South Side Hit Pen Top Prospect 46: Zach Remillard

Grinder, redux: While an older prospect, this Swiss army knife player has a bit of Danny Mendick in him. (Tiffany Wintz/South Side Hit Pen)



Zach Remillard
Shortstop
6´1´´
200 pounds
Age: 26
SSHP rank among all shortstops in the system: 4
2019 South Side Sox Top Prospect Ranking: 70

Zach Remillard was a four-year starter for Coastal Carolina, but it wasn’t until his senior year when he really boosted his profile. That year for the Chanticleers, he slashed .345/.392.617 in 72 games with 17 doubles, two triples, 19 homers, 72 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, 19 walks (6.0%) and 81 strikeouts (25.4%). As a result of his efforts, Remillard was selected by the White Sox in the 10th round of the 2016 draft.

After splitting time in 2016 with the AZL Sox and Kannapolis, Remillard played the entire 2017 season with the Intimidators and slashed .246/.281/.353 in 133 games with 27 doubles, two triples, seven homers, 50 RBIs, four stolen bases, 19 walks (3.6%) and 124 strikeouts (23.4%). The 2018 season was spent exclusively with Winston-Salem, where Remillard played all positions aside from the battery and slashed .250/.316/.395 in 110 games with 16 doubles, three triples, 11 homers, 52 RBIs, eight stolen bases, 30 walks (7.2%) and 103 strikeouts (24.6%).

Remillard got off to a great start with Winston-Salem in 2019, ultimately slashing .289/.358/.378 in 95 games with 15 doubles, one triple, five homers, 37 RBIs, six stolen bases, 33 walks (8.2%) and 89 strikeouts (22.2%). However, he did struggle in 27 games after his promotion to Birmingham as he slashed .232/.321/.326 for the Barons in 27 games with three doubles and two homers.

While it doesn’t look like he’ll ever fulfill the power potential shown during his senior season, he has still proven to be a valuable player nonetheless. Remillard is an athletic infielder with a plus arm, soft hands and good raw power. He has defensive versatility all infield positions, as well as the corner outfield spots in a pinch. Remillard likely will begin the season with Birmingham, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he finds his way to Charlotte by year’s end.

South Side Hit Pen Top Prospect 47: Ronaldo Guzman

Is Ronaldo Guzman in the dugout way over there? It’s theoretically possible. If not, well, it’s tough finding photos of a 17-year-old DSL ace.



Ronaldo Guzman
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
6´0´´
150 pounds
Age: 17
SSHP rank among all left-handed starting pitchers in the system: 4
2020 South Side Sox Top Prospect Vote: 44

Ronaldo Guzman, a native of the Dominican Republic, received a $75,000 signing bonus on Oct. 29, 2018, which may turn out to be the best under-the-radar signing of an international pitcher ever for the White Sox. In 2019, his first taste of professional ball, Guzman posted a 4.53 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 14 outings (12 starts) spanning 51 ⅔ innings. In those innings, he relinquished 43 hits (.221) and 29 walks (12.8%) while striking out a whopping 76 (33.5%). While those numbers are outstanding for someone who didn’t turn 17 until late August, Guzman’s numbers would’ve been even better if not for one bad relief outing; you throw that bad boy away and you get an 3.53 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Keep in mind, also, that Guzman was approximately 2.3 years younger than the DSL average. Certainly his walks were an issue, in addition to a low ground ball rate (37.9%). With his youth, however, Guzman has plenty of time to work on those things.

Ben Badler of Baseball America said this of Guzman prior to this season: “fastball that gets up to 89 mph with easy arm action and an athletic delivery that repeats well to throw strikes with an advanced changeup for his age.” As Guzman gets older, you’d expect him to gain more height and weight, which can only help with durability and velocity. Guzman has a crazy-high ceiling.

While it wouldn’t be a complete shock if Guzman returns to the DSL White Sox for the 2020 season due to his age, he seems a great bet to begin the season with the AZL affiliate instead.

 

South Side Hit Pen Top Prospect 48: Johan Dominguez

Starting to come together: The White Sox are protecting this promising righty, and for good reason. (Kim Contreras/South Side Hit Pen)



Johan Dominguez
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
6´4´´
190 pounds
Age: 24
SSHP rank among all right-handed starting pitchers in the system: 8
2019 South Side Sox Top Prospect Ranking: 89

Johan Dominguez has pitched exceptionally well since signing a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers on May 8, 2016 as a 20-year-old. Even though he pitched well for the Brewers DSL squad, with a 2.91 ERA combined over three years, it wasn’t until his third year that he finally earned a promotion to their AZL squad (June 24, 2018). Dominguez dominated the AZL in his 15 outings, posting a 0.00 ERA and 0.62 WHIP over 19 ⅓ innings of relief. Shortly after yet another promotion, to the Brewers Pioneer League affiliate in Helena, he was traded along with outfielder Bryan Connell to the White Sox for southpaw reliever Xavier Cedeño at the August trade deadline. After the trade, Dominguez pitched two scoreless innings while striking out four, pitching for his fourth team in 2018.

