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CHGO White Sox Weekly: Will Colson Montgomery or Jacob Gonzalez be shortstop of the future?

Vinnie Duber Avatar
February 26, 2024
Colson Montgomery

What’s up, Sox fans?

Today is my final day in Arizona for spring training coverage, and it’s been a great couple of weeks watching this team take shape. I’m coming back to Chicago with plenty of things to watch the rest of the spring.

But with the Chicago White Sox geared toward the future, why not take a break from projecting the 26-man roster and focus on two guys who represent the long-term hopes of the organization?

White Sox Weekly

Shortstop of the future

Right now, both Colson Montgomery and Jacob Gonzalez — the team’s first-round picks in 2021 and 2023, respectively — play the same position.

But which of the duo, if either, is truly the Sox’ shortstop of the future?

Both have recent issues they hope to put behind them. Montgomery is ranked as one of the best prospects in baseball, and his bat has been fantastic in the minors. But in addition to his health concerns last year, he’s not receiving rave reviews for his defense, forcing plenty to wonder if he’ll stick at shortstop.

The Sox seem committed to keeping him there, at least for now, even as they hope for more consistency. For his part, he’s happy with how he’s approaching playing in the field but is open to whatever the Sox ask of him, including a position switch.

“I’m going to give it everything I’ve got,” Montgomery said of his defense in an interview with CHGO. “I’m always going to be a fierce competitor. I’m going to make the right play, I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team. You ask how I feel about my defense, and it’s that I’m going to do everything I can to help the pitcher out, help my guys out.

“If they say, ‘You’re going to the big leagues, but you’re going to play second,’ I’m not going to say no. I’m going to play, do (things to) the best of my abilities, help the team. And if that’s what I’ve got to do to help the team win, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Meanwhile, Gonzalez struggled in a small number of games at Class A Kannapolis after the Sox drafted him last summer. Unlike Montgomery, current worry from outsiders concerns his bat. But inside Sox camp, the team likes what it sees — and what’s different from last year.

“He made some great adjustments in instructional league, and it’s shown early on here in spring training,” Getz said last week. “He’s had a couple live sessions against some of our major league arms. It’s a much simpler approach and simpler swing, very repeatable. He’s certainly been the talk of minor league camp so far.

“I think his adjustment period at Kannapolis is certainly a blessing for Jacob. He’s in great shape, and you look at mechanically what he’s doing in the box and his confidence, I think there’s going to be a lot of good that comes out of his 2024 season.”

How about some more on minor leaguers?

Nick Nastrini gets eye-popping comp

High praise for Nick Nastrini, who was acquired in last summer’s trade with the Dodgers. Getting a late-season bump from Double-A to Triple-A, he seemed the most likely of the Sox’ collection of young arms to land a big league job this spring.

That might be a long shot at this point, but not because of anything the uber-confident hurler is or isn’t doing.

“Dylan Cease was absolutely incredible,” Pedro Grifol said of his ace’s batting-practice session last week. “Velocity was really, really high. As sharp as you can possibly be. Presence. Nastrini came almost right after Dylan Cease. I thought I was looking at the same guy. This kid’s got it. He’s got some presence. And he’s got some stuff.”

Leasure time?

There was similar love for the other guy brought over in that Dodgers trade, Jordan Leasure. A reliever, Leasure has put up gaudy numbers in the minors, and now he’s impressing big leaguers in spring training.

“I asked (Andrew) Benintendi the other day, we were eating lunch, and I asked him, ‘Who’s the best guy you’ve faced so far?’ And (Leasure’s) name popped up. That was a huge compliment.

“The fastball gets on guys. That was the feedback that they all said to me. … He had to go through (Yoán) Moncada, Benintendi, (Luis) Robert, and he was getting to the top of the zone. Didn’t back down. It looked the part. The hitters’ reaction said it was getting on them.”

Unlike Nastrini, a starter competing with many others for probably just one open rotation spot, Leasure might have better chances of breaking camp, considering the wide-open bullpen competition.

What’s Vinnie been up to?

After hiking the week prior, I sampled some of the better beverages in the Valley. The cocktails at UnderTow, The Captain’s Cabin and Bitter And Twisted are stellar.

Plus, I made my annual trip to my favorite food spot in Arizona: El Pollo Supremo in Tempe. Nothing better than the $12 combo plate: seasoned chicken, carne asada, beans, salsa and tortillas. Meal of champions.

I’m making my way back to Chicago tonight and will return to the CHGO studios Tuesday. Stay tuned for spring training coverage, as I’ve held onto plenty to roll out in the coming weeks.

PS — Check out our clearance sale at the CHGO Locker this week, which contains plenty of South Side shirts for 30 percent off. Also make sure to get tickets to one of our takeovers at Guaranteed Rate this season!

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