White Sox See Their Future Becoming The Present

In their third rebuilding season, the White Sox are 42-44 at the All-Star break.

Chris Emma
July 07, 2019 - 4:55 pm
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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Zack Collins arrived to the White Sox as a first-round pick in 2016, about six months before the organization began a major rebuild. During his own development, Collins has seen young prospects around him transform into major-league talents and key pieces of the team's future.

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Now, Collins can call those prospects his big league teammates and the White Sox can see their future becoming the present.

"I'm pretty honored to be a part of it," Collins said. "We live to bring a championship here soon."

Optimism has continued to grown with each White Sox win in 2019, the latest a 3-1 victory against the Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sunday. It lifted the White Sox to 42-44 at the All-Star break and was a sign of their progress in the first half of this season.

Related: Yoan Moncada shines in 'All-Star-quality' first half

Back in December 2016, the White Sox began their rebuilding process in earnest with the hopes of creating a window for championship contention. That time appears to be growing closer.

Collins has followed the ascension of prospects like Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease to the majors. Prized outfield prospect Luis Robert is expected to be the next high-profile addition after the White Sox announced Saturday that they were promoting him to Triple-A Charlotte.

"It makes it easy to dream on things and say, 'OK, well, now we got this group of guys, here's the next wave of guys to help,'" Cease said. "It's been a lot of fun to watch."

Cease was the latest to make his major-league debut, earning the win in throwing five innings against the Tigers on Wednesday afternoon. In the second game of a doubleheader later that night, Moncada hit two homers and veteran Jose Abreu walked it off with a three-run blast in the 12th inning, then declared to reporters afterward that he hopes to remain with the White Sox beyond this season. Abreu is in the final season of his contract.

The White Sox can feel what could be coming and the opportunity to compete for championships soon enough. They entered the All-Star break below the .500 mark and more than a dozen games out of first place in the AL Central, but they recognize the growth.

Signs of progress are evident with Lucas Giolito from the worst pitcher in the majors in 2018 into an All-Star performer. Tim Anderson has been a driving force to the success on the field and a key leader off the diamond. Moncada has showcased the potential that made him the key return in the Chris Sale trade with the Red Sox that started this rebuild back in 2016.

There's a culture forming that could be the foundation for more wins ahead.

"There’s a lot of excitement here on the South Side," said manager Rick Renteria, credited by his players for enforcing this competitive spirit each day.

"They want to be the best. I think that they're seeking to try to accomplish that."

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn grew up in the north suburbs of Chicago rooting for the Cubs and writing letters to the team's general manager at the time, Dallas Green, suggesting how they could win. These days, Hahn must balance the executive role he fills with the baseball fan that still lives inside him and make decisions from a rationale perspective.

Hahn understand this team isn't good enough to win in October at this time, which is why he won't rush Robert to the big leagues or trade prospects for veterans before the July 31 deadline.

But Hahn can also appreciate how far the White Sox have come.

"From a big-picture standpoint, I think we're pleased," Hahn said. "On a nightly basis, here or there, you might get frustrated by the result of an individual game. But if you look at the more important elements of what we're trying to do in year three of the rebuild, we're very pleased with the development of some of our young core players.

"I feel like we're getting to the end of the beginning of this rebuild. That next stage is going to be having a team that we feel on a nightly basis is either capable of contending for a championship or at least growing into that in the very near future. Coming to the end of this beginning part of the rebuild is welcomed by all of us. We are enthusiastic for what comes next."

From his perch behind home plate at Guaranteed Rate Field, Hahn finds himself taking losses harder these days than in recent years, when the setbacks added up to high draft picks and more promising prospects. He must stay patient, even while those in the White Sox clubhouse look to win every game.

He knows more prospects are coming to Chicago to join those already here. As they rise up, hopes are growing higher and dreams of another World Series championship on the South Side are becoming more vivid.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.