FutureSox 2023 Chicago White Sox prospect list: Relief Pitchers

Sep 17, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Frank German (71) pitches in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Franklin German (Photo by Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)

FutureSox is highlighting the 2023 Chicago White Sox top prospects by position. This iteration includes the notable relief pitchers.

*Age listed in parenthesis

Gregory Santos, RHP (24)

  • Last played: San Francisco Giants

Gregory Santos was aquired in a trade with the San Francisco Giants this off-season for Kade McClure. The 6-foot-2, 190 pound hurler possesses a 70-grade fastball and slider as his stuff ticked up since moving to the bullpen full time. The plus-plus fastball regularly hits triple digits now and the slider sits 88-90 mph as well with lofty spin rates.

Santos served a PED suspension in 2021 and has always struggled with control and command. He posted a 4.91 ERA in Triple-A last year and walked too many hitters. Santos tallied a 42 percent strikeout rate with his slider, but the overall strikeout totals haven’t matched his stuff so far. The righty threw 5.2 innings in the big leagues last year and should have an opportunity to do so for the White Sox in 2023.

Franklin German, RHP (25)

  • Last played: Boston Red Sox

German was designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox after being named their 2022 Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Acquired for Theo Denlinger from Boston in early February, the 25-year-old righty held a 2.72 ERA across 49.2 innings between AA and AAA with a 32.5 strikeout percentage, 9.6 walk rate, 0.91 WHIP, as well as seven saves.

While the former fourth rounder struggled mightily in four innings (five appearances) with the Red Sox in 2022, he does possess a plus-plus fastball that touches 96-99 mph. German also throws a low 80s slider with depth and a mid 80’s splitter against lefties that, when they’re at their best, can be above average offerings. German has three Minor League options remaining. 

Nicholas Padilla, RHP (26)

  • Last pitched: AAA Charlotte

Originally drafted in the 13th round out of high school back in 2015 by Tampa Bay, the Cubs acquired Nicholas Padilla in the minor league phase of the Rule Five draft.

Padilla made it through the Cubs system using a 92-95 mph fastball and two above average breaking balls. The 26-year-old was claimed off waivers by the White Sox late last season after making his Major League debut with the Cubs. The 6-foot-2, 220 pounder posted a 1.23 ERA while averaging 10.4 K with the Iowa Cubs in Triple-A. He threw six innings with Triple-A Charlotte to finish the year. Padilla enters the 2023 season with two MiLB options remaining.

Sammy Peralta, LHP (25)

  • Last played: AAA Charlotte

Sammy Peralta went unclaimed in the latest Rule 5 Draft and begins the 2023 season with the Charlotte Knights. Peralta pitched in the Arizona Fall League following his promotion to Triple-A and totaled 76 innings of relief on the year.

Luke Shilling, RHP (25)

  • Last played: AA Birmingham

Luke Shilling’s career timeline goes like this: drafted by the White Sox in 2018, injured, released in 2020, re-signed, Tommy John surgery in 2021, minor league free agent, re-signed. His 2021 stuff was incredibly impressive in Winston-Salem, notching a 2.95 ERA with 27 strikeouts and only eight walks in 18 innings. The White Sox were hoping to move him up the ladder quickly before elbow troubles cut his rise short.

Shilling threw just over 10 innings to close out 2022 in Winston-Salem and Birmingham. The stuff is still there, evidenced by the high K-rate, but the control and command have yet to return following the surgery. The 6-foot-4, 230 pounder has the reportoire to pitch in the Big Leagues today, but he’ll need to prove to the White Sox he can handle an extended workload as well as command his pitch-mix.

Eric Adler, RHP (22)

  • Last pitched: A- Kannapolis

The White Sox selected Eric Adler in the sixth round of the 2022 draft out of Wake Forest. The 22-year-old right hander possesses a plus fastball that touches 98 mph and a curveball that works straight down with slider-like velocity. Adler made two appearances in the Arizona Complex League and four with low-A Kannapolis to close out his draft season.

Eric Adler at Wake Forest in 2021

Last year, the 6-foot-2, 190 pounder was excellent in the Cape Cod League where he posted a 1.15 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 15.2 innings. There are concerns regarding Adler’s ability to consistently throw strikes. He projects as a high leverage relief option if he can harness his stuff.

Declan Cronin, RHP (25)

  • Last pitched: AAA Charlotte

Declan Cronin was drafted in the 36th round of the 2019 draft out of The College of the Holy Cross. The 6-foot-4, 225 pounder has put up solid numbers as a professional and he’s a pitch data favorite. Cronin throws a 93-94 mph fastball that plays up due to its tail and uphill plane. He shows a huge spin slider as his primary breaking pitch.

Cronin threw 28 innings in double-A with the Barons in 2022 and posted a 3.86 ERA while averaging just over seven K/9. After earning a mid-season promotion to triple-A Charlotte, the 25-year-old posted a 3.52 ERA in 23 innings with the Knights. He struck out just 12 hitters and walked only five while posting a very respectable 4.25 FIP in that league. He was invited to pitch in the Arizona Fall League and threw 10 innings in nine appearances. Cronin will be in the Charlotte bullpen and isn’t on the 40-man roster, but he’s on the periphery of the big leagues.

Caleb Freeman, RHP (25)

  • Last pitched: AA Birmingham

After struggling with command throughout his collegiate career, Caleb Freeman showed a composed approach on the mound in 2022 to put himself on track to reach a Major League bullpen. The 25-year-old right-hander also made noticeable improvements with his curveball, which can be a plus secondary offering.

Freeman begins his fourth professional season and fifth with the White Sox following his 2019 draft selection with 111 strikeouts over 86 career innings out of the pen.

LANE RAMSEY, RHP (27)

Last pitched: AAA Charlotte

Lane Ramsey was drafted in the 23rd round of the 2018 Draft out of the University of Oklahoma. Ramsey battled injury throughout 2022 following what was an encouraging step in the right-hander’s career in 2021. He finished the 2022 season in the Arizona Fall League following just over 20 innings pitched in relief at Triple-A.

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FishSox

RE:Shilling, it’s not unusual to have control issues immediately after TJ rehab. I think those are actually easily overcome if the control was there previously. Just takes a bit sometimes.

asinwreck

If any of these guys demonstrate an ability to get the third out of an inning, Hahn should consider calling them up.