Reader Q&A: Mark Gonzales' White Sox mailbag
While managers have different preferences about using "small ball," it strikes me that the White Sox rarely use sacrifice bunts in games where one run can make the difference. Is this a strategical decision or are they just bad bunters? -- Bob Dunn; Palm Desert, Calif.

I’m glad you brought this up because there are many schools of thought on this. The biggest question is whether you play for one run earlier than normal and who is at the plate at the time.

I really hate when a team bunts with a runner at second with no outs, but I’ll give you an example of how it worked perfectly. Joe Maddon called for the bunt in the first inning against the Sox after Desmond Jennings led off with a double. Sean Rodriguez moved Jennings over to third on a sacrifice bunt, and Zobrist followed with a sacrifice fly.

It’s only one run, but with David Price on the mound, it felt like five runs against the Sox.

It all depends on who is at the plate in a sacrifice situation. I think the Sox should be better at this. And after watching John Danks bunt a few times, I wouldn’t hesitate to use him in a sacrifice situation. He executed a sacrifice bunt lat Saturday that set up two runs and helped his cause. Curt Schilling was one of the best at helping his cause with sacrifice bunts that led to runs and giving himself more margin for error when he returned to the mound.

The Sox have played a major league-leading 34 one-run games (14-20), so you can’t help but think that a sacrifice bunt would have helped improved that record. But at the same time, they weren’t so great with runners in scoring position.

Sox players complained about losing a day off in Florida because of the scheduled make-up game against the Cubs. It only proves that they have already "mailed it in" and their focus is so misguided and supports the on-field results we have witnessed this pathetic season. Also, it's time to break up the "good old boys network" in the organization. It amazes me that the Cardinals and A's can field competitive teams every year, particularly Oakland with their constrained budget. -- Len Gestout; Appleton, Wisc.

Is your reference to the ‘’good old boys network’’ referring to the fact there haven’t been many changes in the baseball side? I’ve said before that many outside of the organization praise the chairman for his loyalty. But at the same time, I’ve liked the addition of Buddy Bell as a strong set of eyes for this organization.

St. Louis has been incredibly impressive with its drafting and player development. It seems like every pitcher that goes through their system throw 95 mph or harder, and that their position players who come through their farm system are very polished. Matt Carpenter isn’t going to make you walk to the other side of the street, but he gets the job done and was a deserving All-Star. Daniel Descalso was a third round pick, and his tools don’t jump off the charts, but it seems he gets the job done when asked.

Bob Melvin has done a tremendous job with Oakland, and Phil Garner deserves a lot of credit in making Josh Donaldson a dependable third baseman. The A’s scouts also have done an exceptional job of identifying dependable pitchers from other organizations like Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, Ryan Cook and All-Star Grant Balfour.

The Sox have added one pro scout in the past five years while Marco Paddy has added a presence in Latin America. I’m curious to see if there will be any changes or retooling on the amateur side, although there were some duties changed prior to the last evaluation period.

What is up with Tim Anderson? Is he playing in Bristol yet, and is there any word on how he is doing? Also, any of the White Sox's draftees looking especially promising? Looks like Jacob May moved up to Class-A already. -- David Simon

Tim Anderson is performing very well at Class-A Kannapolis (he didn’t play for Bristol), batting .305 with four doubles, three triples, eight RBIs and nine stolen bases (in 11 attempts) in 25 games. He has struck out 32 times in 95 at-bats, but his on-base percentage is .395.

May was promoted after only 12 games at Advanced Rookie-Great Falls, which is usually the case with a college draft pick. He’s batting only .109 in the same amount of games with Kannapolis. Next year will be a better measuring stick for him.

I’m careful not to hype up the draft picks out of high school so soon, but Matt Ball hasn’t allowed an earned run in his first four games at Bristol, and second round pick Tyler Danish has a 2.45 ERA in six appearances.

Also, infielder Toby Thomas, a 21st round pick, batted .423 with two home runs and eight RBIs and was named the Appalachian League’s player of the week for July 8-14.

Sometimes first-year draft picks are asked to change their mechanics or alter their batting stance, so I wouldn’t read too deeply into statistics for their first pro season.

Currently the White Sox are the third worst team in baseball. Assuming this horrid pace keeps up, who are the top draft picks in 2014? Perhaps this year will be a blessing in disguise and we'll draft the next cornerstone of our franchise. -- Jim, Chicago

Funny you mention that because look at the way Washington vaulted into post-season contention with Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, but it came at the expense of some miserable years.

The consensus first pick in the 2014 draft is North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon, and everything I’ve read is that he’ll advance quickly.