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MiLB Preview – 5 Names to Know: AAA Charlotte Knights

by Michael Suareo

The White Sox are long past their rebuild, and their top prospects have all graduated on to the major leagues. Many media outlets now consider the Sox minor league farm system to be among the worst of all 30 teams (for the best possible reason). With that being said, there are still prospects at each level who have the potential to reach the majors and even be a key contributor. In this article series, I will go through each of the White Sox full season minor league teams and indicate 5 names who should be on everyone’s radar.

First up is the Triple A Charlotte Knights. This minor league affiliate probably possesses the least amount of high-end talent on the surface; however, several players possess certain skillsets that could allow them to fill in much needed roles for a major league ball club. Injuries occur every year, and these players can end up becoming extremely valuable depth pieces.

Jake Burger, 3B

2021 Stats (Triple A): 82 G, 340 PA, 18 HR, .274 AVG, .845 OPS, 122 WRC+

2021 Stats (MLB): 15 G, 42 PA, 1 HR, .263 AVG, .807 OPS, 120 wRC+

Not much needs to be said about Jake Burger at this point. He had an unbelievable comeback season from two torn achilleas injuries to establish himself as an MLB-ready 3B. His only problem now is that he is currently blocked from a role on the big-league club. Burger will be starting this season on the Charlotte Knights, but it wouldn’t shock me to see multiple front offices being interested in him as a long-term solution at the hot corner.

Romy Gonzalez, UTIL

2021 Stats (Double A, Triple A): 93 G, 404 PA, 24 HR, 24 SB, .283 AVG, .896 OPS, 144 wRC+

2021 Stats (MLB): 10 G, 33 PA, .250 AVG, .616 OPS, 67 wRC+

I thought Romy Gonzalez had a strong chance to make the White Sox opening day roster, so his inclusion on this list is a bit of a surprise. Gonzalez is a versatile player who can play just about anywhere on the field (he even recorded a strikeout for the White Sox in 2021). His bat, however, is what made headlines in the minors last season. He put up impressive power and contact numbers in 2021 between Double A and Triple A, and he has very little left to prove at those levels. The Sox have a plethora of talented right-handed hitters, but his defensive versatility and his abilities at the late will make it hard for them to keep Romy off of the big league roster for too long. Expect to see him get called back up soon.

Adam Haseley, OF

2021 Stats (Triple A): 41 G, 170 PA, 3 HR, 7 SB, .224 AVG, .577 OPS, 57 wRC+

2021 Stats (MLB): 9 G, 21 PA, .190 AVG, .429 OPS, 10 wRC+

The recently acquired Adam Haseley might not have put up inspiring numbers in his big league career, however he is a prime change of scenery candidate who could have some untapped potential left. A former top 10 pick and highly regarded prospect, Haseley was lauded for his advanced hitting ability and ability to stick in CF. He hit very well in Double-A and Triple-A back in 2019 before he lost a minor league season due to Covid, and a few adjustments could get him back on track to at least be a useful depth outfielder.

Laz Rivera, SS

2021 Stats (Doule A, Triple A): 65 G, 239 PA, 7 HR, 9 SB, .275 AVG, .766 OPS, 111 wRC+

Laz Rivera has been overlooked in this farm system for some time, but he has come from a 28th round pick to a player who could be ready to fill in as depth for the big-league club if called upon. The 27-year-old SS has a consistent bat that has plenty of doubles power, and he is also adequate on the base paths. He had a strong debut in Triple-A last season with a .317 batting average during his stint there, and might not have much left to prove in the minors. He could be another utility man candidate in the near future.

Anderson Severino, RP

2021 Stats (Double A, Triple A): 40 G, 45.2 IP, 2.36 ERA, 10.45 K/9, 6.31 BB/9

After a long minor league stint with the Yankees where he failed to advance above their High-A affiliate, Severino was picked up by the Sox and they immediately tested him with an assignment to Double-A Birmingham. He appeared to be up for the task, holding his own with a 3.13 ERA there and even earning a promotion to Triple-A where he fared even better with a 0.64 ERA. He still has some consistency issues and walks way too many batters, but he also possesses strong swing and miss stuff and could contribute in the bullpen soon.

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Featured Image: Laura Wolff Photography / Twitter

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