Spring Training has officially begun, and White Sox baseball is back! Over the course of the next month-plus, I will be publishing a White Sox Spring Training notebook to keep everyone updated on the happenings, news, and storylines out of Camelback Ranch, with a dash of analysis and opinion to set it apart from everything else you can find by tirelessly mashing the refresh button on Twitter.
James McCann on the Yasmani Grandal Addition: “It is what it is”
One of the storylines that was swept under the rug this winter, largely due to the moves that followed the Yasmani Grandal signing, is the effect that the move will have on 2019 American League All-Star, James McCann. It took no time for it to be addressed on Wednesday morning at Camelback Ranch.
McCann handled the questions with grace and insisted that his focus in camp is doing whatever he can to help the White Sox compete in 2020. He made it clear that the time to win is now.
Despite this, I find it hard to believe that McCann is thrilled about the Grandal signing. McCann will turn 30 this season and hit the open market next winter. Being a backup catcher with the opportunity to play once or twice per week isn’t exactly the ideal situation when trying to build your free-agency stock.
As of now, McCann truly has one strong half-season in his career. In the first half of 2019, he posted an OPS+ of 131 to go along with nine home runs and 30 RBIs. Despite collecting an identical nine home runs and 30 RBIs in the second half of the season, his OPS+ fell to 81 and his OBP fell nearly 100 points.
For now, it appears that the White Sox are content with opening the season with McCann as Yasmani Grandal’s backup. As for McCann, he had this to say on Wednesday morning: “There’s things about that business that you can’t control.”
Dane Dunning Update
Dane Dunning — the Chicago White Sox’s fifth-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline — spoke to the media on Wednesday morning at Camelback Ranch and shared some encouraging details regarding his recovery from Tommy John Surgery.
Dunning told reporters that he’s thrown five or six bullpens at 100 percent and that he has a live BP session coming up. According to Dunning, his recovery has been, “phenomenal so far.”
While he’s feeling great physically at the start of camp, Dunning still believes he’s going to be limited in 2020, but he’s just focused on getting back into game shape this year.
“I’m probably going to be limited in innings this year, but honestly, I’m just trying to get back and get back to actually in a game. That’s my biggest goal, get back to playing in games first.”
If you’re heading down to Glendale, Arizona this Spring Training, entry and exit to the Camelback Ranch facility will be a little easier this year.
On Tuesday morning, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf announced the opening of Ballpark Boulevard, which will allow fans to arrive/exit from/to the North, something previously not possible.
This handy map provided by Camelback Ranch can be saved for your convenience while down in Arizona for Spring Training, and it illustrates the full details on how the newly opened Ballpark Boulevard can be utilized.
The project was paid for by the City of Glendale and took 302 days to complete. Here’s what White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf had to say during the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday morning.
Sights and Sounds
The best pictures and videos of the day at Camelback Ranch:
They said it…
The best quotes of the day from Camelback Ranch:
“If I said we weren’t trying to win a World Series, I’d be lying.”White Sox catcher James McCann on 2020 expectations.
“The great teams have competition from position to position. That’s what drives the best teams.”White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal on competition at second base this spring.
“Everyone knows this game is more mental than physical. I used to work on my body more than my mindset but then I changed that. I’ve been working more on my mind with a few people.”White Sox pitcher Reynaldo Lopez on his 2020 outlook.