Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 5 White Sox Corner Infield Prospects

stated earlier this year, that the catcher position might be the weakest position in the organization.  However, I think the corner infield positions may be worse.  Only the top prospect on this list, Keon Barnum, is in the top 25 overall.  I usually do a top 5 list, but I could only find four real prospects even worth noting.  Also, Carlos Sanchez isn't on this list because I have him as a second baseman.  Anyway, here is the list:

1. Keon Barnum (1B) - As a 6'5/225 19-year old, Barnum has been appropriately described by ESPN as a "man-child".  Barnum was taken 48th overall in 2012 by the White Sox out of King HS in Tampa, FL.  As a left-handed batter, Barnum's immense raw power and strength is his greatest asset according to scouts.

In 49 PAs with Bristol last year, he had hit .279/.347/.512 with an OPS of .859, 3 HR, and 8 RBI. Barnum's biggest problem is his lack of contact, which is typical with power hitters.  Last year, he struck out 13 times compared to walking 5 times.  Barnum is still very young and I'm sure the White Sox will make that a point of emphasis in his development.

Barnum's 2012 was cut short due to a shoulder injury.  However, his raw power makes him one of the top prospects in the White Sox system.

2. Juan Silverio (3B) - There is quite the gap between Barnum and the rest of the list.  I spent a lot of time debating who belongs in this spot between Silverio and Wilkins.  While Silverio has been in the Sox system since 2008 (compared to 3 years for Wilkins), Silverio is 3 years younger than Wilkins and I believe, has a bigger upside than Wilkins.

Silverio has been inconsistent since being signed by the White Sox.  Silverio had a great year in 2009 (.913 SLG as an 18 year old), but has been up and down since.  In 2011, he had a line of .285/.335/.543, but regressed in 2012 with a .243/.285/.433 line.  Although his power did increase in 2012 with over a .020 increase in ISO.  However, like many Sox prospects, Silverio strikes out a ton (23.5 K%).

Silverio is teetering on the edge of being an actual prospect as he has been in the system for a while.  However, people forget he is only 21 and maybe something clicks for him in the future.

3. Andy Wilkins - (1B) - Wilkins had a line of .239/.335/.425 last year with Birmingham along with 17 HRs and a .760 OPS.  Wilkins became a more known prospect after being selected to play in the Arizona Fall League in 2012.  He got off to a real hot start for Salt River, but struggled down the stretch and ended with a nice .270/.327/.416 line.  What sticks out with his AFL stats is his .323 BABIP, a .057 increase from his season with the Barons.

4. Luis Castillo - (3B) - Never heard of Castillo?  Well that is because he hasn't played in the White Sox system yet.  Castillo, a 16-year old from the Dominican Republic, was signed by the White Sox for $450 million back in the summer.  Castillo has been described as a "man child" at 6'3/200+ (remember, he is 16).  Castillo hopefully (and probably) will end up being a better prospect than Silverio and Wilkins, but he has to at least have an AB as a part of the White Sox before I rank them ahead of those two.  Baseball Prospect Nation ranked Castillo as a top 15 prospect in their list for 2013.  Here is a video of Castillo.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jared Mitchell Scouting Report

Position:  OF
Height/Weight:  6'0/205
Bats/Throws:  Left/Left
Birthday:  October 13th, 1988
Hometown/School:  New Iberia, LA - LSU

Mitchell was drafted 23rd overall in the 2009 Draft by the White Sox.  Since joining the White Sox, he has mostly been regarded as a top 10 prospect in the organization.  However, an injury in 2010 has slowed down his growth.

Mitchell is extremely athletic and has been named Baseball America's best athlete in the White Sox organization for the past three years.  Mitchell also played football at LSU where he was a receiver.   Coming out of college, Mitchell had plus-plus speed, but has lost a step after his injury according to reports.  However, he still figures to be a great threat to steal bases in the big leagues and still stole 21 last year.  Mitchell also possesses some raw power which doubled with his speed, should lead to many doubles and triples.

