Subbing in: Mitch Roman, saddled by a .604 OPS, head this collection of A-ball second basemen, who all seem to be settling for utility roles in the organization. (@Roman_Around)
“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the Chicago White Sox organization. Each position is broken into a five-part series:
- Depth in the rookie levels (Dominican through Great Falls)
- Depth in A-ball (Kannapolis and Winston-Salem)
- Depth in the higher levels (Birmingham and Charlotte)
- Under the Radar-type detail on one of the White Sox players at that position
- Free agent options at that position
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of long-term talent at Kannapolis and Winston-Salem, so this trio needs to prove some people wrong in 2020.
(age as of April 1, 2020)
Other positions played: Third base, Shortstop, Left field, Right field
In his final two years with Wright State University, Roman was consistently good. Roman’s junior year saw him hit .336/.401/.428 for the Raiders in 62 games with 10 doubles, five triples, one homer, 42 RBIs, 26 stolen bases, 23 walks (7.8%) and 29 strikeouts (9.8%). Based upon his speed and defensive range, the White Sox selected him in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. It just so happened that Roman’s numbers with Great Falls paralleled his numbers from his last two years with Wright State. For the Voyagers in 67 games that year, he slashed .332/.392/.418 with 10 doubles, six triples, 33 RBIs, 26 stolen bases, 21 walks (7.3%) and 42 strikeouts (14.6%).
Roman struggled to maintain that momentum with Kannapolis in 2017, as he slashed just .254/.305/.306 in 516 at-bats with 14 doubles, two triples, three homers, 45 RBIs, eight stolen bases, 31 walks (6.0%) and 120 strikeouts (23.3%). He bounced back in Winston-Salem the following year, as he slashed .292/.362/.377 in 297 at-bats with 14 doubles one triple, three homers, 41 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, 34 walks and 70 strikeouts; Roman received a late promotion in 2018 to Birmingham, but struggled with a .530 OPS.
The 2019 season saw Roman return to Birmingham, where he struggled to the tune of a .165/.266/.231 slash line in 40 games. After being demoted to Winston-Salem on June 6, he bounced back a bit and slashed .269/.325/.328 for the Dash in 69 games. Combined with both squads, he slashed .237/.306/.298 in 109 games with 14 doubles, two triples, two homers, 33 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, 36 walks (8.3%) and 112 strikeouts (25.9%). As sad as his .604 OPS was, it still topped the OPS of the two second basemen who finished with Kannapolis this year. Roman has a chance to begin 2020 with Birmingham, thanks in part due to his tremendous defensive versatility. Roman will be available for the upcoming Rule 5 draft, but likely won’t be selected.
Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Other positions played: First base, Third base
Nuñez was part of a small four-member class of international players who received signing bonuses from the White Sox during 2014’s International Signing Day (along with Jhoandro Alfaro, Felix Mercedes and Ricky Mota). Nuñez actually started his professional career with the AZL White Sox the following year, and struggled mightily with an unsightly .385 OPS. He performed much better in 2016 with the AZL squad, however, and slashed .287/.320/.370 with 11 doubles, two triples, one homer, 26 RBIs, nine stolen bases, 10 walks and 52 strikeouts.
After playing the first two games of the 2017 season with the AZL Sox, Nuñez finally received the long-awaited promotion to Great Falls but struggled in his new digs. That year for the Voyagers in 34 games totaling 142 at-bats, Nuñez slashed .183/.247/.246 with just six doubles, one homer, 17 RBIs, one stolen base, 12 walks (7.8%) and 31 strikeouts (20.1%). However, after returning to Great Falls for the 2018 campaign, Nuñez enjoyed his best season to date by slashing .357/.394/.568 in 60 games with 21 doubles, six triples, six homers, 52 RBIs, three stolen bases, 15 walks (5.8%) and 71 strikeouts (27.4%).
Nuñez struggled with his first taste of full season ball with Kannapolis in 2019, as he scuffled with a .206/.256/.326 slash line in 86 games with eight doubles, two triples, two homers, 33 RBIs, five stolen bases, 19 walks (5.8%) and 105 strikeouts (32.3%). It seems that he struggles with every new stop, but bounces back big-time when he repeats the same level. Thus, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him succeed this year with the Cannon Ballers. While Nuñez still struggles defensively, he did lower his error rate in 2019. Nuñez will be eligible for December’s Rule 5 draft.
Other positions played: Third base, Left field, Center field, Shortstop
Beltre’s been in the White Sox organization for an even longer time than fellow Dominican native Nuñez, as Beltre signed with the White Sox on Nov. 19, 2013. While Beltre posted respectable numbers during the 2014-16 seasons with the DSL White Sox, he still had not received his long-awaited promotion. It wasn’t until his fantastic start to the 2017 season (.335/.393/.477 in 42 games) that Beltre received the call to join the AZL Sox. He finished well for the AZL squad for that year, with a solid .308/.339/.383 slash line.
Beltre did quite well for Great Falls to begin the 2018 season, and received a promotion on August 2 as a reward for his efforts. Though he struggled for the Intimidators in 28 games, Beltre still finished the year by slashing a combined .270/.292/.410 in 60 games with 10 doubles, three triples, five homers, 31 RBIs, one stolen base, eight walks (3.4%) and 56 strikeouts (23.7%). Beltre struggled upon his return to Kannapolis this year, as he slashed a paltry .207/.236/.311 in a career-high 125 games with 23 doubles, six triples, four homers, 33 RBIs, eight stolen bases, 13 walks (2.8%) and 130 strikeouts (27.5%).
Expect a return to Kannapolis for Beltre, who though a better defensive player than Nuñez doesn’t have as the same offensive upside. Like the other players in this piece, Beltre is also eligible for the December’s Rule 5 draft.