Due to the World Baseball Classic, Spring Training has been bumped up this year, and the White Sox have already played two games, losing to the Dodgers on Saturday and beating the Rockies on Sunday. As someone who inevitably fails to wholly follow this advice during his fantasy drafts, it is important to remember to properly weight Spring Training results–that is to say, pretty much ignore them entirely. The classic example we use around here is that Jake Peavy, a well-above average starter for his career and occasional ace, would routinely get annihilated in his spring starts, as he was purely working on locating his fastball to different quadrants. So even if a player you’re monitoring gets to go up against a known-quantity major leaguer as opposed to an NRI trying to grab a roster spot, or a non-prospect, or a prospect who is nowhere near major league ready, you still don’t really know what sort of quality of opposition they’re facing.
With all of these caveats in mind, it is a good thing that Carson Fulmer pitched two successful innings against what is basically the Dodgers’ A lineup minus the injured Adrian Gonzalez. It is a positive that Miguel Gonzalez is able to come out of the gates healthy, and that Zack Burdi pitched a 1-2-3 inning in his first appearance of the year. But really, the biggest positive of all is that the days are getting longer again, and we are that much closer to real baseball.
Odds & Ends:
- The front office unequivocally named Charlie Tilson as first in line for the center field job. Not long after, Tilson experienced a setback in his recovery from his massive hamstring injury, and although the timetable doesn’t impact his Opening Day readiness on its face, it casts doubt on how much playing time can be expected from him. Now center field is as chaotic a spot on the roster as ever. Peter Bourjos got the start in game one, but came off the bench in favor of Jacob May against Colorado. If you’re looking for something to follow from day-to-day, this could be of some interest should Tilson’s recovery further stall.
- Brett Lawrie is still making sure he is 100% before returning to full duty. Lawrie has an extensive injury history, and what sounded like a minor issue last year wound up cascading and wiping out the bulk of his season. Unlike the outfield, however, unless and until some more trades happen, the infield picture is quite clear, as the White Sox actually have credible fallback options on the dirt in case of injury. The biggest hope here is that Lawrie gets himself healthy and mashes out of the gates in order to boost his trade value.
- David Robertson has also already thrown an inning without issue. Even more than Lawrie, the White Sox stand to benefit significantly if he can demonstrate to potential trade partners that he has recovered from his knee injury and is still the quality reliever he has been for years.
- After months of talking about the inevitability of a Jose Quintana trade, it was somehow jarring to tune in on Sunday and see Quintana take the mound in a White Sox uniform. While the organization’s strategy is now clear, there are myriad ways that 2017 could play out. Not a lot of scorched earth rebuilding teams have a pitcher of Quintana’s caliber to run out there every fifth day. Given the rest of the roster, he may have a lot more hard luck losses and no decisions in his future until he gets dealt to a contender.