As usual the Chicago White Sox were active with in-season trades, though none of them came on deadline day. General Manager Ken Williams was able to add Kevin Youkilis, Brett Myers and Francisco Liriano and did it without giving up some of the more well regarded prospects in a system that is often criticized.
The four players traded for Myers and Liriano were Matt Heidenreich, Blair Walters, Eduardo Escobar and Pedro Hernandez. Escobar was a top 10 prospect before joining the big league club from the start of this season and Hernandez came in ninth in our recent midseason top 25. Meanwhile Walters came in at 21st and Heidenreich barely sniffed the rankings. Without getting into the standard question of how does Williams do it, let’s say that’s impressive.
None of the outfield prospects with talent and question marks (Keenyn Walker, Jared Mitchell and Trayce Thompson) had to go and fast riser Carlos Sanchez remained a possible middle infielder of the future. No one is going to write home about the current state of the system, but not many will complain about the players given up in these trades.
Heidenreich and Walters were fringy prospects that were having successful seasons to improve their value. Heidenreich, a fourth round draft pick out of high school in 2009, managed a 3.57 ERA in a hitters’ park in Winston-Salem to earn a promotion to AA at 21 years old. He’s been hit and miss in five AA starts, but he could become a nice strike thrower at the end of a big league rotation. Walters, an 11th round pick out of Hawaii last year, earned a promotion to High-A and has been shelled in six starts. He has better secondary stuff than Heidenreich, but could wind up being the lesser trade piece given recent performances.
Hernandez had been viewed as a reliever when the Sox acquired him in the Carlos Quentin trade, but was strictly a starter in his short time with the Sox. A rough Major League debut could have put some doubts into Sox fans and management, but he looks like a future big league arm. In what capacity isn’t known. Escobar likely winds up the better player, but his bat will need to catch up to his glove to become more than a utility player.
Usually at this time of year the Sox have added pieces and left the system further depleted, but it’s hard to make that argument now. They lost depth, but not key pieces.
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