If there was any question whether Chris Sale's move to the bullpen would accelerate the timetables of other White Sox pitching prospects, it was answered today. RHP Nestor Molina was promoted to AAA Charlotte, and RHP Jake Petricka was promoted to AA Birmingham on Monday.
While these moves are theoretically responses to fill the rotation holes created by Stults and Quintana, the promotion of two of the top pitching prospects in the organization has a sense of permanence that fill-ins at the end of the major league roster don't.
Neither is getting promoted on the merits of their statistical performance. Molina has all of 58.1 career innings pitched at the AA level. While he has a 3.72 ERA on the young season, he's not overwhelming anyone (6.19 strikeouts per 9 innings). Petricka on the other hand, has struggled badly with his control, walking 12 in 24 innings in High-A Winston-Salem.
The White Sox are typically aggressive in promoting their prospects, and all accusations of this being a rush job are applicable and legit.
There's not much upside in the current 5th starter options, so the White Sox appear to be gearing up Molina to be entered into the starting rotation as soon as possible. At least he has the chance to grow into a more permanent role than Dylan Axelrod or Eric Stults do. That is, if he can keep his head above water in Charlotte.