Welcome to the latest edition of our News and Notes, covering the White Sox minor leagues. During the season we do these weekly, but from October through February it’s going to be closer to monthly. This article covers all the news and updates for the month of October.
Despite the fact that the regular seasons are long over, there’s still plenty of offseason action to cover: fall leagues, winter leagues, transactions, front office moves, and a smattering of news links worth your time.
Arizona Fall League
The Arizona Fall League opened play on October 10th. We previewed the seven White Sox prospects slated to compete in the prospect showcase, which runs into mid-November. So far out of the gate, the biggest success story has been catcher Seby Zavala, who is slashing .407/.469/.593 through eight games and has thrown out half the base runners attempting to steal when he’s been behind the plate through October 30th action. Infielder Danny Mendick started ice cold, but has heated up and is now showing a closer-to-respectable .244/.295/.366 line. Most of the White Sox pitchers in attendance have been struggling, though Jace Fry (0.60 WHIP, 8:0 K:BB ratio in five appearances) has thus far been an exception and was recently named a “Fall Star”.
Tito Polo was swapped out of the Glendale Desert Dogs roster (had a dental procedure), providing a spot for the return of Charlie Tilson. This is the first true game action that Tilson has seen in over a year, and at this point, simply finishing fall ball healthy would be a win. There’s still a chance he could face another ankle surgery this offseason. Dylan Covey was also removed from the AFL after posting mediocre numbers in three starts, reportedly for arm fatigue, and it does not appear he will be replaced.
Fall Instructional League
Like a junior circuit for the AFL, Instructs is a league where each MLB organization fields a full team made up mostly of players who came into the system either in the current year or year prior. You can see who has been in the Arizona-based Fall Instructs here. As the name implies, it’s less about competition and more about learning, though they are playing live games with sometimes altered rules.
There is also a Dominican version of Instructs, with players generally from the current DSL roster and some incoming players. Micker Adolfo is playing in the Dominican version though, to get in some play coming back from his hand injury. Phenom Luis Robert is there too, as Scott Merkin reports.
There are no reported results or stats from either league, though sometimes there are scouting types who report from the Arizona version (see the Links section later in this article).
There are some 15 to 20 White Sox minor leaguers playing winter ball in one of six significant offseason leagues in warmer climes. You can see who they are and where they are playing here (we have a preview for everything). The biggest name among them is Eloy Jimenez. The team’s top prospect (with the graduation of Yoan Moncada) is tearing up the Dominican Winter League, currently riding an 11-game hitting streak and generally having his way with pitching.
The various leagues run into January, and if the Sox send anyone to Australia as well, possibly as late as February.
- Re-signed: LHP Jaider Rocha, RHP Michael Ynoa, and former OF now RHP Cameron Seitzer
- Outrighted and granted Free Agency: C Rob Brantly, OF Rymer Liriano, RHP Chris Volstad, LHP David Holmberg
- Outrighted and retained for 2018: RHP Brad Goldberg
Front Office Moves
In-season you don’t often see front office moves, with MLB or MiLB clubs. But October ’tis the season for some of those changes, and there have already been a few.
Buddy Bell, who was the Assistant GM for Player Development reporting to Rick Hahn, has left the White Sox. He returns to a Cincinnati club where he’d been previously, in a Senior VP role. The White Sox have said his role will likely not be replaced.
There have been some moves at the affiliates as well, including:
- Radio, PR and Media Relations man Brian Boesch has left the Winston-Salem Dash for a broadcasting role with IMG Audio.
- Radio, PR, Media Relations and Everything Else man Josh Feldman has left the Kannapolis Intimidators.
- Geoff Lassiter has moved from the Team President role with the Winston-Salem Dash, to becoming President of the Carolina League. C.J. Johnson replaces Lassiter as President and GM of the Dash.
- Brian Radle was named the new team President for the Intimidators.
Related to front offices, the City of Kannapolis officially kicked off their project to rebuild and revitalize their downtown last week. A key feature of the new design is a new ballpark for the Intimidators. The earliest the stadium could be ready, if all goes well, would be Opening Day of 2019. The current White Sox Player Development Contract with Kannapolis expires after the 2018 season, so a decision is looming on that.
Links – In Case You Missed It
- FutureSox is seeking contributers who are local to White Sox minor league affiliates, to join our writing staff. If you live near a Sox farm team or a town they regularly play in, and are interested in writing and/or providing photos or videos, contact us!
- We took a look at the leaders of a number of statistical categories across the Sox farm system in 2017, broken up by hitters and pitchers.
- The White Sox will play an exhibition game against the Knights in Charlotte on March 26th, just prior to the start of the 2018 MLB season. The home club will wear special uniforms in honor of the 20-year mark operating as the White Sox AAA affiliate.
- The past month has seen a pair of emotional gut punches effecting the White Sox family:
- Christiana Duarte, sister of White Sox prospect Mikey Duarte, was killed in the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas. Mikey’s girlfriend, Ariel Romero, was shot in the face and has been in and out of surgery. There is a Go Fund Me to help the family with medical costs, if you are so inclined.
- Former White Sox farm hand and major league flamethrower Daniel Webb was killed in a tragic accident recently, leaving behind his wife and child. There is similarly a campaign to help the Webb family with the unexpected expenses, this one set up by High Socks for Hope, the foundation set up by former White Sox pitcher David Robertson.
- Josh Norris of Baseball America took a ton of open-face video of White Sox prospects in Fall Instructs, and published them here.
- James Fegan of The Athletic continues to pump out content on key prospects. Instead of linking just one, you can go to his author page here and select what you want to read.
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