Hitting-wise, Mitchell has struggled since his injury.  In 2009 he batted pretty well, .296/.417/.435.  After the injury, he batted .222/.304/.377 (A+) in 2011 and .237/.358/.420 (AA and AAA) last year.  What may be more troubling is his K%, which has been well over 30% in the past two years.  If Mitchell can cut down on his K%, he can return to his old form especially considering he had a really high BABIP of .397 last year (although you can expect that to go down next year).

Mitchell's raw athleticism and relatively high ceiling keeps him as a top 10 prospect in the White Sox system on many lists.  Mitchell has struggled in the last two years with the bat, but as mentioned above, can really improve his numbers if he makes more contact.

Completely different player than scouted in 2009 and has changed again since last year. More of a low-average, power-oriented player than the speedy up-the-middle type that was drafted. Potential as fourth outfielder with pop and ability to handle all three outfield positions. Better defender on the corners long term. Contact issues are a major problem and could keep him from a consistent bench role in the big leagues. Should be a big leaguer but more in the .250-255, 15-18 homer mold.
The White Sox first round pick out of LSU, outfielder Jared Mitchell is a fully-equipped toolbox on high-performance legs. A plus-plus runner with great instincts on the basepaths, he's also a developing bat with the type of body that could grow into significant power. His first look at high-A in 2011 didn't go so well (.222/.304/.377) but he's still young and will get another crack at it after a restful winter. There's still some question about his polish in the outfield, but he'll have a couple of years to develop the skills necessary to patrol the South Side lawn.
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Monday, December 17, 2012

Simon Castro Scouting Report

Position:  RHP
Height/Weight:  6'5/230
Bats/Throws:  Right/Right
Birthday:  April 9th, 1988
Hometown/School:  San Jose de los Llanos, Dominican Republic


Castro was acquired by the White Sox in December of 2011 as part of the Carlos Quentin trade.  The 24-year was one of the best prospects in the Padres system at the time and one of the best RHP prospects in baseball.  Although he has fallen off of Baseball America's top 100, he is still a top prospect in the White Sox system.

After a disappointing 2011 season, Castro bounced back in 2012 with the White Sox.  Last year, with 3 teams combined (Bristol, Charlotte, and Birmingham), Castro started 21 games, going 7-5 with an ERA of 3.85, and a WHIP of 1.291.  He spent most of his time last year (15 starts) with Birmingham where he put up his best numbers of the year.

 Castro primarily uses a fastball/slider combination.  According to reports, Castro's 4-seam fastball is in the low 90s (can reach mid-90s) and has nice movement.  His slider is major league average right now, but can become more effective with a little more command.  He also works in 83-85 MPH changeup.

There is some question to what his role in the big leagues will be.  Some see him as a back-end starter, some see him as high as a #2, and some see him as a reliever.  Below are some excerpt from various scouting reports.

Scouting Book (although the 99 MPH fastball isn't correct):
A huge, daunting figure who can touch 99mph with his heater, White Sox righthander Simon Castro is one of the most promising pitchers in a system that's not especially deep in pitching to begin with. Castro's slider is probably his best pitch, and when he's locating the fastball at the same time, he's nearly unhittable. Some scouts see a closer in Castro, but for now the Sox will follow the path the Padres started, and keep pushing him as a rotation member. One thing is sure: he's got the frame necessary to carry 200 innings, so they're probably wise to squeeze him into the rotation if possible.

Baseball Instinct:
Castro was a top prospect of the Padres a couple of years ago. He has the stuff to be a mid rotation arm, with a power fastball in the low 90s that can at times touch 95. His slider is his best pitch when he’s in line and a changeup is there, though is still not refined. He’ll move up the ladder and could be another 3-4 starter type. But in short stints he could be dangerous. I’ve seen him as a power bullpen arm and have for a few years now.

