Nobody can say the White Sox came back from San Diego empty-handed.
The Sox closed out the winter meetings by taking right-handed reliever Nick Avila from the San Francisco Giants in the Rule 5 draft. The Giants originally selected him out of California State University Long Beach in the 26th round of the 2019 draft.
Avila, 24, posted a 1.14 ERA over 55⅓ innings evenly divided between High-A Eugene and Double-A Richmond, with 58 strikeouts against 54 baserunners (40 hits, 14 walks). While he was old for the level(s), he could at least point to a new experience, because it was his first year working exclusively out of the bullpen.
He shifted to relief during in Eugene during the 2021 season after a disastrous time starting. He wore a 7.69 ERA over his first 15 games, most of which were starting or very long relief, surrendering 85 hits over 59⅔ innings (.339/.395/.550 line). After getting shelled for eight runs over two innings in his final start against Everett on July 28, he moved to the bullpen, where his outlook immediately improved:
- Through July 28: 15 G, 59.1 IP, 85 H, 55 R, 51 ER, 11 HR, 23 BB, 56 K
- After July 28: 10 G, 16.1 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 HR, 4 BB, 22 K
Avila throws a mid-90s fastball with a curveball as his second pitch, with a little bit of an unusual motion…
… but it’s not the kind of unusual motion that leaves a righty susceptible to opposite-handed hitters. Lefties (.206/.264/.255) fared worse than righties (.207/.250/.359) against him, which was a massive reversal from his 2021 season (.775 OPS by RHB, .959 by LHB).
A refresher on Rule 5 rules: The White Sox paid $100,000 to the Giants for Avila, who now occupies a spot on the 40-man roster, bringing it up to 36. When the regular season starts, Avila will have to occupy a spot on the White Sox’s 26-man roster. He can only be sent to the minors if he clears waivers, and if the Giants refuse to take him back for $50,000 of that $100,000 fee.
Rick Hahn cited Avila’s history with Ethan Katz during their time in San Francisco’s system.
The industry sure liked the Giants’ AA roster.
In the time since I posted, Slusser gave an update.
It looks like a good way to spend $100,000.
I picture competing for low leverage role (Ruiz with no options) and long relief role (Lambert with 1 option remaining). Best case, Lambert heads to AAA to stretch out as starter staggered a few days separate from Martin. And they serve as Rotation depth. Lambert also an option for bullpen role as well.
Man, his stats last year were elite! Am I allowed to be excited about this guy and still end with a snarky line?
“Another successful winter meetings for Rick Hahn!”
I had wondered if Grifol’s, Montoyo’s, and Tosar’s connections to the Royals, Jays, and other teams might inform a pick. Instead, it’s Katz’ time with the Giants. I hope he turns into Johan Santana.
Well, let’s hope he’s 2023’s Bobby Jenks on the mound. Bobby was AA to the Bigs and then to the World Series championship.
Dear Santa, we’ve been good fans this year. Please send the White Sox an elite 2B and OF and a lump of coal to the Guardians. See you Christmas Eve with a shot of MacAllan’s.
“We wouldn’t have taken him if we didn’t think he could help us next season.”
Yeah Rick, that’s how the Rule 5 draft works. I have to think this seals the deal on us trading a reliever.
Maybe. Hahn said they could see him in a multi-inning role, so maybe they just have him in mind as a Vinnie Velasquez replacement.
I have more faith in Ethan Katz than anyone else in the org, and the guy I wanted (Blake Sabol) was taken with the 4th pick. Can’t be terribly upset with that. Avila’s extreme over the top motion and FB/CU arsenal recall Cleveland’s Karinchak, no?
In the minor league portion of the draft, the Sox lost no one, and selected RHP Ernesto Jaquez from HOU. Can’t find any writing on him. Posted big K numbers in ’17 and ’18 in in the DSL and GCL, then didn’t pitch at all in ’19-’20, I would assume Tommy John. Posted big K numbers again in ’21 at A/A+ as a reliever, but with a lot of BBs. Blew away A-ball to start the year with better control, then struggled at A+ mostly as a starter. I’m guessing he (like Avila was) will be put in the bullpen full-time, bc it seems like he’s been vastly better there.
“I have more faith in Ethan Katz than anyone else in the org“
Did Jerry hire you? 🙂
The fuck are you on about? “The org” is generally a bunch of clowns who are in turn supervised by monkeys, while the one evident exception being the pitching coach who turned three different SPs from dogshit to elite in a year or two each. Stop being a jackass.
“In the minor league portion of the draft, the Sox lost no one”
The benefit of being an organization that’s terrible at scouting and player development is that you don’t have to worry about any other teams taking players from you in the Rule 5 draft because those players aren’t valued by forward-thinking teams
The money has been spent!
Wrong Sox signed Yoshida for $85-$90 million over 5 years. That was an intriguing option that we have no inkling that the White Sox even considered.
Do we even have anybody that scouts Japan?
Meh. There’s no way his power translates to MLB, so he’s basically a contact guy. A lefty bat who might be around league average and will be a minus in the field? If we are committed to that profile than we may as well save the money and roll with Gavin Sheets.
Suzuki would have been a perfectly savvy investment last year, but I don’t see Yoshida as a fit.
I don’t know how Yoshida profiles as a major leaguer, but Hahn should absolutely be looking to make deals in this vicinity, even with self-imposed constraints. Jettisoning $18MM from next year’s payroll to offset isn’t an impossible task.
Well, now that the Sox are done in the offseason signing market, let’s roll!
The slim possibility this portends a savvy Hendriks trade for an interesting 2B and/or OF will keep one of my eyes just barely open a little longer.
Rick comes back with a reliever, makes sense
It was that or 1B
Fringe utility infielder was also considered.
Y’all, this is actually huge news: by my calculation, that’s now 8 relievers ticketed for the 26-man roster. That’s the max. Hahn can’t add another reliever unless he trades one. I’ll call that a win!
The good news Mrs Lincoln, is that we believe he’s out of bullets.
And basically all of them can’t be optioned, meaning this roster and bullpen will be short-handed practically more than any other team in the league. Yay!