In his first year pitching in a full-season league, Dominguez certainly held his own. While he had pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen in his first three years of professional ball, he was used primarily as a starter in 2019. Because his career high in innings was 58 ⅓ prior to this year, Kannapolis limited his workload and even inserted him into the bullpen from time to time to keep him from doing any damage to his arm. In 90 ⅔ innings for the Intimidators spanning 24 outings (15 starts), Dominguez posted a rock-solid 2.98 ERA and 1.28 WHIP by relinquishing 83 hits (.239 OBA) and 33 walks (8.5%) while fanning 90 (23.1%). He allowed just two homers this year, which is quite an impressive figure even when considering Dominguez was pitching in a pitcher’s ballpark.

In striking out basically a batter per inning, Dominguez has shown the stuff to put away hitters when he needs to. While his numbers were quite both good in both roles, Dominguez’s stats were slightly better as a reliever this year. Lefties hit .213 against his offerings in 2019 compared to .259 against righties, which seems to indicate Dominguez has an above-average changeup to help neutralize lefties.

Dominguez was about a year older than the average South Atlantic League player, so expect him to begin the 2020 campaign at Winston-Salem, with an eventual promotion to Birmingham (where he’ll be more age-appropriate) if all goes well.

South Side Hit Pen Top Prospect 49: Sammy Peralta

Coming into focus: The southpaw is another hunch that’s playing out wonderfully so far for the White Sox. (@SammyFP16)



Sammy Peralta
Left-Handed Relief Pitcher
6´2´´
205 pounds
Age: 21
SSHP rank among all left-handed relief pitchers in the system: 6
2020 SSS Top Prospect Vote Rank: 46

Sammy Peralta, a native of Queens, was a well-traveled collegian who pitched for San Jacinto CC, Palm Beach State College and Division II powerhouse University of Tampa. Other than a high walk total that caused his ERA and WHIP to balloon a bit, he supplied his Spartans enough strikeouts to entice the White Sox to select him in the 18th round of this year’s draft. In 2019 for Tampa, Peralta posted a 4.93 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 22 appearances (42 innings) by allowing 33 hits and 25 walks (13.2%) while striking out 74 (38.9%). Excluding his first four outings, he was terrific over his final 34 ⅓ innings, posting a 2.62 ERA and 1.08 WHIP during that span.

After four outstanding appearances for the AZL White Sox this year, in which he allowed just three hits and two walks in 6 ⅓ innings while striking out 13, Peralta was promoted to Great Falls on July 4. Peralta continued his mastery of rookie league hitters with the Voyagers, as he kept his walks and hits down while striking out 45 hitters in just more than 30 innings. Combined with both teams in 18 outings spanning 36 ⅔ innings, Peralta compiled a 1.96 ERA and 0.95 WHIP by relinquishing just 25 hits (.182 OBA) and 10 walks (6.7%) while fanning 58 (38.7%). When hitters made contact off him, they hit grounders over 43% of the time. While lefties hit Peralta at a .250 clip this year, he held righties to a .165 average.

In addition to a fastball which he uses to set up hitters, Peralta features a wipe-out curveball and changeup to help put them away. Peralta is likely to begin the 2020 season with Kannapolis.

 

 

South Side Hit Pen Top Prospect 50: Caleb Freeman

Found fortune: This “Wild Thing” had a tame — but killer — pro debut. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)



Caleb Freeman
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
6´1´´
190 pounds
Age: 22
SSHP rank among all right-handed relief pitchers in the system: 8
2020 SSS Top Prospect Vote Rank: 45

Despite incredible stuff, Caleb Freeman struggled for Texas Tech largely because of his lack of control and command. His best year with the Red Raiders was his sophomore one in 2018, when he finished with a 5.18 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 22 contests spanning 33 innings, as he allowed 35 hits and 18 walks while fanning 31. Freeman’s junior season this year saw him slip to a 6.89 ERA and 2.49 WHIP in 15 2/3 innings, as he relinquished 26 hits (.388 OBA) and 13 walks (16.3%) while also striking out 13. The White Sox drafted Freeman in the 15th round with the hopes that they could help him reach his high ceiling.

Freeman did well at all three of his stops (AZL, Great Falls and Kannapolis) this year. In a combined 17 games totaling 24 ⅔ innings, he saved four with a 2.19 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. In those innings, Freeman allowed just 15 hits (.170 OBA) and nine walks (8.9%) while striking out a whopping 38 batters (37.6%). It’s like he found his control and command overnight.