Project Prospect:
Castro has room to improve his command, but I saw him show a feel for three pitches that could be average or better in the bigs. The big righty pitched with a purpose. He wasn't just throwing the heck out of the ball every time, instead opting to aim for corners and keeping hitters off-balance with thought-out pitch sequences and locations.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Scott Snodgress Scouting Report

Position:  LHP
Height/Weight:  6'5/210
Bats/Throws:  Left/Left
Birthday:  September 20th, 1989
Hometown/School:  Yucaipa, CA - Stanford

Snodgress was drafted in the 5th round out of Stanford in 2011 where he had a "spotty" career according to John Sickels.  At Stanford, Snodgress was a reliever pitched out of the bullpen, but the White Sox gave Snodgress a chance to start.  So far that decision has really worked out as Snodgress has exploded up the rankings within the organization (#6 in Baseball America's rankings).

In 2011, Snodgress had a record of 3-3 with an ERA of 3.34 and a WHIP of 1.315.  He improved those numbers last year with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem, going 7-3 with an ERA of 3.00 and a WHIP of 1.248.  An area of concern is Snodgres is his walks.  His BB/9 increased in 2012 by 1.5 while his SO/9 decreased by 2.1 from last year.

According to reports, his fastball is in the low 90s.  He also has a developed breaking ball which may be the biggest reason for his early success.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Angel Sanchez Selected By White Sox In Rule 5 Draft

The White Sox have picked Angel Sanchez, an infielder, today in the Rule 5 Draft.  The 29-year old was acquired by the Angels back in October after spending 2012 with the Astros.  Sanchez is expected to compete for a utility infield spot next season.  Sanchez has spent time in the majors with the Astros, Red Sox, and Royals since 2006.  Last year with AAA Oklahoma City, he batted .320/.390/.407 and homered five times.

The Sox drafted him for $50,000, but he can be returned to the Los Angeles Angels for $25,000 if he doesn't stay with the Sox the entire 2013 season.
Now that the White Sox have added a utility infielder, prospect Carlos Sanchez won't be starting the season with Pale Hose in 2013.

Also, the Red Sox have selected Jon Bachanov from the White Sox.  In 2012, Bachanov pitched with Winston-Salem and Birmingham where he went 7-3 with a 4.82 ERA.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

White Sox Land Jeff Keppinger

Today at the Winter Meetings, Rick Hahn and the White Sox signed infielder Jeff Keppinger to play third next year.  The deal lasts 3 years and is worth $12 million.

Keppinger spent 2012 with Tampa Bay where he batted .325/.367.439 and also hit 9 HRs in 115 games.  For his career, Keppinger has an incredibly low strikeout percentage at only 6.4%.  Only Juan Pierre has struck out less in recent years than Jeff Keppinger according to FanGraphs.

This won't be a signing that will have the rest of the baseball world buzzing, but it is an intelligent, smart, cost-effective signing.  As South Side Sox points out:
This is by no means a sexy signing, but it's a relatively safe one that makes a good deal of sense for what the Sox are trying to accomplish. Keppinger only needs to be worth about 2.1 WAR over the next three seasons to earn his contract. If used properly, that shouldn't be a problem.
With third base now solved (although expect Keppinger to be platooned), Rick Hahn now has more flexibility with what he can get in return if he chooses to deal Gavin Floyd.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Top 5 White Sox Outfield Propsects

Courtney Hawkins (

1. Courtney Hawkins - Considered by most to be the top prospect in the entire organization (working on my list), Hawkins tops the list in a position where some of the top White Sox prospects play.  Drafted 13th overall last year, Hawkins batted .284/.324/.480 combined with Bristol, Kannapolis, and Winston-Salem last year.  Also, Hawkins had 8 HRs, 33 RBIs, and 11 SBs.  Hawkins rapidly moved through the ranks last year, spending time with three different teams in his first year.  Hawkins finished the year with a .983 OPS in Kanny and then a .882 OPS in a brief stint with Winston-Salem before the season ended.

