Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Daily White Sox Farm Report - 2/27

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Nestor Molina throws during a spring training baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in Surprise, Ariz. Photo: Charlie Riedel
Nestor Molina
I have't been very active lately, so sorry for that.  Below are a couple of White Sox tidbits over the past few days.

- So far, the White Sox are 2-0 3-0 and are winning late right now against beat the Dodgers today.

- Below are the batting stats for Sox prospects:

C Kevan Smith - 1 for 2
SS Marcus Semien - 2 for 3, RBI
C Byran Anderson - 2 for 4
C Hector Gimenez - 2 for 4, RBI, BB
C Josh Phegley - 3 for 6, HR, 2 RBI, 2B
OF Jared Mitchell - 3 for 7, 2 RBI, 3B
1B Andy Wilkins - 3 for 8, 3 RBI, BB
3B Conor Gillaspie - 2 for 6, 4 RBI, 3B, BB
2B Carlos Sanchez - 1 for 5
SS Angel Sanchez - 1 for 6, 1 RBI
SS Tyler Saladino - 1 for 2, BB
OF Keenyn Walker - 1 for 6, BB
OF Blake Tekotte - 0 for 4, BB
OF Trayce Thomspn - 0 for 3, 2 BB

- I can't find the pitching stats, but Simon Castro started and threw 3 scoreless innings today against the Dodgers.

- SSS had a fantastic breakdown of Erik Johnson and Scott Snodgress the other day.  Would definitely check it out.

- Courtney Hawkins wasn't listed in the the top 101 prospects by Baseball Prospectus.  However, they did have this little write up on why:
He’s a Texan with a ton of natural athleticism and power potential, but outside of my amateur sources, nobody wanted to turn up their microphones and be heard. Like the aforementioned 100 prospects that had a case to be on the back half of this list, Hawkins could just as easily be no. 60 as he could no. 101. If you believe in the bat, even from a corner spot, he belongs on the list. But if you have doubts about the overall promise of the stick and don’t like the direction the body is heading, even with the back-flipping athleticism that is currently present, the case for exclusion is just as strong and compelling. When I’m in the mood for ceiling, Hawkins belongs on the 101.
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Friday, February 22, 2013

White Sox Acquire 3B Conor Gillaspie For RHP Jeff Soptic

No batting gloves? Gamer. (Lenny Ignelzi/AP)

The White Sox added some more infield depth today with the addition of Giants 3B Conor Gillaspie for Sox prospect Jeff Soptic.

First, here's what Rick Hahn had to say about the addition.
"(Gillaspie) conceivably fits in nicely on the roster, which we’ll obviously decide more about toward the end of next month," general manager Rick Hahn said. "But we see him having a solid hit tool, above-average awareness of the strike zone, solid defensively. He gives us a little versatility in his ability to play third base as well as first. He gives Robin (Ventura) some options potentially."
The 25-year old has spent the last two years playing in 130+ games for AAA Fresno in the Pacific Coast League.  2012 didn't prove to be as good of a year as 2011 for Gillaspie, but he still batted .281/.345/.441/.786 along with 14 HRs (an improvement from 11 in 2011).

Gillaspie's value to the Sox is the fact that he is a left-handed hitter and also gives more depth at third.  With this trade, Angel Sanchez will be used for the middle infield while Gillaspie will add depth to the corners.  Those two along with DeWayne Wise and Hector Gimenez will likely be the bench players on Opening Day.

With the addition of Gillaspie, Brent Morel will almost certainly start the season in the minors.  Also, because of the addition, newly acquired Lars Anderson has been DFA'd.

Now a little more on the loss of Jeff Soptic.  Soptic was drafted in the third round in 2011 out of community college in Kansas.  He possesses a big time fastball that could reportedly touch 100, but he struggled last year in Kannapolis with a 5.40 ERA.  Still, atleast the Giants got something in return for Gillaspie who was certainly going to be lost on waivers in a couple of weeks.  Soptic's big arm gives the Giants something to work with.

Overall, I like this trade for both teams.  The White Sox got what they needed; a lefty and more infield depth.  It's not flashy, but hopefully it will be effective.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Courtney Hawkins: The National View

Today the biggest name in baseball prospects, Baseball America, released their annual top 100 list.  The Sox only had one on the list as the Pale Hose's top prospect, OF Courtney, Hawkins came in at 55.  I knew that most (Keith Law didn't, I believe) experts and national writers see Hawkins as a top 100 prospect overall, so I was interested to see exactly where they have him ranked.  Below are various prospect lists that list Hawkins nationally.
If you know or can find any other lists which includes Hawkins, leave a comment and I'll add it.

