Ventura: Royals are best team Sox faced in '15

Ventura: Royals are best team Sox faced in '15

CHICAGO -- It took manager Robin Ventura a few moments to come up with an answer when asked pregame on Sunday for the best team the White Sox faced during the 2015 season.

His team played the Cardinals, Cubs and Pirates, who all appear headed to the National League playoffs, during Interleague Play.

Eventually, he settled on the Royals.

"As far as being a deep team, they are as good as anybody," said Ventura of the Royals.

The defending AL champions were picked as one of the top teams yet again coming into 2015 and have lived up to the advanced billing. Ventura also likes how the Royals have added on as the season has progressed.

"They did a nice job at the Deadline, getting [Ben] Zobrist, [Johnny] Cueto," Ventura said. "They got a little deeper, probably where they were at, of being able to look at it postseason-wise who they were going to be using and what they needed. With the injuries that they had, it turned out to be a pretty good thing to have that kind of depth."

Kansas City has a nucleus of young talent that has lost together, grown together and is now consistently challenging for a World Series title together. The White Sox have a Minor League system that has improved and has given the Major League roster help in the form of Carlos Rodon, Carlos Sanchez and Trayce Thompson, to name a few.

But having that expanded, talented young core now looks to be essential for a team to find ongoing success.

"I think [it's important to have that core] to be successful, but also to have a run with it," Ventura said. "It's one thing to get that and make it be one or two years. When you get that you can have some longevity, as far as you can turn it into four, five, six years instead of just one or two."

Avisail Garcia, who left Saturday's victory after two innings due to back spasms, was out of Sunday's lineup. He was listed by Ventura as day to day. Catcher Rob Brantly is also day to day, per Ventura, due to "a nagging knee issue."

• Neither Mike Olt nor Tyler Saladino has been guaranteed the 2016 third-base job for the White Sox. But Ventura likes the versatility they both provided while getting an extended look this season.

"You don't want to sit there and say, 'This is the guy, that's going to be the guy,'" Ventura said. "However, you do want to have options, you do want to have depth and some versatility."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.