White Sox acquire Adam Haseley to add to outfield depth, if not outfield

Adam Haseley
(Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

While Tony La Russa chastised White Sox fans who thought the team’s current outfield options weren’t enough, the White Sox front office might’ve betrayed the true level of organizational faith in their depth.

Or maybe by acquiring Adam Haseley from the Philadelphia Phillies for hard-throwing A-ball reliever McKinley Moore, Rick Hahn made it so everybody could feel a little bit correct.

Haseley, a former first-round pick taken three spots ahead of Jake Burger in the 2017 draft, won’t upset the current depth chart. He’s a lifetime .264/.322/.373 hitter over 116 games, but his production went the wrong way in 2021, a season interrupted by a monthlong absence for personal reasons.

And those reasons remain personal, as he talked around them this spring:

Haseley is not ready to discuss his time away, only saying that, “It’s more just learning from things that personally went on. I don’t know if it necessarily feels like a second chance as much as it is just learning. It’s a process. It’s a road, and we’re all walking through stuff. So, yeah, my outlook is just being thankful for being here.”

He got off to a slow start this spring, going 2-for-18 with five strikeouts in seven games thus far, so the White Sox are hoping a change of scenery can serve him well.

If Haseley can return to his previous form, he’s got a good glove in center field and some on-base skills, least when facing right-handed pitching. He has two options remaining, so there’s no need for immediate production. What he offers is the White Sox a little bit of first-half outfield insulation between Adam Engel and Yoelqui Céspedes, at least depending on what the Sox are able to do with Micker Adolfo.

(Going back to Burger, it might not hurt to have them share a clubhouse in a low-pressure environment given Burger’s experiences and enthusiasm for promoting mental health awareness.)

As for Moore, the White Sox drafted him out of Arkansas-Little rock in the 14th round on the strength of his arm alone, and improved his control enough to be a decent late-inning option for Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. He struck out 59 batters against 21 walks over 40⅔ innings, which were significant improvements over his draft-year form. The White Sox let him finish the year in the Arizona Fall League, so here’s a case where that showcasing might’ve had some effect.

The White Sox will have to make room on the 40-man roster, but Yermín Mercedes’ hamate-bone surgery makes him a candidate to move to the 60-day injured list, much like the Sox did with Jonathan Stiever to make room for claimed reliever Yoan Aybar last week.

(UPDATE: The White Sox designated Blake Rutherford for assignment instead.)

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jorgefabregas

There’s discussion of Micker in the other post, and I want to point out that he has a nearly 50% strikeout rate in spring training this year. Yes, he has some dingers and a .500 batting average, but so far this is not a spring training performance that waives away his struggles in the high minors.

Strikeout rate is one of the most important stats when evaluating the spring training performance of young, unproven players.

metasox

Might be fun to see Adolfo for a few games to see him slug, but I thought the expectation was the Sox would try to get him through waivers at some point

calcetinesblancos

Well I mean, if you can’t give him a chance now, why hold on to him? He’s turning 26 this year.

jorgefabregas

Well, if they try to sneak him through waivers, they may not in fact hold on to him.

calcetinesblancos

Wouldn’t that be true regardless?

HallofFrank

Adolfo also has more HR in a week’s worth of spring training games than Haseley does since 2019 (more than 110 PA). And his 1.500 OPS this spring is roughly 700% what Haseley is doing.

I’ve got no interest in overreacting to Adolfo’s spring numbers. But he’s clearly got loud tools that translate to game action (in AA and AAAA, too) and I’d rather see what he can do than go with Haseley, who has at least proven he can’t hit. He’s only posted an OPS greater than .800 at any professional level, except for a minor league stint in 2019.

jhomeslice

If the Sox wanted a defense only guy who can’t hit a lick, they could have kept Hamilton. I mean, this team has offensive shortcomings vs RHP, and this guy has no chance of helping. Adolfo made strides last year and showed power and a +.800 OPS even at AAA. He is far more likely to contribute something in April til Vaughn gets back than the new Adam.

Engel is playing, so hopefully he is well enough to get at least half the starts in April. I’m not expecting much from Adolfo, but even if he just K’s a lot with a few homers, that’s more than they would get from Haseley. At least give him a shot since he’s out of options.

calcetinesblancos

I feel like us debating whether the new guy is better than any of the old guys pretty much tells us all we need to know lol.

a-t

I think that’s a very unfair comparison for Haseley. One, there seems like a clear difference in his performance up through 2019 and then 2020-2021, where he seems to have been struggling with mental health issues. That is (effectively) injury, not lack of ability.

