Deep Dive: Free agent left fielders

In the cards? Marcell Ozuna enjoyed the best bWAR, despite an off-season, among this limited class of left fielders. (Rawlings)


“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


With Eloy Jiménez seemingly entrenched in left field, the White Sox may look into this group in search of a right fielder. Marcell Ozuna, the best of the bunch, would cost the White Sox a second-round pick and $500,000 international bonus pool money. More economical options include Alex Dickerson and Japanese slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. Most of the other options appear to be reserve outfield depth, although Alex Gordon’s left-handed bat (and defense) could be enough to move Jiménez to right. The list is in order of bWAR, with Tsutsugo given a 0.0 bWAR because he’s yet to play a major league game, although his last season in Japan, adjusted for the tougher competition, could be vaguely comped to Kole Calhoun of the Angels. 

(age as of April 1, 2020)


Marcell Ozuna
St. Louis Cardinals
B/T: R/R
2019 bWAR: 2.2
Stats: .288/.318/.407, 504 AB, 21 2B, 11 HR, 59 RBI, 6 SB, 20 BB, 70 K
Other positions played: None
Age: 30

Alex Gordon
Kansas City Royals
B/T: L/R
2019 bWAR: 1.2
Stats: .266/.345/.396, 556 AB, 31 2B, 13 HR, 76 RBI, 5 SB, 51 BB, 100 K
Other positions played: None
Age: 36

Corey Dickerson
Philadelphia Phillies
B/T: L/R
2019 bWAR: 0.7
Stats: .304/.341/.565, 260 AB, 28 2B, 12 HR, 59 RBI, 1 SB, 16 BB, 56 K
Other positions played: None
Age: 30

Gerardo Parra
Washington Nationals

B/T: L/L
2019 bWAR: 0.6
Stats: .234/.293/.391, 274 AB, 14 2B, 9 HR, 48 RBI, 8 SB, 19 BB, 59 K
Other positions played: Right field, First base, Center field, Second base, Third base 
Age: 32

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo
Yokohama Bay Stars
B/T: L/R
2019 bWAR: 0.0
Stats (Japan): .272/.388/.511, 464 AB, 24 2B, 29 HR, 79 RBI, 0 SB, 88 BB, 141 K
Other positions played: None
Age: 28

Rajai Davis
New York Mets
B/T: R/R
2019 bWAR: -0.1
Stats: .200/.231/.400, 25 AB, 2 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB, 1 BB, 5 K
Other positions played: Right field
Age: 39

Peter Bourjos
Los Angeles Angels
B/T: R/R
2019 bWAR: -0.4
Stats: .091/.109/.114, 44 AB, 1 2B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB, 1 BB, 15 K
Other positions played: Center field, Second base, Third base
Age: 33

Carlos González
Chicago Cubs

B/T: L/L
2019 bWAR: -0.5
Stats: .200/.289/.283, 145 AB, 3 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB, 3 BB, 18 K
Other positions played: Right field
Age: 34

Curtis Granderson
Miami Marlins

B/T: L/R
2019 bWAR: -0.6
Stats: .183/.281/.356, 317 AB, 17 2B, 12 HR, 34 RBI, 0 SB, 41 BB, 98 K
Other positions played: Right field
Age: 39

Matt Kemp
New York Mets

B/T: R/R
2019 bWAR: -0.9
Stats: .200/.210/.283, 60 AB, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB, 1 BB, 19 K
Other positions played: None
Age: 35


 

Deep Dive: Eloy Jiménez’s past, present and future with the White Sox

Watch out, chuckers: Jiménez slashed .340/.383/.710 in September. Is this an ominous sign for AL pitchers for 2020 and beyond? (@Lamantha21)


“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

How did he get here?

Eloy Jiménez was quite the heralded young player, as he was considered the top international prospect in 2013 by MLB Pipeline. They said of Jimenez at the time, “Considered the crown jewel of the Class of 2013, Jimenez has one of the best baseball bodies available this year and is considered to be the total package. The teenager has impressed scouts with his intelligence, plus-speed, and gap-to-gap power that is expected to improve as he grows into his body.” He ultimately received a $2.8 million signing bonus from the Cubs that year. He struggled a bit in his first taste of baseball with the DSL Cubs in 2014, as he slashed just .227/.268/.367 with just three homers in 50 games.

The 2015 season saw much better results for Jiménez at Eugene (short-season league) as he slashed .284/.328/.418 with seven homers in 57 games. However, he really began turning it on in A-ball with South Bend in 2016, as he slashed .329/.369/.532 in 112 games with 40 doubles, three triples, 14 homers, 81 RBIs, eight stolen bases, 25 walks and 94 strikeouts. After getting off to a bit of a slow start with A+ Myrtle Beach in 2017, Jiménez picked it up a notch in June and July as his slash line improved to .271/.351/.490 with six doubles, eight homers and 32 RBIs over 42 games. Then, on July 13 of that year, he was traded along with fellow top prospect Dylan Cease, Bryant Flete and Matt Rose for southpaw Jose Quintana. After the trade, Jiménez combined to slash a mercurial .348/.405/.635 in 47 games with Winston-Salem and Birmingham with 16 doubles, one triple, 11 homers, 33 RBIs, 17 walks and 37 strikeouts.  

