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Frankie Montas, Tyler Saladino show White Sox's system getting stronger

7/17/2015
If Tyler Saladino makes a good impression on the field this weekend, he could force a longer stay in Chicago. David Banks/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- The addition of Frankie Montas is only the latest arrival of a young player from the Chicago White Sox's farm system that is expected to make an impact in the near future.

Before Montas, it was Tyler Saladino, who burst upon the scene as a surprise addition for last weekend’s series against the Chicago Cubs and proved to be a breath of fresh air with solid defense and offense.

According to general manager Rick Hahn, Montas will only stick around for Friday’s twin bill and then head right back to the minor leagues. That doesn’t mean he will be gone and forgotten.

“It wouldn’t shock me if it were similar to Jose Quintana, who originally came up for one 26-man experience (in 2012) and then returned,” Hahn said. “If Montas followed the same path, we’d see him again at some point this season.”

Manager Robin Ventura also suggested that Saladino will be around at least through the weekend. On Sunday, though, the club will have an interesting decision to make when they want to send out a position player to get the bullpen back up to strength.

Depending on how Saladino plays against the Royals over the next few days, he could be the one staying. The White Sox might be ready to make a move with a different part of the roster in order to carve out a permanent spot for the versatile Saladino.

The White Sox have done a fine job developing pitchers in recent years, but not so much when it comes to position players. Saladino gives the White Sox two homegrown position players in the starting lineup for the first game Friday, along with second baseman Carlos Sanchez.

Although it doesn’t seem like a big deal, Hahn said it is important for the organization to get a firsthand look at players coming through the pipeline like the homegrown Saladino and Montas, who was acquired in the 2013 three-way Jake Peavy trade that also netted Avisail Garcia.

“It’s huge,” Hahn said. “Again, I think we were pretty clear from the start, as high as our expectations were and remain for this season, this was a process and good clubs are able to integrate young players on an annual basis. So to give guys the opportunity to show how they fit, or get them that experience early on over the course of the season, is only going to benefit us in the future.”

The White Sox have more position players coming like outfielder Trayce Thompson, who was a Triple-A all-star. There is even Matt Davidson, who isn’t a homegrown talent, but could give the club power potential in the near future. He was also a Triple-A all-star this season.

A little further back in the development chain is shortstop Tim Anderson, who was the MVP in the Southern League All-Star Game earlier this summer. It’s a rare moment in time when the top White Sox prospect is a position player and not a pitcher, but with Carlos Rodon in the major leagues now, many consider Anderson the top guy now.

“That's imperative to the long-term health of the franchise, to be able to develop premium talent internally, whether it comes through the draft or internationally, which is an area we feel we've made great, great strides in over the last several years thanks to Marco Paddy and his scouts and the investment we've made down there,” Hahn said.

“I'm hoping it's quicker than four or five years, but from the moment I've assumed this position we've made clear we need to get our position player development program on par to where our pitcher development program has been for the last 20 years. That's key to being able to sustain success, is to be in a position to grow your own and develop your own. From a positional player standpoint we're not where we need to be yet but we feel like we're getting closer.”