2014 Arizona White Sox season preview

Don’t call them Bristol, the White Sox moved their second, lower rookie league affiliate from Bristol of the Appalachian League to create an affiliate in the Arizona League. With the move, the White Sox ended the run of Bristol getting routinely demolished (they last posted a winning record in 2008 and were a combined 63-135 the past three seasons).

The shift in how the roster is put together is noticeable. The Sox didn’t seem afraid to stack every young player and a number of foreign players on the roster. Conversely, Great Falls had no foreign players and an average age around 22.

The full roster is here. The active roster is currently at 37 and features 13 2014 draft picks, 12 foreign born players and four 2013 draft picks. Last year just six foreigners were on the roster so that’s one shift that’s easy to see with the move in affiliate and the White Sox supposed extra effort to sign foreign talent. There are also 10 teenagers on the roster.

Pitching
2014 draft picks: Spencer Adams (2nd round), Mike Gomez (13th), Ben Brewster (15th), Brannon Easterling (20th), Evin Einhardt (29th), Josh Goossen-Brown (31st)

Adams headlines this group of six draft picks on the pitching staff. The second round pick may have a limited work load, but will be worth following this summer. Gomez, Brewster and Goossen-Brown were college relievers but the others could see some starts.

Spent 2013 with Bristol: Yelmison Peralta (19), Kelvis Valerio (22), Jamie Patterson (20)

Patterson and Peralta struggled mightily in Bristol’s bullpen last year. Valerio made 11 starts for the BriSox and actually had decent numbers (3.88 ERA, 50 K, 18 BB in 62.2 IP) so it’s a bit surprising he didn’t get to move up in the system.

US debuts: Victor Done (18), Luis Martinez (19)

Both players were among the highlights of the 2012 signing periods. Martinez started the opener and struck out six in three innings, but also walked three and gave up six runs. The Venezuelan signed in January while Done, a Dominican was the marquee player of that July 2 signing period. Done had a 6.23 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 28 walks in 30.1 IP in the Dominican Summer League, ouch.

New to org.: Devon Davis (23 years old), Andre Martinez (turns 21 Sunday), Tanner Mendonca (22), Henry Rodriguez (27; rehab), Lucas Shearrow (23; UDFA)

Catchers
Sammy Ayala (17th, ’12), Jose Barraza (7th, ’12), Joxelier Garcia (Venezuelan, 20 years old), Michael Hollenbeck (23rd, ’14)

Ayala was an overslot pick out of high school and Barraza was a fairly high draft pick of high school the same year. Neither one has really stood out. Ayala had an OPS under .600 in two years with Bristol. Barraza missed 2013 with an elbow injury. Hopefully they can rebound this summer.

Infielders
Marc Flores (30th, ’14), Jake Jarvis (10th, ’14), Blair Moore (28th, ’14), Kevin Swick (22nd, ’14), Cody Yount (37th, ’13), Audry Santana (38th, ’13), Jeffry Santos (Dominican, 21), Victor Velasquez (Venezuela, 19), Eddy Alvarez (24)

Four 2014 draft picks, four players that were on Bristol last summer and an Olympic medalist comprise the infield.

Yount, Santana, Santos and Velasquez all played with Bristol and all four posted an OPS under .600 last year. Velasquez is just 19 so maybe he can have a turnaround season.

Jarvis is the highest of the four draft picks, but none of the infielders on the roster

Eddy Alvarez is an Olympic medalist in speed skating, but after struggling with injuries decided to try his hand at pro baseball. His older brother reached AAA in the Dodgers’ organization.

Outfielders
Adam Engel (19th, ’13), Sam Macias (35th, ’13), Antonio Rodriguez (Dominican, 19), Micker Adolfo (Dominican, 17), Juan Ramirez (Dominican, 23), Louis Silverio (Dominican, 20), Michael Suiter (24th, ’14), Michael Danner (34th, ’14)

The biggest name here is one that people have been wondering about since the White Sox signed him, Micker Adolfo. That’s what happens when you sign for $1.6 million. The 17-year-old outfielder made his pro debut in Friday’s opener, batting sixth and playing right field. All eyes will be on him, but he’s the youngest player on the team so expectations need to be tempered.

Another outfielder, Antonio Rodriguez is also one of the best prospects on the team. He signed for $400,000 in 2012 and played just seven games with Bristol last year before being sent back to the DSL. He homered in the season debut Friday.

Two other foreigners, Juan Ramirez and Louis Silverio, are also in the outfield. Ramirez was with Kannapolis last year and is in his third year in the system without any notable success. Silverio is making his U.S. debut.

Also notable is Adam Engel, who is a toolsy outfielder with great speed and defensive ability, but struggled with Kannapolis (.234/.310/.351) leading to his demotion.

Filed under: News and notes

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