Previous trade deadlines have seen the White Sox acquire future Hall of Famers and dangle top of the rotation aces, but this year it’s potential left-handed bullpen depth. The Sox have been aggressive in using their excess international bonus pool money to acquire depth and they struck again mere minutes before the trade deadline. After snagging lefty reliever Caleb Frare from the Yankees on Friday, the Sox sent an undisclosed sum to the Tampa Bay Rays for 23-year-old LHP Hunter Schryver.
Schryver was Villanova’s ace in 2016 and 2017, posting sub-3 ERA’s and solid strikeout totals. The Rays drafted him in the 7th round ($17,500 bonus as a senior sign) and immediately converted him into a reliever. He excelled in short-season Hudson Valley, striking out 38 batters to 5 walks with a 3.12 ERA over 34.2 innings. Schryver has continued his success this season, posting a 59/14 K/BB rate with a 2.40 ERA over 48.2 innings between Class-A Bowling Green and High-A Charlotte. The Sox stated in their press release that Schryver will be assigned to A+ Winston-Salem.
It will be interesting to see if the White Sox have any intent in stretching Schryver out as a starter, hearkening back to his college days. At that time, he featured a four pitch mix that included a two-seamer, a four-seamer that has topped out at 93 MPH, a change-up, and a knuckle curve. His pitching splits against lefties and righties aren’t dramatic, always a good sign if you are looking for more ceiling than a LOOGY specialist. If he stays in the bullpen, Schryver joins a growing stable of lefty relievers that it appears the organization is trying to balance with their right-handed contingent.
The White Sox are still under the international bonus penalty restrictions from their flashy Luis Robert splurge, so dealing bonus cash to needy teams for proven prospects is clearly their modus operandi (at least until July of 2019, when they will be freed). Schryver follows in the footsteps of previous acquisitions Thyago Vieira, Ryan Burr, Yeyson Yrizarri, Ricardo Pinto, and the aforementioned Caleb Frare, in dealing away bonus slots that the Sox were not practically able to use anyway.
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