White Sox Minor Keys: May 15, 2022

After spending most of two series out of the Winston-Salem lineup due to a nagging wrist issue, Oscar Colás gave in to the injured list last week.

So far, that extra rest seems to be all he needed. Colás returned to the Winston-Salem lineup on the first possible date in the Dash’s game against Rome on Sunday, and he came through with his third homer of the season, and his first on a live webcast (his first two homers took place at historic McCormick Field in Asheville, N.C., which maintains its 1920s charm right down to the lack of video).

Colás went 2-for-4 with the homer, a double and a walk. He’s hitting .312/.376/.519 over his first 17 stateside games.

Indianapolis 11, Charlotte 5

  • Romy González went 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout, and was caught stealing.
  • Jake Burger was 0-for-3 with two walks and a K.
  • Carlos Pérez, 1-for-5 with a homer and a strikeout.
  • Yolbert Sánchez went 0-for-4 with a K.
  • Adam Haseley was 1-for-4 with a K.
  • Micker Adolfo made up lost ground: 4-for-4 with a homer and a double.

Notes:

*Wes Helms talked about Adolfo’s progress:

Biloxi 8, Birmingham 3

  • José Rodríguez went 0-for-5 with a K.
  • Lenyn Sosa entered as a midgame replacement after an ejection, singling and walking in his two trips.

Winston-Salem 5, Rome 1

  • Oscar Colás went 2-for-4 with a homer, walk and strikeout in his first game since April 28.
  • Bryan Ramos was 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Luis Mieses went 2-for-3 with a homer, double and two walks.
  • Harvin Mendoza, 1-for-5.

Kannapolis 6, Fredericksburg 5

  • Wes Kath went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.
  • Colson Montgomery was 3-for-5 with a double and a strikeout.
  • Wilfred Veras is heating up: 2-for-4 with a homer, walk and strikeout.
  • Chase Krogman and DJ Gladney both were 1-for-4 with a K.
  • Kohl Simas: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
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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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Augusto Barojas

Still no news on Cueto? They’re gonna have to at least announce the pitcher for tonight’s game at some point.

HallofFrank

Presumably, he didn’t opt out (because we would have heard about it), which means the Sox likely (because he would have opted out otherwise) committed to calling him up soon. I’d be surprised if he didn’t start vs KC this week.

chipporter

Didn’t Gio’s move to the IL create the needed roster slot?

joewho112

Vaughn took it

metasox

according to transactions page, Sox just exchanged Cueto for Mendick

Augusto Barojas

Good to hear. Maybe he can hit better than some of these guys too!

Augusto Barojas

He’s getting the start tonight apparently.

tbsoxfan

The Reese McGuire 4x per week thing has been cute and fun, but at what point does he get nixed in favor of Perez? I remember hearing rave reviews of his game calling and intangibles, for what that’s worth, but now that he is hitting he may have some legit backup chops. I would love to see it-as good as McGuire has been on D, his bat is simply unplayable

HallofFrank

Maybe, but I still think the Sox should want to see more from each to consider a switch. Perez is interesting, but he’s also a guy who’s not on prospect radars, swings a lot, and has never been an offensive force before. Even over the last week, he’s (relatively, for him) cooled a bit: 3-21, HR, 2B, 2 Ks.

texag10

I mean, he’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to be doing. By most every metric I can find, he’s a top 5-10 catcher in the league defensively. That’s what we wanted. I just can’t over this bitching and moaning about McGuire when it’s really Abreu/Grandal/Pollock that need to get their heads out of their collective asses. If those 3 guys even hit at 80% of what they showed last year, McGuire being an offensive black hole is the price you pay for good defense.

metasox

Would like to see analysis of how the pitchers have fared under McGuire vs Grandal. Helping the pitchers would be further evidence of his value

jorgefabregas

Hard to quantify this, but the team is giving up 5.07 runs per 9 innings with Grandal behind the plate and 3.92 runs per 9 innings with McGuire behind the plate.

phillyd

McGuire has gotten all of Kopech’s starts which helps and Grandal has gotten most of Keuchel and Velasquez.

Trooper Galactus

Honestly, that speaks well of the work both of them are doing. Kopech isn’t the easiest sort of pitcher to catch, and it’s a wonder Keuchel and Velasquez haven’t already been DFA’d all things considered.

jorgefabregas

There are degrees to “offensive black hole.” Like 50 wRC+ is an offensive black hole. Mike Matheny’s worst offensive season was 40 wRC+. McGuire’s current -9 wRC+ is a different territory, although his xStats suggest that he’s been unlucky.

Last edited 1 month ago by jorgefabregas
Joliet Orange Sox

I think the argument that McGuire’s defense is worth his lack of offensive production so far just doesn’t hold water. He has a 0.322 OPS and an OPS+ of –3. That’s unplayable for anyone. Mark Belanger, whom I think of as the classic example of a extraordinary glove making up for a deficient bat, had a career OPS+ of 68.

