Friday, February 1, 2013

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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