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Chicago White Sox 2009 Minor League Review
Overall farm rankings according to Baseball America (2009)
2009 (16) | 2008 (28) | 2007 (26) | 2006 (14) | 2005 (12) | 2004 (20)

Record of Major and Minor league teams
MLB: [86 – 77] AL Central
AAA: [67 – 76] International League
AA: [92 – 47] Southern League
A+: [73 – 65] Carolina League
A: [82 – 57] South Atlantic League
R: [42 – 34] Pioneer League
R: [27 – 39] Appalachian League

The Run Down
With one of the better rookies of 2009 in Gordon Beckham, and there is an argument that he should have won Rookie of the Year, the White Sox are still in desperate need to become younger. Trading away several top arms for Jake Peavy has seriously weakened the depth of the team’s minor league system. Granted, with Peavy, Buehrle, Floyd and Danks, the White Sox have a nice looking rotation in a rather weak division; especially if youngsters Dan Hudson or Carlos Torres pitch well. So the depth is poor, but the top is heavy. With Tyler Flowers, Dan Hudson, and Jordan Danks, the Sox have young studs. No, I didn’t forget about Dayan Viciedo, he is just an afterthought this year. That’s what happens when your weight may rival your batting average – granted a .280 batting average is still decently pleasant. White Sox fans, don’t look too deep or you might find out why Ken Williams is being questioned for his constant trading.

Graduating Prospects
#1 – (3B) Gordon Beckham

Arizona Fall League Players – Peoria Javelinas
Pitchers – Justin Cassel, Matt Long, Jacob Rasner, Sergio Santos
Hitters – #4 (3B) Dayan Viciedo, #7 (CF) Jordan Danks, #29 (2B/3B) CJ Retherford

Players of Interest
Hitters
#4 Tyler Flowers | C | AA/AAA | 23 | .297/.423/.516 | 353 AB | 28 2B | 15 HR | .219 ISO | 108:67 K:BB | .396 BABIP | 47.8 GB% | 18.8 LD% | 33.5 FB%
Received in Javier Vazquez trade to Atlanta last winter (What kind of scouting do the Braves have that they have so many catchers to trade (i.e. Salty and Flowers)?), Flowers is penciled in as the future catcher of the Sox. With A.J. Pierzynski’s contract ending after this season (2010), a midseason call up should be expected. He only had 105 ABs at Triple-A, but still hit fairly well (.286/.364/.433). His strikeout rates are worrisome (~30.5 K%) as is his extremely high BABIP (.396). He has a career .358 BABIP in 1267 AB in the minors. For the 2010 season, he has 2009 Miguel Montero-like potential.

#7 Jordan Danks | CF | A+/AA | 22 | .266/.359/.405 | 402 AB | 23 2B | 9 HR | .139 ISO | 12/4 SB/CS | 105:55 K:BB | .334 BABIP | 50.8 GB% | 18.8 LD% | 30.4 FB%
The little brother of John Danks, Jordan plays good defense, lacks power, and has many scouts see-sawing on his future. Some scouts believe he will be able to add more homers and power once he adds more bulk to his frame, while others completely disagree, noting specifically his sketchy swing mechanics. The 2009 scouting report said he should hit for average, and he did in 118 AB in High-A (.322/.409/.525) but struggled mightily in Double-A (.243/.337/.356 in 284 AB). His strikeout rate is worth noting, but he walks a fair amount too. He kind of reminds me of Denard Span – had a lot of hype, loses favor, and then surprises later than expected. He is more of a dark horse/sleeper after his dismal 2009 season.

#2 Dayan Viciedo | 3B | AA | 20 | .280/.317/.391 | 504 AB | 20 2B | 12 HR | .111 ISO | 89:22 K:BB | .319 BABIP | 55.2 GB% | 16.4 LD% | 28.2 FB%
Grey mentioned Dayan Viciedo in early November and I mentioned him back in mid-June. Viciedo, if you listened to the hype, was a complete flop. However, if his age is legit, he played really well at Double-A. His power numbers were not quite what everyone was expecting, but that is what happens when you hit more than half of your balls on the ground. In 2010, he needs to put a bit more lift on his swing to see more success. He didn’t walk enough, however, his strikeout rate was respectable (17.7%). Triple-A pitching is next, and if he can adjust accordingly, a late season call-up (or an injury replacement if he is succeeding) would be expected. In dynasty leagues, now is your time to buy low.

#29 C.J. Retherford | 2B/3B | AA | 23 | .297/.340/.473 | 478 AB | 46 2B | 10 HR | .176 ISO | 70:30 K:BB | .328 BABIP | 39.9 GB% | 20.3 LD% | 39.7 FB%
With Brent Morel and Viciedo looking to lock up third and first base for the future, the Sox moved Retherford to second this year. He may have been a low ranked prospect in 2009, but his play moved him into the top of the Sox farm system. With Beckham at second, Retherford will need to repeat 2009 to solidify his rising prospect rating. He doesn’t have great speed and his defense is, at best, slightly above average (and his third base defense is marginal). Truly, Retherford could eventual provide late round depth at second base in terms of fantasy if he could hit .280/.350/.425 with 10 to 15 homers a year.