Two, because his profile is OBP over SLG, whereas Adolfo is all SLG, and per point OBP is a lot more valuable; OPS, however, equates them, which is its main inaccuracy. Haseley put up a 148 wRC+ at Double-A in 2018 and 2019, at age 22 & 23, while Adolfo’s best AA performance was a 128 wRC+ last year at age 25, which came with a K rate literally DOUBLE Haseley’s.

Last year there were three guys in the majors with K rates similar to Adolfo’s MINOR league K rates that were anything better than replacement level: Wisdom, Zunino, and Gallo. Adolfo has the huge pop in common with those guys, but he does not have 1) plus defense or 2) plus walk rates that allow these guys to be decent.

Anyways, Haseley has two options years, so he’ll get a year or two to try and reclaim his past form in Charlotte that Adolfo will not have.

HallofFrank

Which comparison is unfair? The only comparison I made was their ’22 spring training stats, and only in response to the original comment, and even then—only to point out that citing Adolfo’s spring K statistics doesn’t mean he still shouldn’t start over Haseley.

If you just mean the comparison of Adolfo to Haseley generally, I’m not sure why that’s a “very unfair” comparison. You cite Haseley’s AA stats from 3-4 years ago—but that’s because Haseley hasn’t hit anywhere but AA. He wasn’t good in AAA nor in the Majors. Last year, while Adolfo was a year younger, he and Haseley both played short seasons in AAA (just over 40 games, 150 PA). Adolfo’s wRC+ was 112 while Haseley’s was 57.

And you say that in 2020-2021 “he seems to have been struggling with mental health issues.” Maybe you’re right, but I haven’t seen that anywhere. Have you heard that on a reliable source or is it conjecture? I’ve only seen he missed one month of 2021 for “personal reasons,” which could of course mean all sorts of things not related to mental health.

Anyway. I’d rather see neither of them, but here we are. If I have to choose, I’m taking Adolfo.

a-t

“The 25-year old’s struggles carried over from the early season ones he suffered at the beginning of 2021, up until it was announced on April 14 that he was stepping away from the team indefinitely due to personal reasons. Haseley wouldn’t play the rest of the season.”

So, yes, mental health struggles is what that translates as. I believe I was mistaken on extending that to 2020, though. In 2020, he was coming back from a wrist sprain when he played; as such, how he hit was fairly consistent with his minor league numbers, including better plate discipline than his debut but with practically no power (.063 ISO). In-season injuries in the hand/wrist area almost always sap a guy’s pop significantly.

As for 2021: he took time away from the team starting April and returned to action in AAA in early June, and played for about two weeks before going down with a groin strain for a month, hence the rehab assignments to complex league and Hi-A before a second stint in AAA. Similarly, the plate discipline was fine, just no pop and low BABIP. He might not recover his old form, but I see a guy that has been snakebit for the past couple years after years of strong performance more than a guy who just isn’t good enough like Rutherford.

HallofFrank

It may be mental health, but you’re reading that between the lines. Even so, I’m happy to give him the benefit of the doubt, recognize that the last two years were weird, and hope that a fresh team will give him a new start. I’m not writing him off. But with the information we have, Adolfo is the better bet. Adolfo, it should be added, has also consistently dealt with injuries, so the same benefit of the doubt should be given to him, too.

asinwreck

Blake Rutherford DFA’d.

jorgefabregas

Same draft. They are at similar places in their career, but Haseley’s defense will mean he’ll keep getting looks in the majors.

Joliet Orange Sox

I thought Rutherford was 2016 draft and Hasely was 2017 draft.

Joliet Orange Sox

Oops. Haseley not Hasely. Why does autocorrect have a preference on this?!?

jorgefabregas

You’re right. I’m wrong.

jhomeslice

Another completely useless offseason move.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I guess some people can get mad about anything.

I’m not mad about this move so much as it’s yet another thing that does basically nothing to address the weaknesses on this roster.

texag10

I mean, theoretically it adds a credible defensive focused outfielder of the bench to the roster at minimal cost and frees Leury up to be the utility infielder. It becomes a problem when we have 2 other utility infielders on the roster already and adding a backup without a clearcut starter is dumb.

