Welcome to another entry in a new offseason article series here at FutureSox. Separate from our twice-annual Top 30 White Sox Prospects lists, we are going to list the top five or ten minor leaguers in the White Sox system at each position on the field.
We continue our positional rankings with left-handed relief pitchers. There are many left handed starting pitching options in the system that could ultimately turn into relievers in the long term. For the purpose of this list however, we are focusing on players who we know will have bullpen roles now and in the future.
1. Caleb Frare – Unranked, last level MLB
The White Sox acquired Caleb Frare from the New York Yankees on July 29th for $1.5 million in international bonus pool space. Prior to the trade, the southpaw had been dominant for the Yankees’ organization in AA and AAA in 2018. The 25-year-old spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons recovering from Tommy John Surgery and some of the initial scouting reports about his velocity and stuff seemed to be outdated when he joined the Sox organization. Frare dominates lefties with a mid-to-upper nineties fastball and a hard wipeout slider. He also shows quite a bit of downhill life and deception.
Caleb threw seven big league innings in September and definitely looked the part. His mound presence looked similar to a young B.J. Ryan and his competitiveness and “bulldog mentality” shows when he toes the rubber. In his brief major league sample, he posted a 5.14 ERA but his peripherals were much better leading to a 2.73 FIP. He walked too many big league hitters issuing 4 free passes, but he also struck out 9 including 5 of the 12 left-handed hitters he faced. The Montana native will be given every opportunity to win a job in the White Sox 2019 bullpen out of spring training and he looks to be a potential high-leverage option from the left side.
2. Hunter Schryver – Unranked, last level A+
Two days after acquiring Frare from the Yankees, the White Sox acquired Schryver from the Rays. The 23-year-old was a 7th round pick by the Rays out of Villanova in 2017. As Villanova’s main starter, Hunter posted ERA’s under three and high strikeout totals during his junior and senior seasons. He displayed a mid 90’s four-seamer to go along with a two-seamer, changeup and knuckle curve as well. The lefty posted a 2.92 ERA with a 59/14 strikeout to walk rate in 48 innings in the Tampa Bay system before being acquired.
Schryver reported to High Class A Winston-Salem and threw 15 innings for the Dash to close out the season. Hunter was successful in the Carolina League with a 1.20 ERA and 2.22 FIP to go along with it. His strikeout rate increased as a member of the White Sox system and he averaged 12.6 K/9 with a rate of 1.8 BB/9 as well. The Sox have seemingly done a solid job of using their international bonus pool space to unearth future contributors. Schryver should move through the system at a fairly quick pace and is slated to start the 2019 season as a member of the Birmingham Barons in the Southern league.
3. Andrew Perez – Unranked, last level A
The White Sox selected Perez in this past June’s amateur draft. The 21-year-old was an 8th round pick and signed very quickly for a little under slot. He reported to the Great Falls Voyagers in the Pioneer League to get his feet wet in professional ball and he threw 6.1 innings allowing 1 earned run in his brief stop in Montana. The southpaw then moved on to Low-A Kannapolis in the South Atlantic League and posted a 2.88 ERA in just over 25 innings of work. He walked almost five guys per nine innings with a strikeout rate of 8.6 K/9.
Perez was the closer at South Florida during his junior season and he got better every year in college. He posted a 2.34 ERA in 42.1 innings with a strikeout to walk ratio of 50K/12BB with 12 saves. Perez pairs a low-to-mid-nineties fastball with an above average curveball based on college reports from various scouts, and projects as a left-handed specialist down the road. Perez should start the 2019 season with the Winston-Salem Dash in the Carolina League but could also return to Kannapolis for a bit first.
4. Bennett Sousa– Unranked, last level A
Sousa pitched in relief for the Virginia Cavaliers in college and was a 10th round selection this past June. The 23-year-old pitched 43 innings in 23 games for UVA with a 5.23 ERA. He compiled 61 strikeouts with 22 walks however and posted a WHIP under 1.00 in his time at the university. The 6’3″ lefty threw 13 innings for Great Falls in the Pioneer League after signing. His numbers were pretty eye-popping in that brief stint with a 0.00 ERA overall and a 1.57 FIP. He averaged almost 13 K/9 and walked nobody.
Bennett earned a promotion and went on to throw 22 innings to close the season in Kannapolis. In 11 games there, Sousa posted a 2.01 ERA and 2.53 FIP with K/BB rate of 9.7/2.8. Sousa is an interesting gamble to take as late as the White Sox did on day two. Brian Sakowski of Perfect Game USA noted that he has a mid 90’s fastball to go with “one of the better left-handed breaking balls in the class”. Sousa will likely start next season with the Dash in Winston-Salem and could move quickly if he continues to get outs.
5. Kevin Escorcia– Unranked, last level A
Escorcia was an international signing all the way back in 2013. He’s another potential LOOGY type that has averaged almost 13 K/9 this season. He compiled 62 strikeouts in 44 innings and posted a 2.68 FIP with an ERA of 2.66. The 23-year-old Colombian should advance to High-A Winston-Salem next year. He did pitch in Kannapolis in 2017 as well, posting 69 strikeouts in 50 innings but he definitely showed improved peripherals in 2018.
Escorcia spent two seasons in the DSL and took a bit of a slow path through the system. His stuff is good enough to continue advancing though. His delivery starts with a slow rock back and explosion to the plate from a low 3/4 arm slot. He locates his low 90’s fastball well and and has shown a slider with two plane break. His curveball flashes plus though and is his best pitch with big bend in the mid 70 mph range.
Next up: Right-handed Relievers
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