White Sox Farm Update - 3/21

Welcome to another spring training edition of the White Sox Farm Update featuring news and notes about White Sox minor leaguers and affiliates.

Wide Open Center Field

Charlie Tilson, the favorite to take over the starting center field job with the White Sox, will begin the season on the disabled list after re-aggravating a stress reaction in his foot that was first injured early in spring training. Acquired last July from the St. Louis Cardinals, his 2016 season ended in his White Sox debut after suffering a hamstring injury and going in for surgery.

His most recent injury has opened the door for prospects Jacob May and Adam Engel to battle newly acquired veteran Peter Bourjos for a spot on the White Sox roster and to also take over as the starting centerfielder and in the mix as the potential lead-off hitter.

The switch-hitting May, a career .273 hitter in the minor leagues, hit .266 in 83 games with Charlotte in an injury-plagued 2016. Engel batted a combined .259 with 45 stolen bases in 129 games with Winston-Salem, Birmingham and Charlotte. He is the grandson of former big leaguer Lee May and grand nephew of 1970s Sox standout Carlos May.

Engel and May also grew up competing against each other in the Cincinnati area as youth baseball players. May, a top-notch defender, is currently hitting over .350 in 42 at bats with four stolen bases. Engel’s spring hasn’t gone quite as well, as he is currently batting only .222 in 36 at bats with a stolen base. Spring stats require a few grains of salt, but there has been a lot of positive talk around May, and he’s got a real shot at a job on Opening Day.

Spring Training Standouts

Several prospects have made enough noise this spring training, that even if they don’t break camp as part of the big league roster, they have put themselves in contention for 2017 promotions if opportunities arise.

Those making good impressions this spring so far include:

  • 2B Yoan Moncada – The overall top prospect is hitting .317 with three homers and 13 RBI in 20 spring games. Moncada is slated to start the season at Charlotte, but will most likely end up in Chicago at some point in 2017.
  • CF Jacob May – As stated above, has made a strong case to break camp with the big league club after strong spring and injury to Tilson.
  • C Kevan Smith – Smith has made the most of his spring playing time after being removed from the 40-man roster by hitting .435 (10 for 23) with two doubles and a homer.  Smith will most likely be the starting catcher for Charlotte to begin 2017.
  • 3B/1B/OF Nicky Delmonico – He is hitting .255 with two home runs and five RBI this spring after hitting a combined 17 home runs in 2016 with Birmingham and Charlotte.
  • 1B Danny Hayes – Is batting over .370 this spring with nine RBI and three doubles.  The left-handed hitting Hayes hit 10 home runs in 55 games last season at Charlotte before going down with a core muscle injury.
  • Relief Pitcher Brad Goldberg – Only two hits allowed over 4 2/3 scoreless innings and also competed as member of Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.  He will begin 2017 at Charlotte where he saved 10 games in 2016.
  • Relief Pitcher Zack Burdi – In nine appearances, he has struck out 12 in 10 innings.  The 2016 draft pick will most likely begin 2017 as Charlotte’s closer, but just as likely will be in Chicago before long.

