GLENDALE, Ariz. — As if news that they lost out on Manny Machado wasn’t enough, the White Sox said outfielder Luis Basabe, the No. 9-ranked prospect in their system, according to MLB Pipeline, broke the hamate bone in his left wrist Monday and will have surgery that will sideline him four to six weeks.
It’s the latest in a series of injuries to the Sox’ well-regarded prospect core. Michael Kopech (Tommy John surgery), Micker Adolfo (Tommy John), Jake Burger (ruptured Achilles tendon), Luis Robert (thumb, knee, hamstring), Eloy Jimenez (knee, adductor) and Alec Hansen (forearm, shoulder) all missed needed development time to varying degrees with injuries last season.
Basabe, who was acquired with Kopech, Yoan Moncada and Victor Diaz in the Chris Sale trade, is expected to be back in playing shape in 12 weeks.
Basabe batted .258/.354/.445 with 15 home runs and 56 RBI between advanced Class A Winston-Salem and Class AA Birmingham in 2018.
“He’ll be fine,” manager Rick Renteria said.
In the Nick of time
The Sox expect second baseman Nick Madrigal, the fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft, to progress quickly, a big reason why they’re moving Moncada to third base.
Madrigal’s baseball acumen — highly valued in the middle of the infield — is a big reason why. He also is a highly regarded defender and hitter, although he hit with little power his first year in the pros.
“I would say it’s probably going to be a process for him that transitions very easily,” Renteria said. “That’s our hope, and that’s our expectation. Bright young man, very well-spoken, quietly confident.”
One of the reasons for moving Moncada to third, Renteria said, was because of focus issues at second base.
In the meantime
Yolmer Sanchez, who played third base last season, will probably handle second better defensively than Moncada (21 errors).
“When you’re good at something, you don’t have to prove it,” Sanchez said with a wink. “No, I always love to play defense. Second base, third base, it doesn’t matter. I just try to do my best. My goal is to be in the lineup every day.”
As for Moncada, the former No. 1 prospect in baseball and the key piece in the Sale trade who struggled in his first full season, don’t give up yet, Sanchez said.
“He can be a superstar,” Sanchez said. “I mean, he has all the tools. He just has to continue to work, continue to get better, get experience. That’s it. He’s got everything to be a superstar.”
The last word
General manager Rick Hahn, in his “concession speech” after the Sox lost out on Machado: “From the rawness and selfish standpoint or my individual standpoint, trying hard and failing is not sufficient.
“This isn’t the last time we’re going to be pursuing premium talent, and we’re not going to convert on all of them. We learned that lesson harshly today. But we aren’t going to shy away from continuing to try to make this team better. I know right now the trajectory remains good with or without any individual addition.”