Just before the draft, Baseball America stated Freeman’s fastball typically runs 94-98 mph and flashes of a plus curve. However, they continued, his 20-grade control and command keeps him from taking advantage of his high-end stuff.

Freeman will likely to return to Kannapolis to begin the 2020 season, as he only entered two games for the Intimidators before season’s end. If he can continue to hone both his command and control next year, expect him to move up the ranks rather quickly.

 

South Side Hit Pen Top Prospect 51: Jason Bilous

Back-end bonus: Bilous appears to have a promising future as a short man out the bullpen. (Coastal Carolina University)



Jason Bilous
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
6´2´´
185 pounds
Age: 22
SSHP rank among all right-handed starting pitchers in the system: 9
2019 SSS Top Prospect Rank: 79

Jason Bilous was ranked among the Top 200 draft prospects by MLB Pipeline prior to the 2018 draft, but slipped to the 13th round due to concerns about his control. His fastball was graded 65, slider 55, changeup 50 and control 40 by MLB Pipeline at the time.

Bilous, in his junior season with Coastal Carolina, fanned a whopping 103 hitters but walked an incredibly-high 66; Bilous’ 7.13 BB/9 rate in 2018 for the Chanticleers was nearly identical to his overall college rate of 7.12. Upon being drafted, Bilous was immediately inserted into the Great Falls rotation, where he suffered through a 7.81 ERA and 1.95 WHIP, with 46 hits (.324 OBA) and 24 walks (13.9%) while striking out 31 (17.9%) in 39 innings.

The 2019 season in Kannapolis was kinder to Bilous, as his ERA and WHIP improved to 3.70 and 1.39 respectively in his 31 appearances (17 starts) spanning 104 ⅔ innings. Opponents hit just .220 against this year, while he improved his strikeout rate to 24.5%. Bilous’ walk rate did improve a bit, but was still way too high at 13.2%.

Bilous is athletic but has a long arm action in the back of his delivery that hampers him from repeating his release point and keeping his mechanics in sync. It’s that which hampers his control, which could ultimately force him into a bullpen role going forward. Bilous’ ERA out of the bullpen this year was 2.86 compared to 4.01 as a starter. Thanks to his ever-improving changeup, lefties hit just .184 against him while righties fared better at .242.

If Bilous ever finds that release point, he could move up the system quickly. In the meantime, he may begin next season at hitting-friendly Winston-Salem.

South Side Hit Pen Top Prospect 52: Taylor Varnell

Roster addition: Rylee and Taylor Varnell (middle) shared the gender reveal of their daughter with the rest of the Intimidators last May. (Tiffany Wintz/South Side Hit Pen)



Taylor Varnell
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
6´1´´
190 pounds
Age: 24
SSHP rank among all left-handed starting pitchers in the system: 5
2019 SSS Top Prospect Rank: 67

Taylor Varnell pitched one year for Western Oklahoma C.C. before transferring to Oral Roberts. While his first two seasons for the Golden Eagles were quite good, Varnell’s senior season was a bit of a disappointment as he produced a 5.95 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 16 outings (11 starts) spanning 59 innings. In those innings, Varnell relinquished 58 hits and 30 walks while striking out 62. His stock fell as a result of his struggles, but the White Sox selected him in the 29th round of the 2018 draft.

Varnell pitched exclusively for the AZL White Sox in 2018, and put up superb numbers. In 10 starts spanning 45 ⅔  innings, he compiled a microscopic 1.97 ERA and 0.88 WHIP as he allowed 30 hits (.175 OBA) and 10 walks (5.7%) while fanning 61 (35.1%). In 2019, Varnell pitched the vast majority of the season for Kannapolis and acquitted himself nicely, with a 3.23 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 106 innings and just 86 hits (.221 OBA) and 34 walks (7.8%) while striking out 115 (26.3%). After a surprisingly late promotion, Varnell did nicely for the Winston-Salem Dash in four starts with a 3.38 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 21 ⅓ innings, as he ceded 20 hits (.263 OBA) and 10 walks (11.1%) while striking out 21 (23.3%).

Varnell’s fastball typically runs upper-80s to low-90s, but has run as high as 94 mph according to Baseball America. Other pitches in his arsenal include an above-average changeup and an outstanding Barry Zito-esque 12-6 curveball. Varnell’s fourth pitch is a slider, which is especially effective against lefties.

He’s a little long in the tooth for someone in High-A ball, so if Varnell gets off to a good start with Winston-Salem next year, he should be earning a promotion to Birmingham by midseason.

