White Sox fans coming into the 2017 season knew the team on the field was going to go through a lot of changes. Since December of 2016, White Sox have seen Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Jose Quintana, and more be dealt from the team to build for the future. As quickly as those pieces were gone, the assets that were acquired in the deals have started to take their place on the major league field.
Since July 19th, White Sox fans have been able to see Yoan Moncada, Nicky Delmonico, and Reynaldo Lopez make their debuts in a White Sox uniform. It has been an exciting time for the fanbase even while the team continues to see their overall record get worse. Being able to see some of the potential that this franchise has for the future is forcing excitement into even the most cynical of fans. Moncada has been improving at the plate while flashing the leather at second base while Nicky Delmonico is quickly deserving the nickname Nicky Bats with his 5 home runs and .356 average in his first 67 plate appearances. Delmonico started out hot as he reached base at least once in his first 13 games and 15 out of his first 16 games. Reynaldo Lopez only had 2 chances to take the mound for the South Side before landing on the 10-day disabled list with a strained back. Lopez flashed some of his strikeout potential while showing that he still has some work to do with his control. In the 10.1 innings that Lopez has pitched, he has racked up 12 strikeouts while issuing 7 free passes.
Before it was announced that the White Sox had lost Reynaldo Lopez to the disabled list, the Pale Hose told fans on Friday afternoon that Lucas Giolito would be making his season debut on Monday, August 21st. That was pushed back to Tuesday however due to the Lopez injury and the White Sox will be bringing up their 2015 first round pick, Carson Fulmer, to take the mound on Monday for his first start of the 2017 season. Giolito and Fulmer have had their issues in the minors this year as they are averaging over 4 walks per nine.
White Sox fans should still be excited however to see these two pitchers because they still hold a lot of potential for the South Side. Over the past 5 starts, Lucas Giolito has shown the potential in him by carrying a 1.72 ERA to go along with 28 strikeouts and 11 walks. While this isn’t as dominant as fans would have liked to see from the former #1 overall prospect, Giolito seems to have figured something out over the past 2 months. Since June 21st, Lucas Giolito has only allowed more than 4 walks in a game once and he has started 11 games in that time. Carson Fulmer has continued to struggle in AAA Charlotte as he has issued 63 walks in 122 innings during his 2017 minor league campaign. Both starters will benefit from the recent call-up however thanks to the tandem of pitching coach Don Cooper and bullpen coach Curt Hasler. There was praise from long-time major leaguer Tyler Clippard on how Cooper and Hasler showed him video breakdowns of his pitching performances. Clippard admitted that seeing the breakdown from the coaching tandem really helped him get back on track.
The White Sox pitching coaches have always been known to get the most out of any pitcher that comes through the organization and with Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer, and Lucas Giolito finally making the majors with the White Sox, this could be the boost they all need. Spending time with some of the best pitching coaches in the majors could help these 3 starters, along with the added benefits that come with making the 25-man active roster.
Thanks to the promotions, Fulmer and Giolito will be able to finally get some more time in the majors and eat up some innings while trying to prove themselves to the front office and coaching staff. It looks as if it will only be one start for Fulmer for now as stated by skipper Rick Renteria in an interview with the Chicago Sun Times.
“For right now it’s just going to be one start [for Fulmer],’’ manager Rick Renteria said. “Then he’ll go back.’’
With the recent moves to the majors, Michael Kopech, the team’s #3 prospect, was quietly promoted to AAA Charlotte. Most fans were focused on the larger move of Fulmer and Giolito to the majors, but Kopech has really put together a fantastic season in AA Birmingham. Kopech has pitched 119.1 innings while giving up 77 hits, 60 walks, and 155 strikeouts. Most of Kopech’s struggles with walks came in the early part of the season and has only given up 3 or more walks in two starts since June 23rd over a span of 9 starts. The 21-year-old starter has shown a lot of improvement in his control and ability to limit walks as he has only allowed 7 walks while striking out 54 batters over his recent 6 game stretch. There was a lot of concern about Kopech and his control coming into the 2017 season, but he has shown the front office of the White Sox that they can have confidence in him going forward with the steps he has taken forward. I fully expect Michael Kopech to get a taste of the majors in 2018 since he will get a taste of what AAA Charlotte has to offer here at the end of the 2017 season.
While many White Sox fans thought the future was bleak for the team, it has quickly turned around over the past 12 months thanks to the trades that Rick Hahn has pulled off. It has been a much different way of rebuilding a franchise, but the front office and fanbase have been treated to some positive returns earlier than they expected. If you didn’t believe that Rick Hahn could pull off a rebuild, now is the time to buy in and see what some of these players will be bringing to an MLB stadium near you.