Midseason prospect progress report

If the Sox are going to make any major additions before the trade deadline, it will require a gigantic risk or major miracle on the part of Kenny Williams, based on what little he has left on the farm.
Not much has changed since the last monthly recap, so I figure that I would focus on which players have done the most to improve or kill their stock.  As you might be able to guess, the scales are tipped heavily in favor of the latter.

More than we knew

"A little help, guys?"
Brent Morel
.291/.329/.418 over 141 ABs in Charlotte
Morel’s tour in Charlotte is progressing like his stop in Birmingham.  He had a couple weeks full of outs and singles to start the season, and then started to round out his game with extra-base hits and, finally, walks.
He’s hitting .357/.386/.571 over 42 July ABs, and while he’s hit both his homers at Knights Stadium, he’s shown his good doubles power away from Fort Mill.  When he was drafted, there were concerns that upper-level pitchers might be able to knock the bat out of his hands.  He’s quieted those, and although his ceiling isn’t particularly exciting (unless Joe Randa makes your knees weak), scouts regard him as a guy whose sum is greater than his parts.
If you missed it, I saw him play a game in Charlotte.  He looks like a low-maintenance prospect to me, and with Dayan Viciedo and Daniel Hudson on the 25-man roster, he has the highest trade value of any current farmhand.  I don’t think he’d be enough to lead a package for an Adam Dunn type, though.
Jose Martinez
.333/.392/.486 in 72 ABs; 2 2B, 3 HR, 7 BB, 10 K.
It feels like he’s pushing 30, but Martinez will turn only 22 later this month.  He’s been out of baseball for two full years, but the Sox aren’t shying away from testing him.  He played just 39 games at Kannapolis before his knee injury, but he’s succeeding in Winston-Salem.
That could be a factor of the apparently friendly hitting environment at BB&T Ballpark, but if Martinez can finish the year healthy and hitting like this, the Sox have a genuine outfield prospect in the fold.
Kyle Bellamy
52 1/3 IP, 40 H, 17 BB, 65 K, 1 HR, 1.55 ERA
Bellamy just received the call to Birmingham, and that’ll be his third stop so far this season.  He’s been terrific at the first two, as evidenced by the above line.  As one might expect from a funky sidewinder, lefties hit him better than righties (.282 BAA against .163), but he’s progressing nicely.
Eduardo Escobar
.280/.323/.398, 23 BB, 76 K over 368 AB
It’s a pretty sad indictment of the White Sox farm system that Escobar is one of the few players who have changed some expectations, looking at that line.  But he has multiple things in his favor — he’s 21, playing a fine shortstop, has improved throughout the season after a .626 OPS in April, and hit better away from Winston-Salem.  He joined Bellamy on his trip to Birmingham, where his power will be severely tested to say the least.
The bad news is that BABIP has been on his side (.345) and he’s only 8-for-13 stealing bases.  Yet he’s made noticeable improvements that are beginning to justify Phil Rogers’ fandom, as he hit just .256/.300/.328 in Kannapolis last season.  He just has a looooooong way to go, still.
Honorable mentions:

Gilmore has been the steadiest of the hot Dash hitters, but he has a sub-.700 OPS on the road and 25 errors to his name. Short’s been way better on the road, but he’s cooled off over the last month and a half and strikes out four times for every walk.
Colligan is having a nice first pro season, hitting .303/.369/.478 with 14 steals in 17 attempts.  He’s 23, though, and needs to be pushed soon.

Less than we hoped

Tyler Flowers
.229/.324/.478, 12 2B, 1 3B, 16 HR, 31 BB, 92 K over 249 ABs
It’s not quite as bad as it looks for Flowers.  Take out the disastrous May in which he said he attempted implementing suggested changes from Greg Walker, and he’s hitting .283/.378/.578.  Yet strikeouts would still be an issue, with 55 of them over those 193 non-May plate appearances.
Defensively, reports have said he regressed, but I’m not quite convinced, if only because it’s a little convenient that his performance behind the plate has perfectly matched his performance at the plate.  Either way, he’s not as enticing as he once was as trade bait, and the Sox are going to have to exhibit a boatload of patience with him if/when he joins the 25-man roster.
Jordan Danks
.245/.314/.381, 30 BB, 110 Ks over 318 ABs, 14-for-18 SB
Buddy Bell absolutely wants to marry Lantern Jaw Junior’s defense:

“Sometimes we forget to be patient with Jordan because he’s been on such a fast track,” Bell says. “He’s already one of the best outfielders in baseball, including major leaguers. Now there are going to be people who hear that and say I’m (crazy), but it’s a fact. Jordan is as athletic as they come, he’s as instinctive as they come, and he plays as hard as anybody.

That could very well be true, but as long as he’s striking out in 35 percent of his at-bats, we’re never going to find out for sure.   According to that article, he’s fought “nagging injuries,” but that would be the second straight year he’s done so.  If that keeps up, that’s yet another red flag.