Trooper Galactus

Adding more flawed players to the mix for depth doesn’t solve any problems, it just means slightly less of a problem should it come to the point where we’re forced to use them.

calcetinesblancos

*yawns, rolls over, and goes back to sleep*

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Welcome new guy. I look forward to you being a Sporcle answer I miss in two years.

Ted Mulvey

If he plays at any point this season he makes the “Your 2022 White Sox” end of season Sporcle. So you need only remember him for a few months! Feel free to forget him in two years, though.

texag10

And I’ll spend 10 minutes misspelling his name before just giving up on the quiz like always.

dongutteridge

I was thinking about the Sox taking a chance on him but I thought it would cost them more. I’m happy with this deal.

I’m giving up hope on Conforto. I think there’s something wrong with the guy. Opening day is a week away and he’s refusing to just take the best one year offer and start playing baseball. I have to question his desire.

Last edited 2 years ago by dongutteridge
Joliet Orange Sox

Looks like Rutherford won’t be part of the Sox nucleus.

(There’s the beginnings of a physics pun in there somewhere.)

asinwreck

The team on the South Side of Chicago must prefer to remember Fermi over Rutherford for provincial reasons.

The Sox tried to (platoon) split the Adam last year in RF but it turned out he couldn’t hit RHP

Last edited 2 years ago by Shingos Cheeseburgers
andyfaust

I usually find puns such as these to be a Bohr.

As Cirensica

I could say I don’t abhohr these puns.

TylerDurden

Haseley hit in the minors fairly well. Not a superstar, but decent production with improving power, and ops from
2017-
2018-
2019

He was okay as a rookie in 2019.
2020 covid/ wrist injury limited AB’s
2021 left groin strain, missed 1 month in March, then takes a personal leave in April. Then struggled in AAA when he returned.

Okay so this young man has starter potential, lefty, has glove.

They need to build up his confidence, sounds like he was down and depressed after getting hurt.

Get him plenty of AB’s in AAA and see if he bounces back with a change in scenery. He may be used if anyone gets hurt as well

Trooper Galactus

Well, nice to see at least some optimism.

Greg Nix

Feels like a decent AAAA-type guy with mild upside to have around, particularly if/when Engel hits the IL.

HallofFrank

I’m not sure why you’d award him a 4th A when I’m not sure he’s earned a 3rd A yet. He’s been pretty bad in his ~250 AAA PA.

It’s a fine add, I guess, for depth, but unless the Sox see something in them they think they can unlock, it’ll be a real bummer if he actually plays in Chicago.

Greg Nix

He was bad everywhere in 2021. Prior to that he was decent in the majors and above averageish at every minor league level. And prior to that he was a top-10 draft pick.

That’s a pretty good resume for a cheap depth piece with multiple options remaining. Not everything has to be dour, folks.

HallofFrank

Hey, I think my record shows I’m far from the “everything is dour” parade. I usually get accused of being too optimistic. And like I said, it’s a fine add. I just think the title of “AAAA” player is a little generous—or, at least, premature—since he hasn’t mastered AAA yet.

And for what it’s worth, you basically just described Zack Collins. In fact, Collins has been the far superior hitter in the minors. Haseley is a decent glove, I guess, and therein lies the difference. But why not just bring back Billy Hamilton, if that’s what you’re looking for?

texag10

What? You’re saying that an older, bat only player put up better batting numbers? You don’t say.

HallofFrank

Collins put up a 140 wRC+ in AAA (380 PA) as a 24-year-old. Haseley’s longest stint in AAA was when he put up a 52 wRC+ (170 PA)…as a 25-year-old.

tbsoxfan

Maybe more relevant here is the fact that in the exact same sample of MLB play, Haseley has an 83 WRC+ to Collins’ 80 (while also being able to credibly stand on the field with a glove on his hand, which Collins cannot do). Who cares about one’s AAA production vs another when the both have moderate sized MLB samples to evaluate?

Trooper Galactus

Wait, are you trying to use a Collins comparison as a DEFENSE?

tbsoxfan

I have no real expectations for Haseley, and this is buoyed by him being a college draftee, but he does actually have the 3rd most BWar in his career amongst the entire 2017 1st round

Last edited 2 years ago by tbsoxfan
dongutteridge

If nothing else, he should be able to play all 3 OF spots adequately and he hits from the left side a bit better than Rutherford.

