By Kevin Powell
The rebuilding White Sox were able to sneak in their first full-squad workout on Saturday, despite rain and cool temperatures. “It was good to get them out there,” new manager Rick Renteria said.
For the Sox fan base, it should feel like a breath of fresh air. After years of false hope and mediocrity, the South Siders have finally constructed a clear plan to give depth and sustainability to a hollow franchise. Michael Kopech. Lucas Giolito. Carson Fulmer. Yoan Moncada. The future of the White Sox.
What are Renteria’s first impressions of baseball’s top prospect? “Extremely talented,” he said of Moncada. “A very skilled young man that will continue to grow and get better.”
Visions of a Moncada-Tim Anderson middle infield, and a possible rotation featuring Quintana-Rodon-Giolito-Kopech should get even the most disinterested Sox fans back in the game. Quintana is no lock to be with the club long term. There has been all sorts of trade rumors this offseason. Even if he is moved, there’s still a strong base to anchor the rotation.
The deals made in the winter by general manager Rick Hahn was step one of the rebuild. Seeing the new product in motion is the beginning of something fresh and new on the South Side.
“Lot of fresh faces in here, for sure,” second baseman Brett Lawrie said at Camelback Ranch. “Lot of young kids that got a lot of young talent as well.”
Fresh. Young. Talent. These are a few of the words being thrown around Sox camp these days. This is a good thing. “We’re gonna play the game a certain way,” Renteria said after delivering his pre-full-squad workout to the club.
“I’m just trying to work hard every day and try to show the staff what I can do,” Moncada said through and interpreter after day one. “I’m just trying to keep my focus.”
It’s hard to not to believe the hype after watching Moncada up close for one day. He looks strong, solid and extremely athletic. And yes, focused.
Moncada was the center piece of the Chris Sale trade over the winter. And there’s reason for Sox fans to be excited. Just a year ago, despite the average age of the roster, the Sox felt old and stale. Spring of 2017 feels a whole different. Out with the old, in with the new.
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