C.J. Retherford
.208/.258/.315, 15 2B, 6 HR,17 BB, 64 BB over 308 ABs
He only struck out 70 times over 478 at-bats at Birmingham last year.  He’s on pace for 100, and is striking out more after his demotion to the Barons.  The downfall is dramatic.
Charles Leesman
84 2/3 IP, 98 H, 6 HR, 44 BB, 39 K, 5.10 ERA
Organizational favorite Leesman hasn’t been able to string successful starts together this year, and his performance against righties may be a big reason why.  He doesn’t have a huge split in terms of batting average (.292, compared to .274), but he can’t miss their bats.  He’s struck out just 20 of the 273 righties he’s faced this year, compared to 33 walks.
But if you’re wondering whether the Sox still like him, he received a promotion to Birmingham, too.
Miguel Gonzalez
.220/.263/.301, 11 BB, 45 K over 209 AB
Gonzalez is still 19, and he’s throwing out over 40 percent of attempted basestealers.  But he’s had a Gordon Beckham-like season at the plate — absolutely tractionless, and the thought has crossed me mind that he’s another Francisco Hernandez, who hit .338/.390/.509 at rookie ball at ages 18-19, and never could get it going in Kannapolis.
Dishonorable mentions:

Marrero is a completely different player — he went from a 1:3 BB-K ratio to 1:1, and has lost nearly 200 points of slugging in the process. Shelby has bottomed out, whiffing seven times for every walk and succeeding on only half of his steal attempts.
*******************************
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*Looking back at our preseason Most Important White Sox poll, it looks like we tagged Carlos Quentin absolutely right as the most important offensive piece.  But Jake Peavy was the most important overall, so we’re going to see how true that is.
The other thought — Paul Konerko was 12th, or one behind A.J. Pierzynski.  Looks like he was underrated just a tad.
*Jake Peavy underwent surgery, and doctors said it revealed little or no muscle damage on his latissimus dorsi. He hopes to be throwing by February.
*Sergio Santos is coping well with an unprecedented workload.
*J.J. posts a defense of Matt Thornton in the wake of his poor national debut.
******************************
Minor league roundup:

  • West Tenn 12, Birmingham 7
    • Leesman’s Double-A debut: 4 1/3 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 K.
    • Escobar’s Double-A debut: 1-for-5 with a double, RBI and strikeout.
    • Marrero went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
    • Justin Greene had two singles and a strikeout in five at-bats, striking out once.
    • Retherford singled, walked three times and struck out twice.
  • Salem 4, Winston-Salem 0
    • Jose Martinez singled twice and struck out once.
    • Brandon Short went 0-for-4 with a strikeout; Jon Gilmore 1-for-4 with a K.
    • Terry Doyle’s fine effort was in vain, as he struck out seven over seven innings, allowing just a run on five hits and two walks.
  • Lakewood 7, Kannapolis 2
    • Ryan Buch, starting in A-ball for the first time: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.
    • Tyler Saladino went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout in his A-ball debut.
    • Colligan tripled and walked over four PAs.
    • Nick Ciolli was 2-for-4 with a K.
    • Brady Shoemaker and Miguel Gonzalez were both 0-for-4 with two K’s.
  • Princeton 5, Bristol 1
    • Matthew Heidenreich allowed two unearned runs on four hits and a walk over five innings, striking out two.
    • Rangel Ravelo was 2-for-3 with the lone RBI.
  • Casper 4, Great Falls 3
    • Thomas Royse: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.
    • Ross Wilson went 3-for-5 with a triple, RBI and strikeout.
    • Andy Wilkins singled, drove in two and struck out twice over four ABs.

Also, added to Charlotte’s roster: Jeremy Reed! With this move, Williams is one step closer to re-acquiring all the principal players in his two Freddy Garcia trades, including Garcia himself.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

Articles: 3789
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Sophist

Do the Sox have a really crappy system? Has this really been the case for at least the last 10 years or so? Why is this so? Can teams fix this by throwing money at the problem? Hiring more people? Hiring better people? WTF?

blacksox56

well kenny is a trading type GM, so that doesn’t help that every deadline that we are competitive, we trade promising rookies for proven veterans to help down the stretch. I forget where I was reading the article but it was sometime around draft time, but I was reading draft grades, in fact, I think it was through a link on here, anyways, the sox have, for the most, part been C average team drafting under Kenny, which isn’t great but it’s better than it was during the late 90’s, so the system is coming around.

yinkadoubledare

Exactly — we’ve traded most of the interesting prospects, and the drafting for much of this decade was overly risk-averse in the the first round. Our record in the first round was abysmal, and I think taking McCulloch (yet another low-ceiling college pitcher) was the last straw, we’ve taken much more interesting guys since then, guys who actually have a chance at being more than a 5th starter.
And of course, on the rare times that they did try to swing for the fences with an upside pick, we got former college QBs who couldn’t hack it in the majors (Borchard and Fields).
The philosophy in the draft has changed in the last few years, and I think the system will get considerably better as a result.