Jiménez started the 2018 season with Birmingham and promptly destroyed Double-A pitching by slashing .317/.368/.556 in 53 games with 15 doubles, two triples, 10 homers, 42 RBIs, 18 walks and 39 strikeouts. After earning a promotion to Charlotte on June 21, he then massacred Triple-A pitching by slashing .355/.399/.597 in 55 games with 13 doubles, one triple, 12 homers, 33 RBIs, 14 walks and 30 strikeouts. Combined with both Birmingham and Charlotte, Jiménez slashed an impressive .337/.384/.577 in 108 games with 28 doubles, three triples, 22 homers, 75 RBIs, 32 walks (7.0%) and 69 strikeouts (15.1%).

Prior to beginning the 2019 season, he received a six-year, $43 million contract through 2024 with team options through 2026.

With the White Sox in 2019

For all intents and purposes, “Big Baby” enjoyed an outstanding rookie season. In 122 games spanning 468 at-bats, he slashed .267/.315/.513 with 18 doubles, two triples, 31 homers, 79 RBIs, 30 walks (6.0%) and 144 strikeouts (28.6%). He finished fourth in this year’s AL Rookie of the Year voting, and based upon his HR/G ratio, he easily could have finished the season with more 40 home runs if he hadn’t missed 40 games due to injuries. He posted a respectable 1.4 bWAR and 1.9 fWAR, which would’ve been much higher if not for his defensive difficulties this year. Though his BABIP (.308) was good, Jiménez still may have hit in some bad luck as his hard hit rate of 47.9% was in the top 8% of the league. Also, his average exit velocity (91.2 mph) far exceeded the league average (87.5%). He did hit more grounders than fly balls, which is indicated in his launch angle (9.3%), which was well below the league average of 11.2%.

Surprisingly, despite the fact that Guaranteed Rate Field is a true hitter’s ballpark, Jimenez fared far better on the road (.290/.335/.357 with 19 homers) than he did at home (.238/.291/.456 with 12 homers). Like many of his teammates, he performed much better under the lights (.282/.319/.537) than he did during the day (.249/.312/.383). As a rookie, it was unsurprising to see Jiménez encounter significant inconsistency during the year — his March-April (.240), May (.182) and July (.163) batting averages were all exceptionally low while his June (.284), August (.281), and September (.340) averages were terrific. With that said, his September numbers were absolutely astounding, as Jiménez slashed .340/.383/.710 in 24 games with eight doubles, a triple, nine homers, and 25 RBIs. Interestingly his numbers were slightly better against righties (.270/.313/.535) than versus southpaws (.259/.322/.459).

As with most hitters, Jiménez fared far better when ahead in the count. Actually, this is a bit of an understatement, as Jiménez slashed .363/.493/.699 when ahead in the count as opposed to .157/.167/.270 when behind. While the average swing rate on the first pitch is 28.3%, Jimenez far exceeded that rate, at 38.1%. Thus, pitchers were more likely to give him something off the plate, with the expectation that he’d flail away and fall behind in the count. With more patience, Jiménez obviously will find himself in more hitter-friendly counts.   

Of course, discussions regarding Jiménez in 2019 are incomplete unless we also discuss his defense. Baseball-Reference gave him a -1.4 defensive WAR for 2019, while FanGraphs gave him exceptionally low grades in arm and range. Jiménez ranked in the lower-18th percentile in outfield jump, while he was often slow in getting rid of the ball  — both factors in such low assessments by FanGraphs. To his credit, Jiménez will be playing winter ball in the Dominican League in an effort to improve those skills. While an overnight improvement would be incredible, a modest improvement attributable to experience and confidence seem likely to be in store, as he regularly receives praise from the White Sox coaching staff for his work ethic and willingness to improve his overall game.    

Despite Jiménez’s range and arm being a huge detriment in his overall game, and despite his rough start to the year and two injuries that caused him to miss 40 games, he still managed to post a respectable 1.4 bWAR for 2019. Offensively, he needs to put himself in more hitter-friendly counts by taking the first pitch if not to his liking. If he can do that, and no doubt he will, the sky’s the limit for the young man provided he can stay healthy. While Jiménez’s overall defensive numbers last year were extremely weak, his play in left field was at least passable after the All-Star break. He’s still only 23, so with his work ethic and dedication, there is no reason to believe he can’t at least turn into an adequate outfielder. If he does this, his overall WAR numbers should skyrocket. Considering that each WAR point is worth approximately $7.7 million per FanGraphs on the free agent market, and Jiménez earned just $1.83 million in 2019, he provided the White Sox with a positive value of nearly $9 million.

What does the future have in store?

Because of the extension Jiménez signed prior to the 2019 season, he will be earning $2.33 million in 2020, with his salary gradually climbing up to $13.83 million by 2024. The White Sox have club options on him for the next two years after that, so Jiménez should be a fixture in the White Sox lineup for the next seven years. Jiménez’s infectious personality has already made him one of the faces of the franchise. He’s worked hard on his English, and he’s taking that same effort in making himself a more complete player. With the likes of Luis Robert, Yoán Moncada, Tim Anderson, Nick Madrigal and perhaps Andrew Vaughn in the not-too-distant future, Jiménez will be part of a young offensive nucleus which should steer the White Sox toward perennial pennant contention. No doubt, with more experience and adjustments (and a better lineup), he’ll also refine his offensive game by coaxing more walks (at the least, more favorable counts) and limit his strikeouts. 

