

The White Sox on Tuesday signaled their intention to contend in 2015, acquiring starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija and minor leaguer pitcher Michael Ynoa from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for infielder Marcus Semien, pitcher Chris Bassitt, catcher Josh Phegley and first baseman Rangel Ravelo.

From a purely baseball perspective, Samardzija is exactly what the Sox need. He's a legitimate No. 2 starter, a right-hander who can be slotted nicely in between ace left-hander Chris Sale and left-hander Jose Quintana in the rotation. One through three, the Sox can now match up with just about everybody in terms of starting pitching.

The downside to this deal from the Sox perspective? Samardzija is entering the last year of his contract. He could be here today, gone tomorrow, and if the Sox don't win in 2015, this deal is a waste.

The good news is the Sox did not include any of their top prospects in this deal. Carlos Rodon, Tim Anderson, Micah Johnson and Francellis Montas are all still in the organization. It would have been a questionable move to give up any of the top young guys for potentially just one year of Samardzija.

The four guys the Sox parted with are all guys you can replace. Semien is an athletic, versatile player with some pop in his bat. However, he was a player without a position. The Sox even had him play some outfield in Triple-A last year just to see how he would react. He projects as a utility player. There are plenty of those around.

Bassitt has a good arm and got a look in the major leagues at the tail end of the 2014 season. The Sox were using him as a starter, but most believe his eventual role will be in the bullpen. An interesting pitcher, sure, but not an untouchable.

The White Sox coaching staff never warmed up to Phegley, primarily because of his defensive limitations. He was not in the organization's plans. Good riddance.

Ravelo is a guy who needed to change organizations. He has some promise as a hitter, but he's a right-handed hitting first baseman. The Sox already have one of the best right-handed hitting first basemen in the game in Jose Abreu. Ravelo is not a candidate to take Abreu's job anytime soon. He was expendable.

The Sox have eroded some of their organizational depth with this trade, but you can live with that if Samardzija pushes you into the playoffs next season.

Here's the key moving forward: The Sox can't stop here. With the addition of Samardzija and closer David Robertson, this is now an 85-win team. That's a huge step forward over last year, but it's still not good enough.

You may have Sale and Samardzija at the top of the rotation for just one year, so general manager Rick Hahn needs to keep pushing and make this team a potential 95-game winner. The time to go for it is right now.

Do something to upgrade left field. There is no more time to be patient with Dayan Viciedo. Add another bullpen pitcher to set Robertson up. Maybe think about a veteran to help at the back end of the rotation. There are mediocre incumbents at catcher, third base and second base. Upgrade at one of those spots, if possible.

The White Sox are close to being a good team, but they aren't quite there yet. Hahn has now put himself in position to get to that point before the offseason is over.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Carlos Rodon not among White Sox's September roster additions

The White Sox added seven players to their roster before Tuesday night's 6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins as part of the annual Sept. 1 roster expansion. However, the players who were not included on that list are more notable than the players who were.

The team's No. 1 draft pick in June, left-hander Carlos Rodon, was conspicuous by his absence. Rodon made a quick rise through the Sox's minor-league system and finished the year at Triple-A Charlotte, where he had 18 strikeouts and a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings pitched. Rodon struck 38 hitters in 24.2 innings over three minor-league stops this season.

But, he also walked 13 batters over those innings, and all reports indicate his fastball command could use some improvement. Perhaps that's the reason the Sox have decided not to bring him up for the last month.

“We are absolutely thrilled with where he is and how quickly he has progressed through the system,” Sox GM Rick Hahn told CSN Chicago. “Fundamentally the decision came down to it just wasn’t the right time in his development to bring him to the big leagues to continue his development here and ask him to get big league hitters out. He has responded to all the challenges we’ve put in front of him. We’re very pleased with how he’s finished up his first several weeks as a pro and we fully expect him to come to big league camp next year and compete for a spot on the 2015 White Sox, that’s how far along he is in his development.”

Matt Davidson is another notable player who did not get a September call-up. The would-be third baseman of the future had a miserable year in Charlotte. He hit 20 home runs, but his .199/.283/.362 slash line is downright ugly, especially considering his 164 strikeouts in 539 plate appearances.

Davidson's poor performance ranks as one of the biggest disappointments for the Sox organization in 2014, and it's for the best that he was sent home to clear his head. There would be little or no benefit in bringing him to the majors for the final month. The Sox will go into the offseason with some decisions to make at third base. Conor Gillaspie hits right-handed pitching exceptionally well, but he struggles against lefties and is a question mark defensively. But at this point, Davidson is not a candidate to take Gillaspie's job.

Here are the seven guys who joined the Sox on Tuesday. Most are familiar names. Six have been in Chicago before:

Chris Bassitt, RHP: Bassitt made his big-league debut in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday against Detroit. He allowed five runs and took the loss in that game, but he pitched better than his line indicated. He had good life on his fastball and at one point struck out Detroit superstar Miguel Cabrera with a knee-buckling curveball. Some bad luck with BABIP doomed Bassitt in his first outing, as the Tigers blooped him to death with well-placed, softly hit singles. After being returned to Charlotte for a couple days, he's back with the Sox and will probably get a couple more starts before the year is over.