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

2013 White Sox Spring Training Preview: Middle Infield

Top middle infield prospect Carlos Sanchez (
Continuing the spring training previews with the middle infield.  Shortstop and second base are set for Opening Day, but there will be some interesting story lines this spring with the two positions.  Below are links to the other spring training previews.
40-man roster:

Gordon Beckham (2B) - Look, Gordon Beckham won't have any competition in spring training and his job is secure for the beginning of the season.  But, there will be some pressure on Beckham to perform this year and if not, he'll feel Angel Sanchez and Carlos Sanchez on his heels for the spot.

Alexei Rameriz (SS) - Hopefully this spring can set the stage for a solid year for Alexei.  Alexei is a good player, but has room to improve, especially with his bat.

Angel Sanchez (3B/SS/2B) - The White Sox used the Rule 5 draft for the first time in several years to draft Angel Sanchez.  Sanchez will likely be the White Sox utility infielder this year.  Sanchez has had a cup of tea with the Royals, Red Sox, and Astros.  Last year with in the 'Stros organization, he batted .320/.390/.407 with 5 HRs in AAA last year.  Before that in 2011, Sanchez spent 110 games with the Astros.

Non-roster invites:

Carlos Sanchez (2B, SS, 3B) - There was some talk before the Jeff Keppinger signing that Sanchez would compete for the starting position at third in Arizona.  Now Keppinger is signed and Sanchez will start the year in the minors.  However, as a top prospect in the Sox organization, Sanchez can make a big impersonation in his first spring training.  If Beckham is injured or doesn't perform well this season, Sanchez will be in the mix for the spot.

Tyler Saladino (SS) - This will be a very important spring for Saladino who has to prove himself again. Saladino started his White Sox career with two great years, but struggled last year with a promotion to Birmingham.  Because of it, Saladino has fallen to fourth in my middle infield prospect rankings. Like I've said, it will be an important camp for Saladino

Marcus Semien (SS) - Semien batted 273/.362/.471, with 14  HRs and 11 SB last year.  Semien can improve his status as a top infield prospect with the Sox, but besides that, not much is expected of Semien in his first spring.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Daily White Sox Farm Report - 2/14

Catchers and pitchers have reported to Arizona which means baseball is that much closer.  Below are links to stories regarding the Sox and their prospects.

AAA.  Jared Mitchell will start the season in Charlotte.

Pitching prospects.  Gonzo tweets that pitching coach Don Cooper likes what he sees from top pitching prospects Scott Snodgress and Erik Johnson.
Everything will be okay.  Chuck Garfien reports that Robin Ventura declined a one-year contract extension.  Some fans are really overreacting, but it isn't a big deal.  Venture stills has two years left on his current contract and isn't really worried about 2015 right now.  If he wants to keep managing he will, if he doesn't, he won't.

The Return.  John Danks had his first session today in Arizona as you can see with this picture.

Ramon Troncoso.  Doug Padilla discusses non-roster invite RHP Ramon Troncoso.  Padilla talks about Troncoso's journey with the Dodgers and a line drive that went off his face in the Dominican this past winter.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Scouting Report: Brandon Brennan


Position:  RHP
Height/Weight:  6'4/220
Bats/Throws:  Right/Right
Birthday:  January 23th, 1991
Hometown/School:  San Juan Capistrano, CA - Orange Coast College

The White Sox spent their fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft on Brennan.  Because he was used heavily in college before the draft, the White Sox didn't give him a lot of time in 2012.  He appeared in 14 games and started 7 games.  He posted a 3-2 record, a 4.34 ERA, and a 1.607 WHIP with Great Falls.  

The Sox are having Brennan be a starter, but he may end up being placed in the bullpen later on in his development.  Brennan's sinking fastball is around 92-94 MPH and he is also developing a slider.  Baseball Prospect Nation placed him 14th among Sox prospects and also had him 14th.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

2013 White Sox Spring Training Preview: Corner Infield

Up next in the set of spring training previews are the first and third base positions.  Besides Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn, no players have proven their worth with the White Sox yet.  Brent Morel struggled early last year, Kevin Youkilis is gone, Jeff Keppinger hasn't played with the White Sox yet, and nobody else below has seen the big leagues with the White Sox.  You can find the previews for the outfield here and catchers here.

40-man roster:

Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn - These guys are pretty good.  That can't be said for the rest of the corner infielders.