With the re-signing of José Abreu for three years, and with Vaughn perhaps ready to reach the majors by 2021, the likelihood of Jiménez moving to a full-time DH role likely will be placed on hold. Thus, without that safety net, it seems that Jiménez will remain in the outfield for at least the next three years. At his young age, he should improve with experience, confidence and solid coaching. However, while it’s conceivable he could be moved to right field if the White Sox add a left fielder via free agency or trade, he seems more likely to stay in left due to his limited arm and range. The White Sox won’t be complaining, however, as Jiménez should be a monstrous offensive force for the next several years.   

Deep Dive: Charlotte and Birmingham left fielders

Bouncing back: Speedy Joel Booker struggled between Birmingham and Charlotte in 2019, but was on the fast track in prior seasons. (@BhamBarons)


“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 is quite the small list, with Joel Booker as the only player still in the organization who finished the season as the primary left fielder in either Birmingham or Charlotte. (Charlie Tilson, who finished the season in Charlotte and played more games in left than anywhere else, is now a free agent.)

(age as of April 1, 2020)


Birmingham Barons

Joel Booker
6´1´´
190 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Center field, Right field

Age: 26

After spending his first two collegiate seasons at Indian Hills (Iowa) JC, Booker played his final two years with the University of Iowa. As a senior for the Hawkeyes, he slashed .370/.421/.532 in 56 games with 19 doubles, two triples, five homers, 37 RBIs, and 23-for-25 stolen bases. The results were good enough for the speedster to be selected in the 22nd round of the 2016 draft. He immediately paid dividends, as he slashed an impressive .312/.403/.404 in 65 combined games with the AZL Sox and Great Falls with 16 doubles, one triple, two homers, 31 RBIs, 41-of-43 stolen bases, 27 walks (8.9%) and 49 strikeouts (16.2%).

The 2017 season saw Booker split his time with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem, combining to slash .274/.329/.349 in 123 games with 17 doubles, two triples, five homers, 44 RBIs, 23 stolen bases, 27 walks (5.1%) and 107 strikeouts (20.2%). And it was in 2018 when Booker began seeing his name on a few prospect lists, as he earned the Carolina League’s All-Star Game MVP while concluding the season with Birmingham. Although he did struggle a bit with the Barons, he still finished the year with a combined 26 stolen bases and a career-high 44 walks.

After beginning the 2019 season well with Birmingham (.351/.400/.446 and eight stolen bases in 20 April games), Booker was promoted to Charlotte. However, he had difficulty hitting there, slashing just .203/.276/.304 in 26 games. After his demotion to Birmingham on June 21, Booker continued his struggles by hitting just .222 for the remainder of the year. In a combined 102 games with both teams, he slashed .245/.308/.322 with 13 doubles, one triple, four homers, 36 RBIs, 19 stolen bases, 24 walks (6.2%) and 89 strikeouts (22.8%).

It was a disappointing year for Booker, as thanks to the struggles of most of the Birmingham outfielders this year, he had an opportunity to make a case for himself as at least a potential reserve outfielder in Chicago. He likely will begin the 2020 season with Charlotte, provided he isn’t selected in this year’s Rule 5 draft.


 

 

Deep Dive: Winston-Salem and Kannapolis left fielders

Like a hurricane: Among several versatile lower-level left fielders, Romy Gonzalez might possess the most upside. (Phrake Photography/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

Most of the best White Sox outfielders played either right or center field in 2019, as many of the players on this list were either drafted in the later rounds or are considered better suited for utility roles. Who knows, though? Perhaps one of the late-round selections, like Cameron Simmons or Jonathan Allen, could surprise in 2020.

(age as of April 1, 2020)


Winston-Salem Dash

Jonathan Allen
6´3´´
200 pounds
B/T: L/R
Other positions played: Right field, Center field
Age: 23

After a terrific junior season with the University of San Francisco in which he slashed .308/.393/.480 in 57 games with seven homers and 12 stolen bases, Allen’s numbers slipped in 2019 as he slashed just .252/.370/.562 with 10 doubles, two triples, 17 homers, 59 RBIs, three stolen bases, 34 walks (13.3%) and 60 strikeouts (23.5%). It seems that he sacrificed some average for the long ball, and while that strategy didn’t especially pay off, it was at least enough for the Sox to select him in the 32nd round in 2019.

Combined with the AZL Sox, Great Falls and Winston-Salem, Allen slashed .260/.311/.420 in 40 games with 13 doubles, one triple, three homers, 22 RBIs, six stolen bases, nine walks and 46 strikeouts. Much of that production came in the last two games of the year with Winston-Salem when he went 5-for-9 with two homers, five RBIs, and a stolen base. He has the reputation of a solid glove man, as he only committed a combined two errors during his collegiate and professional play.

Because he only has two games under his belt with the Dash, expect him to return to Winston-Salem for 2020. Oh, I almost forgot: Allen happens to be the grandson of former major league outfielder Don Landrum, who played for the Phillies, Cardinals, Cubs and Giants from 1957-66. 

J.J. Muno
5´11´´

190 pounds
B/T: L/R
Other positions played: Second base, Shortstop, Right field
Age: 26

Muno is the younger brother of former White Sox farmhand Danny Muno. After redshirting his freshman year with UC-Santa Barbara, he played three years for the Gauchos. Muno’s best year was as a redshirt sophomore, when he slashed .294/.370/.450 with five homers and 17 stolen bases in 64 games. He slumped the next year, however, as he slashed just .246/.333/.342 with three homers and 14 stolen bases in 55 games. The White Sox liked his versatility enough, however, to select him in the 27th round of the 2017 draft. That year, he split time with the AZL squad and Great Falls as he slashed a solid .294/.415/.422 in 38 games.

