5 key questions as Chicago White Sox head to training camp

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Yoan Moncada, a young switch-hitter obtained in the Chris Sale trade with Boston, could be the first of the new White Sox prospects to make it to the parent club.

    Yoan Moncada, a young switch-hitter obtained in the Chris Sale trade with Boston, could be the first of the new White Sox prospects to make it to the parent club. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer/file

 
 
Updated 2/13/2017 11:53 AM

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With Chicago White Sox pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training here on Tuesday, the rebuilding project launched in early December officially gets underway.

Here are five questions heading into camp:

 

Q. Why hasn't general manager Rick Hahn made a trade in over two months?

A. Hahn moved Chris Sale and Adam Eaton on consecutive days during the winter meetings, and he was hoping to make more deals through the rest of the off-season.

At SoxFest in late January, Hahn said he thought he had a trade done on Christmas Eve but it fell apart.

Most likely, Jose Quintana was the White Sox player involved, and there is still a good chance the left-hander starting pitcher gets moved at some point in spring training or during the season. But after getting seven promising prospects for Sale and Eaton, Hahn has set an equally high price for Quintana, who has a cumulative 3.35 ERA over the past four seasons while averaging 204 innings pitched.

If an interested team like the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers or Pittsburgh Pirates wants Quintana and his team-friendly contract, they'll need to pay big.

Q. Of the seven players the Sox got back for Sale and Eaton, who is closest to the majors?

A. Hahn said the White Sox are going to be very patient during the rebuild, so that means there's no need to rush anyone.

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With that in mind, look for second baseman Yoan Moncada to be the first position player to join the Sox, and Reynaldo Lopez to be the first pitcher.

Moncada, Baseball America's No. 2 overall prospect, posted a .287/.395/.480 hitting line the past two seasons in the Boston Red Sox's minor-league system. The 21-year-old switch-hitter had 50 doubles, 9 triples, 23 home runs, 100 RBI and 94 stolen bases in 197 games, so it's easy to see why he is so highly regarded.

Lopez came over from the Washington Nationals in the Eaton trade, and he checks in as Baseball America's No. 31 overall prospect.

With Class AA Harrisburg and AAA Syracuse last season, the right-hander overpowered hitters with his fastball and had 126 strikeouts in 109 ⅓ innings. However, in 11 games (6 starts) with Washington the 23-year-old pitcher was not nearly as effective, allowing 24 earned runs in 44 innings (4.91 ERA) while walking 22.

Lopez did have some promising moments during his major-league debut, highlighted by an Aug. 18 outing against Atlanta where he allowed 1 earned run in 7 innings while striking out 11.

Q. What hitter is worth watching in spring training?

A. Matt Davidson. Acquired in a straight-up trade for former closer Addison Reed after the 2013 season, Davidson hit for good power with Class AAA Charlotte the next two years but was a strikeout machine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He finally made an adjustment last year and the White Sox called him up in late June. Davidson got a hit in his first game with the Sox but broke his foot running the bases and was lost for the season.

He's 100 percent now, and a good showing in the Cactus League likely allows Davidson to break camp as the White Sox's designated hitter.

Q. What pitcher is worth watching in spring training?

A. Zack Burdi. The Downers Grove native was drafted No. 26 overall last June following a standout collegiate career at Louisville, and Burdi rode his 100-mph fastball to success with the Arizona Rookie League Sox, high Class A Winston-Salem, AA Birmingham and AAA Charlotte.

Like most young pitchers, the 21-year-old Burdi has to work on his command. While striking out 51 in 38 minor-league innings, the right-hander walked 20.

Q. When can the White Sox expect to contend?

A. If the current crop of new prospects is as good as expected and Hahn adds even more high-end young players in trades -- and if the Sox have another strong draft like last year -- 2019 sounds about right.

• Follow Scot's reports from spring training via Twitter@scotgregor.

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