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
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

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

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
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
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.