If instead you make the argument that he’s shown a better bat in the past (career OPS of 0.638 and career OPS+ of 74), I think that is valid and in fact agree he should keep the backup catcher job.

However, I think if you make the argument that McGuire should be given time for his hitting to come around to his career levels, you have to give similar leeway to other players.

Last edited 1 month ago by Joliet Orange Sox
tbsoxfan

This is my thought. I genuinely enjoy watching McGuire catch, but he is hitting at such putrid levels that it makes him a net negative pretty comfortably. I’m not saying the plug needs to be pulled tomorrow, but if he gets to the 120 PA mark and is still running a WRC+ below 40, I’m not sure the Sox would have much of a choice, especially if Grandal’s knees necessitate him staying at DH as much as he has been already

Joliet Orange Sox

In a real world conversation about this, a friend who agrees with the position that McGuire’s defense is worth it even if his bat doesn’t improve just took the name of Ron Karkovice is vain.

Karko is a great example of a catcher whose defense was worth his poor bat but his career OPS+ was 81. McGuire doesn’t have to get his OPS+ all the way up to 81 for the defense to be worth it but he has to be above –3.

Billy Pierce had a career OPS+ of 19.

As Cirensica

McGuire will get out of there soon enough. The 53 OPS+ Yasmani carries. And the 47 OPS+ that Pollock carries, and the 74 OPS + Abreu carries. And the 43 OPS+ Harrison carries. And the 54 OPS+ that Leury carries…THERE…that’s where the problems are. McGuire can elevate his OPS+ to 60, and we’d still be losing all these games.

Adam Haseley’s OPS+ is higher than Leury’s, Harrison’s, Grandal’s and Pollock’s

tbsoxfan

“Get out of there” meaning the funk or the lineup? As I said, he’s not the sole problem or even close to it, but each player is independent of one another, and McGuire is in the unfortunate spot of being pretty easy to replace internally. Giving Perez a shot won’t make anybody else improve, but there’s no reason not to try to improve an area that you’re able to easily attempt to do so. I could be off base, but I’m not sure McGuire even gets claimed on waivers if it gets to that point

As Cirensica

…unfortunate spot of being pretty easy to replace internally…

I wouldn’t be so sure about that.

Also, Carlos Perez bat will impact very little if the aforementioned players on my post above keep hitting that bad.

Last edited 1 month ago by As Cirensica
Joliet Orange Sox

I agree with you that McGuire will likely hit more than he has so far. I agree with you that many other bats have severely underperformed so far this year.

The only position I am arguing against is that McGuire plays good enough defense that he is playable even if his bat does not improve.

As Cirensica

We both agree to agree. 😋

jhomeslice

Maybe Perez isn’t good enough defensively to get serious consideration. It’s also no given that he will hit well in the majors. But if this is close to how McGuire is going to hit, they have not solved their backup catching issues very well. Players need to both hit and field. If they are really, really bad at either of those things, they hurt the team more than they help generally.

His OPS this year is half of what Karko’s was for his career, ditto Collins/Zavala last year. That’s way below major league level even with great D, hence the negative WAR. WAR says he is about the same or slightly worse than those two overall, which seems about right. Which means basically they still have a hole at backup catcher, even if it is not their primary issue.

If their main guys don’t hit WAY better though, who their backup catcher is means very little. They’ve been outscored by almost a run per game so far, and are going to get buried if that doesn’t turn around significantly, and soon.

tbsoxfan

I don’t expect McGuire to be some world-beater, and I definitely think he’s an unfortunate recipient of overexposure so far this season. It is, however, worth reevaluating who you’re giving ~300 PA to when that guy has a negative WRC+ and an xwOBA of .233 in a year that xwOBA runs optimistic.

HallofFrank

You’re definitely right about this. But you also can’t really blame Sox fans for trying to find replacements where they can. What are we supposed to say about Abreu and Grandal? “Hit better,” I guess. But the team-wide struggles mean any upgrade is welcome. Right now, SP, C, and 2B are the only positions where there is a conceivable, even semi-realistic replacement in-house. That’s why we hear so much about those positions from Sox fans—and understandably so.

texag10

Why the hell is Perez considered reasonable though? He was a league average bat last year who’s major revamp appears to be “swing at everything” and has large question marks on his defensive ability outside of this website. We literally just replaced Collins and everyone appears to be chomping at the bit to get v2.0 because McGuire has been slow to start like half the roster. If everyone else gets their shit together and McGuire is still running a wRc+ in the single digits by the All Star break, I might reconsider my position. As of right now though, people need to calm the hell down because McGuire is not the problem on this roster.

tbsoxfan

There are more and bigger problems on the offense, but McGuire plays a lot, so his performance should be exposed to some amount of scrutiny. Even if he was expected to be below league average, a guy with a -9 WRC+ lends himself to review as we near the quarter pole. He is not the sole problem, but there’s no reason to ignore his lack of production just because others also deserve criticism.

