Powell: White Sox Spring Training ‘Feels Different’ This Year

Second baseman Yoan Moncada batting lefty. (WGN Radio)

By Kevin Powell

GLENDALE, Ariz. – It’s easy to play fantasy general manager when you scan the White Sox roster sheet. It’s a seemingly endless amount of talent that not only has fans dreaming of what could be, but it’s also getting the front office, coaches and players hyped.

“People like to read a lot into sidelines and the bullpens and the batting practice,” general manager Rick Hahn said in an interview on WGN’s Sports Central. “But I do feel a little bit different this spring.”

Everyone does. Reality will set in when real meaningful baseball is played in a little over a month. But meanwhile, go ahead and dream of lineups featuring Moncada, Eloy, Robert and all the other prospects that make up one of baseball’s most potent farm systems.

“You see multiple guys that get you excited,” Hahn said. “We have potential answers for who could fill a championship roster, all homegrown…at this point in time, when you walk around, there’s plenty of different aspects of depth here that get you excited about the future.”

Just about every team in baseball says they’re excited this time of year. But it’s legitimately warranted when it comes to the Sox. Are they going to win a bunch of games this year? Probably not. Are they still going to be fun to watch? Likely.

Batting practice featuring a group of three gifted prospects, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, and Micker Adolfo, has become appointment viewing at Camelback Ranch. Jimenez knows how to maximize his physical traits to produce eye-opening power. Adolfo and Robert have enough raw skill to make you wonder what a major league outfield featuring all three could look like.

“We’re dreaming of that,” the 20-year-old Robert said through interpreter Billy Russo.

So are Sox fans.

There will be hiccups along the way. Injuries will happen. Prospects won’t pan out. Because that’s baseball. But the Sox have bettered their chances by acquiring a vast amount of talent over the past 14 months.

“We’re a tight-knit group,” 24 year-old pitcher Carson Fulmer said. “I think that’s whats most enjoyable about where we are now. We’re really talented. We’re really confident.”

Even with all the excitement, Hahn is trying to keep things in perspective.

“No one is going to come to Chicago until they’ve answered all the questions we’ve had for them at the minor league level.”

It’s a fun time to be a Sox fan. And again, we’ll see where everyone is at when this team starts to lose in the regular season. But there is no question this spring feels different at Sox camp.

BROADCAST NOTE

A reminder that the first White Sox Cactus League game on WGN Radio will be at 2:05 CT this Friday. The Sox play the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. Here is the full spring radio schedule on the new home of the Sox, 720 WGN.

Friday 2/23 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 2:05p
Sunday 2/25 vs. Cincinnati Reds 2:05p
Tuesday 2/27 vs. Chicago Cubs 2:05p
Tuesday 3/6 vs. Milwaukee Brewers 2:05p
Saturday 3/10 vs. Chicago Cubs Delayed broadcast following Blackhawks (noon puck drop)
Sunday 3/11 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks 3:05p
Monday 3/12 vs. Seattle Mariners 8:40p
Friday 3/16 vs. Chicago Cubs 3:05p
Friday 3/23 vs. Seattle Mariners 3:05p
Sunday 3/25 vs. Milwaukee Brewers 2:05p

Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720