The 2018 season saw Muno play for Kannapolis, Winston-Salem and Birmingham, where he combined to slash just .224/.300/.296 over 38 games. In 2019, Muno saw much more playing time, exclusively for the Dash. For the year, he slashed .238/.351/.377 with seven doubles, six triples, four homers, 34 RBIs, 14 stolen bases, 31 walks (11.5%) and 55 strikeouts (20.4%). He’s valuable as an organizational depth piece, as he’s played all positions on the diamond except catcher, and has kept his errors to a minimum. He’s the classic utility player, as he can do a lot of little things well but nothing exceptionally. He likely will begin 2020 play with Birmingham.

Travis Moniot
6´1´´

190 pounds
B/T: S/R
Other positions played: Right field, Center field, Third base, Second base
Age: 22

Moniot had a well-traveled, three-year college career after playing his high school ball in Indio, Calif. He scuffled as a freshman with the University of Oregon, as he slashed just .168/.286/.293 in 53 games. He then dominated with the Orange Coast JC squad by slashing .353/.524/.608 with seven homers in 45 games. Moniot then struggled with the University of Arizona as a junior in 2018 as he slashed just .160/.295/.240 with one homer in 22 games. Despite his lack of success in Division I ball, the White Sox selected him in the 17th round of that year’s MLB draft. Upon receiving his signing bonus, he slashed a respectable .289/.391/.412 for Great Falls with seven doubles, two triples, one homer, 14 RBIs, two stolen bases, 17 walks (12.6%) and 29 strikeouts (21.5%). 

This year was a difficult one for Moniot, however. Combined with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem, he slashed just .172/.262/.207 in 19 games with two doubles, six RBIs, three stolen bases, seven walks (10.8%) and 24 strikeouts (36.9%). He was placed on the injured list on June 24 and never returned. Like the aforementioned Muno, Moniot has the ability to play most defensive positions. Moniot may not wield a strong bat, but because of his relative youth, he likely will be given additional opportunities to establish himself. Expect Moniot to return to the Dash for 2020.


Kannapolis Cannon Ballers

Cameron Simmons
6´4´´
200 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Right field
Age: 23

Simmons enjoyed an outstanding college career with the University of Virginia, but his best year was clearly his sophomore one in 2017: .352/.432/.563 with 14 doubles, two triples, nine homers, 57 RBIs, nine stolen bases, 23 walks (9.3%) and 40 strikeouts (16.2%) in 58 games. However, a shoulder injury caused him to miss his entire junior season. Rustiness impacted his senior season with the Cavaliers in 2019, as he slashed just .260/.363/.389 in 55 games with 12 doubles, five homers, 34 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, 27 walks (11.0%) and 51 strikeouts (20.8%). When he was still available in the 20th round of this year’s MLB draft, however, the White Sox were happy to select him.

After a terrific 12-game stretch with Great Falls to begin his professional career, Simmons leveled off a bit with Kannapolis to finish the year. In a combined 44 games with both teams, he slashed .275/.342/.458 with 11 doubles, five homers, 21 RBIs, five stolen bases, 13 walks (8.1%) and 47 strikeouts (29.2%). With his shoulder surgery in 2018, he’s likely best suited as a left fielder going forward. Expect Simmons to return to Kannapolis for 2020, with the possibility of promotion to Winston-Salem by midseason if all goes well. 

Romy Gonzalez
6´1´´
210 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: First base, Second base, Third base, Right field, Center field
Age: 23

Like Simmons, Gonzalez enjoyed his best collegiate season as a sophomore. Playing for the University of Miami, he slashed .265/.344/.462 in 58 games with nine doubles, 11 homers, 38 RBIs, 13 stolen bases, 27 walks (10.6%) and 58 strikeouts (22.8%). Gonzalez slumped a bit (especially in the power department) for the Hurricanes as a junior, however, as he slashed .273/.358/.394 in 52 games with eight doubles, four homers, 30 RBIs, 22 stolen bases, 21 walks (9.2%) and 60 strikeouts (26.3%). These struggles caused him to slip to the White Sox in the 18th round of the 2018 draft. He played for Great Falls that year, and performed well by slashing .254/.323/.498 with 15 doubles, two triples, 10 homers, 33 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, 18 walks (8.1%) and 65 strikeouts (29.1%).   

Gonzalez struggled this year in the pitching-friendly environment of Kannapolis, as he slashed just .244/.329/.364 in 101 games with 22 doubles, four triples, four homers, 35 RBIs, 11 stolen bases, 38 walks (9.4%) and 108 strikeouts (26.7%). He did display plenty of versatility by playing all defensive positions sans shortstop and catcher.

Gonzalez is an above-average athlete and seems like the type of guy who could have 20-20 seasons if he can begin making stronger contact at the plate. Expect him to begin next year with Winston-Salem, where he will hopefully produce better power numbers. 


 

 

Deep Dive: Rookie league left fielders

Head of the class: Anderson Comas is one of the top outfield prospects in the system — although the DSL’s Benyamin Bailey is gaining quickly. (Phrake Photography/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

Although not currently on the Top 30 list of White Sox prospects found on MLB Pipeline, these outfielders all have the upside to appear on that list relatively soon — especially Benyamin Bailey. The 2020 season will be big for all of them, as they hope to make big strides forward.

