The Chicago White Sox have an international bonus pool of $4.75 million to spend on amateur prospects in the current period (July 2nd, 2017 to June 15, 2018). But of course the Sox went over their bonus pool 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 each. Back on July 2nd, they signed two players as detailed here.
However, they can trade some or all of their pool allowance in the 2017-2018 signing period to teams that have gone over their allotted amount and receive prospects in return. This isn’t an actual exchange of money – it is just the permission to spend that amount of money, so it might be more clear to think of it as equity or buying power.
Earlier today, the White Sox traded more of their international pool space to the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP prospect Ryan Burr.
The #WhiteSox have acquired minor-league pitcher Ryan Burr from the Diamondbacks in exchange for international signing bonus pool money.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 11, 2017
The 23-year-old right hander was a 5th round draft pick out of Arizona State in 2015. In 114 innings so far in his minor league career, Burr has compiled 144 strikeouts to go with only 42 walks while posting a 1.11 WHIP and an ERA of 1.97. The big righty (6’4″, 230 pounds) has thrown 25 innings this season for the Visalia Rawhide of the Class A California League. In High-A this year, Ryan is averaging nearly 11 strikeouts per 9 innings with a 0.76 WHIP, 0.72 ERA and a 2.42 FIP.
Prior to the 2015 First Year Player Draft, mlbpipeline.com had Ryan Burr ranked as the #76 prospect in the class. His scouting grades according to the publication were as follows: Fastball 70/Slider 50/Changeup 40/Control 40/Overall 45. They noted that he was a well-known prospect from the Colorado High School ranks but chose to become a Sun Devil rather than signing as a prep. The profile states that he was one of the better college closers in the nation and he also holds the school record for saves at Arizona State. According to Pipeline the right-hander “consistently throws his fastball up to 97 mph and possesses a breaking ball that is a curve-slider hybrid that shows plus at times”. Burr was said to be “big, strong and aggressive on the mound, while missing plenty of bats”. The reliever did show a propensity to walk too many hitters and the lack of movement on his fastball combined with command concerns could keep him from being a closer in the major leagues. The profile mentioned that he could be a “fast mover in a setup role” however.
Burr battled injuries in 2016 but appears to be back on track this season. The reliever told Jared Wyllys of 2080baseball.com that after the injuries, he had to focus on getting “his body back into throwing shape”. The profile notes that he’s very well liked by teammates and coaches and he seems to have a very good grasp of his repertoire. Wyllys also notes in the interview that the potential setup guy struggles to repeat his delivery at times. Don Cooper and the White Sox pitching development team have had a lot of success working with players that have similar issues. Eric Longenhagen from Fangraphs also weighed in today:
Ryan Burr is ASU’s all-time saves leader. Was 94-96 with an above average slider as a junior, set-up profile. Injured early as pro, is back.
— Eric Longenhagen (@longenhagen) August 11, 2017
Here are some videos…
Ryan Burr making the final out for Kane County earlier this year
Some video courtesy of Baseball America of Burr warming up at Arizona State
Burr throwing for Team USA courtesy of Baseball America
The Diamondbacks have a large class of international signings for the current period including Bahamian outfielder Kristian Robinson and it was necessary for them to acquire more bonus pool money. As noted above, the White Sox can’t sign any prospects for more than $300,000 so using their allotted pool for deals like this is another method of talent procurement. The amount of money headed to Arizona was not disclosed but this is a solid transaction for the Pale Hose on the surface. The White Sox are very good at developing power pitching and Burr could move through the system at a rapid pace. He’ll likely report to the Winston-Salem Dash in the High-A Carolina League but he could see Birmingham at some point this season. As long as Burr avoids a duel with fellow White Sox farmhand Ian Hamilton, he should move through the system at a fairly quick pace given a clean bill of health.
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