Perez swinging freely is nothing new, he would more than likely be on the Astudillo to Kirk pantheon of catcher bats who do not walk nor strike out (Closer to Astudillo than Kirk, who does walk a bit upon review). His penchant for contact, especially the quality of contact he’s shown since winter ball, means he’s probably got a reasonable floor offensively. This is very, very far from a Zack Collins profile.

Longenhagen also blurbed Perez as being a “good receiver” in his 2022 prospect rankings, and has put up pretty strong CS and PB rates. He’s not a Collins/Zavala level defender.

Last edited 1 month ago by tbsoxfan
texag10

Collins ran a 140 wRC+ in AAA compared to the 138 that Perez is running. Collins also had a much longer track record of hitting in the minors compared to Perez. They may have gone about it in different ways but Collins had a much better pedigree as a hitter than Perez does.

HallofFrank

I completely agree. When I brought this up last week, Jim made the fair point that Perez’s profile is a little more encouraging because he doesn’t strike out—and add that to competent defense. But what he lacks (compared to Collins, at least) in Ks he makes up for in lack of BBs and power.

I think it’s a fair comparison and I’m tempering my excitement about Perez. But I’m also not anti-Perez, and there are enough reasons to think he’ll be a better MLB catcher than prospect-Collins.

texag10

I’m not anti-Perez by any stretch but every damn day there is a comment about replacing McGuire with Perez. No one is talking about benching Abreu for Sheets/Vaughn so he can get his shit together even though it probably boosts the offense in the short term.

Trooper Galactus

Collins also struck out almost a third of the time in the minors.

HallofFrank

As I said in my first comment to , I agree with you: it’s too early to replace McGuire with Perez. And as I said last week, I think the hype train for Perez is running a little too fast at the moment.

But my point here is that arguing McGuire vs. Perez (or Cueto vs. Velsquez or Yolbert vs. Harrison) is all we have right now. Everybody agrees with your first comment: Abreu, Grandal, Pollock, and co. need to get it together and start hitting. But in the meantime, you can’t blame Sox fans for looking for offensive replacements in the only place they even *might* find them.

As Cirensica

We don’t need Perez. We don’t need his bat. We need Abreu, Yaz, etc to start hitting. We also need Yaz to start catching more. McGuire is just a backup catcher. We need a competent catcher (as in receiver) as a back up, we got that. We didn’t have that last year Reese is NOT even close to be the White Sox problem.

HallofFrank

I mean, yes, of course, but are you reading my comments? My point is not that who plays backup catcher is among the Sox most pressing issues. My point is, rather, that these debates—who is the backup catcher or 2B or 5th SP—may be meaningless (they aren’t the real problem) but they are the only debate worth having (they are the only positions that could change).

So, yes, of course: Abreu, Yaz, and Pollock need to hit. And until they do, this team will underperform. But what am I, as a commenter on Sox Machine, supposed to say to that? “Hit better, guys?”

The debates worth hashing out—insofar as any debate on the internet with worth having—is should the Sox replace McGuire, Garcia/Harrison, or VV/Keuchel/Cueto? Those are the only positions where (a) a change conceivably could be made soon and (b) there is an internal option worth at least considering. They may only be marginal improvements, but they are the only internal improvements in the FO’s control right now.

As Cirensica

The debates worth hashing out—insofar as any debate on the internet with worth having—is should the Sox replace McGuire, Garcia/Harrison, or VV/Keuchel/Cueto? 

McGuire => No
Garcia => No
Harrison => Yes (should have never signed him)
VV = > Hell yes
Keuchel => No
Cueto => We don’t know yet

HallofFrank

Okay, well, people on here disagree with you on some of those points, which is why it’s a debate. I don’t think anyone on here thinks Abreu, Grandal, and Pollock are hitting just fine.

As Cirensica

This. The White Sox should be able to carry McGuire light bat without an issue, but with many other stars failing to deliver, McGuire becomes an easy target.

jorgefabregas

Fangraphs rest of season ZiPS and Steamer projections seem to be all messed up right now, in case anyone is checking those for minor leaguers this morning.

The messed up Steamer makes it seem like the White Sox have 20 major league average or better hitters in their system right now.

https://www.fangraphs.com/projections.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&type=steamerr&team=4&lg=all&players=0&sort=21%2cd

Generally the projections seem to be about 15-20 wRC+ higher than they should be.

a-t

I would hazard a guess that this is a result of the deadened ball in the majors not being used in the minors. The computer can’t tell that the offensive environment is that different in the bigs.

HallofFrank

I, for one, prefer the simpler explanation: that Tyler Neslony really would run a 121 wRC+ in Chicago right now.

jorgefabregas

Yes, something like that, but that doesn’t explain why they think Josh Harrison will be above average at the plate!