(age as of April 1, 2020)


Great Falls Voyagers

Anderson Comas
6´3´´
185 pounds
B/T: L/L
Other positions played: Center field, Right field

Age: 20

Ranked as Baseball America’s 37th best international prospect, the Dominican Republic’s Comas received a $450,000 signing bonus from the White Sox on July 2, 2016. He was highly-touted by Ben Badler of Baseball America, although Comas didn’t play ball for the DSL Sox until the 2017 season, when he slashed a respectable .291/.316/.329 in 63 games with five doubles, two triples, 17 RBIs, one stolen base, eight walks (3.2%) and 45 strikeouts (18.2%). He followed that up with an even better 2018 season with the AZL Sox in which he slashed .306/.339/.388 in 41 games with six doubles, two triples, one homer, 22 RBIs, five stolen bases, seven walks (4.1%) and 26 strikeouts (15.1%).

Comas struggled unexpectedly with Great Falls in 2019. In 54 games and 194 at-bats with the Voyagers, he slashed just .222/.251/.351 with seven doubles, six triples, two homers, 33 RBIs, seven walks (3.4%) and 58 strikeouts (28.6%). According to FanGraphs last year, Comas’ swing has gotten “disconcertingly long” which could equate with his struggles. For someone as lanky as he is, that evaluation makes sense. Provided he can make adjustments, Comas has the potential to gradually move up the system. Because of his relatively limited range, he really profiles as a corner outfielder. He’d have to hit better in order to fit that profile, however, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to see him return to Great Falls to hone that swing a bit.      


Arizona League White Sox

Anthony Coronado
6´1´´
180 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Right field
Age: 19

Part of the same 2016 international signing class as Comas, Venezuelan outfielder Coronado received a significantly smaller signing bonus of $150,000. Badler said this of him at the time, “He’s 6-foot-1, 180 pounds with above-average speed and a fringy arm. He’s a right-handed hitter with gap power now but the physical projection to hit 12-15 home runs down the road, though there is swing-and-miss in his game.”

Coronado acquitted himself nicely in his first professional season in 2017, as he combined with the AZL and DSL squads in 58 games to produce a .265/.354/.425 slash line with 20 doubles, four homers, 28 RBIs, one stolen base, 17 walks (7.4%) and 60 strikeouts (26.1%). However, he struggled in his first full season with the AZL squad (in part due to lack of consistent playing time) as he slashed just .145/.229/.194 in 21 games with one double, one triple, four RBIs, six walks (8.6%) and 23 strikeouts (32.9%).   

Coronado’s playing time increased in 2019, and his results reflect this. In 28 games totaling 101 at-bats with the AZL Sox, he slashed a respectable .307/.358/.475 with seven doubles, two triples, two homers, 14 RBIs, five walks (4.6%) and 27 strikeouts (24.8%). Even though this was Coronado’s second full season playing for the team, he was still a tad younger than league average. Although he played some right field this year, Coronado really does profile best at left due to his fringy arm. In all likelihood, he’ll begin 2020 with Great Falls.


DSL White Sox

Benyamin Bailey
6´4´´
215 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Right field, Center field
Age: 18

Bailey, a native of Panama, received a minimal signing bonus from the White Sox on April 27, 2019, with literally no fanfare. However, by the time he ended the season, Bailey was the best-known prospect on the entire DSL roster. In 55 games totaling 185 at-bats, he slashed an incredible .324/.477/.454 with 12 doubles, three triples, two homers, 19 RBIs, 52 walks (21.4%), 40 strikeouts (16.5%) and 10 stolen bases. Bailey’s OBP was hovering around .500 for most of the year, before a late-season slump dropped him to .477. With that said, Bailey still led the league in that department and was near the top in walks and OPS as well. In most cases, the DSL leaders are either returning players and/or much older than the league average; in Bailey’s case, this was his first year in professional ball and he was about six months younger than his competition. 

While it’s likely that he won’t steal in the double digits going forward due to his size, it’s hoped that Bailey’s size will help enable him to hit the long ball. In the meantime, his batting eye and hitting prowess have certainly earned him the opportunity to play ball for either the AZL Sox or Great Falls in 2020. Also, expect to see him mentioned in some prospect lists next year as well.   

Lazaro Leal
6´2´´
210 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Right field, First base
Age: 23

Leal, a native of Cuba, played for the Pinar del Rio squad in 2016 before legally emigrating to Mexico. During the 2017 and 2018 seasons, he played ball in the Mexican League’s AA and AAA circuit before signing with the White Sox on February 5. Leal was assigned to the DSL squad for the 2019 season, with the hopes that he could perhaps move Stateside by season’s end. However, the year didn’t turn out as well as he had hoped. In 55 games totaling 182 at-bats, Leal slashed .225/.372/.357 with 13 doubles, one triple, three homers, 23 RBIs, two stolen bases, 38 walks (16.8%) and 29 strikeouts (12.8%). He has the athleticism to play both corner outfield spots fairly well, and his plate discipline should warrant him another opportunity in the minors. With his age, he likely won’t return to the DSL in 2020. Provided he stays in the organization, he’s likely to begin the season with Great Falls.


