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Which Minor League Players Can Help the White Sox Right Now?

by Michael Suareo

This season has fallen short of expectations thus far for the White Sox, to say the least. The White Sox are currently under .500 and are deploying multiple replacement level players on an everyday basis. There are several players down in Triple-A or even Double-A who fans have been clamoring for the Sox to bring up to help stop the bleeding.

While it is ambitious to think these players can make an immediate impact at the highest level, there are several players in the minors who might have a chance to replicate some of their MLB counterparts’ value. Here are some names to get familiar with in hopes they might find their way to the big-league level at some point in the near future.

Carlos Perez (C)

2022 Stats (Triple-A): .272/.319/.474, 9 HRs, 36 RBIs

It is no secret that Yasmani Grandal has been far from his usual self at the plate this season. Whether he is playing through an injury or battling through a slump, he is obviously working through some things at the plate. Backup catcher Reese Mcguire has been a viable option behind the plate defensively, but provides little value to the lineup offensively and probably plays more often than he should. A temporary change might be necessary here.

Carlos Perez currently leads the Triple-A Charlotte Knights with 9 home runs while holding a .793 OPS and a 108 wRC+. He has also been praised by scouts for his abilities behind the plate, so he has very little left to prove in the minors. If Grandal is currently playing through some sort of injury, a stint on the IL makes sense to get him right and give Perez a crack at helping this team.

Yolbert Sanchez (INF)

2022 Stats (Double-A and Triple-A): .315/.411/.370, 1 HR, 2 SB

The second base position has been a glaring hole for the White Sox since last season, and the players who have filled the position since Nick Madrigal‘s injury haven’t provided much value. Josh Harrison has been a disappointing offseason addition, while Leury Garcia operates much better as a bench player rather than a full-time regular. Whether or not Rick Hahn or Tony La Russa agrees, a change at this position is necessary.

Yolbert Sanchez has proven himself this year between Double-A and Triple-A, being an above .300 hitter while limiting his strikeouts and providing more than capable defense at both second base and shortstop. An argument can be made that he is the best second base option currently in the entire White Sox organization. At the very least, he deserves a look over the current placeholders.

Lenyn Sosa (INF)

2022 Stats (Double-A): .340/.390/.560, 11 HR, 39 RBI

Another second base option in the White Sox organization, Lenyn Sosa has been one of the biggest breakout performers in the minors this season. At only 22 years old, he has hit 11 home runs with a .340 batting average, and is currently sporting a .949 OPS with a 145 wRC+. While still only in Double-A, an argument can be made that his numbers have been so impressive that a stop in the hitter-friendly Truist Field is unnecessary. He carries more risk than Yolbert Sanchez, but there is no doubt he also has a lot more upside.

Mark Payton (OF)

2022 Stats (Triple-A): .298/.373/.506, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 4 SB

While he may be a lesser-known name to many Sox fans, Mark Payton has arguably been the best hitter for the Charlotte Knights this season. At 30 years old, he has 8 years of experience playing for several organizations, including two brief stints in the MLB. This season, he holds a .298/.373/.506 slash line while playing both corner outfield spots. The Sox are in need of more firepower against right-handed pitchers, so his lefty bat could provide a spark to the lineup. The downside is that in limited major league experience, he hasn’t found his footing (.175/.250/.200 in 48 PAs from 2018-2019).

Adam Haseley (OF)

2022 Stats (Triple-A): .273/.346/.473, 7 HR, 10 SB

White Sox fans have already seen Haseley for a stint in the Majors, but he seems to have figured some things out at the plate since being sent back down. During his second stint in Triple-A, Haseley is putting up some really good numbers at the plate: a .291 batting average, .902 OPS, 7 home runs, and 10 stolen bases. While Gavin Sheets seems to hold a regular role in the lineup, due to his struggles, Haseley may be able to offer at least just as much at the plate right now while providing much better defense in the outfield.

Zach Muckenhirn (LHP)

2022 Stats (Triple-A): 19.2 IP, 1.83 ERA, 9.61 K/9, 2.29 BB/9

Things seem to have clicked for Zach Muckenhirn since joining the White Sox organization. Originally drafted by Baltimore in 2016, he was signed as a minor league free agent in May of 2021. Since then, Muckenhirn has posted a sub 2.00 ERA while generating over 9.0 K/9 and cutting down his walk rate between Double-A and Triple-A. While he has only logged roughly 20 innings this season in Triple A Charlotte, the 27-year-old RHP is making a case to replace one of the current middle relievers on the White Sox.

Hunter Schryver (LHP)

2022 Stats (Triple A): 10.1 IP, 2.61 ERA, 10.45 K/9, 0.87 BB/9

The White Sox acquired Hunter Schryver from the Tampa Bay Rays back in 2018. Since then, he has had a bit of an up and down minor league stint, but has maintained obvious upside. He has really improved his play so far in 2022 with a 2.61 ERA and 10.45 K/9 while only issuing one walk in 10.1 IP. He is another player who might deserve a look over some current bullpen arms for the Sox, although the club might want him to log more innings before coming to that decision.

None of these minor league options should be considered instant solutions to the White Sox current struggles. In addition, in order to bring most of these players up to Chicago, the team would need to designate players on the current 40-man roster for assignment. Doing so comes with the risk of losing players to waivers, which makes the decision to call up any of these players additionally difficult.

The roster is still talented, however, and just needs some pieces to provide enough production to allow the core of this team to succeed. With several currently rostered players providing net-negative production, one of these minor league players could come in and provide the spark this team is looking for. Make sure to keep an eye out for them as the season progresses.

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Featured Image: @laurawolffphoto / Twitter

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James Clemens

Sosa would appear to deserve an MLB opportunity.DK about his defense or arm strength but he’s been hitting around .350 after more than 200 AB.

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