The Arizona Fall League finished up recently and for the most part it was a forgettable season from a White Sox standpoint. This year didn't feature the emergence of Sergio Santos as in 2009 or the comeback of Jared Mitchell like last year, but there was one player who surprised just about everyone. Terry Doyle, a 26-year-old who hasn't pitched above AA, more or less dominated the league in his eight starts.
Due to his age, Doyle has been just off the radar despite some pretty solid minor league numbers. He has a 3.00 ERA in 399 professional innings with 354 strikeouts against 94 walks. In 2011, he earned a midseason promotion from High-A Winston-Salem to AA Birmingham and withstood the jump. He's not going to blow anyone away with a mid 90s fastball or a sharp curve, but he has good control and a good amount of 'pitchability' as they say.
In 27.1 IP Doyle posted a 1.98 ERA in the AFL with 22 K, 5 BB and just 12 hits allowed. That was good for the best WHIP in the league, lowest opposing batting average (.135) and top five in walk rate (1.65 BB/9) and ERA in a league notorious for its hitting conditions. Doyle earned a spot in the AFL's Rising Stars game and was named to the league's Top Prospect Team.
Even with this spectacular showing it's difficult to figure out what his future is with the organization. Doyle was left off the 40-man roster, meaning he is available for selection in December's Rule V draft. It would be a minor surprise if he was taken. He doesn't have a big upside and a team would have to be really desperate for pitching to keep Doyle on the 25-man roster for a full season. However, it's nice to see him doing well because the Sox need depth at starting pitching. A strong spring could see Doyle as the first starter the Sox call up in the event of an injury.
As for the rest of the Sox prospects in the AFL, stats first, thoughts after:
Tyler Saladino: .286/.341/.351, 2 2B, 1 3B, 7 BB, 17 K in 77 AB
Brandon Short: .274/.346/.453, 7 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 12 BB, 38 K in 117 AB
Michael Blanke: .206/.270/.471, 3 2B, 2 HR, 2 BB, 6 K in 34 AB
Short was the only regular in Mesa's lineup, but none of the three Sox hitters stood out. Short showed some power, but, again, the league favors hitters so take these numbers with a grain of salt. Meanwhile, Saladino surprisingly didn't hit for much pop. Blanke was a late add to replace Josh Phegley and was a bit out of his league experience wise. I'm not about to praise or write off a player for anything done in an offseason league, even the AFL, unless they do something truly amazing or awful. Doyle was pretty amazing, but none of the hitters were good or bad enough to think anything of it.
Jake Petricka: 16.1 IP, 5.51 ERA, 18 K, 10 BB, 16 H
Nevin Griffith: 14 IP, 9.64 ERA, 7 K, 11 BB, 20 H
Brandon Kloess: 12.1 IP, 3.65 ERA, 17 K, 4 BB, 6 H
All three of these pitchers came exclusively out of the bullpen. It's hard to take anything away from Petricka's showing, but I think Griffith's time is about up. He hasn't put up good numbers in a while now. Kloess had a great 2011 over three levels and continued that success with terrific K:BB numbers in the AFL, but at 26 he's likely nothing more than a AAAA type reliever.
In case you haven't noticed, FutureSox is in its offseason hibernation period. There will be some sporadic posts before spring training, but you can stay updated by following our Twitter, all posts are linked from there.