Deep Dive: Rookie league right fielders

In case of emergency: Logan Glass was one of the most intriguing selections of this year’s MLB draft by the White Sox. (@BFeldo14)

“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

While there aren’t a lot of household names among RF rookie leaguers, there is an incredible amount of untapped talent in this class. Five of these six players will be younger than 20 when this season starts, and there’s serious power potential in the likes of Luis Mieses, Logan Glass and Josue Guerrero. This will be a fun group to watch in 2020.  

(age as of April 1, 2020)

Great Falls Voyagers

Luis Mieses
180 pounds
B/T: L/L
Other positions played: Left field, Center field
Age: 19

Just over a month after turning 16, Dominican native Mieses received a signing bonus from the White Sox on July 2, 2016 for $428,000, as part of a large International Signing Day class that included Josue Guerrero, Lenyn Sosa, Anderson Comas and Kleyder Sanchez among others. Mieses began professional ball with the DSL squad in 2017, and slashed .263/.302/.320 in 59 games with eight doubles, three triples, 25 RBIs, three stolen bases, 10 walks (3.8%) and 42 strikeouts (16.0%). It was enough to receive a promotion stateside for 2018, when he slashed .226/.236/.328 in 48 games with the AZL squad with 10 doubles, two triples, two homers, 26 RBIs, three stolen bases, four walks (2.0%) and 35 strikeouts (17.2%).

Mieses’ numbers improved a bit this year with Great Falls, although it could be attributed in part to the thinner air. In 59 games for the Voyagers, he slashed .241/.264/.359 with 14 doubles, four homers, 28 RBIs, seven walks (3.0%) and 46 strikeouts (19.9%). The production has been a bit disappointing, unless you consider that Mieses has been more than a year younger than his competition at every level he’s played thus far.

He currently ranks 29th among all White Sox prospects per MLB Pipeline with a 60 grade on his throwing arm, 50 grades for fielding and power, 45 for hit and 40 for running. Pitch selection has been Mieses’ biggest issue, which is evidenced by his extremely low walk numbers. While Mieses really should return to Great Falls for 2020, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him promoted to Kannapolis, for two reasons: He will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft in 2020, so the White Sox would like to see what he can do in full-season play; also, the White Sox may want to make room in Great Falls for some of the remaining right fielders on this list. 

Bryan Connell 

195 pounds
B/T: R/R
Age: 21

On International Signing Day of 2015, Connell (a native of Panama) joined the Milwaukee Brewers. In his first two years (2016-17) with the Brewers DSL squad, he however, he hit just a paltry .189 and .177. In his third year for the team, he finally hit his stride and .256/.408/.512 in 27 games. With that effort, he was promoted to Helena, where he slashed .219/.288/.342 in 21 games before being traded with pitcher Johan Dominguez to the White Sox for southpaw reliever Xavier Cedeño on August 31. He remained in the Pioneer League to play three games with Great Falls before year’s end.  

The 2019 season wasn’t much to write home about for Connell. In 29 games totaling 92 at-bats, he slashed just .163/.238/.380 with two doubles, six homers, 13 RBIs, seven walks (6.9%) and 45 strikeouts (44.6%). On the plus side, he has shown impressive power when he’s been able to connect. On the down side, he’s struck out 36% of the time during his career with a lifetime .190/.298/.325 slash line. He was about six months younger than his competition this year, but that will change if asked to return to Great Falls for 2020.

Arizona League White Sox

Logan Glass
215 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Center field, Left field
Age: 18

With his build, 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 this year, 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. He 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.  

Josue Guerrero

190 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Left field
Age: 20

Guerrero was the biggest and highest-profile signing of 2016’s International Signing Day for the White Sox. With more than nine players signed, his signing bonus ($1.2 million) and his pedigree (nephew of Vladimir, Sr. and cousin of Vladimir Jr.) and much had been expected of him as a result. However, his progress has been slowed due to inconsistencies at the plate. For his first professional year in 2017, Guerrero slashed .222/.290/.348 for the DSL squad in 55 games with 13 doubles, two triples, three homers, 25 RBIs, five stolen bases, 16 walks (6.9%) and 54 strikeouts (23.3%). He played for the AZL squad in 2018, but struggled immensely in part to a lack of playing time due to a crowded outfield. With the AZL Sox, he slashed just .192/.231/.288 in 23 games with five doubles, one triple, eight RBIs, three walks (3.8%) and 27 strikeouts (34.6%). 

With more consistent playing time this year, Guerrero began to find his rhythm. For the year with the AZL Sox, he slashed .240/.307/.404 in 43 games with nine doubles, five homers, 20 RBIs, 13 walks (7.8%) and 55 strikeouts (33.1%). In the final half of the year, however, he slashed a respectable .274/.333/.488 with improved walk and strikeout rates. Hopefully, something clicked for him and he can build upon that momentum for next year.

At the time of his signing three years ago, Baseball America said of him, “He is a strongly built corner outfielder whose best tool is his raw power. He’s 6-foot-2, 190 pounds with good strength now and the frame that suggests potential to become even more physical. It’s not huge raw power right now, but he has good bat speed from the right side and the ball jumps off his bat with good exit velocity when he makes contact.” Like Mieses and Glass, there’s still enough to dream on here. Expect Guerrero to begin 2020 with Great Falls, but receive a promotion to Kannapolis by year’s end if all goes well.   

Chase Krogman 

180 pounds
B/T: L/L
Other positions played: Left field
Age: 19

Krogman, a native of the St. Louis area, played ball for Wentzville Liberty H.S. (Mo.). He certainly may have drawn the interest of area scouts, as he played for the Chi-Town Cream last summer. According to Baseball Factory, “At the dish, he has a repeatable swing path and stays compact with the barrel. He sprays the ball to all fields and created fast bat speed with his smooth rhythm/timing.”

Krogman has a good arm, but because he doesn’t have blazing speed (he ran the 60-yard-dash in 7.02 per Perfect Game), he may be relegated to the corners. He has performed on the mound in front of scouts and posted an 83 mph fastball, along with a 72-74 mph curveball and changeup according to Prep Baseball Report. However, it’s with the bat that his future will lie. When this Missouri State commit was selected in the 34th round by the White Sox in the 34th round, it wasn’t clear whether or not he’d sign. However, with a $190,000 signing bonus, the White Sox were able to reel him in.

Krogman struggled in what little playing time he had with the AZL Sox in 2019, with four singles, a walk, and six strikeouts in 21 official at-bats. Expect him to receive much more playing time with the AZL Sox for the 2020 campaign. 

DSL White Sox

Roberth Gutierrez
170 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Center field, Left field
Age: 18

As a 17-year-old native of Maracay, Venezuela, Gutierrez’s first taste of professional ball came this year, and he acquitted himself relatively well by slashing .274/.365/.378 in 47 games with four doubles, five triples, 15 RBIs, seven stolen bases, 21 walks (15.6%) and 33 strikeouts (24.4%). He had nine assists as opposed to two errors, so it appears he has a solid arm. His numbers get lost when compared to the DSL squad’s other two outfielders (Benyamin Bailey and Johnabiell Laureano), but while he may not have the higher ceiling of those two guys, Gutierrez seems to fit the bill of a reserve outfielder due to his lack of power and game-changing speed. While he may return to the DSL team to begin the 2020 season, Gutierrez should earn a shot for promotion to the AZL squad before the end of the year.