White Sox Winter League Updates

With the Arizona Fall League season completed, let's check in on some other White Sox players and prospects playing in the Caribbean winter leagues.  The Sox have about 20 players scattered around the various teams and leagues, who are there for a variety of reasons.  Some to get work in after a shortened season, some to prove they still belong, others simply to play in their home country.  There are leagues in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico (though this season the Sox don't have anyone playing in Mexico).

Here is a rundown of the players affiliated with the Sox playing in those leagues...

 

VENEZUELA

Venezuela seems to be the most popular tropical destination for Sox players and prospects this season - about a dozen of them named on rosters.

Four players representing the Sox are playing for Tiburones de La Guaira.  Outfielder Brandon Short, who missed much of 2012 due to injury, just arrived in-country and has played in only 5 games so far.  He's a guy that seemed on track for a 4th OF job before the injury, but the 24-year-old still has a shot with a strong showing in 2013.  Another outfielder once thought by the Sox to be on track for the majors, Jose Martinez, has been getting regular time: .275/.315/.353/.668 in 51 AB.  He's also 24 but has been in the Sox system for 6 years now and has yet to get his hitting results up to the level of his tools.  Catcher Miguel Gonzalez has struggled offensively since his big year in 2009 with Bristol, but he's still just 21.  So far he's posted a .262/.357/.311/.669 line in 61 AB.  Veteran infielder Ray Olmedo, who made a disappointing appearance with the Sox late last year, is hitting just .211 with a .505 OPS in 38 at bats.

Right-handed reliever Ryan Kussmaul, who was very impressive at AA Birmingham last year but will be 27 in 2013,  is pitching for Bravos de Margarita.  Thus far in 4 appearances: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K.  Ryan is not on the 40-man roster, but isn't much risk for the Rule V, and a strong showing here and in the spring could help him get a strong look in AAA in 2013 with hopes of a shot to make the Sox bullpen in the future.

Journeyman infielder Jose Lopez, who spent time at AAA Charlotte before joining the Sox infield last season, is getting a lot of playing time with Cardenales de Lara.  So far he's posted a .294/.368/.365/.733 line in 85 AB, and he's looking for a job in 2013.  He just turned 29 (happy birthday!).

Catcher Hector Gimenez, who was the Sox' extra catcher in September and put up some nice numbers, has staked a .278/.350/.537/.887 line in 54 AB for Tigres de Aragua.  He's 30 years old, but is on the Sox' 40 man roster, and could be the backup catcher in 2013 if the team doesn't re-sign AJ Pierzynski or another veteran.

Other Sox minor leaguers on rosters but who haven't yet played...  RHP Dan Remenowsky (AA and AAA in 2012) just arrived in the country, and will be pitching for Tigres de Aragua... RHP Wilce Nieves (20 year old reliever with DSL Sox in 2012) is with Caribes de Anzotegui... RHP Scott Carroll got in a few games for Leones del Caracas, but had to leave to have Tommy John surgery and will likely miss all of 2013... 21 year old pitcher Leopoldo Sanchez (Bristol in 2012) is listed on the roster for Cardenales de Lara.

 

DOMINICAN

There are 4 Sox-affiliated players in the DR this winter, and three of them appear to figure prominently in their plans for 2013.

Catcher Tyler Flowers, who was the backup to Pierzynski in 2012, will likely become the team's first new starting catcher since 2005 if AJ isn't re-signed.  He hasn't played a game yet, but keep your eyes on Leones de Escogido for the remaining month of their season.

Reliever Jhan Marinez, who made a brief September appearance with the Sox last year after a solid AAA campaign, appears to have a very good shot at a job in the 2013 bullpen (especially if an experienced reliever is traded).  So far, the Dominican league hasn't been kind to the 24 year old, as he's posted a 6.75 ERA, 1.65 WHIP and twice as many walks (4) as strikeouts (2) in 6.2 innings for Toros del Este.

Speaking of relievers, lefty specialist Leyson Septimo had a terrific year at AAA Charlotte and showed flashes of talent with the big club, but also had his struggles with control.  He's only appeared in 2 games so far for Aguilas Cibaenas.  Leyson is on the 40-man roster, but he will have to show some improved control come spring in order to have another shot at a bullpen job.

Infielder Juan Silverio, who was once a highly touted prospect (and whose age has been a question), is on the roster for Gigantes del Cibao but has yet to play.  Silverio had a pretty uninspiring 2012 with High A Winston-Salem (.243/.285/.433/.719 in 263 AB), but he is considered very polished defensively and is listed as 21 years old, so he does still have some time to develop.

 

PUERTO RICO

The Sox have only three affiliated players in the Puerto Rican league this year, which is fewer than they typically have (more could be added later).  But one of them is probably the guy you most want to keep an eye on in these winter leagues: left-hander Hector Santiago.  Santiago made a strong impression with the Sox in 2012 in a mix of starting and relieving duties, and could vie for a spot in the 2013 rotation.  In three starts covering 16 innings so far for Gigantes de Carolina, Hector has posted a 1.13 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and has 17 strikeouts.  He is certainly not hurting his cause.

On a side note, Hector's younger brother Anthony is also on the Gigantes roster, after having pitched for Bristol in 2012 as a 22-year-old.  The younger Santiago has just one appearance and walked 4 batters in 2 innings.

Another name worth watching in PR this winter is right-handed reliever Anthony Carter, who is pitching for Indios de Mayaguez.  Carter is 26, and hasn't exactly shown much in 1.5 seasons of AAA ball (5.73 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 3.9 BB/9, 8.3 K/9), but he currently holds a spot on the Sox' 40-man roster.  Given how likely it is the Sox make multiple moves in the coming weeks, his protection may not last long, as he seems the most likely candidate to be dropped if space is needed.  So far in his 6 game winter stint: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K.

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