With the deadline to add certain prospects to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from being eligible for the Rule 5 draft approaching, the White Sox have selected the contracts of two of their top pitching prospects.
Jake Eder was acquired at the trade deadline this past season for Jake Burger. He missed all of the 2022 season while recovering from Tommy John Surgery, and had his 2023 debut with the Marlins delayed due to a broken foot. He struggled during his stint in the White Sox organization, ending the season with a 6.35 ERA, but showed his ability to miss bats with 70 strikeouts in 56.2 innings. He also participated in the Arizona Fall League this offseason.
Cristian Mena came into this season as one of the top pitchers in the White Sox organization. He debuted at the Double-A level in 2022 and spent most of the season there in 2023 as a 20-year-old. He held a 4.66 ERA at that level through 114 innings, but also struck out 136 batters and was praised by talent evaluators for his ability to compete against much older competition. He had a brief stint to end the season in Triple-A with the Charlotte Knights and is expected to begin at that level in 2024.
The Rule 5 Draft allows for teams to select players with an eligible number of years in the minor leagues from their current team. The only stipulation is that they must remain on their new team’s 26-man roster for the entirety of the season, or else be returned to their original team. Hence, most teams will only select players they believe could potentially pitch in the majors for a full season. For the White Sox, they have left players such as Wilfred Veras, Juan Carela, and Matthew Thompson unprotected, meaning they could be among the players teams could select in the Rule 5 Draft on December 6. However, the White Sox leaving them unprotected means they deem them unlikely to be chosen. Last year, the White Sox selected RHP Nick Avila from the Giants in the Rule 5 Draft but returned him to the Giants after he did not make the White Sox’s roster out of Spring Training.
With these roster moves, the White Sox 40-man roster now sits at 37. It is possible that the Sox add more prospects before the 5:00 deadline, so stay tuned for updates as we keep a close eye on the situation as it progresses.
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