Deep Dive: White Sox rookie league third basemen

Local product: D.J. Gladney made a huge impact with the AZL White Sox in 2019. What will next year have in store for him? (Kim Contreras/South Side Hit Pen)


“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the Chicago White Sox organization. Each position is broken into a five-part series:

  1. Depth in the rookie levels (Dominican through Great Falls)
  2. Depth in A-ball (Kannapolis and Winston-Salem)
  3. Depth in the higher levels (Birmingham and Charlotte)
  4. Under the Radar-type detail on one of the White Sox players at that position
  5. Free agent options at that position

This article delves into the third basemen who finished the year with Great Falls, along with the Arizona and Dominican League affiliates. There is indeed some talent here, though it’s mostly raw. The AZL third basemen appear to be the best of this group.

(age as of April 1, 2020)


Great Falls Voyagers

Luis Curbelo
6´3´´
185 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Shortstop, Second base
Age: 22

Born in Puerto Rico, Curbelo moved to Florida for his senior year of high school. Before coming to Florida, however, he played for the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, whose most famous alumnus is Carlos Correa. At the time of the 2016 draft, Baseball America said of Curbelo that he “is a physical infielder with promising power potential. He has plenty of strength and produces good bat speed, enabling him to drive the ball out of the park. He has a balanced swing and does a good job of getting to his power. Curbelo is a below-average runner, limiting his range up the middle. He has good hands and a strong arm, giving him a good chance to settle at third base as a professional.”

The Sox drafted him in the sixth round that year, prying him from his verbal commitment with the University of Miami with a $700,000 bonus — more than $413,000 more than his slot value. As an 18-year-old, Curbelo struggled in his first taste of professional ball with the AZL squad in 2016 when he slashed just .226/.303/.323 with two homers in 45 games.

After a terrific three-game start in 2017 with Great Falls, Curbelo tore his miniscus and missed a year of development time. He struggled a bit with Kannapolis the following year, which wasn’t a huge surprise as he was about 16 months younger on average than his competitors. For the year in 83 games spanning 317 at-bats, Curbelo slashed .237/.282/.338 with 19 doubles, two triples, three homers, 31 RBIs, 18 walks (5.2%) and 87 strikeouts (25.4%).

This year in Curbelo’s return to Kannapolis, he hit rock bottom by slashing just .169/.216/.287 in 64 games with 11 doubles, five homers, 30 RBIs, 13 walks (5.1%) and 105 strikeouts (41.0%). As a result, Curbelo was demoted to Great Falls, where he bounced back in his 56 games to slash .262/.294/.266 with nine doubles, six triples, eight homers, 24 RBIs, 11 walks (4.7%) and 76 strikeouts (32.3%). He will obviously have to cut down on his strikeouts to better tap into his impressive power.

Expect Curbelo to begin 2020 with Kannapolis, with a chance for promotion to Winston-Salem by the end of the year if he can indeed make more contact. He will be eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 draft but likely won’t be selected.


AZL White Sox

Bryan Ramos
6´2´´
190 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: First base
Age: 18

Labeled as a power-hitting third baseman by Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, Ramos received a $300,000 signing bonus from the White Sox during last year’s International Signing Day. The native Cuban skipped past the DSL and instead played the full 2019 season with the AZL team. As a 17-year-old, he was 2.4 years younger than league average but certainly held his own. In 51 games for the AZL Sox spanning 188 at-bats, he slashed .277/.353/.415 with 10 doubles, two triples, four homers, 26 RBIs, three stolen bases, 19 walks (8.7%) and 44 strikeouts (20.2%). Despite his youth, his walk and strikeout totals were quite respectable and showed some polish. As a result, he likely will begin the 2020 season with Great Falls.

D.J. Gladney
6´3´´
195 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: First base
Age: 18

Gladney, a native of Matteson, played varsity ball with Illiana Christian Academy (Lansing, Ill.). As a product of the White Sox ACE program, Gladney caught the attention of White Sox scout J.J. Lally at the Area Code Games in 2018, as he told South Side Sox: “My initial thoughts were that he showed excellent bat speed but was a raw talent.” The White Sox gladly selected him in the 16th round of this year’s draft, and after eschewing his verbal commitment to Eastern Kentucky University by accepting an over-slot $225,000 bonus, Gladney immediately began paying dividends.

Though Gladney struggled making contact this year with the AZL White Sox, he still slashed a solid .264/.309/.428 in 50 games with five doubles, two triples, eight homers, 25 RBIs, one stolen base, 10 walks (4.5%) and 82 strikeouts (37.2%). The White Sox will likely be patient with the young man as he adapts to the speed of the game. Thus, while it’s possible he could earn a promotion to Great Falls for 2020, it may make more sense to see him return to the AZL White Sox. For additional information on him, read the terrific, in-depth piece by South Side Hit Pen’s own Dan Victor.


