The Chicago White Sox have an international bonus pool of $4.75 million to spend on amateur prospects this year. But of course the Sox went over their bonus pools in the 2016-2017 signing period to sign Outfielder Luis Robert. This means that the organization can’t sign any prospects in the current period for more than $300,000. Back on July 2nd, they signed two players as detailed here.
However, they can trade some or all of their pool money in the 2017-2018 signing period to teams that have gone over their allotted amount and receive prospects in return. It was only a matter of time before the White Sox traded away some of their pool money to needy teams.
Today, the Chicago White Sox have acquired SS Yeyson Yrizarri from the Texas Rangers.
The #WhiteSox have acquired minor-league infielder Yeyson Yrizarri from the Rangers in exchange for international signing bonus pool money.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 15, 2017
The 20-year-old Yrizarri is hitting .258 with 7 homers, 19 doubles, 1 triple, 37 RBI, and 27 runs scored in 82 games for High-A Down East in the Rangers organization. He has a 23% strikeout rate and 2.9 walk rate with a BABIP of .190. He was signed for $1.35 million as a July 2nd signing back in 2013, out of the Dominican Republic. The Rangers spent $8.4 million on that class and he was the last remaining big ticket expenditure still with the organization. He is listed at 6’0″ and 175 pounds.
We reached out to the White Sox for comment on Yrizzari. Dan Fabian replied, and had this to say:
We’re obviously thrilled with the prospect here. [Yrizarri is] a really toolsy shortstop. Keith Staab is our primary scout on the Rangers teams and just saw him recently and really like the defense, plus runner, shows offensive potential, although there’s some things with approach that need work but he’s a 20-year-old kid with some pop in the bat. We’re just excited to bring in some potential with a lower level middle infielder. It all matched up well and we thought it’d be a great addition to the organization.
And apparently the White Sox were on him back around the time he originally signed as well:
Marco [Paddy] had him turned in back then (2013-2014 international period) obviously he ended up signing with Texas but he was definitely a part of the process back then and Keith Staab has seen him each of the last three years in instructional league and in A ball so we’ve had a good long history on the player.
Folks outside the White Sox liked what they saw as well. After signing with Texas in 2013, Ben Badler of Baseball America called Yrizarri an “aggressive player with a quick, short stroke from the right side”. He notes that he was born in Venezuela but grew up in the Domincan Republic and played in the International Prospect League. Yrizarri is the nephew of Deivi Cruz, who played in the majors from 1997 to 2005. Badler also said that Yrizarri “hits hard line drives with high exit speed and has a chance to develop average or better power”. Badler mentions that his best tool is his 70-grade arm and states that “he doesn’t have a quick first step” but he expects that he could stay at shortstop. Badler mentions that some scouts think he will need to move to second or third base eventually.
Yrizarri was rated as the #17 prospect in the Rangers organization according to mlbpipeline.com. The website says that Yrizarri has more power potential and a huskier build than most shortstops. They note that he makes a lot of hard contact with a sound bat stroke and plus bat speed. It is mentioned that he could hit .260 with 15 the potential for 15 homers if he can add strength and tone his approach at the plate. He currently swings at everything and gets very pull happy. He only had 9 walks last year and has been caught in 45 stolen base attempts in his three minor league seasons. Mlbpipeline.com believes that he can remain at shortstop with good range and a “cannon arm”.
Badler also hinted on Twitter today that Yeyson could eventually move to the mound. And just to clarify, he prefers his first name to be pronounced as ‘Jason’, and his last name is pronounced ‘ee-re-ZAR-ee’.
The White Sox have not announced the exact amount of signing cap room that was sent to Texas.
Below is a brief video of Yeyson Yrizarri from a few months ago from “Tepid Participation”…
Here is another video courtesy of Craig Goldstein (Baseball Prospectus) from two years ago…
Yeyson Yrizarri is 20 and has a chance to stick at short. He enters a White Sox farm system that is currently teeming with talent but he’ll be given ample opportunity to rise up the ranks. He could slot into the 25-30 range for some publications’ organizational rankings for the club almost immediately. This is a worthwhile gamble for the Chicago White Sox, considering they weren’t going to use that pool money for any practical purpose anyway. Using available cap room to acquire prospects like Yrizarri could be the best way to utilize their available equity.
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