Spare Parts: White Sox prospect honorable mentions, draft class discussions, character clause casualties, and more

Bryan Ramos in Kannapolis
(Sox Machine photo)

While we looked at Baseball America’s top 10 White Sox prospect list, we didn’t look at the other part of the outlet’s ranking season, which is the chat with the author of the list. It’s usually good for further elaboration on prospects, especially ones who might be just off the top 10 list, but well inside the top-30 list that BA publishes in its handbook.

Bill Mitchell, who handled the White Sox’s list this year, answered a couple of questions about a couple of White Sox prospects I might like better than the average ranking. One of them is Romy González, and Mitchell makes it sound like age is the only real strike against him, at least relative to a flawed top-10.

He was one of the biggest surprises in the White Sox organization this past year. When you get your Prospect Handbook, you will see that the former Miami product will be ranked in the 11-20 range, despite the fact that at 25 he’s already past the normal age for a prospect. Call him THE late bloomer in the organization. After starting to play shortstop in 2019 instructional league, he really took to the position well after a year off, projecting as an average defender. At the plate, he’s got above-average power and controls the zone. Gonzalez will have a major league role, especially considering his experience in both infield and outfield and for how hard he plays. He’s a grinder who may be able to get playing time as a super utility guy. I’m all in on Gonzalez.

Another is Bryan Ramos, a guy I don’t think is all that far behind José Rodriguez when it comes to weighing his production against his age.

The potential rising position player outside the org top ten is Bryan Ramos, who spent the season at Kannaspolis at the age of 19. Despite a nagging injury for part of the season, Ramos had a nice season at the plate and played multiple infield positions. With his strength and bat speed he projects to have above-average power, enough for third base which is his best position.

He also identified Cristian Mena and Adam Hackenburg as sleepers, which can’t hurt to file away given the precious little depth at pitcher and catcher.


James Fegan talked to Chris Getz and scout sources about the White Sox’s last three draft classes., To me, the comment most worth filing away is Getz’s spinning of Jared Kelley’s seemingly disastrous pro debut.

“We focused on his shoulder strength, his overall body strength, just foundational core strength that’s going to serve him well,” Getz said. “We wanted to sharpen the breaking ball, we were able to accomplish that. Although it may not have showed up consistently in games, his slider is showing the plus shape, plus movement. Now it’s just a matter of controlling that pitch in the zone. You look at the shape of his fastball and the improvement that we’ve made on that; certainly want to continue to fine-tune the location of that pitch, continue to encourage him to throw his changeup and regain some confidence with it because we know he’s had success with it in the past and believe it’s going to be a big part of his future. With the two-seamer, with his arm slot, it matches up — if you look at what Lance Lynn is able to do with a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, cutters, cutting fastball, and where the game is going with what’s been effective, or successful in the zone. This was a nice opportunity to play around with some different pitches with Jared Kelley, without regular-season competition. We could play around with it on the side sessions and get feedback through either Rapsodo or the catchers rather than relying on in-game performance.”

Rick Hahn isn’t the only GM who throws gobs of money down the drain on one-year deals. Under the tenure of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, the Twins have signed seven pitchers on one-year deals, getting an average of 69 innings and a 5.67 ERA for their $53.3 million.

Yasiel Puig’s tenuous job status the last few years, combined with the White Sox’s outfield issues and their rock-solid Cuban connection, made him a popular target for White Sox fans seeking an easy solution. But ever since Jose Abreu made his no-room-at-the-inn comment about his fellow countryman Yasiel Puig during spring training of 2020, I’d sensed that Puig wasn’t somebody that Abreu wanted responsibility for. Sexual assault allegations surfaced against Puig a year later, but it turns out that Puig had reached confidential settlements for similar accusations years earlier, which might explain why the White Sox (and most of the rest of baseball) kept their distance.

Thanks to the combination of domestic assault and sexual abuse allegations, Omar Vizquel has already lost 10 votes from what appeared to be a Hall of Fame trajectory. Through 36 ballots, he’s running at just 13.9 percent, down from his 49.1 clip the year before. Jay Jaffe reviews Vizquel’s candidacy, which was previously controversial for reasons merely stylistic.

Ken Rosenthal was one of the voters to ditch Vizquel because of the lawsuit filed against him by the Birmingham batboy, but now here he is, trying to figure out why a huge percentage of voters are giving David Ortiz a benefit of the doubt they didn’t extend Sammy Sosa despite the same documented connection to steroid use.

While the MLBPA lost ground over the previous two collective bargaining agreements, last year’s pandemic negotiations show it might have a stronger backbone. Mark Normandin looks at the history and says a little more of that direct confrontation will go a long way against the league, which has never come out of a work stoppage for the better.


  • 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.

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That comment on Kelley is really hard to square up. It was almost used as a knock on him at the time of the draft that he had a fully developed/built body. His projection was gonna be different then some string bean kid who could still grow and benefit a lot from more mass.


According to the latest scouting report on Baseball America, Kelley needs to improve his conditioning and slim down to reach his potential. They list him as 230 pounds while at the draft he was listed as 215 pounds. No change in height.

Kelley’s biggest hurdle is his conditioning, as he needs to get his big body leaner and more athletic. He generates power from his physical stature but needs to transfer that power more efficiently. Improvements to shoulder and core strength could pay dividends.


My guess is that Big Papi is just a lot more savvy media personality than Sosa was.

Honestly the only semi-likeable characteristic I can recall about Sosa was that obnoxious hop leaving the batters box when he’d hit a dinger, but it could be I was a relative outlier in finding it annoying because it was such a Cubs thing.


Sosa also never won a championship for a long-suffering east coast team. Everybody knows that achievements are more important when they happen in New York or Boston.

It’s as simple as people (teammates, fans, media) liked Ortiz and didn’t like Sosa. Sosa had everyone fooled for a while, but by the end everyone was tired of his act. But if one gets in the HoF, then the other one probably should, too.