 

South Side Hit Pen Top Prospect 53: Harvin Mendoza

Whompin’ and whumpin’: Mendoza cooled in the second half, but his bat is for real. (Phrake Photography/South Side Hit Pen)



Harvin Mendoza
First Baseman
6´2´´
175 pounds
Age: 21
SSHP rank among all first basemen in the system: 3
2019 SSS Top Prospect Rank: 82
2020 SSS Top Prospect Vote ranking: 47

Harvin Mendoza was one of four players acquired on International Signing Day in 2015, along with infielder Brayant Nova, Franklin Reyes and some guy named Fernando Tatís Jr. At the time of the signing, Ben Badler of Baseball America said, “Mendoza is limited to an outfield corner, but there were scouts who liked his left-handed swing, ability to use the opposite field and hang in well for his against left-handed pitching.”

Mendoza spent his first two seasons (2016-17) in the DSL where he posted good numbers but with little power, as he combined to slash .281/.389/.358 with two homers, 61 RBIs, 78 walks (17.7%) and 76 strikeouts (17.2%) in 125 overall games.

The Venezuela native appeared stateside with the AZL White Sox for the 2018 season, and produced slightly better numbers in 39 games by slashing .314/.381/.409 with no homers, 23 RBIs, 12 walks (7.7%) and 12 strikeouts.

In 2019 with Great Falls, Mendoza sacrificed strikeouts for power and produced a .278/.362/.457 slash line with 17 doubles, three triples, six homers, 29 RBIs, 27 walks (10.4%) and 48 strikeouts (18.5%) in 62 games. His numbers were terrific in the first half of the season (.311/.393/.538) but slipped in the second (.243/.328/.360). He hit righties well this year (.301/.373/.519), but struggled against southpaws (.191/.321/.213).

Mendoza has the projectable size to hit more homers going forward, as he is quite a bit larger than his official 175 pounds. Expect him to begin next season with Kannapolis.

 

South Side Hit Pen Top Prospect 54: Caberea Weaver

Spinning wheels: If Weaver can make better contact, speed will become an even bigger factor in his game. (@GFVoyagers)



Caberea Weaver
Center Fielder
6´3´´
180 pounds
Age: 18
SSHP rank among all center fielders in the system: 6

Caberea Weaver was an amazing athlete out of South Gwinnett, Ga. In fact, Perfect Game ranked him as the 14th-best high school outfielder in the 2018 draft class in part due to his projectable bat and running the 60-yard dash in 6.27 seconds on a slow track. Baseball America said of him at the time of the draft, “He is an athletic, wiry outfielder with impressive athleticism that should allow him to become an above-average defender in center field. There is a lot of rawness in Weaver’s current game, both offensively and defensively. At the plate, Weaver has a whippy, quick bat and present strength that should continue to improve as he fills out.” The White Sox selected him in the seventh round, and it took a $226,200 signing bonus to pry Weaver from his commitment to the University of Georgia. 

In 2018 with the AZL squad, Weaver slashed .248/.367/.342 in 50 games with five doubles, three triples, one homer, 11 RBIs, eight stolen bases, 18 walks (10.0%) and 52 strikeouts (28.9%). Moving to Great Falls in 2019, he posted similar numbers by slashing .254/.317/.377 in 62 games with 13 doubles, five triples, two homers, 18 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, 18 walks (6.9%) and 85 strikeouts (32.6%). Weaver strikes out way too much, but it doesn’t appear he’s swinging for the fences, as he does hit the ball much more frequently on the ground. Instead, it seems he has way too many moving parts which causes his swing to get too long, common for someone of his build. Hopefully, with a little more experience and confidence, Weaver can reduce his strikeouts and thereby get full use of his speed.

Weaver has shown good range in the outfield, with just two errors in professional ball thus far. He was nearly 17 months younger than his competitors in the Pioneer League, so it wouldn’t be out of the question if Weaver returned to Great Falls. However, it seems likelier that he’ll begin the 2020 season with Kannapolis. 

 

South Side Hit Pen Top Prospect 55: Logan Glass

Rock, et: Glass impressed with his pro cameo in 2019. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)



Logan Glass
Right Fielder
6´4´´
215 pounds
Age: 18
SSHP rank among all right fielders in the system: 4
2020 SSS Top Prospect Vote ranking: 50

With his build, Logan Glass was quite the physical specimen for his Mustang H.S. (Okla.) varsity squad. According to Prep Baseball Report, he’s got a great arm and throws 92 mph from the mound, and his speed is better than average as he runs the 60-yard-dash in 6.65. Also, according to PBR, his exit velocity sits at 96 mph, which is quite impressive.

Glass was verbally committed to Kansas, so the White Sox had to pry him from out of it after selecting him in the 22nd round of the 2019 draft. In 17 games for the AZL squad, Glass slashed an impressive .284/.342/.403 with five doubles, one homer, nine RBIs, one stolen base, two walks (2.7%) and 23 strikeouts (31.5%). The low walk and high strikeout rates are slightly concerning but understandable considering he played against competition 16 months older than he, in addition to factoring in his acclimation to the speed of the game.

Glass likely will remain in the AZL to begin 2020, but should an early promotion to Great Falls if he gets off to a solid start.