In this edition of White Sox Minor League News and Notes, we will look at the early season success and major league call-up of Willy Garcia, introduce you to White Sox Catching Coordinator John Orton, and get you caught up on the happenings, news, notes and transactions regarding the White Sox minor leaguers and affiliates.
One Garcia, Two Garcia, Three!
Willy Garcia has made of the most of his new opportunity after joining the White Sox off of waivers early this year. Before his promotion to the big leagues, Garcia was named the first International League Batter of the Week (April 6-9) for 2017 by hitting .533 (8-for-15) with two home runs, nine runs scored, and four RBIs over the season's first four games.
His early season success made his promotion to the big leagues a no-brainer when Melky Cabrera was put on the paternity list on Friday. Garcia not only doubled in first big league at bat, but helped make history as part of an all-Garcia outfield in his major league debut along with Avisail and Leury. Daryl Van Schouwen also highlighted Garcia's early season success and how the former top prospect has been focused on correcting plate discipline issues that have plagued him in the past. He was sent back down to Charlotte last night, but the impression he made will last a bit longer.
Minor League Staff Profile
While the managers and coaches assigned to each affiliate do the day-to-day instruction at the minor league level, several other staff members assist across the affiliates throughout the year with more specialized instruction. One such person is White Sox Catching Coordinator John Orton.
Orton is in his 12th season in this role for the White Sox after spending five seasons as a manager at the Rookie and Class A levels at Bristol, Great Falls and Kannapolis.
A first round pick by the Angels in 1987, Orton played 10 seasons professionally as a catcher, including parts of five seasons in the big leagues. He has been credited with helping former Sox catcher Tyler Flowers to become one of the best pitch framers in the major leagues. More recently, he has helped with the behind-the-plate development of current big leaguers Omar Narvaez and Kevan Smith.
His latest and most high profile pupil has been first round pick Zack Collins. When the White Sox selected Collins in the first round last season, no one questioned his abilities at the plate, but many wondered if Collins had what it takes to become a big league catcher behind it. Orton however, saw big league potential from the beginning.
Evidence of the hard work by both teacher and student has already been seen this season as Collins has thrown out seven of 10 attempted base stealers through eight games after only nabbing only three of 21 last season across 21 games. Orton credits a minor mechanical adjustment that was made in Collins' footwork and his willingness to learn and hard work.
- White Sox selected the contract of C Kevan Smith from Charlotte.
- White Sox recalled OF Willy Garcia from Charlotte, then optioned him back.
- Activated C Carson Blair and OF Rymer Liriano from the 7-day disabled list.
- Disabled INF Everth Cabrera.
- Activated C Chris O'Dowd from the disabled and assigned him to Charlotte.
- No transactions
- C Wilfredo Rodriguez assigned to Kannapolis Intimidators from Winston-Salem Dash.
- Disabled C Nate Nolan.
- RHP Chris Comito assigned to White Sox Extended Spring Training from Kannapolis Intimidators.
- Activated RHP Jimmy Lambert from the temporarily inactive list, sending Comito back to Ext ST.
- RHP Matt Foster, who had not been assigned to a full season affiliate, has retired. The club's 20th round pick last June, Foster was statistically dominant across both rookie affiliates in his draft year (29.2 IP, 12 H, 2 ER, 7 BB, 41 K).
For the Record
- The Knights opened the season at home with four straight wins, while averaging nearly 10 runs a game. Charlotte then went on the road and preceded to drop its next seven games as the offense has averaged less two runs per game, including being shutout twice.
- Through 10 games, the Barons have already had four games decided by one run (two wins, two losses).
- Tanner Banks has a 2-0 record in three starts, while the rest of the starters have combined for a 1-5 record over eight combined starts for the Dash.
Other News, Notes and Links
- Winston-Salem Dash lead broadcaster Brian Boesch wrote a nice piece on top prospect Zack Collins and his work with White Sox Catching Coordinator John Orton to improve his defense (as noted from earlier in this article). Collins was also featured by the Winston-Salem Journal.
- Kevan Smith quickly had to shift gears from helping the pitching staff at Charlotte to making the most of another opportunity at the big league level due to injury.
- Baseball America's Kyle Glaser assessed Lucas Giolito's second start of the season and how command is the key to future success.
- Top pitching prospect Michael Kopech was highlighted by MiLB.com in the Southern League preview as one of five prospects to watch in the league.
- Charlotte was rated as the Minor Leagues' most stacked roster by MLB.com's Mike Rosenbaum who profiles his top 10 teams to watch to begin 2017.
- Outfield prospects Luis Alexander Basabe and Micker Adolfo both missed a few games with minor injuries, but both have since returned to play.
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