 

Deep Dive: Free agent shortstops

Armed and dangerous: Despite an injury-riddled season, Didi takes no back seat to anyone in this tiny free-agent class of shortstops. (@DidiG18)


“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


Shortstop seems to be in good shape for the White Sox in 2020, with Tim Anderson coming off the AL batting championship. Reserves are also in plentiful supply via Leury García, Yolmer Sánchez (if he returns) and Danny Mendick. With some concerns about Anderson’s defense, are there any shortstops available here good enough to play the position and force Anderson to move into the outfield? There aren’t many shortstops on the market this year, and the best one who would’ve been slated for this offseason signed an extension (Xander Boegarts). Only one shortstop (Didi Gregorius) seems capable of transplanting Anderson, and he comes with injury concerns. Nobody in this small list has qualifying offers attached to them.

(age as of April 1, 2020)


Jose Iglesias
Cincinnati Reds
B/T: R/R
2019 bWAR: 1.5
Stats: .288/.318/.407, 504 AB, 21 2B, 11 HR, 59 RBI, 6 SB, 20 BB, 70 K
Age: 30

Adeiny Hechevarria
Atlanta Braves
B/T: R/R
2019 bWAR: 0.9
Stats: .241/.299/.443, 203 AB, 12 2B, 9 HR, 33 RBI, 3 SB, 14 BB, 48 K
Other positions played: Second base, Third base
Age: 30

Didi Gregorius
New York Yankees
B/T: L/R
2019 bWAR: 0.6
Stats: .238/.276/.441, 344 AB, 14 2B, 16 HR, 61 RBI, 2 SB, 17 BB, 53 K
Age: 30

Jordy Mercer
Detroit Tigers
B/T: R/R
2019 bWAR: 0.3
Stats: .270/.310/.438, 256 AB, 16 2B, 9 HR, 22 RBI, 0 SB, 13 BB, 57 K
Other positions played: Second base, First base, Third base
Age: 33


Deep Dive: Tim Anderson’s past, present and future with the White Sox

Getting greedy: Tim Anderson led the league with a .335 average in 2019. Is he in store for a better year in 2020?


“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


How did he get here?

A prep basketball point guard who led his team to an Alabama state championship, Anderson also played baseball but lost playing time to a knee injury and his basketball career. Undrafted out of high school, he went to East Central CC (Decatur, Miss.) to focus on baseball and started to come on in the summer Jayhawk League in 2012. During Anderson’s sophomore season with East Central, he slashed an impressive .495/.568/.879 in 53 games with 18 doubles, 11 triples, 10 homers, 45 RBIs, 41-of-45 stolen bases, 17 walks and 12 strikeouts. He steadily climbed draft boards all spring in 2013 before the White Sox drafted him 17th overall that summer.

After receiving a signing bonus of $2.164 million, Anderson bypassed the AZL squad and Great Falls and began his minor league career with Kannapolis. He played for Winston-Salem and Birmingham in 2014, spent the full 2015 season with Birmingham (slashing .312/.350/.429) and began the 2016 season with Charlotte by hitting .304/.325/.409 in 57 games with 10 doubles, four homers and 11 stolen bases. After veteran Jimmy Rollins struggled in the first two months of that season, Anderson was promoted to the White Sox on June 10.

Anderson actually had a slightly better OPS (.738) in his 99-game rookie campaign than he enjoyed in Charlotte. That year, he slashed .283/.306/.432 with 22 doubles, six triples, nine homers, 30 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, 13 walks (3.0%) and 117 strikeouts (27.1%). He also exhibited good range while limiting his errors to 14. As a result of his efforts, Anderson finished seventh in the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year voting.

The 2017 season saw Anderson hit a bit of a sophomore slump, as many of his numbers fell. In 146 games spanning 587 at-bats that year, he slashed .257/.276/.402 with 26 doubles, four triples, 17 homers, 15 stolen bases, 13 walks (2.1%) and 162 strikeouts (26.7%). Like he would do in the next two seasons, he led all AL shortstops in errors (28). However, he showed enough promise to warrant an early extension — one that will keep him with the White Sox through the 2024 season. 

For multiple reasons, the 2018 season was arguably Anderson’s most difficult to date. Trying to cope from the death of his best friend, and perhaps trying to do too much in an attempt to justify his extension, Anderson got off to a horrific start from which he never truly recovered. For the year, he slashed .240/.281/.406 with 28 doubles, three triples, 20 homers, 64 RBIs, 30-of-32 stolen bases, 30 walks (5.0%), 149 strikeouts (24.6%) and 20 errors. While most of the slashing numbers declined, Anderson did attain career highs in homers, RBIs, stolen bases and walks while reaching the 20-20 club.

With the White Sox in 2019

Anderson, suffice it to say, enjoyed the best season of his career in 2019. Over 123 games spanning 498 at-bats, he slashed .335/.357/.508 with a career-high 32 doubles, 18 homers, 56 RBIs, 17 stolen bases, 15 walks (2.9%), 109 strikeouts and 129 OPS. If not for missing basically the entire month of July, he likely would have also attained career highs in homers, RBIs and perhaps stolen bases. Of course, his league-leading batting average was greatly aided by an incredibly high .399 BABIP, which ranked second in the majors behind only teammate Yoán Moncada (.406). One would think that with such a great BABIP that Anderson’s exit velocity would be off the charts; however, it (88.3 mph) ranked only 168th in the majors, so it does appear Anderson hit with a significant amount of good fortune.

