Welcome to the first edition of a weekly round-up of all things White Sox minor leaguers. This article will cover fall and winter league performances, transactions, links to related articles (both ours and from others), and a look ahead to any upcoming events.
Arizona Fall League
The Arizona Fall League is underway and a pack of White Sox prospects are playing for the Glendale Desert Dogs. The Desert Dogs have only played five games, so the sample size is incredibly small, but first baseman Danny Hayes is leading the hitters thus far with a .273/.385/.545 slash line. Hayes has appeared in four games and homered and walked twice. Hayes, who had some hype pre-season in 2016, only played 55 games due to a core muscle injury. Trey Michalczewski (.222/.222/.222) and Courtney Hawkins (.167/.167/.250) have played in three games each. Catcher Zack Collins has walked twice but is hitless over four at bats. Collins is on the taxi squad so he will see sparse playing time, but below is an impressive display of his raw power in a hitting challenge, where he launched five home runs over eight swings.
— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) October 9, 2016
It has been a more impressive statistical beginning of the AFL for the White Sox hurlers. Nolan Sanburn (3.0 IP), Colton Turner (1.1 IP), and Louie Lechich (1.1 IP) all have perfect 0.00 ERA’s to begin their fall campaign. Lechich replaced Connor Walsh on the roster and is a oddity in that he is a converted outfielder with only fifteen innings under his belt. However, including his 1.1 AFL innings, Lechich now has thrown 16.1 scoreless frames to start off his pitching career and in his most recent AFL outing he struck out top prospects Yoan Moncada and Nick Gordon. Here is an in-person scouting report on Lechich the pitcher from 2080 Ball, which highlights some surprisingly significant potential from the very raw lefty. Brian Clark leads the White Sox group with 3.2 innings and is the only pitcher to have allowed a run.
The Fall League isn’t the only thing that happened in Glendale, Arizona, as the instructional league (September 22nd-October 15th) was a chance for many of the new faces to the organization to show their stuff. The 47 man roster included 14 players who were drafted in the first 15 rounds of the 2016 draft. In addition to the 2016 draft class, most of the 2016 July 2nd international class participated, highlighted by Vlad Guerrero’s nephew, Josue Guerrero. Guerrero was given a 1.1 million dollar bonus and saw his first official action with the White Sox. White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn was in attendance and expressed his approval of the influx of young talent at the lower levels of the system.
Caribbean Winter Leagues
The Caribbean Winter Leagues (Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico) are a great way for Latin players (and others) to hone their skills close to home in the off-season. The Mexican League and the Venezuelan League are currently underway, while the Dominican Republic League kicks off on October 20th and the Puerto Rican League on October 27th. There are no White Sox prospects in the Mexican League, but they are well represented in Venezuela with four players. Catcher Omar Narvaez, who shot through the system and had a good Major League debut, is a member of Bravos de Margarita, though he has not see any game action yet. Fellow backstop Alfredo Gonzalez, who was acquired from the Houston organization mid-season, is hitting .250 over four games for Leones del Caracas. Shortstop Cleuluis Rondon is also a member of Leones del Caracas and is hitting .059 over 17 at bats. Finally, third baseman Gerson Montilla, who played the 2016 season with the Dash, has appeared in two games with Bravos de Margarita.
Links and Notes
- Capra to 3B coach, Getz new director of player development. According to various sources, the White Sox have promoted Nick Capra from director of player development to third base coach of the big league club. In his stead, the White Sox made another out of the box hire, tabbing former Sox player and recently retired Chris Getz. Getz, 33, was drafted by the White Sox in 2005 and made his major league debut in 2008. Getz was traded to the Royals in the infamous Mark Teahen deal in 2009 and has been in that organization outside of a brief playing stint for the Toronto Blue Jays. Getz was working as an assistant in player development for the Kansas City Royals since his retirement in 2014. The move has not been officially announced so no word from the White Sox yet.
- Jason Coats and Jordan Stephens win MLB Pipeline Hitter and Pitcher of the Year awards. Jason Coats hit .330/.394/.519 over 78 games at AAA Charlotte to earn the honor and saw action in 28 games with the White Sox. Stephens accumulated a 3.45 ERA over 141 innings for the Winston-Salem Dash while striking out a Carolina League-leading 155 batters.
- White Sox draft picks earn high marks from Baseball America. Baseball America ranked the 2016 draft class their tools and the White Sox first rounders graded very well. Zack Collins was ranked as the 3rd best power hitter, as well as 4th closest to the majors. Zack Burdi‘s fastball was ranked as the 2nd best in the class and he was ranked #1 in terms of closest to the majors.
- FutureSox exclusive interview with Marco Paddy: director of international scouting. An excellent interview by our own Brian Bilek as Marco Paddy reveals his scouting process and strategy in identifying and landing the best Latin American talent.
- FutureSox Minor League Baseball 101. A complete overview on everything you would ever need to know concerning the minor leagues by our resident guru, Matt Cassidy.
- Scott Merkin of MLB.com tweeted that both Willie Harris and Justin Jirschele will be getting affiliate manager gigs in 2017.
- Jacob Turner outrighted off the 40 man roster to Charlotte
- Signed 22 year-old catcher Wilfredo Gonzalez to minor league deal
- Hunter Jones released and then re-signed to minor league deal
- Signed Kevin Davidson, UDFA 1B. Younger brother of Matt Davidson
- Re-signed C Sean O’Connell, INF Gerson Montilla, and INF Telvin Nash
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