Fall Instructional League - which White Sox prospects are going, and why

The Fall Instructional League will be starting in Arizona on September 23rd. The purpose of Instructs is to provide a development-focused, short offseason league at and near the club's main training facility. Games are played against other teams, but with a heavier dose of coaching presence. Rosters are generally filled with players from the rookie-level teams, with a few players from full season clubs sprinkled in, including some rehabbing players. The games are played on the "back fields" at these Spring Training-oriented facilities, crowds are minimal and are generally comprised of coaches, scouts, writers, and friends and family of the players.

The White Sox have 48 players on their roster for this year, including 23 of their top 27 signees from the 2016 draft and 15 players signed out of Latin America as amateur free agents. Eleven of the organization's Top 30 Prospects are there. And in case you want to feel old, there are three players on the roster who were born in the year 2000. Watch the blog and our twitter account as we disseminate information we gather from local reports by scouting types who take in these games in-person.

Listed below with the names are position (if needed), age at time of league opening, last level of play, and their sign/draft information.

Infielders

Most of the infielders drafted in 2016 are here: Curbelo (6th), Dutto (9th), Remillard (10th), Roman (12th), and Conlan (24th). They all just finished their first (partial) pro seasons, and are getting in further work to reinforce lessons before hitting the offseason. Nunez is coming off a big year in the AZL, and is among three international signees here. The other two (Mendoza and Sosa) have yet to play ball state-side, and the latter hasn't played any pro ball whatsoever. Sosa is one of five 16-year olds on the Instructs roster.

Zangari is an outlier here, being a 2015 draftee, one of only five of those on board. After a big 2015 in the AZL, Corey opened 2016 with an aggressive assignment to Kannapolis and struggled to make consistent contact, eventually heading down to Great Falls. There he gradually increased his contact rate and saw his overall results improve along with it. The 19-year old is still quite raw in multiple aspects of his game, and this should be a good opportunity to crystallize his late-season improvements before the winter break.

Outfielders

Similar to the infield, the outfielders here are made up primarily of two groups. There are the 2016 draftees (Call, Fisher and Schnurbusch), and a number of Caribbean signees (Adolfo, Reyes, Guerrero, Mieses and Comas). Guerrero is the nephew of Vladimir Guerrero, and he's one of three 16-year old outfielders in this group. Often times, the list of players who have never seen stateside affiliate action that appear in Instructs, will tell us not only who the team likes as prospects but also who is likely to be in the AZL the next year.

Two players on this list are a little off-pattern. Adolfo is indeed a still-young international signee, but he spent most of his 2016 in full season ball. He did miss time to some injuries and is still quite raw, thus his appearance. Fincher lost part of his 2015 season and most of 2016 thanks to a scary, potentially life-threatening incident in the AZL last year when he was hit in the face with a pitch. He required surgery for fractures in his face and head, and just got back to action late this season. He's here to catch up, and we salute him for making his way back. Also perhaps worth noting, Schnurbusch is the lowest round draft pick from any year on this roster, as he comes off a monster season in Great Falls.

Catchers

Catchers are often the exception to rules around development, as they need extra time on the non-hitting aspects of the game. Further adding to the picture, as thin as the White Sox system is in catching talent in the upper levels, there is a substantial crowd at the lower ones that resulted in players not getting as much time in as they'd like. So here they are.

There's a smattering of 2015 and 2016 draft picks, and IFA acquisitions in this crowd. Collins will be on the taxi squad of the Arizona Fall League too, so he'll be shuttling back and forth to get in time.

Pitchers

This is a long list of names, so let's break it down a bit. There are a dozen 2016 draftees in the bunch, ranging from 2nd round (Hansen) to the 27th round (Morrison). There are also six Latin American products, mostly aged 16 to 19 years, with one 23-year old exception we'll discuss shortly. There are also three 2015 draftees (Comito, Dopico, Charleston), and more surprisingly, also three from the 2014 draft (Fry, Krauss, Lechich). Saucedo was assigned to the AZL originally, but was then immediately put on the DL and never saw game action, so apparently he is rehabbing in this case.

Let's look at those 2014 draftees for a moment, as they each have asymmetrical paths to getting here. Fry went down in mid-2015 with a torn UCL, sending him off for his 2nd Tommy John surgery. This would be his first action back from recovery, and he's got a tough road ahead. Lechich converted from the outfield to pitching, which is unusual as it is but even more so in that he did it mid-season. He certainly showed a strong outfield arm before, and did well numbers-wise in his brief pitching looks late in 2016 across the AZL and Kannapolis. Krauss was a mid-season pickup and seemed to be a gap-filler, but the fact that the team has him here despite being in AA and not missing any material time suggests the White Sox see more than that in him.

Gerardo is a bit of a mystery. He didn't begin his pro career until 2015 at age 22, much older than is typical for players from that region. He has pitched two seasons in the DSL, working mostly in relief. And 23-year old relievers from the DSL don't often turn out to be legit prospects. Why he's here is a head-scratcher, especially since we have no scouting information and in fact can't even find any information about when he signed or for what level bonus.

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