chisoxt

As the performance of veteran players continues to go down with deceasing reliance on PEDs and amphetamines, it’s ludicrous we do not take the development of younger talent more seriously. Yes, it has improved, but not enough in my opinion.
And yet, we continue to chase older, expensive injury prone guys like Linebrink and Peavy.

stopdrop8

Peavy was only 27 when we traded for him, so i wouldn’t consider age to be an issue in regards to him. But you’re point is exactly right, we aren’t going to be constantly able to build a winner when our primary way of bringing in new talent is through trades. Our farm system has to improve, and it should start with the establishment of a presence in the dominican.

chisoxt

“Peavy was only 27 when we traded for him, so i wouldn’t consider age to be an issue in regards to him”
True, but his injury history prior to joining the Sox was well documented, so while he is young chronologically, his physical age is actually much higher. And yes, this should have been considered prior to trading for him.

David

No matter the phenomenal 25-5 run to first place at the top level, the White Sox organization is in a below average state. With a mostly older roster and an unappealing collection of minor league talent only the short term outlook is sunny (hopefully).
I guess they will have to throw FA money at fixing future problems. Hard to see a major acquisition with so little to offer. You almost wonder if they drafted a “close to major league ready” prospect like Chris Sale so his near term appeal to trade partners was high and they could move him quickly, if necessary (I understand he’s not eligible to be dealt at this time).
The lack of results from recent drafts is more likely to bite them sooner than later.
I believe the Peavy injury will be the season killer, as Jim alluded to.

knoxfire30

Jose Martinez! haha still one of my favorite sleepers as far as prospects are concerned.
Flowers is atleast still hitting the ball out of the park so that plays well for the future as discouraging as his batting average and strikeout rates are.
I’ve been on the Jordan Danks is a bum offensively bangwagon for a long time, and yes BUDDY BELL IS FUCKING NUTS, he could be the second coming of Jesus Christ defensively and it wont matter if he continues to struggle with the bat. And I highly doubt his defense is as good as bell thinks but I will reserve judgement til I get to see it with my own eyes, although again if you cant hit we wont ever get to see it at the mlb level.
Hudson and Viciedo are still pretty tradable in the right deal so I dont think the sox are going to be as hard pressed as some may think to make a deal, it just gets trickier and they better be willing to take on the bulk of any finances.

knoxfire30

@Jim- any good sites to check in on draft pick signings?

rhythm

I can’t claim to be Jim, but I think this is what you’re looking for:
http://www.baseballamerica.com/draftdb/2010xteam.php?team=1026

knoxfire30

thanks

Shinons

So, you win championships by holding on to the likes of Poreda and Richard over Peavy?

blah

The Sox won’t win anything with Peavey this year.

Shinons

You don’t say.

soxicano

The Sox this season are developing young talent while still winning games and competing for first. That is very hard to do. Few teams enjoy that ability. Gordon Beckham, Dayan Viciedo, and Brent Lillibridge, all young prospects are regular contributors in the lineup, 2 of those 3 are home grown farm products. On the pitching side Hudson will contribute as well. The kid has to adjust to major league hitting first but on paper he should be fine. He has 4 big league deep game pitchers ahead of him to school him as well and this hitting lineup should provide good enough run support for Hudson to win more than lose. This is a more athletic and durable team than years past, I see a very competitive second half for the Sox. BUT, i mean a big BUT, if the Sox can find a proven major league pitcher on the good side of 30 and it involves lets say trading Hudson and Lillibridge, Teahen, maybe send some money along with him, I would pull the trigger. To Win This Year. We can worry about next year next year.

bigfun

I think those teams would say “keep the junk utility players, we’ll just take Hudson straight up, have fun getting swept by the Yankees in the ALDS.”

blacksox56

i think we need more offensive help then pitching right now, don’t you agree? Come playoffs, that 5th starter isn’t more than a long relief guy anyways, and we’re not going to land an number 1 or 2 guy like oswalt anyways. i like the potential addition of dunn, maybe work out an extension before the trade is finalized so that he’s not just a three month rental.

bigfun

Yes, I do agree with they need offense more. Would like to get an OK outfielder so they can mostly DH Quentin.

marshlands

Lillibridge is 26 years old and bad at baseball, unfortunately. Hardly an encouraging “prospect” at this point.
And while the state of the Sox farm system is always a sad sight, at least the prospects Kenny trades always fizzle out and die (with a few exceptions, kind of).

815sox

Good news about Peavy. However, every time I lift weights and do a Lat exercise I think about it detaching and cringe…. ouch!!!!