Originally I planned to talk about the minor leaguers the White Sox brought up with September roster expansion a couple days ago days ago. Eduardo Escobar, Shane Lindsay and Addison Reed each have some level of intrigue for one reason or another. However the Detroit series continued to suck the life out of me as a Sox fan and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Then Dylan Axelrod got the call and that made me smile.
If you read this site on a regular basis, you’ve heard of Axelrod by now. He’s had a fantastic year and his AAA numbers deserved a trip to the bigs. He doesn’t profile as a big time prospect, but his story makes him easy to root for. The White Sox signed the 26-year-old out of the Frontier League in 2009 after San Diego released him and he’s done nothing but succeed since.
Axelrod was even off our radar until we ranked him 19 in the midseason prospect rankings. He’s been honorable mention Pitcher of the Month in June and July and is in the running for August/September thanks to a 2.45 ERA in six starts since the start of August. He throws a decent slider and a low 90s fastball. His stuff doesn’t rate above average, but he has only walked 35 batters in 150.2 innings between Birmingham and Charlotte. The Sox could use starting pitching depth for 2012 so hopefully Axelrod can make a good impression. He is a great example of a guy given a second chance in the minors that took advantage of it.
As for the others that recently joined the Sox, Shane Lindsay is another great story. The first Australian in team history and a special visit from his mom. Lindsay, 26, had amusing stats with Charlotte (63.2 IP, 78 K, 51 BB, 28 H). Lots of strikeouts, lots of walks and not a lot of hits. He had a scoreless inning in his debut, but gave up seven runs in last night’s nightmare in Detroit. He’s not a big prospect, but he gives the bullpen another arm.
Reed has been the story of the 2011 minor league season in the organization. He’s been written about more than Axelrod on here so I’ll get to the point: he’s good and he’s ready. The 22-year-old made his Major League debut last night and played mop up man after Mark Buehrle got beat up. Reed sat in the mid 90s, gave up a run on four hits and struck out three in 1.2 innings. He left a few pitches up in the zone, hopefully that was nerves. He gives the final month of the team a bit more intrigue. It’s also rare to see a Winston-Salem Dash hat on Reed for his MLB Gameday photo.
Escobar, 22, is a good fielder, but won’t hit much. He got an infield hit in first MLB at-bat then went 0-2 last night. At the moment he’s probably pretty similar to Omar Vizquel. Hopefully the Venezuelan can learn from his legendary countryman and take his defense to the next level. He’s not going to knock Alexei Ramirez off shortstop, but with decent speed and a good glove he could take Vizquel’s role next year.