DSL White Sox

Edwin Peralta
6´3´´
175 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Shortstop
Age: 18

Peralta, a lanky third baseman from the Dominican Republic, received a signing bonus from the White Sox in February 2018. As a 17-year-old for the DSL squad, he scuffled with a .193/.322/.234 slash line in 52 games with three doubles, one homer, 18 RBIs, five stolen bases, 21 walks (12.0%) and 41 strikeouts (23.4%).

With a year of experience under his belt, Peralta enjoyed a much more successful 2019 campaign. This year in 54 games with the DSL Sox, he slashed .241/.372/.306 with nine doubles, one triple, 16 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, 34 walks (16.4%) and 46 strikeouts (22.2%). He does need to improve his power numbers, though it seems he has a good batting eye with the high walk rates. Peralta also needs to work on his defense, as he committed 15 errors in his 48 games at the hot corner. With that said, we should see Peralta Stateside at some point in 2020.


Today in White Sox History: November 11

What could have been: If Schueler hadn’t pulled the trigger on his biggest deal, bringing PK to the South Side for more than a decade. (Topps)


1965 — “The Señor,” manager Al Lopez, resigned his position with the White Sox. Perhaps the greatest manager in franchise history, Lopez had nine winning seasons in his nine full time years as field manager. He won the 1959 American League pennant and was coming off of back-to-back-to-back 90-plus win seasons in 1963, 1964 and 1965. His 840 wins are the second-most in team history. He returned to manage for parts of the 1968 and 1969 seasons.


1998 — Perhaps the finest deal ever made by White Sox GM Ron Schueler came on this date, when he traded promising center fielder Mike Cameron to the Cincinnati Reds for infielder Paul Konerko. Konerko would eventually blossom into a consistent power-hitting first baseman, hitting 432 home runs with 1,383 RBIs in his career. Konerko was a six-time All-Star, a World Series champion, the 2005 ALCS MVP and the 2002 Comeback Player of the Year. 


2005 — They never made it on the cover of Sports Illustrated for winning the World Series, but the Sox did grace the cover of The Sporting News for the accomplishment. The caption was short and to the point: “Sweep!”

The best and blurst games of the 2019 White Sox

(Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)


This kicks off a mini-burst of bests and blursts this week at South Side Hit Pen. Today, Lenny G gets things going with his highly-entertaining look at his most and least favorite games of 2019.

Tomorrow, the rest of us take a stab at the best games of the year, and Wednesday presents the saddest chapter of this trilogy, the blurst of the year.

So, before the Hot Stove heats up and spring training looms, let’s join LG as he spins a little yarn about the best and worst blurst of the season!


“He’s your hero tonight … thanks Cubs!”

Oftentimes in sports, whenever a player returns to face an organization that traded him or her, it’s now referred as “[Insert Player’s Name] Revenge Game!”

And it makes sense right? One team, drafting you into their organization, grooming you, pouring millions of dollars into developing you so that one day you’ll bring glory and championships to their city … and then poof, you find out from your agent you’ve been shipped to Pittsburgh or Kansas City or … the South Side of Chicago. I mean, it’s literally a rejection of that player in the purest sense. Despite all that time and effort, they still think someone else is worth more to them than you. So yes, revenge must be a part of it. (To be fair, anybody and everyone seems to get a revenge game moniker nowadays … I mean, Bobby Freaking Portis got one for leading the bum-ass Knicks in a comeback against the Bulls …)

But if there ever was a textbook example of a Revenge Game, June 18, 2019, White Sox at Cubs in Wrigley Field is hands-down the best one I’ve seen in my 35 years on Earth.

But let’s set the scene. I’m not going to recap the trade and all the drama behind his non call-up the year before. All that you need to know was this was the first game that Eloy Jiménez played at Wrigley Field as a professional ballplayer. Now, had he played a few years as a Cub (shudder), then later showed on the White Sox, it probably would not have been as impactful, even if the results were exactly the same.

The game couldn’t have started more ominously for Eloy and the Sox. With the bases loaded and one out, Eloy came to the plate in his first ever at-bat at Wrigley. A grand slam would likely have caused mass suicides in the Cubs front office and the bleachers. But it wasn’t Eloy’s time yet, as the rook hit into an inning-ending double play.

Naturally, Iván Nova, a pitcher who never met a bat he didn’t want to make contact with, grooved the first pitch to Cubs leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarbabyer and gave up a leadoff home run. Ugh.

Fast forward to the ninth inning … you didn’t miss much. The White Sox had tied it in the sixth thanks to 2020 The Show cover boy Javier Baez, with Little Bam Bam’s Homer still the only run for the North Siders.

James McCann led off with a single, and up comes dat boi Eloy. Pedro Strop, the reason Theo decided to throw $45M at the dumpster fire that was Craig Kimbrel, threw a 1-0 fastball in on the hands of Eloy. Hands pulled in, the bat connected with the ball, the sound of the crack of the bat was clear even through the speakers of my television, and … well, let’s run that shit:

The BESS Returns!