Now, let’s dig a little closer at his splits. Anderson actually hit slightly better versus righties this year (.339/.360/.514) than against southpaws (.326/.351/.493). Anderson did his most damage as a table-setter, as he slashed .394/.413/.590 when hitting with nobody out. To take that one step further, when actually leading off an inning, Anderson slashed .455/.470/.714 in 112 at-bats. Also, in contrast with much of the team in 2019, he actually performed a bit better in day games (.356/.378/.510) than under the lights (.322/.344/.507). Most fans (this writer included) are understandably frustrated with Anderson’s low walk totals, but he was luminescent when ahead in the count as he slashed .404/.473/.658 in such circumstances. As alluded earlier, Anderson did encounter a great degree of luck in 2019, so it seems he’ll be in for some regression in 2020. Despite this year’s slash line of .335/.357/.508, his expected slash line per Baseball Savant was only .294/.328/.461. With that said, most fans could probably live with those numbers from their young shortstop. There is some hope, however, for Anderson’s ability to hit for a high average, as he he was less pull-happy in 2019 (32.7%, eight percent less than his career average).

Despite Anderson’s defense being essentially a wash thanks to his league-high error total, he still managed to post a career-high 4.0 bWAR for 2019. He’s certainly got the range and arm to be an above-average defender, so if he could limit his miscues somewhat, Anderson should be a positive factor on defense going forward. He’s still only 26, so it’s easy to envision improvement with additional maturity. Thus, even if he takes a step back offensively, it’s hoped that his defense could take up the slack and continue giving him a 4-plus bWAR in each of the next few years. Considering that each WAR point is worth approximately $7.7 million per FanGraphs on the free agent market, and Anderson earned just $1.4 million in 2019, he provided the White Sox with an incredible $29.4 million value.    

What does the future have in store?

Because of the extension Anderson signed prior to the 2018 season, he will be earning $4 million in 2020, with his salary climbing up to $9.5 million by 2022. The White Sox have club options on Anderson for the next two years, so Anderson should continue to be a fixture in the lineup for the next five years. Anderson’s swagger, which can rub some baseball purists the wrong way, actually helps give the team a personality and identity that has at times been lacking during these trying years of the rebuild. Thus far, Anderson’s been arguably the most productive first round pick for the White Sox in quite some time, as thanks to his terrific 2019, he now owns a career bWAR in the double digits. At times, it seems Anderson is just scratching the surface, as he appears capable of a 30-30 season or two down the road provided he stays healthy.

With continued offensive production and improved defensive play, Anderson’s swagger and enthusiasm could make him one of the faces of the Sox organization for years to come. With that said, concerns about his defense have led some people to believe his future lies either in center or right field. However, barring a blockbuster trade for someone like Francisco Lindor or an unexpected free-agent signing like Didi Gregorius, it seems most likely he’ll remain the South Side’s starting shortstop for the foreseeable future.


 



Deep Dive: Charlotte and Birmingham shortstops

Rivera 2020: After a terrific 2018, Laz crashed to earth with Birmingham in 2019. Will he be able to bounce back? (@BhamBarons)


“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

All three shortstops at the upper levels seem to fit the bill of utilityman profiles, but don’t have the upside of a Lenyn Sosa, Lency Delgado or Yolbert Sánchez.

(age as of April 1, 2020)


Charlotte Knights

Ramon Torres
5´11´´
190 pounds
B/T: S/R
Other positions played: Second base, Third base, Left field, Right Field, First base
Age: 27

Torres, a native of the Dominican Republic, signed with the Kansas City Royals as a 17-year-old. He ever-so-slowly worked his way through their system, and finally made it to the majors in 2017 where he slashed .243/.291/.284 in 33 games. He spent much of the 2018 season in Triple-A Omaha, though he did play nine games for the Royals but struggled with a .179/.207/.214 slash line.

Last year saw Torres play 58 games for Birmingham, and when fellow ex-Royal Alcides Escobar was released in Charlotte, was promoted to the Knights for his final 21 games. While his results were mediocre with the Barons (.210/.244/.318), the switch-hitter was absolutely fire with the Knights as he slashed .343/.352/.612 in the more friendly hitting environment. For the year combined with both teams, he slashed .250/.277/.406 with 15 doubles, four triples, four homers, 25 RBIs, eight walks (3.4%) and 38 strikeouts (16.0%).

Torres is now a minor-league free agent, so he can sign with any team of his choosing. If he opts to return to the White Sox, he would likely begin the 2020 season with Charlotte.


Birmingham Barons

Laz Rivera
6´1´´
185 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Second base
Age: 25

After a college career that spanned three years with different levels (University of Miami, Chipola JC and Div. II University of Tampa, Rivera was selected by the White Sox in the 28th round of the 2017 draft. He was immediately inserted into the AZL lineup, where he slashed .296/.374/.446 in 47 games with 12 doubles, five triples, two homers, 24 RBIs, three stolen bases, eight walks (3.8%) and 26 strikeouts (12.2%).

Rivera enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2018. In his 63 games with Kannapolis, he slashed an impressive .346/.395/.502 with 15 doubles, two triples, six homers, 24 RBIs, seven stolen bases, six walks (2.3%) and 48 strikeouts (18.1%). While not as sensational, Rivera performed quite well for Winston-Salem in 61 games by slashing .280/.325/.458 with 15 doubles, two triples, seven homers, 37 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, seven walks and 44 strikeouts. Overall, Rivera finished with a terrific slash line of .314/.361/.481.

