Weekly White Sox farm update, 12/20

Welcome back to your weekly article covering all the happenings in the White Sox minor league system. No big blockbuster trades this week (unlike last week), but plenty of other news and action to report...

Kannapolis Ballpark

The Independent-Tribune of Cabarrus County reported that the City of Kannapolis agreed to spend $2.9M on architecture and design work for a new "downtown" ballpark and streetscape. The discussions around the town building a new ballpark in their downtown area, and the other related revitalization efforts, have been happening for some time. But for the town to invest this level of capital, it appears more and more likely that a new park will actually happen. The target date for completion of a new park was reported as January of 2019.

The Intimidators currently play at CMC NorthEast Stadium, which is on the edges of town in an area where there is little or no commercial property available and no ability to expand due to watershed protections. Their PDC with the White Sox expires after the 2020 season, so this would certainly have a chance to fall within the current contract window. It's worth noting that the three other full season affiliates all have recent and best-in-league-level stadiums: Charlotte's opened in 2014, Birmingham in 2013, and Winston-Salem in 2012.

Transactions

Let's put this near the top, because there were quite a few moves all over the system in the past week. It's pretty typical this time of year to see a wave of moves like this, and we'll see another around March. Here's the most recent set of transactions...

  • Traded:
    • RHP James Dykstra (6th round, 2013) was traded to Texas for cash considerations. Dykstra reached as high as 25th ranked prospect in the White Sox system in 2014. He's a command and control sinker-baller with an above average change-up who recently bounced back and forth between starting and relieving.
    • RHP Tyler Barnette (14th round, 2013) was traded to San Diego for cash considerations. Like Dykstra, Barnette was used in multiple roles around the farm, but Tyler does possess a high-velocity fastball that reaches mid-90's.
  • Released:
  • Retired:
    • Infielder Jake Jarvis (10th round, 2014): Jarvis came into this system seen as somewhat of a steal in the draft, and possibly even a two-way player. But injuries and offensives struggles kept him in rookie ball for three seasons, and he didn't play after July in 2016.
    • First baseman Marcus Davis (24th round, 2013, by San Diego): Signed as a ringer for 2016, Davis posted mediocre numbers for Winston-Salem and has elected to retire. His Instagram reports that he's moved to a coaching gig, but didn't specify where or with whom.
  • Designated for assignment:
    • LHP Matt Purke was DFA'd. We don't yet know if he will accept the assignment, but if he does, he'd likely be in AAA Charlotte for 2017.
  • Signed:
    • Outfielder Caleb Gindl was signed last week. the 28-year old lefty bat was a 5th round pick in 2007 by Milwaukee, and reached the majors for brief looks in 2013 and 2014. He spent 2015 in AAA in the Toronto system before his release, and then played for Lancaster of the independent Atlantic League in 2016. It's hard to predict where in the system he'd end up playing.
    • RHP El'Hajj Muhammad was signed on Monday. The 2010 49th round pick by Cincy spent seven years in their system, showing premium fastball velocity but lacking command and only reaching the AA level in 2016. He's entering his age 25/26 season and likely opens with Birmingham, if he makes a squad.
  • Re-signed:
    • In a blast from the past, catcher Zach Fisher was signed. Fisher was a 27th round pick in 2012 by the White Sox, played three seasons (mostly in rookie ball), and hasn't played pro ball since 2014. One might suspect this could be a typo and they may have meant Zach Fish, also a catcher drafted by the Sox and a former teammate of Fisher's, but Fish actually played in 2016.
    • RHP Blake Smith may or may not have been re-signed by the White Sox, based on a cryptic tweet from Jon Heyman.

Offseason Winter Leagues

Dominican Republic

Rymer Liriano (.255/.358/.349 in 33 games)

Liriano's numbers have been fading back but still look decent. He's got a shot at a job with the big club in 2017, depending on further roster moves and how he does in Spring Training.

Mexico

Jason Bourgeois (.265/.323/.291 in 38 games)
K.C. Hobson (.125/.125/.500 in 2 games)
Terance Marin (18.1 IP, 29 H, 17 ER, 7 BB, 10 K in 4 starts)

Bourgeois is the only player still grinding in Mexico, and his numbers have been coming back down to earth lately. The other two haven't played in weeks.

Venezuela

Gerson Montilla (.083/.313/.083 in 6 games)
Cleuluis Rondon (.103/.133/.172 in 13 games)
Alfredo Gonzalez (.200/.286/.240 in 13 games)

Nothing changed here. It appears these three players seasons are over.

Puerto Rico

Wilfredo Rodriguez (.167/.265/.267 in 13 games)

The White Sox snagged catcher Wilfredo Gonzalez as a MiLB free agent and he is getting in some extra work in Puerto Rico with sparse playing time.

Links and Notes

  • James Fegan interviewed outfield prospect Jacob May, for The Athletic. May could be part of the 2017 White Sox in a rebuild, and Fegan got some nice backgound on the center fielder with impressive baseball bloodlines.
  • Dan Hayes of Comcast SportsNet wrote about one of the side benefits of the rebuild, in that the team can give their prospects the proper time to develop, instead of rushing them to the majors.
  • Brian Bilek tweeted a handy visual of the service time picture for some recently-acquired key prospects, and what dates they can be brought up in order to get another year of pre-free agency service time. You can find it on his feed.

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Comments

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    Trading prospects for cash is simply giving them away. The opposite of what mode the Sox are in right now so this move puzzles me. Matt, could you elaborate a little on this one. What's it all about? What's your take?

  • In reply to Jim Pedigo:

    Hello, Jim. The reality is, the team cannot keep an endless number of prospects. They only have so many affiliates and so much playing time to go around. So they have to decide, at any given time, who the best prospects are in the system who can provide the most potential value by using that playing time. Plus some of the roster spots, like bench spots, aren't really for actual prospects - they are there for org guys, semi-coaches, etc. So as they sign, draft or acquire other new prospects, some of the other ones get dropped. It's a tough reality, but that's how it works.

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