Deep Dive: White Sox rookie league shortstops

Step forward: Lency Delgado, a fourth round pick from 2018, hit .274 for Great Falls this year. (@lency_delgado)

“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

There is indeed some rookie league talent at shortstop, with a decent degree of upside both offensively and defensively. In fact, the talent level here may actually exceed any at the higher levels, with the possible exception of Lenyn Sosa.

(age as of April 1, 2020)

Great Falls Voyagers

Lency Delgado
215 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Third base
Age: 20

Delgado, a native of Miami, played his varsity ball with Doral Academy prior to being selected in the fourth round of the 2018 draft by the White Sox. After receiving an over-slot $525,000 bonus that pried him from his verbal commitment with Florida International, Delgado received his first taste of professional ball with the AZL White Sox last year. Not surprisingly, he struggled with the speed of the game and slashed just .233/.309/.301 in 38 games with four doubles, one triple, one homer, 22 RBIs, four stolen bases, nine walks (6.0%) and 40 strikeouts (26.7%).

This year with Great Falls, Delgado turned in a much better season as he slashed .274/.325/.377 in 57 games with 14 doubles, one triple, two homers, 32 RBIs, one stolen base, 14 walks (6.0%) and 87 strikeouts (37.5%). However, there are obvious concerns regarding his high strikeout totals. Many scouts believe that, in part because of his size, he makes a better fit as a third baseman. If he does end up switching positions, he’ll eventually need to tap into his above-average power. Delgado does have a long swing, so with extra work and a few adjustments, it is hoped that he could indeed become much closer to reaching his full potential — Delgado is still only 20, after all. It seems likely that he’ll begin next season with Kannapolis.

AZL White Sox

Jose Rodriguez
175 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Second base, Third base
Age: 18

Rodriguez received a signing bonus from the White Sox in February 2018 and was inserted into the DSL lineup just a few months later. He turned out to be was one of the few bright spots on a miserable 2018 DSL squad, slashing .291/.318/401 in 60 games with 13 doubles, three triples, two homers, 23 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, nine walks (3.8%) and 29 strikeouts (12.1%). Rodriguez even participated in that year’s DSL All-Star game.

This year with the AZL White Sox, he started hitting more homers while avoiding any significant decline in any of the other batting categories (besides strikeouts). In 44 games spanning 188 at-bats, Rodriguez slashed .293/.328/.505 while producing seven doubles, three triples, nine homers, 31 RBIs, seven stolen bases, nine walks (4.5%) and 45 strikeouts (22.5%). He walloped southpaws by slashing .423/.423/.788. Rodriguez did commit 13 errors in his 32 games with the AZL team this year, so he still needs improvement on that front. He has played multiple positions during his first two seasons, and may be establishing himself as a power-hitting utility infielder going forward. Expect Rodriguez to begin next season with Great Falls.

DSL White Sox

Yolbert Sánchez
176 pounds
B/T: R/R
Age: 23

After playing three years in the Cuban professional league, including the final two seasons with the Industriales de La Habana, the White Sox paid Yolbert Sánchez a $2.5 million signing bonus on this year’s International Signing Day, designating him as one of the top international prospects of 2018 and 2019. Sánchez has a reputation as an excellent fielder, with a plus throwing arm and speed; the only concerns are with the bat. He ranks 22nd among all White Sox prospects per MLB Pipeline, and is the system’s top-ranking shortstop. MLB gives him a 60 grade for fielding, 55 grades for his arm and running, and lower grades for hitting (45) and power (40).

For tax purposes, Sánchez played this season with the DSL squad and did reasonably well. In 33 games totaling 111 at-bats, Sanchez slashed .297/.386/.441 with eight doubles, two triples, one homer, 12 RBIs, three stolen bases, 15 walks (11.8%) and 12 strikeouts (9.4%). It’s difficult to translate these stats. On one hand, Sánchez was more than four years older than DSL average; on the other hand, it had been a year-and-a-half between his games in the Cuban league and the DSL, which likely created some rust until he got into a certain rhythm. In Sánchez’s last 10 games he slashed .333/.442/.528, which seems to bear that out.

While his defense may be major league ready, Sánchez’s bat certainly isn’t. Expect him to begin the 2020 season with Kannapolis, and work his way up the system rapidly provided he can hold his own offensively.

Wilber Sánchez
160 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Second base
Age: 18

Wilber Sánchez, a native of Venezuela, received a signing bonus from the White Sox in February, to little fanfare. With that said, despite the fact that he was the lesser-known Sánchez on the DSL squad, he still found a way to make a name for himself. In 52 games totaling 177 at-bats, Sánchez slashed .288/.391/.395 with 13 doubles, three triples, 25 RBIs, 13 stolen bases, 28 walks (13.5%) and 33 strikeouts (15.9%). Interestingly, he fared far better versus righties (.304/.416/.415) than he did southpaws (.238/.304/.333). Sánchez was about seven months younger than his competition, so there’s nothing fluky about his stats. When Yolbert joined the team, Wilber moved over to second base, where he played fairly well. He made a combined 13 errors this year, which could likely be attributable to his youth and perhaps the quality of the playing field. Sánchez should be ready for a promotion to the AZL squad in 2020.


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