So far, so good for White Sox’ Class A manager Omar Vizquel

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Omar Vizquel was named Carolina League manager of the year in his first year as a manager. (

So far, so good for Omar Vizquel’s managerial résumé.

In his first season as a skipper, Vizquel — a three-time All-Star and an 11-time Gold Glove shortstop in 24 major-league seasons — was named Carolina League manager of the year last week after leading the White Sox’ Class A Winston-Salem affiliate to an 84-54 regular-season record. He was hired by the Sox last winter.

‘‘I had a lot of high expectations because we had a lot of top prospects in the organization, and I know we’re going to win with them,’’ Vizquel, 51, said on a conference call Monday. ‘‘It was interesting because sometimes you don’t know what to expect from these guys. But as soon as you see them go on the field, you see the kind of talent they have. We communicate a lot, and we tried to play the game the right way.

‘‘My coaching staff was unbelievable, so good, and we were able to tackle every situation and teach them, ‘This the way you make it to the big leagues.’ It was a very exciting year for us.’’

Vizquel had spent the previous four seasons as the Tigers’ first-base coach, so he is well-acquainted with both sides of a major-league clubhouse. He said communication is king for a manager.

‘‘No doubt about it,’’ Vizquel said. ‘‘That’s the No. 1 thing for players. If you know what your plan is and they know, it makes it easy. Every time you make a change or try something different with them, you have to let them know. You can’t get them by surprise because that’s when things get in their head and they start doubting their ability. But if you have a plan, give it to them and have them work on that and try to improve on it. They know where you’re coming from and what you want to accomplish.’’


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Winston-Salem was the only team in the Carolina League to have three hitters named to the year-end all-star team: designated hitter Micker Adolfo, outfielder Blake Rutherford and catcher Yermin Mercedes.

‘‘Managing these younger kids is a lot different [than working with major-leaguers],’’ Vizquel said. ‘‘Sometimes it takes two or three times till it gets through their head because they’re used to doing things their way. If you give the information three or four times and stick with it — and they realize it’s better for them — they start trusting it. The problem sometimes with younger kids is they’re not sure they can do it.

‘‘That’s different with big-leaguers. In the big leagues, you already have the tools, and most of the time — most of the time — you’re already prepared to do a lot of things.’’

Vizquel suggested infielder Nick Madrigal, whom the Sox selected fourth overall in the draft in June, is a cut above most prospects. Madrigal finished his first pro season at Winston-Salem.

‘‘What’s great is his mindset,’’ Vizquel said. ‘‘He has good ability, he has very quick hands, he can turn some good double plays and get to a lot of balls. But what separates him from the rest of the young kids is his maturity.

‘‘He thinks outside the box. He’s always asking questions about how to make a play another way, even if he can already make it. He’s thinking ahead of the game. He’s always talking to pitchers about different situations. You don’t see that in young kids very often. That’s what I really like about this guy.’’

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