Welcome to the latest edition of our News and Notes, covering the White Sox minor leagues. During the season this article runs weekly, but from October through February it will be closer to monthly. This article covers all the news and updates for the current month.
Offseason or not, there has been plenty of activity to report. The Sox have acquired more prospects, the table was set for the Rule 5 Draft, and there has been a flurry of housekeeping transactions, not to mention some big news from Atlanta that may have an effect on the White Sox before it's all over.
It would be disingenuous to call it hot, so we dropped it to a slow simmer. The Sox have already added two more prospects to their impressive pile though, and it's still November.
First, back on the 4th, the South Siders swiped First Baseman transitioning to Outfielder Daniel Palka off waivers where the Twins were trying to slide him through undetected. You can get a detailed look at Palka here from James Fox, but the short story is is that the 26-year-old was ranked 22nd in the Twins organization thanks to substantial raw power, but his defense and swing-and-miss bring questions about his future.
More recently and perhaps significantly, the White Sox acquired flame-throwing right-hander Thyago Vieira from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for a chunk of international spending allowance. Vieira throws very hard - up to 102 MPH in games - but is far from a finished product despite having reached the top of the minors. He's ticketed for the Don Cooper Center for Guys Who Throw Hard. You can get a deeper look at what the Sox got in the 10th-ranked Seattle prospect in this profile from our Rob Young, who also holds the trademark for the Zoolander/Cooper reference.
With the GM meetings just completed and the Winter Meetings and Rule 5 Draft coming soon, the ambient temperature should increase noticeably in the next couple weeks. The recent posting of Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani, as well as the forced fire sale of Atlanta's forfeited prospects, the drama could run thick.
For minor leaguers either 4 or 5 years into their pro careers (depending on age at signing), in order to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, they need to be added to a team's 40-man roster. The deadline this year was on the 20th of November (the draft is on December 14th). To that end, the White Sox added prospects Eloy Jimenez, Micker Adolfo, Casey Gillaspie, Luis Alexander Basabe and Ian Clarkin to their 40-man roster. They also outrighted right-handers Chris Beck and Tyler Danish to make further room, and after the flurry of moves the 40-man now has 39 players, leaving one slot open for future moves and/or Rule 5 picks.
The only mildly surprising names to be added were Adolfo and Basabe. Not because they aren't prospects, but because they are so far away from the majors that they may not be substantial claim risks. More surprising were the decisions of who to leave unprotected. The team kept the likes of Al Alburquerque and Danny Farquhar on the roster, but left interesting prospects like Jordan Guerrero and Jake Peter exposed. Both seem like decent risks to be selected by other teams. We'll see in a couple weeks.
The team can still drop people from the 40-man roster prior to the draft, but anyone they add from their own system will not be protected from the Rule 5.
The Arizona Fall League concluded play a few weeks ago, with eight White Sox prospects seeing action. Over the next week or two we will have some scouting reports and interviews from a couple different writers up on the site. But in the meantime, here's a simple stats-only look at how they performed in the showcase:
- C Seby Zavala: .326/.407/.435, 6:11 BB:K in 13 games. He also threw out 7 of 15 attempted base stealers (46.7%).
- INF Danny Mendick (played mostly SS): .290/.324/.391, 2:13 BB:K in 18 games
- OF Tito Polo: .267/.303/.267, 1:10 BB:K in 7 games (left the league early with a minor injury)
- OF Charlie Tilson (replaced Polo): .188/.325/.250, 7:7 BB:K in 9 games
- Dylan Covey: 12 IP, 16 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 6 K in 3 starts
- Jace Fry: 8 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K in 8 games
- Connor Walsh: 11.1 IP, 11 H, 11 ER, 8 BB, 13 K in 10 games
- Matt Foster: 11.1 IP, 20 H, 10 ER, 1 BB, 8 K in 9 games
Zavala certainly stood out from the crowd results-wise, further cementing his prospect status. Mendick started ice cold but finished hot to end up with a decent line. For Tilson it was a success just getting into real games, after the saga of injuries he has endured. Of the four pitchers, only Fry had a good showing in the box scores, with the other three arms struggled to varying extents.
Winter Leagues update
Eloy Jimenez' winter season is done, and he certainly had some fun in the Dominican Winter League. His final line in 19 games was .368/.443/.676, including four home runs. The next time we see his name it will be on a lineup card, it should be in the Cactus League in Spring Training.
Most of the other notable White Sox prospects that were assigned to rosters on the islands have seen only limited play, if any at all. Luis Alexander Basabe has played in just six games in the Venezuelan Winter League, hitting .176. Bryant Flete holds a .601 OPS over 26 games in that same league.
- Declared Free Agency (can now sign with any team, including White Sox):
- Outright assigned to AAA Charlotte:
- RHP Chris Beck
- RHP Tyler Danish
- Signed to minor league deals:
- INF Gerson Montilla
- RHP Thyago Vieira, in exchange for international amateur pool allowance (reportedly $500k)
- 1B/OF Daniel Palka, claimed off waivers from Minnesota
Links - In case you missed it...
- Major League Baseball dropped the hammer on the Atlanta Braves over some moves in the international amateur market that were a few shades darker than even the usual dealings in Latin America. Among the penalties was the making of some dozen minor leaguers free agents again, with those players now able to sign with any team. The White Sox will still be limited to spending a max of $300k per player, but that might be enough for a few of the lower end names, so don't count them totally out of the picture.
- After said Braves debacle, Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline tweeted that the White Sox had taken back the title of Top Farm System in his view.
- The White Sox released their Spring Training schedule, which opens on February 23rd vs the Dodgers, and ends on March 26th with an exhibition game in Charlotte against the Knights.
- Omar Vizquel will be joining the White Sox farm system, slated to manage the Winston-Salem Dash (who should have a very fun team) in 2018.
- In related news, unofficial word from a couple sources indicate that Willie Harris has left the Sox farm and will be managing in the Giants system.
- On his podcast, Chuck Garfien of CSN quoted minor league coach Aaron Rowand saying Micker Adolfo's arm was comparable to Vladimir Guerrero and Jesse Barfield
- SoxFest 2018 will be January 26th to 28th. We will of course have a writer there for live coverage, as we have the last few years.
- Our own Owen Schoenfeld had a photoshop and tweet combo go viral, in case you missed it
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Filed under: News and notes
Tags: Adam Panayotovich, Austin Crutcher, Charlie Tilson, Chris Beck, Danny Mendick, Dustin Antolin, Eriberto Percel, Fernando Gallegos, Gerson Montilla, Hunter Jones, Jason Bourgeois, Jose Vinicio, Kelvis Valerio, Matt Purke, Micker Adolfo, Omar Vizquel, Patrick Leonard, Roberto Pena, Ronald Bueno, Scott Snodgress, Sean Renzi, Seby Zavala, Steve Johnson, Tyler Danish, tyler ladendorf, Willie Harris