The Chicago White Sox are nearing the 60 game mark for the year. Most baseball people will tell you that once you hit that mark you have a idea of what kind of team you got. Many general managers decide if they should be sellers or buyers at the trade deadline. The White Sox currently stand at 24-25 in 3rd place and 5.0 GB. If the Sox plan on contending, they are going to need more from certain areas on the field. It's a team game, but players are evaluated individually. While veterans like Adam Dunn and Jeff Keppinger have struggled, their contracts don't allow the Sox much flexibility. However, GM Rick Hahn, has some options at Charlotte to replace a struggling Tyler Flowers and a inconsistent Nate Jones. The real question is will Hahn make that move?
The players at Charlotte that I'm referring to are catcher Josh Phegley and reliever Ramon Troncoso. Josh Phegley is hitting .331/11HR's/29 RBI's/.395 OBP. He has been their best hitter and the hottest player at Charlotte. Phegley was a 1st round sandwich pick in 2009, 38th overall. The real question with Phegley is will he be able to translate those numbers at the MLB level. Being a catcher, especially a young catcher at the MLB level, has a lot of responsibility. Phegley would be responsible for a entire MLB staff and would be expected to produce offensively. While the Sox as a organization are impressed with Phegley, they also have shown confidence in Tyler Flowers and Hector Gimenez. The White Sox pitching staff has been very good this season and the catchers deserve credit for some of that. Gimenez's is safe in his role as the backup catcher. Tyler Flowers is in his first full year as the starting catcher. Despite poor offensive numbers, .198/4HR's/12 RBI's, removing him from his role would rattle his confidence as a player. Hahn and assistant GM Buddy Bell would have to completely lose confidence in Flowers to send him down and bring up Phegley. The only way right now I see Phegley coming up to the big club is if the organization put Flowers on the DL. Flowers has struggled with back spasms this year. If the Sox want to give Phegley a look and get Flowers a break , a stint on the DL could be the only option. The Sox would prefer for Flowers to step up and start hitting. This is a big year for Flowers to show the Sox or any other teams that he can be a full time catcher at this level.
While despite Phelgey's numbers I don't see him getting a call up soon, I do see reliever Ramon Troncoso possibly making his way up. Last year Nate Jones was awesome. He was nicknamed the "Vulture" because it seemed like every close game he entered he walked away with a win. This year has not been that way. Jones has struggled with his command and has been hit hard. He's 1-4 with a ERA over 7.00. His walk (19) to strikeout ratio (12) has been poor. I could see the Sox optioning Jones down to Charlotte to get himself right. The Sox could bring up reliever Ramon Troncoso to fill his spot. Troncoso is 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA. He has struck out 13 while only walking 4. Nate Jones claims it's not confidence in his stuff, but he's starting to look shaken in games. I would say Jones is on a short leash and that Troncoso may be in a Sox uniform soon.
So what would you do Sox fans? Would you stick with Tyler Flowers and Nate Jones? Or do you want to see Josh Phegley and Ramon Troncoso get a shot? In the next 10-15 games, Rick Hahn is going to have to make some decisions on how he proceeds with his ball club. If he thinks he can contend, you're going to need your best options on the field. Could those options be a guy like Phelgey? Only time will tell. Let me hear what you think.
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