Getz on White Sox player development: ‘We still have a lot of work to do’

SHARE Getz on White Sox player development: ‘We still have a lot of work to do’
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Outfielders Eloy Jimenez (left) and Luis Robert are the White Sox’ top two position player prospects. (John Antonoff/For Sun-Times)

Chris Getz knows the White Sox’ rebuild is in his hands now.

As director of player development, Getz, 34, the ex-Sox infielder who cut his teeth in the Royals’ player-development department before the Sox pried him away in December 2016, runs the franchise’s most fascinating and arguably most important operation.

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The pieces for a bright Sox future were laid when Chris Sale, Adam Eaton and Jose Quintana — to name three — were traded for a bevy of premium prospect talent that vaulted the Sox’ farm system from bottom-feeder to one ranked fourth by Baseball America.

“We have a pool of high-ceiling talent,’’ Getz said. “We still have a lot of work to do. There’s no question about it. That’s where our role on the PD side comes in, to teach these guys how to play the game properly and give them a strong understanding of who they are as players.

“But we need to be relentless in this pursuit because the reality of this game is we’re going to have players who do not reach their potential. And there are going to be injuries along the way, so we can’t let up.’’

Injuries to prospects Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Alec Hansen, Micker Adolfo, Jake Burger and Zack Burdi underscore that reality. The progress of those staying out of the trainer’s room — Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease, Luis Basabe and Dane Dunning — has softened the blow.

By and large, there’s nothing unique about the instruction and coaching they’re getting in the Sox’ system.

“But there are different ways to go about this whole thing,’’ Getz said. “The ultimate goal is to maximize the skill sets of players. Ours is unique in the sense that we incorporate the player in the process with our staff so the player knows what he needs to work on. We’ll meet at certain points to see where we are at. I really like when the players are a part of it; there’s more buy-in and a better commitment.’’

From a “positive’’ experience with the Royals, whose rebuild culminated with a World Series title in 2015, Getz said he has incorporated some elements into his plan.

Those plans “are detailed to the point where we clearly define objectives that are attainable in the near future,’’ Getz said. “Once we tackle those, then we focus on a different area. You have your initial assessment — the ceiling of the player — and how do we get him there. Through that there is Step 1, 2 and 3 and hopefully a finished product being the player we think he can be.’’

Chris Getz gets around at the White Sox spring training complex in Glendale, Ariz. (Daily Herald)

Chris Getz gets around at the White Sox spring training complex in Glendale, Ariz. (Daily Herald)

A year and a half into the job, Getz now knows the system inside out. He emphasized patience when he was hired, and he’s sticking to that virtue now, a note to fans clamoring to see a Kopech promotion from Class AAA Charlotte right now.

“You can learn so much through the failures of the game,’’ Getz said. “The key is, what positive can I take from this? It’s just really important to let these players experience success and struggles, so ultimately they know how to handle both.’’

When the outcome is success, well, that’s what it’s all about for a player-development boss.

“It can be so rewarding when you have those moments where the player gets it,’’ Getz said. “We can be working on driving the fastball the other way or learning how to pull the ball or turning the double play . . . sometimes you need to tell a player a hundred times, sometimes you need to tell him twice, but when they finally get it and it clicks, there is no more rewarding feeling in the world because you know how it’s going to impact his career. And then when these guys bring their game to a higher level, hopefully to the major leagues, it’s a pretty good feeling.’’

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