Thanks to the delayed start to the minor league season and the “Final Stretch” Triple-A postseason gimmick, the highest level of the minors and the lowest level completed their schedules over the first weekend of October, so their season summaries had to taxi on the runway until the White Sox finished their postseason.
As consolation prizes go, a Dominican Summer League White Sox review isn’t a great one. The DSL White Sox finished 26-33 while featuring a roster that was older than the league average on both sides of the ball. That said, one of the older pitchers, one Norge Carlos Vera, looks like the system’s most promising pitching prospect, period. He just had to bide his 2021 in the DSL due to tax purposes.
The lack of video and first-hand reports from the DSL means we have to scout by the stat line, and those statistics also include age and signing bonus. You come up with an initial list based on the prominent six-figure bonuses that reporters like Ben Badler and Jesse Sanchez relay our way, along with the other players the White Sox announced. After that, you look for guys who are younger than 18 and getting regular run to see if they’re doing anything noteworthy. After that, you look at the rest of the notable performances — and sometimes notable last names — and see if anybody’s playing their first year there.
As you might be able to tell from the team performances, the White Sox don’t seem to have any emergent sleepers.
|DSL White Sox||18.5||4.29||12.9||25.7||.223/.337/.322|
Outside of Vera’s laughable dominance, the pitching staff also lacked standout performances, although there were a couple decent enough to warrant mild acknowledgment.
|DSL White Sox||19.4||5.05||11.9||24.3|
Let’s discuss said arms.
Norge Vera: He should’ve dominated the DSL, given his age (21) and Serie Nacional experience. That said, dominating is what he did. Vera struck out 34 over 19 innings while allowing nine hits and five walks. Two runs crossed the plate on his watch, but both were unearned. He was seen throwing in the high-90s, so he met Marco Paddy’s billing when it comes to velocity. Now it’s just a matter of whether all of that fits in his suitcase when he plays stateside next year.
Carlos Hinestroza: His bonus wasn’t identified by the White Sox when they announced his signing, and given that he’s an 18-year-old Panamanian, it might not have been six figures. He earned whatever they paid him, leading the team with 22 appearances and finishing 19 of those games, saving six. The ERA (2.45) is more impressive than the peripherals, due in large part to 10 unearned runs, but he threw strikes (12 walks over 36⅔ innings) and didn’t allow a homer, so it’s a strong-enough start for a career.
Yohemy Nolasco: One of two 17-year-olds on the staff, Nolasco pitched in 13 games, and his 5.32 ERA benefited from only two unearned runs over 23⅔ innings. He did a adequate job throwing strikes (nine walks against 19 strikeouts).
Adrian Gil: The other 17-year-old, Gil only appeared in two games and threw 3⅔ innings after signing for $250,000. His debut was phenomenal (3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K), but he left his second game on July 20 after issuing four walks over two-thirds of an inning, and missed the rest of the year.
Victor Quezada: The $525,000 signing out of the Dominican Republic showed what you want to see from a 17-year-old, hitting .255/.362/.430 after digging himself an early hole. He hit .289/.397/.471 over the final two months of the season, with respectable walk (16.1%) and strikeout (24.0%) rates, although the latter category clumped up on him. He also stole 14 bases and committed just five errors in 47 games at third base. A .951 fielding percentage on the left side of the infield works in the DSL, as you might’ve guessed by the unearned run totals you see. He moved over from shortstop, but the athleticism still appears to be there.
Manuel Guariman: He only played in 31 games due to time-sharing behind the plate, but the 17-year-old Venezuelan hit .317/.378/.366 with six walks and 11 strikeouts over 31 games, 15 of which he caught. He had the best control of the strike zone, but he didn’t hit a homer, and threw out just six of 38 basestealers, so his ceiling could be a low one despite the initial success.
Carlos Jimenez: The 19-year-old Panamanian was compared to fellow countryman Benyamin Bailey, but he didn’t have the same kind of initial success. He hit just .206/.319/.324. He was tough to strike out, but aside from a brief surge in August, he didn’t yet show the kind of power to make it pay off.
Randel Mondesi: The son of Raul and brother of Adalberto hit .229/.349/.314 over 83 plate appearances. He put himself on the map with a hot start that had him hitting .361/.439/.528 with speed through 13 games, but the production tailed off shortly after, and he missed the entirety of September.
Dario Borrero: The 17-year-old Venezuelan played only five games, going 5-for-14 with a double, walk and two strikeouts, before an injury kept him out of the rest of the year.
2021 WHITE SOX AFFILIATE REVIEWS
The Birmingham Barons were the lone bastion of reliable, respectable play for any stretch of the 2021 season among White Sox affiliates.
While the struggles of the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers were a lot more severe, the Winston-Salem Dash fared only three wins better by the time the seasons were settled. They went 43-76, good for the worst record in the High-A East despite an older roster on both sides of the ball.
Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
The Cannon Ballers opened the season with a number of ambitious assignments for prep players, but it turns out they really could’ve used a stint in Great Falls.
ACL White Sox
Most players who opened the season with the ACL White Sox stayed put. There were some success stories amid the struggles, which were pronounced at the plate.
(Photo via @whitesox on Twitter)
Thanks, Jim. No idea where I go to get this kind of update on our minor teams.
It sure looks like the cupboard is bare, there are holes to fill at the top level and the payroll is ballooning all at once. I am guessing we are going to see some trades to mitigate these issues. I had a number picked out in hopes of a new jersey for Christmas. I hope #7 is safe but I may just wait for Valentine’s Day.
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The cupboard is not bare, but it does lack high level impact players. Hopefully we can get development in the low minors pitchers (Vera, Kelley, Thompson and Dalquist); IF (Bryan RamosWilfred Veras, Colson Montgomery, Wes Kath); and OF (Alex Destino, Luis Mieses).
Of those closer to the majors, we have some prospects that can be contributors at P (Lambert, Steiver, Vargas), C (Perez), IF (Romy, Yolbert Sanchez, Burger, Jose Rodriguez), OF (Cespedes and flawed Adolfo).
Any idea how much $ the tax implications represent? It would have to be substantial to lose what pretty much represents a full year’s delay of a top pitching prospect while he pitches to high schoolers.
Don’t know, but it’s standard practice. The White Sox’s cases are just noticeable because they’re not 16-17 years old. If they’re coming from a background where they had little and they’re not guaranteed another chunk of cash, every dollar probably counts.