White Sox minor league infielder Carlos Sanchez has been promoted to AAA Charlotte after 30 games in AA Birmingham, where he had been promoted to this same season after 92 games at High-A Winston-Salem. This is shocking and not shocking.
It's shocking because Sanchez only turned 20 in June, and was already one of the youngest players in the Southern League. He's thrived in Birmingham - .370/.424/.462 without a marked increase in his strikeout rate--but it was already a huge leap for a player his age, and it's being declared a success after a little over a month.
It's not shocking because this is White Sox business. Any prospect with a pulse is pushed until they hit their head hard enough to crack. Jared Mitchell, Tyler Saladino, and to slightly lesser degrees Trayce Thompson and Courtney Hawkins have received similar treatment. Sanchez has maintained his contact rate, and will be a BABIP-dependent player throughout his career, so his success being based on an outrageous 45% of his balls in play falling for hits doesn't inspire quite as much cynicism as it would for the average prospect.
The young man was handed a tall task, and didn't scare, so now he's being handed another one. It seems like a risk to his development, but it may serve as an aid. The Charlotte Knights are headed to the playoffs, the Birmingham Barons are not, and will be playing some games in September that Sanchez can participate in. He'll inevitably be shipped off to the Arizona Fall League too, as the White Sox do every thing to push his timeline.
Because the Sox second-basemen is a terrible hitter, and their third-base options if they don't bring back Kevin Youkilis are all terrible hitters. Carlos Sanchez is one of the few infield prospects on the horizon, and is being dragged to Chicago as fast as his bat will allow. Gordon Beckham might be getting put on notice with this move, but should probably already be on notice since his third full-season as a starter is a fine candidate for his worst.
Earlier this week, Jason Parks was chronicling the implosion of Beckham as a player, and while he refused to pin it singly on one cause, he noted "Beckham’s first exposure to professional failure came at the major league level, and with hot lights of pressure on his back, his inexperience with the impediment was evident and costly." The same concerns about Beckham now roll over to Sanchez, who--like Beckham--is being hurried to an area of major league need.
There's more minor league time--but no college--significantly less bonus money, and less potential at risk here, but the parallels are there to be drawn. This has been a season of validation for the White Sox Way, which is good, because it obviously hasn't changed.