Collin is the co-Editor-in-Chief of BP South Side, covering all things White Sox related.
Collin Whitchurch: Hello baseball friends. Let's talk about baseball and baseball-related things.
jfegan (Chicago, IL): In the wake of Derek Holland getting released, who is a guy you really thought would work out this year but hasn't. Or vice versa.
Collin Whitchurch: The White Sox had a glut of fringe major leaguers on their roster this year and if you had asked me before the season which one I was most confident would play solid baseball in 2017 I would've said Tyler Saladino. The back injury was an obvious setback, and the bar wasn't particularly high in the first place, but Saladino has been wholly unremarkable for the entirety of the season. And with the emergence of other players, has gone from someone I was fairly confident would have a long career as a utility player to someone I have a lot of questions about.
Jimmy (Mississippi): AJ Reed is a minor league beast. Does his game eventually play in the majors? Is he Chris Davis 2.0 or is there more to him?
Collin Whitchurch: I have a soft spot in my heart for giant monsters like A.J. Reed. His height and weight are very similar to mine, although I'd fathom a guess that he has a little more, ya know, muscle. I hope he makes enough contact at the major league level for his power to play.
Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Collin, Has this been a breakout season for Suarez and Gennett of the Reds or a career year for both? What do you expect of them in 2018?
Collin Whitchurch: Scooter Gennett is my favorite #TheBallIsJuiced example of 2017. But seriously, both guys have taken a giant step forward this year. I don't know if the power is as legit as it seems for either, but they both have shown the ability and skillsets to be major league contributors.
Ceej (Pittsburgh): I'm so pumped for Kopech. When're you hearing that he might come up in '18?
Collin Whitchurch: I am equally pumped, my dude. And I'm trying my best to be cautious in my optimism because, ya know, he's a pitching prospect and all. As far as 2018 goes, I'd be shocked if we saw him at all before September, but would also be kinda shocked if we didn't see him in September. Unless he's just completely eviscerating Triple-A for the entirety of the season, no point in rushing him up.
Carl (TX): Which prospect do you like better Leody Taveras or Jesus Sanchez?
Collin Whitchurch: Big fan of Taveras, even if the tools haven't translated statistically quite yet.
Dusty (Colorado): Since Minnesota is close to Chicago (somewhat), I was wondering if you had any thoughts on emerging SS prospect Wander Javier?
Collin Whitchurch: He's worth being excited about, but he's also just 18 and in Rookie Ball, so until he gets to affiliated ball I'll reserve most judgement.
edwardarthur (Illinois): Beyond what one can see in the stat line, do you have any updates on Luis Robert's time in the DSL?
Collin Whitchurch: Not much. Should make his way stateside early next year and I'm looking forward to seeing him firsthand in Spring Training 2018.
nschaef (NYC): When do the White Sox next finish with a winning record? Who is in their rotation when they do?
Collin Whitchurch: I could see an argument for 2019, but I'll play it safe and go with 2020. Predicting a major league rotation three years down the road is a fool's errand, but I'll say it definitely includes Rodon, Giolito, Kopech, hopefully Hansen, and Random Veteran Free Agent.
Tom (Florida): Who has the better system--braves or sox?
Collin Whitchurch: You're not going to believe this, but I'm going to give the White Sox the slight edge here. I love Albies and Acuna, as well as a good number of Atlanta prospects. But think the respective ceilings of the White Sox top guys is higher than that of the Braves.
T (Hagerstown): Can the phillies really have a rotation that includes Sixto, JoJo, and Adonis. Could be the greatest (named) rotation ever!
Collin Whitchurch: Really wish they had another pitching prospect named Casey to pair with JoJo. Or maybe the Phillies could trade him to the K.C. Royals!
jfegan (Chicago, IL): What's your best moment of seeing a prospect or young player and having him jump out at you, to where you think "Yeah, I get it. This guy is a stud."
Collin Whitchurch: This is a terrible answer and not at all what you're looking for, but I always remember going to Felix Pie's major league debut at Wrigley back in 2007. He doubled off of Greg Maddux and threw out a runner at home on an absolutle laser in the 10th inning to keep the game tied. Also, I was way wrong, so maybe I don't actually know anything.
OK more recent ... I went to Willie Calhoun's second game in Round Rock after coming over in the Yu Darvish trade. His first PA he destroyed a Chad Bettis pitch for an oppo dinger. That power is so legit. I just hope he can find a position to stay on the field.
nschaef (NYC): Any lower tier White Sox prospects you're particularly excited about?
Collin Whitchurch: How low we talking? I'm excited to see Micker Adolfo finally seem to put it together, although it'd be nice if he could stay healthy for a full season.
Not low enough?
Bernardo Flores is someone I've heard a lot of good things about in his first full season of affiliated ball. A seventh round pick a year ago, Flores is a borderline Top 30 guy in the White Sox system and would probably be getting a lot more attention if he were in, say, Miami's organization.
Brendan (Chicago): It seems likely that much of the "core" of the rebuild will be up by Opening Day 2019 — Moncada, Jimenez, Anderson, and possibly Collins, a rotation featuring at least Rodon/Kopech/Giolito/Lopez, and a stacked bullpen, with more prospects coming up that year. Is 2019 the year they make a run? If so, would a big free agent deal like Machado in the 2018/2019 off-season be possible?
Collin Whitchurch: That's the hope, Brendan! Like you, I find it easy to envision a perfect world scenario where all of these top prospects are peaking around the same time and then the White Sox dip into the free agent pool for a few additional resources and everything comes together perfectly.
That's unlikely to happen, of course, but the timeline does seem to be pretty close to what you're saying. IF (I capped the if so you know it's a big if) some/all/most of the White Sox top prospects start reaching their potential around that time, I will be screaming from the rooftops for the White Sox to spend money that offseason. I'll probably be doing that regardless. Even if it's not a top top guy like Machado, it will be important that they supplement what is going to be a new young core with depth and additional talent.
Jerry Reinsdorf is still presumably the owner when all of this happens so I'm not going to say it's most definitely going to happen, but I'm cautiously optimistic this rebuild will end in a place where the White Sox are willing to shell out a little bit of extra money to put the roster over the top.
Collin Whitchurch: That's going to do it for me! Thanks to everyone for the questions. This ballgame is ovah!