Jeff Keppinger (3B) - Rick Hahn decided to make Jeff Keppinger the guy at third.  Not many White Sox fans were screaming with joy after they heard the news of Keppinger's deal (12M/3yrs), but it is a solid addition.  Keppinger batted .325 last year and had an OPS north of .800.  Also, only Juan Pierre has struck out less in recent years than Keppinger.

Lars Anderson (1B) - Former top Red Sox prospect Lars Anderson was picked up by the White Sox earlier this month.  There's nothing Lars really brings to the White Sox that they need.  Expect Lars Anderson to fill the Dan Johnson role.

Angel Sanchez (3B/SS/2B) - The White Sox used the Rule 5 draft for the first time in several years to draft Angel Sanchez.  Sanchez will likely be the White Sox utility infielder this year.  Sanchez has had a cup of tea with the Royals, Red Sox, and Astros.  Last year with in the 'Stros organization, he batted .320/.390/.407 with 5 HRs in AAA last year.  Before that in 2011, Sanchez spent 110 games with the Astros.

Brent Morel (3B) - After a terrible start to the 2012 campaign and back problems, Morel was demoted to Charlotte.  Morel is feeling healthy again and he has a slight chance to be on the Opening Day roster.  If that were to happen, Morel would have to have a much better spring than Sanchez.  However, because Sanchez plays two positions, Sanchez has the definite advantage.

Non-roster invites:

Josh Bell (3B) - Like Lars Anderson, Bell was once a highly-touted prospect.  However, Bell has struggled mightily at the major league level.  In the past three years with the Orioles and Diamondbacks (100 games), Bell has batted below the Mendoza line and striking out way over 20% of the time.

Andy Wilkins (1B) - Wilkins is the only actual prospect in this bunch.  Wilkins belted 17 HRs in AA Birmingham last year and 40 in the last two years combined.  He participated in the Arizona Fall League and got off to a red hot start, but slowed down toward the end of the season.  Keep an eye on Wilkins this spring training.

Steve Tolleson (3B/SS) - The White Sox are the fifth organization that Tolleson has been a part of.  The White Sox signed Tolleson to a minor league deal back in November.  He spent last year with Baltimore where he batted .183/.227/.310 in 29 games.  Tolleson can play a little bit of everything (except 1B and C) and the White Sox see potential in him to become a utility player.  However, he's behind Angel Sanchez right now in that category.

Seth Loman (1B) - Loman has been in the White Sox system since 2009 and spent last year primarily with Birmingham.  He batted .276/.364/.453 and hit 16 HRs with the Barons.  However, he has been in the minors since 2006 and is currently 27-years old.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Analyzing's Top 20 White Sox Prospect List released their prospect rankings for teams in the AL Central today and you can find the White Sox rankings here.  Although I haven't released my rankings, below are my thoughts on this list.

- continues the trend for the most part of putting Courtney Hawkins (#1), Trayce Thompson (#2), Erik Johnson (#3), and Carlos Sanchez (#4) as the top four.  This seems to be (except for a few) the consensus in the industry.

- The first think that pops out to me is OF Jared Mitchell coming in at #5.  You should know by now that I'm not as high on Jared Mitchell as others including this list.  I mean at #5, really?  He hasn't been the same since his injury.  He batted .237 last year while having a K% of over 30%.  He's got some upside to him; 11 HRs, 21 SBs, and had a decent OPS considering his AVG last year.  Also, he isn't too far away from the majors.  However, no way does Jared Mitchell belong in the top 5.

- Next up is Nestor Molina at #10.  Molina entered 2012 as probably the top prospect in the system, but had a miserable year compared to 2011.  He had a losing record, a 4.55 ERA, and a WHIP north of 1.5.  For me, if Molina is even going to be considered a top 10 prospect, he is going to have to show me that he can get remotely close to what he once was (2011) in 2013.

- Jhan Marinez at #13 might be a little bit of a stretch.  Still will should be a nice reliever who can see more time in Chicago this year.

- The same can be said for Brandon Brennan.

- Simon Castro probably should be bumped up a few spots.  In my pitcher rankings, I had Simon Castro 4th.  So Leesman, Marinez, Brennan, Beck, and Molina should be behind Castro in my opinion.

- I would put both Joey DeMichele and Marcus Semien above some of those pitchers that I just listed above.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2013 White Sox Spring Training: Catchers

Tyler Flowers gets his first opportunity to be an every day player. (
I continue my spring training previews with the catcher position (check out the outfield preview here).  The White Sox will enter a season with a player not named A.J. Pierzynski starting at catcher for the first time since 2004.  Below are previews and profiles of all the catchers that will be with the White Sox in Arizona in a couple of weeks.