Pitchers
#24 Dan Hudson | RHP | A/A+/AA/AAA | 22 | 10.1 K/9 | 2.6 BB/9 | 147 1/3 IP | 2.32 RA | 2.43 FIP | .94 WHIP | .3 HR/9 | .288 BABIP | 42.1 GB% | 18.7 LD% | 33.8 FB%
If Flowers wasn’t on this team, Dan Hudson would easily be the top prospect in the system. Rising through the entire minor leagues last year, Hudson dominated at each level. Even his BABIP wasn’t extremely low, aiding his case for prospect breakout player of the year. His worst stop in the minors was in Triple-A at the end of the summer when he saw his walk rate skyrocket (3.4 BB/9), which was the highest since Single-A (2.6 BB/9). Although, he only pitched 24 innings at Triple-A, he was called-up in September and threw 18 1/3 inning with a strikeout rate of 6.8 K/9 and a walk rate of 4.3 BB/9. He has always been a good pitcher, but his senior year of baseball (2008), he slumped and when he was drafted he pitched really well (90 strikeouts in 70 IP). Look for him to compete for the last starting rotation spot in spring training with Carlos Torres. Don’t be shocked to see him start at Triple-A to save service time. If you want the next rookie stud, look no further. He has a low 90’s fastball with tailing effects to lefties and a riding in effect to righties, an average slider, and a spotty change-up (pre-2009 scouting report).

#25 Carlos Torres | RHP | AAA | 26 | 9.1 K/9 | 3.9 BB/9 | 128 IP | 2.39 ERA | 3.04 FIP | 1.19 WHIP | .3 HR/9 | .279 BABIP | 47.6 FB% | 20.2 LD% | 28.5 FB%
He received several starts in 2009 for the White Sox (28 1/3 IP) and pitched admirably. Note that admirably doesn’t mean well. This is just a heads up mention as Torres has a good fastball, a plus cutter, and the experience to help the White Sox in 2010. He is worth a late round flier.

#11 John Ely | RHP | AA | 23 | 7.2 K/9 | 2.9 BB/9 | 156 1/3 IP | 2.82 ERA | 3.68 FIP | 1.22 WHIP | .5 HR/9 | .296 BABIP | 50.5 GB% | 16.4 LD% | 28.9 FB%
His fastball sits between 88 and 94 mph with good movement, a 12-to-6 curve that fluctuates between being an “out” pitch and a “show me” pitch. Nothing spectacular, but nothing to scoff at either. As long as he keeps his pitches down, he should be a back end pitcher. Look only for him in the majors if there is a rash of injuries to the rotation.

Honorable Mentions
Hitters
Christian Marrero | 1B | A+/AA | 22 | .308/.348/.501 | 455 AB | 30 2B | 18 HR | .193 ISO | 94:24 K:BB | .353 BABIP | 44.2 GB% | 20.5 LD% | 35.3 FB%
He laced balls all over the field (20.5 LD%) while hitting his way to gain attention in the baseball world. Splitting the year at High-A and Double-A, Marrero pounded out hit after hit. His ISO raised between his promotion (.168 to .219), as did his walk rates. He’ll start the year in Double-A. Eventually, Marrero could replace Konerko, or platoon with another first basemen. Don’t be surprised to see him, Morel or Retherford used as trade bait.

Stefan Gartrell | OF | AA/AAA | 25 | .281/.358/.513 | 474 AB | 31 2B | 23 HR | .232 ISO | 128:53 K:BB | .340 BABIP | 45.5 GB% | 18.8 LD% | 35.7 FB%
Gartrell mainly played at Double-A. His age is working against him, his strikeouts too. His power on the other hand, definitely playing in his favor. If Jones doesn’t play well, Gartrell might be an option for a rather underachieving outfield gang.

#17 Brent Morel | 3B | A+ | 22 | .281/.335/.453 | 4481 AB | 33 2B | 16 HR | .172 ISO | 25/9 SB/CS | 66:38 K:BB | .304 BABIP | 44.3 GB% | 16.8 LD% | 38.5 FB%
A level too low for a “Player of Interest” mention, Morel projects to play the opposite corner of Viciedo. With good plate discipline, above average power, and good range with a plus arm, Morel is on the fast track to the majors. Look for him to play at Double-A, and potentially Triple-A in 2010.

Pitchers
#16 Jhonny Nunez | RHP | AA/AAA | 23 | 10.1 K/9 | 3.3 BB/9 | 70 2/3 IP | 2.55 ERA | 3.36 FIP | 1.18 WHIP | .8 HR/9 | .307 BABIP | 30.7 GB% | 22.8 LD% | 40.7 FB%
Used primarily as a reliever, Nunez pitched well this year. He was once a pitcher, however, his stuff (a mid 90’s fastball and a power slider) works better as a reliever – mainly because of his inconsistencies and inability to develop a solid third pitch.

