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2018 Chicago White Sox rely on family culture as to rebuild

Sergio Garcia, Real Estate

CHICAGO — The word Jose Abreu uses to describe his role with the young up-and-comers in the White Sox system is papá.

Though he turned just 31 earlier this week, Abreu has become the senior member of the Chicago roster. He made his debut in 2014, and only a handful of his teammates have been there as long.But as the White Sox enter what GM Rick Hahn called “phase two” of the rebuild and another wave of heralded prospects prepares to debut in 2018, Abreu’s approach with his teammates is a crucial piece of the culture that has helped the rebuild succeed through the first phase. And this culture is especially important when so much of the young talent has come via trade from other organizations. These young players need a papá to teach them the tradition and family culture of south side Chicago baseball.

“I try to help them as much as I can, just to teach them the things that they need to learn,” Abreu told Sporting News. “Be an example for them, teach them respect, and teach them how to do things on and off the field. … I think that’s the most important thing for me, as my role right now with this team.”
The first baseman has a .301 average and 124 home runs in his first four seasons in the majors, so his attitude about where he brings the most value to his team might be surprising. But it’s a microcosm of the culture being built in Chicago’s clubhouse, and this culture of camaraderie is important as the White Sox prepare to navigate the challenges of bringing up more of their cadre of blue-chip players.
“We have definitely moved on to a different and perhaps more difficult stage of this whole process. We’re thrilled in the amount of progress we’ve made in the last year, in the talent and even the camaraderie that these players have shown,” Hahn said. “It does get you excited, and at the same time, we know we’re only one year into this process. We’re deeper into the phase where player development is going to be at the forefront, and we’re going to have to be patient and allow these players the time and latitude to develop and inevitably fail and recover from that failure.”If the first phase was selling off nearly every tradeable piece and hoarding many of the best prospects in baseball, Hahn and company have done that with mastery. Having assembled a top-five farm system in baseball that has already graduated guys such as Yoan Moncada and Carson Fulmer, they have many others prepared to make that final jump. One of these is Michael Kopech, the Texan who has already fried radar guns in the minors with his triple-digit speed.

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