The 18-year old is very athletic and raw.  Hawkins possesses a MLB body right now, excellent speed for a big guy, plus power, and a great arm.  Hawkins also pitched in high school where he had a low-90s fastball and an ERA below 1.  His arm will definitely be a great asset in the outfield where he can either play right or center (scouts are divided whether he can play CF).

2. Trayce Thompson - Thompson is another prospect with immense power.  Last year, he smashed 25 homers and drove in 96.  He, like Hawkins, is also athletic enough to be a threat on the bases as he successfully stole 21 bases last year (only thrown out 3 times).  Overall, Thompson batted .253/.328/.482 and had an OPS north of .800.

Thompson and Hawkins are similar players.  Both players are athletic, raw, and have a very high ceiling.  For Thompson, like many other prospects like him, he needs to improve his plate discipline.  In the Arizona Fall League this past month, Thompson drew just as many walks as strikeouts which is encouraging.

3. Keenyn Walker - Walker's greatest asset is his elite speed (some scouts give him an 80 on the 20-80 scale).  Last year, with Kanny and Winston-Salem, Walker swiped 56 bases and was named the fastest baserunner in the organization for the second consecutive year by Baseball America.  According to scouts, Walker has some untapped power which should lead to many doubles and triples in the future.  Walker batted .267/.378/.379 last year and can better that line with improved plate discipline.  He had a K% of around 29% last year and had a high BABIP.

4. Jared Mitchell - Mitchell was drafted in the 1st round in 2009 out of LSU.  He missed the entire 2010 season after an ankle injury.  Mitchell is a speedster, but lost some of it after the injury.  He started off hot, but ended the year with a line of .237/.358/.420 between Birmingham and Charlotte.  He also hit 11 HRs and stole 21 bases too.

I was very tempted to put Shoemaker ahead of Mitchell, but Mitchell's upside is much, much higher than Shoemaker's.  Mitchell needs to improve his horrendous K% (approaching Adam Dunn level) if he ever wants to make the big leagues.

5. Brady Shoemaker - Shoemaker batted .300/.416/.486 and had an OPS of .902 combined with Birmingham and Winston-Salem last year.  He also hit 17 HRs and had 85 RBI.  Shoemaker is old (25), but he did end the year in Birmingham.  You can knock the age, but he has been tearing up the minors throughout his career (above an .850 OPS in each of his four years in the minors).

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tyler Saladino Scouting Report

Tyler Saladino celebrated his 22nd birthday Wednesday with his 13th home run.

Position:  SS
Height/Weight:  6'0/190
Bats/Throws:  Right/Right
Birthday:  July 20th, 1989
Hometown/School:  San Diego, CA - Oral Roberts

Tyler Saladino was taken in the 7th round in 2010 MLB Draft.  After solid 2010 and 2011 seasons that moved him up the rankings in the system, Saladino fell back down after 2012.  In 2011, the then 23-year old batted .270/.363/.501 and 16 HRs (A+) and then .236/.353/.315 (AA and AAA) and 4 HRs in 2012.  Obviously, Saladino really struggled with the promotions to AA and AAA.

Shockingly, despite the struggles, Saladino actually improved his plate discipline last year with Birmingham as his K% was down and he was drawing more walks.  This is just another indicator of how much Saladino struggled with the bat last year.  Also, according to reports, his defense was improved.  Below is an excerpt from one of the only reports on Saladino after this year and not prior to 2012.

John Sickels had a great report on him after this season.

So here we have a guy who lost all of his power despite gaining some patience. What do we make of it? To tell the truth, I'm not sure. Scouting opinion regarding his bat in 2011 was mixed: his production in A-ball was certainly respected, but some scouts felt his swing was too long and that he wouldn't produce as much against advanced pitching. Those worries seem borne out, although given the fact that he maintained some command of the strike zone, I wouldn't give up on him just yet.
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