40-man roster:

Tyler Flowers - Well, Flowers got his wish as he'll be the everyday starter after A.J. Pierzynski signed with the Rangers.  We know who Flowers is, so no more time on him.

Hector Gimenez - Gimenez is the favorite entering spring training to win the backup job.  The 30-year old Venezuelan was signed by the White Sox last year and appeared in 5 games with the Sox where he totaled 5 hits and a RBI.  Besides those games, Gimenez spent his year with AAA Charlotte.  In 99 games, he batted .259/.324/.440/.764 with 14 HRs and 57 RBIs.  Having only 11 games in the majors since 2006, this will likely be Gimenez's first time that he will get some actual meaningful playing time.

Josh Phegley - Phegley enters the 2013 season as the top catcher prospect in the organization.  Phegley seems to be a low-ceiling, high floor type of prospect.  He had average numbers (.266/.306 /.373/.680) last year in his first full year with Charlotte.  He has a pretty good arm that threw out 46% of runners which helped him earn a MiLB Gold Glove award.

Non-roster invites:

Bryan Anderson - This will be Anderson's first year with the Sox after they signed him in November.  Anderson will provide the biggest competition for Gimenez for the backup catcher position. The 26-year old had a chance last year to win the backup catcher spot with the Cardinals, but ended up in AAA for most of the year (did have a few bats with St. Louis).  Anderson has been well-seasoned with 170+ PAs in AAA Memphis in every season since 2008.  2012 was a tough year for Anderson, batting .225/.302/.317 and posting a 22.7 K%.  But, he is left-handed which the White Sox value.

Michael Blanke - Blanke spent 2012 with Winston-Salem where he was average offensively (.240/.303/.399/.702).  However, he did show a little pop with 10 HRs.  His CS% was down a little from 2011 (37%) to 31% in 2012.  Baseball Prospect Nation did list him on their 2012 All-Prospect Team for the Carolina League.

Kevan Smith - In my top catcher prospects list, I ranked Smith second and I just did a scouting report/profile on him.  He threw out 33% runners last year and was also named a South Atlantic League All-Star.  I'm a little higher on Kevan Smith than most.  Yes, I do know that Smith is a older (24) for A+ ball and people have to remember that, but his past as a BCS-level QB (athleticism) and his production (1.073 and .772 OPS in his first two years) make him an interesting prospect to watch.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Daily White Sox Farm Report - 2/5

US Cellular Field (
I haven't done a Daily White Sox Farm Report in a really, really long time.  Hopefully, with the season getting closer and closer, more content and news will appear.  Below are some stories/articles dealing with the Sox that have happened in the past few days.

Trayce Thompson.  Today, prospect expert John Sickels did a prospect report on Trayce Thompson.  Here is just a small excerpt from the report:
He's a very good center fielder. I remain quite impressed with his tools, and I think the chance that he'll figure out how to use them is getting better. It isn't a slam dunk, and he needs a full year against Double-A pitching (and probably another year against Triple-A pitching) to fully adapt. That would put him challenging for a regular job in 2015, which seems like a long time from now, but he'll still be just 24.
Another White Sox prospect list.  South Side Sox released their top 10 list yesterday in two parts (part one and part deux).  It really is a great list with tons and tons of content and I suggest reading it.  SSS went against the grain of basically all national lists with putting both Scott Snodgress and Andre Rienzo ahead of Erik Johnson (Johnson was a top 4 prospect on almost all lists).  Recently, I've seen more and more lists place Jefferson Olacio toward the top (comes in at #10 at SSS).  Check out my profile on him if you aren't familiar with Olacio.

Hooray, we're not last.  Keith Law released his farm rankings($) and the White Sox aren't last unlike last year.  However, they are still near the bottom of the league at 28th.  John Sickels released his last week and the White Sox are also 28th on the list (Detroit is last, by the way).

ICYMI.  The White Sox signed former top Red Sox prospect Lars Anderson on Friday and I started spring training previews with the outfield.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Scouting Report: Nestor Molina

Nestor Molina (
Position:  RHP
Height/Weight:  6'1/180
Bats/Throws:  Right/Right
Birthday:  January 9th, 1989
Hometown:  Valencia, Venezuela

Molina was acquired from Toronto in the Sergio Santos trade.  Once Santos became a member of the White Sox, he automatically became a top prospect in the system.  Most even had him as the top prospect entering the 2012 season.  He quickly lost that top ranking with a disappointing 2012 season.  In 2012, he had a record of 6-11, an ERA of 4.55, and a 1.516 WHIP mostly with AA Birmingham.  While those numbers aren't God-awful, they are pretty ugly comparing them to 2011's (sub-1 WHIP, 2.21 ERA, 12-3 record, etc.).

