“I see as much young talent here as I’ve ever seen anywhere,” White Sox catcher Welington Castillo told Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times about his new team’s spring camp, and that includes Castillo’s previous stint on the north side of Chicago. “In 2013, when I was with the Cubs, we weren’t even close to what we’ve got here,’’ Castillo said. ‘‘In 2014, [the Cubs] started changing; you started to see more about the big prospects. But they still weren’t really coming to the big leagues. The White Sox, our prospects are already here, and they’re building together. This organization is still a step ahead of the Cubs [in 2014].” It remains to be seen if the current Sox core can possibly match up with what the Cubs have accomplished over the last three seasons, though given the amount of top-tier young players the White Sox have acquired in their rebuild, there is no shortage of promise for a quick return to contention for the franchise.
Here’s more from the White Sox camp…
- Both Jose Abreu and Kevan Smith made early exits from today’s Cactus League game with the Rangers, as MLB.com’s Alyson Footer and others reported. Left hamstring tightness forced Abreu out of the game after two innings, while Smith suffered a left ankle sprain in the fifth inning. More will be known about both injuries tomorrow, though manager Rick Renteria doesn’t believe either issue is particularly serious. X-rays on Smith’s ankle already came back negative, yet any missed time could hurt the catcher in his battle with Omar Narvaez for the backup catcher’s job behind Castillo. Abreu’s roster spot obviously isn’t in question, though any type of injury to their best hitter is worrisome for the White Sox.
- Renteria hinted that Hector Santiago may have won himself a 25-man roster spot, telling The Athletic’s James Fegan (Twitter link) and other reporters that he likes to use a left-hander (like Santiago) in relief of a right-handed starter, and noted Santiago’s ability to provide multiple innings out of the pen. Chicago signed several veteran relievers to minor league deals this winter, though Santiago is standing out from the competition with excellent spring numbers, posting an 0.75 ERA over his first 12 innings. Santiago’s minors contract with the White Sox will pay him $2MM should he crack the Major League roster.
- Matt Davidson is “not paying attention to anything else other than really my contact rate” this spring, the third baseman tells James Fegan of The Athletic (subscription required). Davidson hit 26 homers in 443 PA last season, but contributed little else besides that pure power, with an overall .220/.260/.452 slash line and a whopping 165 strikeouts against just 19 walks. Davidson knows he has to become a more well-rounded player in order to stick with the Sox given the strong competition for jobs in camp and during the regular season.