Obviously, not the move we were looking for but he could be useful.

andyfaust

I know this move doesn’t make a ton of sense to many of you and may appear disappointing, but I think you’re looking at this through the wrong lens. You must remember that Haseley did occasionally pitch out of the bullpen at UVA, so I’m expecting him to fill the role formerly held by Heuer and Burr. It’s never the wrong time to add another bullpen arm.

TylerDurden

Hahahahahahahahaha you got me man lol

a-t

I’m very glad that the White Sox have listened to our pleas, and finally acquired a lefty-hitting outfielder with plus defense and plate discipline!

On a more mildly serious note, I do like this move quite a bit. Haseley was tracking as a 2.5ish WAR lefty who could play all three OF positions through 2019, based on minors numbers, scouting, and an acceptable but not impressive major league debut. Something seemingly happened in 2020-2021 with him, which seems likely to be connected to his absence from the team due to mental health reasons.

I’m hopeful for him returning to form for a couple reasons— one, this Sox clubhouse, minus maybe the manager, seem pretty good & supportive of guys dealing with mental health issues, as they were with Kopech. Two, the Phillies seem to have a chronic issue with pretty good prospects suddenly looking worse once they get to the bigs after chewing through the minors, and I’d bet the blame for that lays with the Phillies org more than the players. Also, I cannot think of a worse city for athletes dealing with mental health issues than Philly… the fans are simply vicious.

Also, with all due respect to McKinley Moore, relief prospects at Hi-A are pretty fungible. The odds of Haseley being useful, even just as depth with a couple option years, seems like a much better bet for contributing to the major league roster in the next few years than Moore.

texag10

We traded an almost 24 year old relief pitcher in A-ball for an almost 26 year old lefty outfielder who’s already broken into the bigs and still has 2 options left. On paper, this is a win for the White Sox. The problem is the perception that this is the be-all, end-all solution to RF this year and no other additions are going to be made. Based on the past few years, that’s probably true but I don’t know why any of that matters when evaluating the trade itself.

Augusto Barojas

gosox

He was the #8 pick in the draft, you know who else was, Carson Fulmer, I live in Arizona, Zack Collins is still as brutal as ever but they roll these guys out at spring training

shaggy65

I really like this move! Our 3rd string CF–behind two guys with injury histories, mind you–was Leury Garcia. Haseley gives us a true 4th OF that we can bring up if/when Robert or Engel go down. Adam H. fills the Billy Hamilton-shaped hole on our 40-man roster with a guy who can be stashed in the minors and has legitimate upside.

I’m still confused why we haven’t signed Conforto, but this is a smart move.

MrStealYoBase

I see a lot of people complaining, but not since AJ Reed have the Sox acquired a player with so much draft pedigree and so little chance of being a contributor to the roster.

Nobody cares more about winning than Jerry, folks.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Love the sarcasm. I am very confident this move will swing exactly zero games in the Sox favor.

Trooper Galactus

At least they didn’t give up a prospect to get Reed, I guess.

DBTH35

Once again, Rick Hahn gets his man.

Michael Kenny

Thank god we finally have our Charlie Tilson!

DrCrawdad

That’s the comp I thought of too. Charlie didn’t work out for the Sox but it was worth a shot as is Charlie Tilson 2.022

Trooper Galactus

Tilson hadn’t made his debut when we traded for him, had he? He also was acquired for basically dumping Zach Duke’s contract, so not quite the same as giving up a pitching prospect, even a long shot one.

Foulkelore

White Sox picked up Mark Payton too, who is another lefty OF. He’s 30 and has only gotten 44 PAs in the majors, but look at his 2019 for Oakland’s AAA team: .334/.400/.653 with 30 home runs.

Trooper Galactus

Depth, baby!

BenwithVen

The only person that seemed to have misread the market more than Rick Hahn is Michael Conforto.

I like the Haseley move though. If we’re going with Eloy/Robert/Vaughn, we’ll definitely need depth and players who can act as defensive subs late in games.

peanutsNcrackerjack

This was a low value for low value transaction that really shouldn’t merit the amount of discourse it’s causing. We need to get this season started.