Prospect Spring Training Highlights

  • Monday, March 6 vs. Padres – May and Delmonico each had two hits and a RBI and Cody Asche homered in 6-5 loss.
  • Wednesday, March 8 vs. BrewersCarson Fulmer gave up one run on three hits in three innings of action; Smith picked up two hits as the DH in 5-4 loss.
  • Thursday, March 9 vs. Diamondbacks – Smith homered and doubled; Matt Davidson had three hits (including a home run) and three RBI; Lucas Giolito gave up one run on three hits in four innings of action in 4-2 win.
  • Friday, March 10 vs. Brewers – Moncada had two hits and two RBI; Reynaldo Lopez pitched four innings of one hit ball in 4-3 win.
  • Saturday, March 11 vs. RangersAlfredo Gonzalez knocked in the only run and Dylan Covey struggled on the mound in 5-1 loss.
  • Sunday, March 12 vs. Rangers (ss)Leury Garcia had four hits and knocked in two runs; May had two hits; Michael Kopech gave up one run on three hits and struck out four over three innings in 10-8 loss.
  • Sunday, March 12 vs. Dodgers (ss) – Moncada homered, Hayes had three hits, Jason Bourgeois had three hits including a home run and Luis Alexander Basabe drove in three as the White Sox rallied for 14 runs in the ninth inning for a 15-5 win.
  • Monday, March 13 vs. Indians – Asche has two hits including a home run; Liriano homered; Fulmer gave up seven hits and four runs over four innings in 9-5 win.
  • Tuesday, March 14 vs. Mariners – Yolmer Sanchez homered and had three hits; Giolito was roughed up for four runs in only 2/3 of an inning in 7-6 loss.
  • Wednesday, March 15 vs. Royals – Moncada homered twice and Lopez gave up two runs and struck out three in 4 2/3 innings in 7-3 win.
  • Friday, March 17 vs. Cubs – Delmonico homered and Kopech struck out five of the six batters he faced in 7-3 loss.
  • Saturday, March 18 vs. Dodgers – May paced the offense with four hits including a double and triple; Liriano added two hits in two at bats; Fulmer allowed five hits and three runs in four innings in 13-7 loss.
  • Sunday, March 19 vs. Angels – Engel collects two hits; Davidson triples and homers; Moncada picks up three hits including two doubles; Burdi throws 1 2/3 scoreless innings in 11-2 win.
  • Monday, March 20 vs. Giants – Lopez struck out four in six innings of scoreless two-hit ball in 3-2 loss.


Other News, Notes and Links

  • After helping Team Israel qualify for the 2017 World Baseball Classic with two saves, Goldberg re-joined Team Israel for the second round of the WBC, appearing in two games before Israel was knocked out of the tournament by Japan. LHP Alex Katz was with Israel for both rounds and was unscored upon in his appearances.
  • RHP Gregory Infante (old friend alert!), recently re-signed with the Sox, pitched for Venezuela, and one local report put his fastball at 98-99 mph.
  • According to MLBTradeRumors.com, the players vying for spots on the big league roster who are out of minor league options includes Davidson, utility player Garcia, reliever Dan Jennings, OF Rymer Liriano, infielder Sanchez and reliever Michael Ynoa.  This means that they must clear waivers before they can be sent to the minors, enabling any other team to claim them away from the White Sox.
  • According to Baseball America, the White Sox have the 16th highest 2017 draft allotment at just over $7.5 million.
  • Highly rated prospects Moncada, Kopech, Giolito and Lopez have garnered most of the attention this spring, but as MLB.com’s Scott Merkin details, the White Sox have high hopes for outfielder Basabe, who was acquired along with Moncada and Kopech from the Red Sox for Chris Sale.
  • RHP Juan Minaya, who had an outside shot at a bullpen job with the Sox, will open the season on the disabled list with an abdominal tear.
  • Scott Podsednik is in spring camp as a guest instructor, and will have that job on the minor league side during the regular season as well, per Merkin.
  • Franklin Reyes, who signed in 2015 for $1.5M (the 2nd highest amateur Intl signing the Sox have ever made), has been moved from the outfield to first base. The move occurred in fall instructs, after Reyes continued to struggle defensively.
  • Our newest writer, James Fox, wrote a preview of the White Sox’ situation for the upcoming ‘J2’ 2017-2018 international amateur signing period. It’s a great read to get up to speed.
  • Matt Cassidy took a look past the big arms in the system to find the next biggest treasure chest on the farm going into 2017 – the outfielders ticketed for the A-ball clubs.
  • South Side Sox put together a look at the White Sox top prospects lists from eight top media outlets, both national and local, including FutureSox. It gives a nice overall look at where the pundits feel the prospects rank.

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