Scott Carroll, RHP: The less-than-mediocre right-hander has been in the Sox rotation for much of the year, compiling a 5-9 record with a 5.07 ERA in 22 games. He started a game for Chicago as recently as Friday, but he was sent to the minors briefly in a procedural move that ensured the Sox had enough available arms for the Saturday doubleheader. He has been brought right back with the roster expansion, but may be relegated to long-relief duty for the rest of the year.

Jordan Danks, OF: The 28-year-old veteran remains on the shuttle between Chicago and Charlotte. He played well in his last stint with the Sox while Adam Eaton was on the disabled list. His ceiling is that of a fourth outfielder, but it will be interesting to see if he gets more ABs in September now that Alejandro De Aza is off the roster. Will Danks' strong defense be enough to get him playing time ahead of Dayan Viciedo? We'll see.

Josh Phegley, C: The 38th overall pick in the 2009 draft is being rewarded for a strong season in Charlotte that saw him hit .274/.331/.530 with 23 home runs and 75 RBIs. Questions remain about Phegley's defense. Coaches and pitchers alike were not fond of his work as a receiver during his 2013 stint with the Sox. Phegley's pitch-calling received pointed criticism from Sox bench coach Mark Parent, a former catcher, and you wonder if Phegley's defense will ever progress enough to satisfy the Sox.

Marcus Semien, INF: The versatile, athletic Semien came on strong in August, hitting .345 over that span at Charlotte. In 83 games with the Knights, he posted a .267/.380/.502 slash line with 15 home runs and 52 RBIs. You can't help but wonder if Semien would be more useful than Leury Garcia as an all-purpose player, but the University of California product needs to cut down his strikeouts. He's fanned 58 times in the 170 plate appearances he's had with the Sox this season.

Eric Surkamp, LHP: The relief pitcher has joined Danks on the shuttle between Chicago and Charlotte over the past few months. He has a 6.46 ERA in 24 appearances with the Sox this year and will likely continue to receive situational work against left-handed batters late in games.

Michael Taylor, OF: The 28-year-old was once a top-100 prospect in the Oakland organization, but has failed to distinguish himself in the previous limited big-league opportunities he's received. The Sox acquired him from Oakland in June for some guy named Jake Sanchez, and Taylor hit .306 with six home runs and 38 RBIs in 64 games at Charlotte. Like Danks and Moises Sierra, he's likely competing for a spot as the Sox's fourth outfielder in 2015.

Friday, August 29, 2014

White Sox will send seven prospects to Arizona Fall League

Some members of the Chicago media would have you believe the White Sox farm system is in a hopeless state of disrepair. Maybe they think that because for many years, it was.

But not anymore.

There is hope on the horizon, and the organization will be sending an interesting group of seven players to the Arizona Fall League this year. Let's take a look at them, in alphabetical order:

1. Tim Anderson, SS -- The former No. 1 draft pick missed some time with a broken wrist this season, but he recently came off the disabled list. His return coincided with a promotion to Double-A Birmingham, where he has gone 12 for 27 with a home run in his first six games. Unfortunately, he's also committed three errors in his first six games. This is the top position prospect in the Sox organization. He has hit everywhere he has been, but the glove remains a question mark. Is shortstop his long-term position? The Sox hope so, but they don't know so.

2. Chris Bassitt, RHP -- Bassitt was out with a broken hand until mid-July, but he's overmatched Double-A hitters since his return. He's 3-1 with a 1.56 ERA and 36 strikeouts over 34.2 IP in six starts at Birmingham. The 25-year-old is a former 16th-round draft pick, but he's on the verge of pitching himself into the organization's plans -- so much so that he'll be called up to start the second game of Saturday's doubleheader with the Detroit Tigers.

3. Francellis Montas, RHP -- Montas fanned 56 men in 62 IP at Class-A Winston-Salem and was chosen to participate in the MLB Futures Game before he was sidelined with a torn meniscus in his knee. Montas, who was acquired from Boston in the Jake Peavy deal in 2013, is currently rehabbing in the Arizona Rookie League. He's one of the better pitching prospects the Sox have.

4. Jefferson Olacio, LHP -- Olacio is interesting because he is a large man -- 6-foot-7, 270 pounds -- and he throws the ball with his left hand. His numbers aren't going to get your attention. He went 0-5 with a 4.69 ERA with 58 Ks in 55.2 IP at Winston-Salem. He has a 6.75 ERA in eight games since a promotion to Birmingham. However, he's only 20 years old. He's a project, for sure, but it's worth watching to see how he responds against the good hitting prospects in the AFL.

5. Rangel Ravelo, 1B -- Ravelo has had a breakout year at Double-A Birmingham. The 22-year-old has posted a .307/.386/.432 slash line with 37 doubles and 11 home runs. Of course, there is no opening at first base in Chicago, but good prospects also can be used as trade bait. It's not a bad thing if Ravelo continues to develop, even though he does not play a position of need for the White Sox.

6. Kevan Smith, C -- The good news about Smith: He gets better every year, and he plays a position of need: catcher. The bad news: He's already 26 years old, so maybe that lessens the excitement about a .292/.374/.432 slash line at Double-A. But, this is a player who has had a very nice season in Birmingham.

7. Scott Snodgress, LHP -- This is a pitcher who has moved down on a lot of the prospect lists after a disappointing season as a starter in Birmingham, where he went 6-7 with a 3.89 ERA in 21 games. The Sox have promoted him to Charlotte with the idea that he can be a relief pitcher. The major league team is looking for a left-hander in the bullpen, so the door is open if Snodgress can show well this fall.