Dan Remenowsky | RHP | A | 23 | 15.5 K/9 | 2.3 BB/9 | 63 1/3 IP | 1.99 ERA | 1.63 FIP | .88 WHIP | .4 HR/9 | .319 BABIP | 39 GB% | 13 LD% | 43.9 FB%
Easily the pitcher with the numbers that jump out and poke you in the eye. He is a bit older than his competition, and he’ll need to repeat his season to gain any kind of higher ranking or notoriety.

Stephen Sauer | RHP | A | 22| 7.8 K/9 | 1.2 BB/9 | 142 IP | 3.36 ERA | 2.79 FIP | 1.28 WHIP |.3 HR/9 | .363 BABIP | 56.3 GB% | 15.8 LD% | 21.7 FB%
I like his ground ball rate, and that is why he is here (along with adequate numbers too). His BABIP was a bit high (adjusted for his lower FIP), but his control, ground ball rate, and overall solid numbers makes him someone to watch.

  1. Good reporting. It can’t be a good thing when your top prospect (Tyler Flowers) sounds like a female porn star….

  2. Stephen says:
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    @Rudy Gamble: A better name then say, oh, Jaff Deckr for the Padres.

  3. Quintero says:
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    @Stephen: Nice write-up and a very informative reply…Are they gonna start Quentin at DH? Jones’ UZR always looks pretty, unlike Quentin’s…Not a very sexy outfield either way…Love Dayan Viciedo…one of the few player I “scouted” before they were signed…by “scouted”, I mean CubaVision International TV and World Baseball Classic…..

  4. Josue says:
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    Ely is now on the Dodgers.

  5. cws05nuts says:
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    Nice job. I’m skeptical on FLowers. The Braves never really seem to let any elite prospect really go. He didn’t work everyday when he got his shot last year but from what we saw it was pretty dismal. He should probably replace Konerko at 1b and not catch.

    Hudson will be the man.

    Torres was absolutely terrible in the 2 games I watched him pitch last year.

    The Teahan move blows. Just a way for Kenny to save cash after peavy/rios.

    I’m worried about Jenks continuing to overeat and even more so with less competition at the post game buffet without Bartolo. Linebrink is a big problem. Kenny please trade Jenks!

    No worries though omar vizquel and Jones will put the 10 cws on their backs and carry them to the al central crown.

    Skepticism and homerism aside. I think the cws have a shot to compete for the division in 2010. Tribe sucks, Twins still suck, KC not worth mentioning, and the Tigers sure didn’t get any better. The cws have a decent staff but the defense is still going to plague the starters and relievers. Got to pick up the ball and make outs to win. Especially with Floyd and Buehrle. Speaking of which that is what made Buehrle’s perfect game even more remarkable was the defense behind him in 09.

    I’ll take the easy way and say 81-81. .500 is usually right around what it takes to be competitive in the ole al central. They just won’t hit enough homeruns and produce enough with what they got and the loss of JD’s annual numbers.

  6. Stephen says:
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    @Josue: Thanks for the correction.

    @cws05nuts: The Braves have given up great talent before. Remember the Teixeira trade? Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison. Don’t write off Flowers just on a September call up. Furthermore, not every prospect shines on their first sniff of the major leagues. The Teahan trade may actually be more helpful than realized as Teahan is quite versatile and would be a sufficient utility player. Just a random fact, Teahan was part of the Carlos Betran to the Mets deal for KC.

    The AL Central may be mediocre, however, the Sox aren’t a lock to win this division. The bullpen has question marks and the lineup isn’t quite as potent as before. This is because there are quite a few under achievers (Rios, Jones, Teahan). The Tigers and the Twins will also compete for the division too. It will be mediocre teams battling for the AL Central and a first round exit in 2010.

  7. cws05nuts says:
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    @Stephen: I agree. It highlights the problem with what I said and generalizing. My point was more or less Schuerholz doesn’t make too many mistakes. And don’t forget Salty in that trade either! But it was contextual. The Braves were going for it to cash in the 30mil from winning the Series and increase the franchise’s equity. Moreover, they had surplus of goods with Smoltz, Hudson, Jurrjens, Hanson and Medlen. Andrus is a head scratch but Escobar has been adequate.

    I don’t know about Teahen. KC couldn’t afford his services. They need homeruns and not mediocrity. Top ten sim scores: (I don’t need another season of Rob Mackowiak and the name mike clamb still makes me laugh. Enter sideline reporter… “Mike Clamb will play at first base.”)
    1. Chris Singleton (957)
    2. Marlon Byrd (954)
    3. Danny Bautista (950)
    4. Felix Jose (948)
    5. Junior Felix (947)
    6. Rob Mackowiak (946)
    7. Mike Lamb (945)
    8. Leon Roberts (943)
    9. Reed Johnson (942)
    10. Alex Ochoa (940)

    And I think compounding the underachievers will be a 2b who hasn’t played the position before, a bad ss, and a bad defensive catcher.

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