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The Arizona Rookie League opened its season Monday night, and the roster the AZL White Sox brought into the year stands to get sexier once their top three draft picks sign.
The White Sox haven’t yet brought Andrew Vaughn, Matthew Thompson or Andrew Dalquist into the fold. If Vaughn appears in the AZL, it’d only be for a tune-up before his actual initial assignment, but the prep pitchers are likely to get their feet wet in the desert if and when they sign.
As it stands, the roster still has plenty of other talent born in the 2000s to go around, although it’s largely concentrated on the position player side. The pitching staff is mostly college arms until Thompson and Dalquist get there.
Johnson is the most recognizable name on this whole page at the moment. The fifth-round pick out of South Carolina had high expectations — I thought he could crack the White Sox roster this year — but a lat strain delayed the start of the season, and now it’s already halfway over, so table that idea. Lindgren is a former second-round pick who briefly made the big leagues at 22 in 2015, but has battled arm problems since, including a pair of Tommy John surgeries.
Carranza and Shilling, both hard-throwing collegiate draft picks who received six-figure signing bonuses on Day 3 in 2018, are still on the injured list due to Tommy John surgery.
- Hector Acosta
- Garvin Alston
- Allen Beer
- Cooper Bradford
- Jeremiah Burke
- Hansen Butler
- Declan Cronin
- Justin Friedman
- Trey Jeans
- Tyson Messer
- McKinley Moore
- Vladimir Nunez
- Justin O’Conner
- Sammy Peralta
- Nick Silva
- Yoelvin Silven
- Avery Weems
- Mac Welsh
Silven is the only teen pitcher at the moment, and only for eight more days. He had a nice year in the DSL last season, posting 71 strikeouts to 16 walks over 54 innings with a 3.66 ERA. Moore, drafted in the 15th round, is a big 20-year-old with a big arm and remains mildly intriguing. Everybody else is going to have to pitch themselves into consideration, though I’m personally rooting for Trey “Three-Legged” Jeans.
The White Sox have selected Puerto Rican prep catchers in the third day of the last two drafts. Torres, this year’s 11th-rounder, is the most intriguing of the group, while Ortiz, drafted in the 19th round last year, hit .214/.267/.238 over 17 games for the AZL White Sox last year.
The White Sox were limited to $300,000 maximum bonuses the last two years while serving out the penalty for blowing out their budget for Luis Robert, and Diaz, Pimentel and Ramos all received $300,000 the last two seasons. Diaz, a 19-year-old Cuban, had an advanced plate approach in the DSL last year. Pimentel, conversely, struggled with a .167/.219/.300 line there. Ramos is the only player on the AZL White Sox born in 2002, and he’s making his pro debut in the states at 17. He’s from the mold of power-hitting third basemen, and so is Gladney, a product of the White Sox’ Amateur City Elite program who they signed away from Eastern Kentucky with a $225,000 bonus.
Rodriguez came from even more anonymity to show one of the more advanced hit tools among the DSL White Sox as a 17-year-old (.291/.318/.401), and the similarly off-the-radar Polanco is a step below him, both in terms of performance (.274/.314/.371) and age (nine months older).
Guerrero was the last seven-figure international signing before Robert ($1.1 million), but he can’t quite be compared to cousin Vladimir Jr. While he showed a little bit of pop as a 17-year-old in the DSL, everything took a step back in the AZL last year (.192/.231/.288). Coronado had the best DSL debut of any signing from that class, but ended up getting lapped by Anderson Comas and will repeat the level.
Beard is the highest White Sox draft pick to sign, agreeing to a below-slot $350,000 bonus from his spot in the fourth round. He was considered the fastest player in the draft, with a hit tool that will need time to adjust to better competition than he saw in Mississippi. Some of the money saved on under-slot bonses they used on Gonzalez, who required $60,000 of the bonus pool when he signed for $185,000 in the 12th round. Allen was a third-day senior signing, but he has big power.