Nothing. And I mean nothing, more important happened for the White Sox in 2019 than this moment. Right here. We had instant, indisputable proof that Eloy was and is THE GUY. In a big time moment, in the stadium of the team he originally signed with because he liked their fucking uniform colors, Eloy hit a ball 400-plus feet on a pitch that shattered his bat. Oh, man. I’d have to imagine that’s what sex feels like … (uh … wait … I mean, I know … um …)

Anyway, in the immortal words of Jason Benetti, “Thanks, Cubs!”


Colomé? More like Colom-F!”

OK, I may not be clever enough to come up with a better punchline, but with plenty of losses to pick from, I’m going with one that, fortunately, occurred at such a late hour most Sox fans would be asleep (I was not one of those fans … I need help). And that game was Sept. 14, 2019, White Sox at Mariners. (Author’s note: I completely forgot I actually did the game recap for this one, as Frasier-themed fan fiction!)

Why this game, you ask? Admittedly, there were worse games, like say. .. the game literally the next day. (But that was claimed by someone else, and you’ll read about it on Wednesday; luckily I didn’t have far to go to find this gem.)

Dylan Cease, for one of the rare occasions in his rookie season, did not immediately put the Sox in a multi-run hole early. Sure, he had his customary wildness, but five innings and one run given up is practically all one could ask of a Sox starter and be satisfied.

On the hill for Seattle was the used husk of Felix Hernandez. In his eventual swan song of a career in Seattle, King Felix had been routinely demolished in many of his starts in 2019. In the start prior against the Astros, he gave up 11 runs in two innings. So, even with the good chance Cease might’ve given up a few runs, surely the Sox would be able to beat up on this paper tiger right?

Noooooooope. Felix squeezed the last remaining drops of the emaciated Cy Young version of himself floating in a vat of green goo underneath Safeco Field T-Mobile Park and dominated the Sox, getting outs like the Felix of old. By game’s end, we were stuck at 1-1 and headed to the bottom of the 10th.

Sox closer Alex Colomé used his Cupid Shuffle of a delivery to rack up an amazingly improbable number of first half saves despite having the same strikeout ability as a one-armed blind man with vertigo. As the BABIP gods finally woke from their slumber, second half Colomé started to get hit a bit more than normal and his effectiveness ultimately faded down the stretch.

Two outs into the 10th, and up came Alex’s trade counterpart, the Narv Dog, Omar Narváez. A decent hitter with the Sox on a team-friendly contract, he found that life on the West Coast does wonders to your skill set (hello, Marcus Semien) and was somehow hitting bombs all over Puget Sound. So what would happen in this rare event involving a pitcher and catcher, traded for the other? Game on the line … (ummm) … facing the team that gave up on him … (oh no) … and one run wins the …

ITS THE SUPER-SECRET OMAR NARVÁEZ REVENGE GAME!!!!

Narvy laid into an 0-1 pitch from Colomé and sent it deep into right field. Daniel Palka (God bless that sweet boy, he just tries so hard …) went back to the wall but realized he’s not getting this one as it approaches the fence. The ball, well it had eyes for the seats in hopes of sending the home crowd happy, but … the ball hits on top of the wall and lands back on the warning track. In real time, it looked like it may have cleared the fence and ricocheted off a small barrier just behind the wall, which must be why the umpire twirled his little finger (I bet they love doing that) and signaled that the “home run” had ended the game.

BUT WAIT! Esteemed ceviche lover and part-time Sox manager Ricky Renteria went out to the umps and, with nothing to lose, asked for a review to make sure that ball went out. And, dear reader, I can say with no impartiality, that ball didn’t clear the wall! So, great! Slow-mo that tape down in New York, call the ground-rule double and let’s get the band off the field … we got more free baseba-

The umps took off their headsets. The finger twirled in the air. It is twirled for a second time. I was more sad and confused by a meaningless September Sox loss to a terrible Mariners team than I was a few minutes prior on the first home run call. And, until today, I always wondered why they stuck with that decision. Well … funny you should ask … while I was looking for a link to the walk-off, I found this from WGN that ran the following day: https://wgntv.com/2019/09/15/mlb-says-miscommunication-led-to-no-review-of-walk-off-in-white-sox-loss/

Here’s the supremely depressiing explanation which is just so, so Ricky (emphasis mine):

White Sox manager Rick Renteria said he immediately asked umpires to review the homer, and they then went to the headset used to communicate with replay officials.

When Renteria and the umpires reconvened, they asked if Renteria wanted to challenge whether Narváez had touched home plate amid his celebrating teammates. Renteria mistakenly thought this meant officials had ruled the ball cleared the fence and declined to challenge whether Narváez touched home, because he had already seen on replays that he had.

Associated Press
Guess which one I am?

Anywho, did this loss matter in the long run? Of course not. Teams with 89 losses are 0-for-forever in making the playoffs, so this one was not one to cry over. But … for the constraints given by this exercise, I’m marking this down as the Yonder Alonso of White Sox losses in 2019.

Thanks for reading! Oh and congrats to the Washington Nationals for winning the franchise’s first World Series! If they didn’t have someone from the Expos days at the parade give a speech in French, the win should be null and void….