Molina wasn't always a starter.  He began as an infielder, then a reliever, and eventually got the chance to start in 2011 with Toronto on a consistent basis.  While he had a rough 2012, he still has great control and command posting  1.9 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 rates.  His arsenal includes a fastball that ranges from 90-92 MPH and can reach 94 and a 84-86 MPH splitter (considered his best pitch).

Add Molina to the "will be interesting to watch in 2013" list.  Can he bounce back from a down year and return or get close to where he was with the Jays?  Will they stick with him as a starter or eventually move him back to the bullpen?

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Friday, February 1, 2013

White Sox Claim Lars Anderson

Today, the White Sox claimed first baseman Lars Anderson off of waivers.  Anderson was involved in a trade between the Indians and the Diamondbacks just last December after being traded from the Red Sox to the Indians in July.  The White Sox now have added a left-handed bat, which they can't have enough of.  However, unless there are injuries to both Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn, don't expect to see Anderson on the South Side for any extended period of time.

Anderson was once a highly touted prospect with the Red Sox.  He was the top prospect with the Red Sox and a top 20 prospect overall in baseball earlier in his career.  Anderson hasn't lived up to the hype and his career so far can be summed up in one word; bust.  Yet, Anderson is only 25-years old so there is still a glimmer of hope that he can become a productive player.

Last year, he batted .250/.353/.396/.750 with 9 HRs in AAA.  He'll be back in the International League with Charlotte again this year.

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2013 White Sox Spring Training Preview: The Outfield

It's a great feeling that spring training is only a month away.  To get ready for spring training, I'm starting previews by position.  Leading off is the outfield.  The players are broken down into two categories; players on the 40-man roster and players that have received non-roster invitations.

40-man roster:

Jordan Danks, Alejandro De Aza, Alex Rios, Dayan Viciedo, and DeWayne Wise - I'm not going to spend time talking about these guys.  We all know who they are and what they bring to the team.  All of these players are going to be in the White Sox uniform at one time or another.  De Aza, Rios, and Viciedo will be the starters on Opening Day and Wise has the slight edge to be the 4th OFer.

Jared Mitchell - If you've read this blog, you'll know that I'm not as high on Mitchell as some others are.  He's got plus athleticism, nice speed (it isn't what it was pre-injury), and does have a higher ceiling.  However, his stats haven't been much in recent years and Mitchell has really struggled to make contact, striking out over 30% of the time in the past two years.  He's behind Wise, Tekotte, and Danks on the depth chart for me.

Blake Tekotte - In one of Rick Hahn's first moves, the Sox traded RHP Brandon Kloess for OF Blake Tekotte from the Padres.  Tekotte was a top 20 prospect in San Diego's organization last year according to some.  Injuries have slowed Tekotte down and he had an average year in 2012 in the minors, batting .243 in AAA.  However, he does bring some value to the Sox.  First, he is left-handed which the Sox could use.  Also, in 2011, Tekotte stole 36 bases.  Tekotte can challenge Danks for his 4th OF spot in camp or be called up later in the year from Charlotte in case of injuries. 

Non-roster invites:

Trayce Thompson - This is Thompson's first spring training.  Thompson is undoubtedly a top prospect in the White Sox system heading into 2013.  Thompson has great power (25 homers in 2012) and is also a threat on the base paths (21 SBs in 2012).  Hopefully he continues to improve his plate discipline like he did in the Arizona Fall Leauge.  Thompson isn't going to crack the Opening Day roster or move past Tekotte, Danks, Mitchell, and Wise, but he can further solidify himself as a top prospect in the organization.

Stefan Gartrell - Gartrell is back again with the club that drafted him in the 31st round in 2006.  Last year, with the Braves organization, he hit .251/.335/.452 in AAA.  He's got some pop and has hit 20+ HRs in each season in the minors since 2009.  At 29-years old, Gartell has never made it to the majors and barring a string of injuries, probably won't leave Charlotte this year.  However, Gartrell is a nice AAA player and Charlotte will benefit with him.

Keenyn Walker - Like Thompson, this will be Walker's first spring training too.  What Walker brings to the table is his speed.  He has plus-plus speed which helped him steal 56 bases last year and also has potential for some power.  Nobody is going to actually give Walker any chance of making the White Sox lineup this year, but like Thompson, he can show his value as a top prospect especially coming off an offseason surgery.

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