After roughly one month of professional baseball, it is time to check in on how some of the White Sox minor leaguers have fared. With expectations set low for the worst ranked farm system in the MLB, the Sox have seen many more positives than negatives, providing hope that a few of these guys will break out and get more national recognition. Through the first month, many of the Sox prospects, especially the hitters, have exceeded expectations, while some still have some work to do.
Here are some of the standouts – both positive and negative – from the first month of MiLB play.
Bryan Ramos (A+): .403/.449/.653, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 13 BB, 4 K
No one in the Sox system has seen their stock rise quite as high as Ramos this season. Coming out of the gates with an absurd 1.102 OPS and a 190 wRC+ in High-A Winston-Salem, Ramos is absolutely destroying the opposing pitching so far. While he could stand to draw a few more walks, his K% is at a career low and his raw power is showing up more than it ever has in his young career. Still only 20 years old, I fully expect national outlets to take notice of Ramos by mid-season.
Yolbert Sanchez (AA/AAA): .361/.489/.389, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 11 K, 15 BB
If it weren’t for the absurd season Ramos is having right now, Sanchez would be at the top of this list. Double A pitching was no match for him in April, as he put up a .353 BA and an .880 OPS before getting called up to Triple-A Charlotte. He is picking up right where he left off at that level as well, although he is showing very little in the power department. His contact skills are off the charts though, and he is drawing walks at an above average rate as well. With his ability to get on base with his advanced glove, it is easy to envision him manning 2B for the Sox in the not-so-distant future.
Carlos Perez (AAA): .304/.333/.557, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 1 K, 4 BB
The 25-year-old back stop may have been in consideration for the backup job at the major league level if it weren’t for the Reese McGuire trade. Starting off in Triple A Charlotte, Perez already has 5 home runs and an .890 OPS. Incredibly, for all that power, he has also only struck out once. He has split time with Seby Zavala behind the plate, but his bat is clearly good enough to earn a shot at the big-league roster sooner rather than later. In many respects, the White Sox may have their replacement for Yasmani Grandal once his contract ends – but there is still time before that.
Lenyn Sosa (AA): .324/.407/.432, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 14 K, 8 BB
One of the more underrated prospects in the system, the White Sox have been relatively aggressive with his development plan. Playing in Double-A Birmingham at only 22 years old, he has played 2B, 3B, and SS while more than holding his own at the plate with .324 BA and an .839 OPS. While he may never develop more than average power, Sosa’s abilities at the plate are developing well and he has a chance to be a future big league utility man.
Adam Hackenberg (A+): .263/.328/.474, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 12 K, 5 BB
After being selected in the 18th round of the 2021 First Year Player Draft, Hackenberg is starting to look like an absolute steal. The 22-year-old backstop is taking the majority of reps behind the plate in High-A Winston-Salem and is hitting for both average and power so far in the first month of the season. If he keeps this up, it won’t be too long before he receives a call up to Double-A.
Sean Burke (A+): 18.2 IP, 2.89 ERA, .242 BAA, 23 K, 11 BB
The White Sox 3rd round pick last year is off to a hot start in his young career. With a 2.89 ERA and an 11.09 K/9, Sean Burke is doing everything he can to establish himself as the top pitching prospect in the system. He is still struggling with walks, and his FIP and xFIP suggest that he is due for some regression, it is easy to get excited by what we have seen out of him so far.
Cristian Mena (A): 17.1 IP, 2.60 ERA, .175 BAA, 22 K, 2 BB
Cristian Mena might have the most upside of any pitcher in the Sox organization. In April, he posted a 2.60 ERA and showcased his impressive swing and miss ability with an 11.42 K/9. One would expect a 19-year-old pitcher making his full season debut to struggle with command, but he is even impressing in that area by limiting his BB/9 rate to a miniscule 1.04. He is looking like a home run international signing and should be rising up national rankings soon.
Wes Kath (A): .172/.284/.219, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 26 K, 10 BB
There were some lofty expectations for the White Sox 2nd round pick, with some outlets stating that they preferred him to Colson Montgomery. Unfortunately, he has failed to live up to those expectations so far in his young career. He currently has a .172 BA and has failed to show off his power potential in his first taste of full season pro ball. He still possesses a lot of upside, however, and still has plenty of time to turn his season around.
Jose Rodriguez (AA): .216/.266/.351, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 17 K, 4 BB
Many had just as high of hopes for Jose Rodriguez coming into this season as they did for top prospects Colson Montgomery and Oscar Colas. Unfortunately, his start to the 2022 season has been a bit underwhelming with only a .216 BA and a below average 74 wRC+. He has started to turn his season around as of late with a couple of multi-hit games, and it is perfectly reasonable for a 21 year old to need a bit of an adjustment period at the Double A level, especially in Birmingham’s pitcher friendly ball park. I expect him to make adjustments and be on the stock upside of these reports in no time.
Andrew Dalquist (A+): 16.1 IP, 7.71 ERA, .313 BAA, 12 K, 12 BB
Dalquist has had a rough start to his career, and his struggles have continued into 2022 so far. He currently boasts a less than stellar 7.71 and isn’t missing the bats the way his stuff would suggest he should be. Hopefully he can turn it around, and at only 21 years old, he’s not exactly running out of time to figure it out yet.
Others Players of Note
Oscar Colas (A+): .301/.363/.480, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 17 K, 7 BB
Colas is off to a rock-solid start to his career in an MLB organization. He currently is in possession of a batting average just above .300 and an above average 128 wRC+ in High-A Winston-Salem. He isn’t in the stock up category quite yet, however, because he was expected to hit against a lower level of competition, and we would like to see a bit more of that massive power potential (although that has started to finally show up recently). Overall, it is an encouraging start to his career.
Colson Montgomery (A): .236/.353/.382, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 14 K, 9 BB
The White Sox most recent 1st round pick and top overall prospect has gotten off to an adequate start to his career. His .236 BA and lack of in game power has been a bit disappointing, but he has stuck at shortstop and has shown an advanced feel at the plate with a 13% walk rate and 110 wRC+. He is still adjusting to pro ball, and his loud tools haven’t disappeared overnight, so there is no need to be concerned about his long-term outlook.
Yoelqui Cespedes (AA): .253/.277/.481, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 22 K, 2 BB
Cespedes has been solid to start the year with a .253 BA and 4 home runs in Double-A Birmingham. However, his 11:1 K:BB ratio is a bit concerning and is a big part of the reason his wRC+ is only a tick above average at 108. He hasn’t been disappointing by any means, but expectations were sky high after his impressive showing during Spring Training. It will be up to him to show a bit more plate discipline as the season continues.
Jared Kelley (A): 8.2 IP, 4.15 ERA, .219 BAA, 8 K, 6 BB
Jared Kelley has been a mixed bag to start the 2022 season. He has had one bad start, one okay start, and one very good start, so the jury is still out on which of the three will show up the most this season. The main thing with Kelley is that he is healthy, which is something he struggled with last season. As long as it stays that way, he can continue to develop his frontline potential.
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