With the return of the 2020 MLB season, there are few intriguing storylines that we will see play out over the next few weeks, and much like everyday life has become, these uncertainties are only posed to the White Sox because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When we last saw the White Sox, they were basking in the vibes of a team that felt it was on the cusp of something special. Maybe a playoff push, or maybe just the first step in the dawn of a new era of White Sox baseball. Either way, the roster, and the coaching staff felt pretty darn good about where they were heading back in late February.
In an early media session at Camelback Ranch, White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn had this to say, “I think we can objectively sit here today and feel like… we have three of arguably the most exciting young players in the American League under control for at least the next six years.”
While all that remains true, ‘Spring Training 2.0’ or ‘Summer Camp’ as I’ve seen it referred to by MLB.com’s Scott Merkin, will pose Rick Hahn with a few questions that the club might not have had to face in early this spring.
We’re going to try to answer some of those questions in a six-part mini-series, titled “Sox Six-Pack,” and today we continue with the ‘Taxi Squad’, who we’d like to see on it, and how the White Sox plan to use it.
What is the ‘Taxi Squad,’ and how do the White Sox plan to use it?
The ‘Taxi Squad’ is a term that we’ve seen a bunch lately, and essentially it will be a group of 16 players, per MLB.com’s Scott Merkin.
That piece of information by the veteran Sox beat reporter was from a Zoom conference call with White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn, and Manager Rick Renteria.
If my math is correct, the White Sox plan to have 44 players report to camp on July 3, their first scheduled workout at Guaranteed Rate Field. 28 of whom will be on the Opening Day roster, and 16 who will be on the Taxi Squad.
Teams will be allowed to field 30 on their Opening Day roster, but will have to shrink that number to 28 at the two-week mark. Two weeks later, on Day 29 of the season, they must reduce the roster to 26 players. They will carry 26 players for the rest of the season, with an additional player added for doubleheaders.
So, the Taxi Squad might be 14 players to start, with two more joining that group of depth at the two-week mark when the teams reduce their active roster to just 28 players.
Hahn and Renteria noted on Thursday that there are still details to hammer out in regards to the Taxi Squad, so keep an eye out for those. But with the information available now, here are some guys that I would like to see in that group.
Who I would like to see on the ‘Taxi Squad.’
To make sense of who I think would be a potential fit on the Taxi Squad, let’s go over who I assume will be part of the 28 guys that will be on the active roster for the majority of the season.
Here’s who I would like to see on the White Sox’s 16-man Taxi Squad:
|Andrew Vaughn||1B||High-A (ST NRI)||N|
|Nick Madrigal||2B||Triple-A (ST NRI)||N|
|Nicky Delmonico||OF||MLB (ST NRI)||N|
We’ll start with the most interesting name on my list, 2020 first-rounder Garrett Crochet. Crochet is a big lefty with a major-league ready fastball/changeup combination.
He pitched in the SEC, the college baseball’s toughest conference, and his head coach at Tennessee Tony Vitello in an interview with me said that he thinks that he can get outs as a major league reliever as soon as this season.
Crochet’s arm is fresh and comes with an upper 90s fastball from the left side that could be in the mix for some innings down the stretch if the White Sox are in contention.
When it comes to the rest of the pitchers on the list, these are all guys that are reported to be healthy, on the 40-man roster (with the exception of Jonathan Stiever), and have been either pitched at the major league level or been invited to Spring Training and seen time on the mound against major league hitters.
Now to the position players. Seby Zavala had a brief cup of coffee at MLB level, and he’ll likely be the lone catcher on this list of this Sox carry four on the active roster.
Then there’s 2019, 2018 first-rounders respectively, Andrew Vaughn and Nick Madrigal. Neither is currently on the 40-man roster, but both have been invited to the big league camp. Madrigal had a strong shot at making the major league team at some point this season, so he’s a slam dunk to make this group if he doesn’t break camp on the active roster.
We round this list out with a foursome of outfielders (Luis Alexander-Basabe, Blake Rutherford, Micker Adolfo, and Nicky Delmonico) all of whom are currently on the 40-man roster.
As mentioned before, there’s still details and particulars to iron out with the whole Taxi Squad setup, but I’d be happy to have this group of guys on the Taxi Squad when it’s all said and done.
Featured Photo: Rick Scuteri / USA Today