Feb 16, 2024 - Sports

5 players to watch at White Sox spring training

Photo of a man sitting in a baseball dugout

Chicago White Sox general manager Chris Getz sits in the dugout. Photo: John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The White Sox have invited a staggering number of players to spring training as they look to rebuild after last year's historically bad season.

The big picture: The Sox invited 26 non-roster players to try out, signaling a wide open competition to make the regular season roster.

  • Star players Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech return, but there are plenty of open roster spots.

Here are five players to pay attention to in spring training.

Colson Montgomery

Shortstop

Photo of a baseball player rounding the bases
Colson Montgomery rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the 2023 Fall Stars Game in Mesa, Arizona on Nov. 5, 2023. Photo: Norm Hall/MLB Photos via Getty Images

White Sox fans are excited for Montgomery, who is a highly touted prospect.

  • The rookie shortstop looks to take over from Tim Anderson, who was let go this offseason. Montgomery could have some growing pains, but early reports compare him to Rangers' star Corey Seager.

Projected: Opening Day starter.

Tim Elko

First baseman

Photo of a baseball player screaming on field
Tim Elko of the Ole Miss Rebels reacts after scoring against the Oklahoma Sooners during the 2022 Division I Men's Baseball Championship in Omaha, Nebraska. Photo: Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Sox are in need of power. Their home run totals are towards the bottom of the league even though they play in a hitter-friendly park.

  • Tim Elko is a home-run hitter. Last year, he hit 28 homers in stops at three different minor league teams in the Sox system, including Birmingham.

Projection: Even though he's 25, he'll probably start the season in minors.

Brett Phillips

Outfielder

Photo of a baseball player celebrating
Brett Phillips of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates during Game Four of the 2020 MLB World Series in Arlington, Texas. Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The utility outfielder has spent his career in Tampa Bay and has little to show for it besides a star turn in the 2020 World Series.

  • He's plucky and he's a fan favorite, but he's also only hit .187 for his career.

Projection: Makes roster as backup.

Justin Anderson

Starting pitcher

Photo of a baseball player pitching
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Justin Anderson pitches during the eighth inning of a game against the Houston Astros in 2019. Photo: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The veteran, left-handed starting pitcher played for the Los Angeles Angels, but injuries have set him back.

  • He has some experience and should slot in as a serviceable arm in the back end of the rotation. Not because he's got sensational stuff, but because the Sox have almost no viable starting pitchers behind Cease and Kopech.

Projection: No. 5 starting pitcher

Kevin Pillar

Outfielder

Photo of a baseball player diving
Kevin Pillar of the Atlanta Braves makes a diving catch during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 18, 2023. Photo: Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/Getty Images

Yep, that Kevin Pillar. The defense-first outfielder has jumped around to several teams in his career, playing with the Braves last season.

  • Pillar looks to make the roster just based on experience, but this screams as a backup move by new GM Chris Getz to flip for more prospects at the trade deadline.

Yes, but: At least he'll entertain the fans with his spectacular plays.

Projected: Makes the team, maybe even starts in right field.

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