Spring Check-In: Top Prospects in Big League Camp

As we pass the halfway point in Spring Training, let’s take a look at how some of the organization’s top prospects have been doing in major league camp.  Not all the organization’s best minor leaguers get a look with the big boys – top prospect Courtney Hawkins hasn’t played with the major leaguers yet, for example.  Typically, the club puts prospects with the big leaguers if they think that player has some reasonable shot at seeing the 40 man (or 25 man) roster sometime that season.  But sometimes, other players who they want to challenge or get a closer look at sneak their way into some major league constests as well.

Here are the players from our Top 25 Prospects list that have made an appearance in major league camp, and how they’ve been doing so far in Arizona…

 #2 – Trayce Thompson, OF: Thompson had a breakout year in 2012, reaching AAA briefly, as his impressive tools continue to translate further into on-field success.  But he has struggled so far in major league games this spring, going 0-for-14 at the plate.  The good news is, he’s drawn 4 walks, against an identical 4 strikeouts, which are both encouraging signs given the concerns about his contact rate.

#3 – Simon Castro, RHP: Castro has been showing why FutureSox has him ranked a bit higher than some others do, though in very limited playing time.  He was given just 3 games before heading across camp, but he gave up just 1 run, walked just 1 and struck out 9 batters in 7 innings.

#4 – Erik Johnson, RHP: After rocketing up the Sox prospect charts in 2012, Johnson got to pitch with the big club in 3 games this spring before being reassigned to minor league camp.  He got hit around a bit, giving up 10 hits and 6 earned runs in 6.1 innings, but this was really more about the experience in his case.  He’s likely multiple years from the majors.

#5 – Carlos Sanchez, INF: As of this writing, Sanchez is one of just two minor leaguers left in camp who hasn’t played a game in the majors.  While he’s not going to break camp with the team (barring injuries), the organization thinks very highly of him on both sides of the ball.  He hasn’t been hitting much though, going 3-for-25 thus far with no XBH.

#7 – Andre Rienzo, RHP: Rienzo has been limited to just 2 games in camp this season, due to spending time with his native Brazil in the WBC.  He didn’t pitch well in either appearance, giving up 7 ER in 3 IP while walking more than he struck out.

#8 – Keenyn Walker, OF: Walker has opened some eyes in Arizona, showing off blazing speed and apparently being fully healed from his injuries in 2012.  He’s hitting .250 in 20 AB’s with a double and a triple.

#9 – Scott Snodgress, LHP: Like Erik Johnson, Snodgress was given a brief 3 game look in Cactus League play after garnering a lot of attention as a prospect last season.  Also like Johnson, he struggled a little in his limited time, giving up 3 runs and 3 walks in 5 IP, but he did limit batters to just 4 hits.

#11 – Jared Mitchell, OF: No one has made as big a splash in ST as Mitchell.  Sox front office people had really been talking him up, despite concerns over his lack of contact and recovery from the ankle injury, and they appear justified in their confidence.  He’s posted a .387/.441/.710 line in 31 AB, and stolen a couple bases.

#12 – Nestor Molina, RHP: This is the year where Nestor Molina needs to show he still has the ability that the Sox saw when they traded for him.  Surprisingly, the Sox only gave him 2 games, where he gave up 3 hits and no runs in 4 innings (while neither walking nor striking out anyone), before being reassigned to AA Birmingham.  Sending him back to AA, as opposed to AAA, was a bit of a surprise as well.

#14 – Tyler Saladino, SS: Tyler made waves last year in ST when the club kept him around the big league camp for an extended period, and Robin Ventura made some positive comments about his play.  He’s only gotten 8 plate appearances so far this spring, but he’s made the most of them, posting a .429 average and .500 OBP.

#15 – Josh Phegley, C: Josh is looking to prove he’s got major league potential with the bat, going into his 3rd season at AAA Charlotte, and he’s been getting some decent playing time.  He’s rewarded the club for that opportunity by putting up a .360/.407/.600 line in 28 plate appearances.

#16 – Marcus Semien, SS: Semien is still multiple years away from the big leagues, but they gave him some playing time to get a good look at him.  In 12 PA he’s hitting .455 including a home run.

#17 – Santos Rodriguez, LHP: Rodriguez had been generating some buzz in the offseason as a possible candidate for a bullpen slot with the Sox, though he stood behind Thornton and Veal going in.  But he got pretty well hammered in his 4 games with the big leaguers, giving up 7 ER on 6 H in 3 IP and walking 7 batters.  Hopefully this is a sample size issue, and he gets the control dialed back in at Charlotte.

#18 – Jhan Marinez, RHP: Marinez is near the top of the heap for relievers likely to be called up to the Sox when a spot opens up in 2013, having been with them briefly in 2012.  But he walked seven batters in five innings, raising concerns about the control he has sometimes lacked in his minor league career.

#20 – Brian Omogrosso, RHP: Omogrosso is also near the top of the list for potential call-ups.  In 7 games covering 9.2 IP, he’s unscored upon and has kept hitters to a .147 average, but he’s walked 5 against 4 K’s.

#22 – Jacob Petricka, RHP: This is a big year for Petricka, who needs to start showing results.  But he only got a very brief look in big league games, giving up 3 hits and striking out 1 in 2 innings.

#25 – Kevan Smith, C: Smith has been in just 3 games, mostly as a defensive replacement, and has only 2 at bats, one of which resulted in a hit.  He’s stuck for playing time behind the 2 big league catchers, Phegley and Anderson.



–#6 prospect Keon Barnum broke the hamate bone in his wrist, which requires 4-6 weeks of time off.  So he’ll likely be in Arizona a bit longer than planned, and start the regular season a little late.  Long term impact of this injury should be minimal.

–#13 prospect Charlie Leesman, who injured his knee during the International League playoffs last September, began throwing off a mound in early March as his rehab continues.  He may start with AAA Charlotte a little later than Opening Day, but he appears ahead of schedule.

–#21 prospect Rangel Ravelo, who left the club in July last season for undisclosed personal reasons, is indeed in camp and back on track.


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