Baseball America said of him at the end of the season, “He is part of the new breed of infield prospect who hits first and asks questions later, a la Brandon Lowe and Nick Solak with the Rays. He brings above-average bat speed and a short path to the ball, which he used to post excellent numbers at both Class A levels. He’s an aggressive hitter who crushes fastballs but needs to work on not chasing offspeed pitches. He played almost exclusively at shortstop, though his 40-grade arm profiles better at second base.”

Of course, as with nearly every Sox hitter not named Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal or Yermín Mercedes, Rivera struggled bigtime with Birmingham in 2019. In 121 games totaling 424 at-bats, Rivera slashed just .248/.287/.318 with 22 doubles, one triple, two homers, 39 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, 17 walks (3.7%) and 81 strikeouts (17.8%). A former organizational Top 30 prospect, he has fallen off most lists due to his lackluster offensive performance.

As of now, Rivera seems to be destined for a utility infield role going forward. However, barring the Sox signing a minor-league free agent for Triple-A next year, he could be slated for the much more hitting-friendly confines of Charlotte, where he can hopefully reclaim his prospect status.

Zach Remillard
6´1´´
200 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Third base, First base, Right field, Second base
Age: 26

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%). Last year 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 will be eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 draft. If undrafted, he likely will begin the season with Birmingham but it wouldn’t be surprising if he finds his way to Charlotte by year’s end.


Deep Dive: Winston-Salem and Kannapolis shortstops

Cannonball run: Lenyn Sosa is the second-ranked shortstop in the Sox system according to MLB Pipeline. (@KCannonballers)


“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

In A-ball, Lenyn Sosa is clearly the better of the two prospects, as he’s four years younger than Johan Cruz; he’s also the second-ranked shortstop prospect in the organization (behind only Yolbert Sánchez) according to MLB Pipeline.

(age as of April 1, 2020)


Winston-Salem Dash

Johan Cruz
6´2´´
188 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Third base, Second base
Age: 24

All the way back on Sept. 11, 2012, Dominican native Cruz signed with the White Sox. After a rocky start with the DSL squad in 2013, he got off to a great start upon his return to the DSL and soon found his way to the team’s AZL affiliate. The 2015 season saw Cruz move up they system’s prospect rankings (25th), as the 19-year-old slashed .312/.338/.442 for Great Falls in 65 games as he produced 17 doubles, six homers, 38 RBIs, 12 walks (4.2%) and 61 strikeouts (21.4%).

After a respectable if uninspiring injury-marred 2016 season in Kannapolis in which he slashed .255/.323/.371 in 65 games, Cruz struggled with his promotion to Winston-Salem in 2017 as he slashed just .218/.256/.350 with six homers in 75 games. Demoted in 2018 to Kannapolis, he continued his struggles at the dish as he slashed .227/.297/.286 with one homer in a career-high 91 games.

This year was a much better one offensively for Cruz. Beginning the season with Winston-Salem but ultimately demoted again to Kannapolis, he caught fire with the Intimidators, earning him yet another opportunity with the Dash. Combined with both teams, Cruz slashed .270/.342/.410 in 82 games with 18 doubles, one triple, seven homers, 38 RBIs, one stolen base, 31 walks and 79 strikeouts.

Cruz is an above-average defender with a utility/organizational-depth profile due to his relatively low hit tool and lack of game-changing speed. While he may be given the opportunity to begin the 2020 season with Birmingham, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see him return to Winston-Salem instead. Cruz will be eligible for selection in the upcoming Rule 5 draft.


Kannapolis Cannonballers

Lenyn Sosa
6´0´´
180 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Second base
Age: 20

It was easy for Sosa to get lost in the shuffle, as he was one of a nine-member 2016 International Signing Day class that included Josue Guerrero, Luis Mieses and Anderson Comas. Yet so far, it’s this Venezuelan shortstop (who signed for $350,000) who has advanced further than anyone from that class.

The Sox brass liked Sosa so much that he actually skipped the DSL and instead began his career with the AZL squad. For that team, in which he was nearly three years younger than league average, he slashed .270/.330/.358 in 42 games with four doubles, two triples, two homers, 23 RBIs, three stolen bases, 14 walks (7.8%) and 24 strikeouts (13.3%). Sosa continued his progress in 2018 with Great Falls as he slashed .293/.317/.406 in 65 games with 13 doubles, three triples, four homers, 35 RBIs, two stolen bases, seven walks (2.4%) and 36 strikeouts (12.4%).

This year, Sosa took a step back but still showed promise. In 122 games with Kannapolis spanning 501 at-bats, he slashed .251/.292/.371 with 35 doubles, two triples, seven homers, 51 RBIs, six stolen bases, 27 walks (5.0%) and 102 strikeouts (19.0%). He began turning on the ball in a tough ballpark for hitters, and while he still doesn’t walk a lot, provided glimpses that he could still have a future in a White Sox uniform. For example, when Sosa should have wearied at the end of the season (as he’d nearly doubled his career-high in games played), he slashed .429/.455/.714 over his last 10 games. Sosa did commit 14 errors at shortstop, which actually is quite good for such a young player — competing this year about 2 1/2 years younger than his competition — and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him begin the 2020 season with Winston-Salem. Sosa currently ranks 30th among all White Sox prospects, and second among the system’s shortstops behind only Yolbert Sánchez, according to MLB Pipeline.


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
6´3´´
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
5´11´´
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
5´11´´
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
5´10´´
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.