Deep dive: Chicago White Sox Rookie League first baseman


“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of every position in the Chicago White Sox organization.

Welcome to another year of Deep Dive, where we take a look at the past, present and future of every position within the White Sox organization. Each position is divided into five parts:

  1. Depth in Rookie Levels (Dominica to Arizona)
  2. Depth in A-ball (Kannapolis and Winston-Salem)
  3. Depth in upper levels (Birmingham and Charlotte)
  4. Under the radar-type of detail on a White Sox player
  5. Free agent options

The White Sox are currently loaded at first base with José Abreu, Andrew Vaughn and Gavin Sheets – not to mention other guys who could play the position, like Yasmani Grandal and Zack Collins. Right now, however, there aren’t any Top 30 organizational prospects in the job, at least by MLB Pipeline.

This does not mean, however, that the organization is devoid of talent. Below are the first baseman who finished the year in ACL (Arizona Complex League) and DSL (Dominican Summer League).

The ages below are as of April 1, 2022

ACL White Sox

Wilfred Veras
180 pounds
Age: 19
Sticks / throw: R / R
Other positions played: Third Base

Veras, like many players in the White Sox system, is part of an athletic family. He’s not only the son of former Red Sox infielder Wilton Veras, he’s also the nephew of former Cardinal infielder Fernando Tatís (which of course means he’s the cousin of Fernando Jr. and his fellow farmer the Sox Elijah). Veras’ signing was relatively unreported on International Signing Day 2019, as it was overshadowed by the aforementioned Yolbert Sánchez, Cristian Mena and Elijah Tatís signings. Several scouts gave him a power rating of 55, and he was due to start the ball rolling in 2020, but of course, didn’t play due to Covid-19.

Veras has struggled with the AZL Sox this year, as he slashed just 0.195 / 0.377 / 0.441 in June. However, things really clicked for him once the schedule rolled over to July. How does .387 / .450 / .632 sound the rest of the way? For the year as a whole, Veras reduced to .322 / .416 / .533 with 16 doubles, two triples, four homers, 21 walks (11.8%), 42 strikeouts (23.6 %) and 147 wRC +. In fact, he does better against righties (.339 / .424 / .556) than lefties (.250 / .382 / .429).

Starting the year at third base, which is considered his most natural position, Veras moved up mid-season to first base to make room for newcomer Wes Kath. In 31 games combined defensively, he’s made eight mistakes (five in the third, three at the start), but he should be smoother with additional experience.

Expect this youngster to start the 2022 campaign with Kannapolis. In the meantime, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some prospect lists move Veras into the team’s Top 30 prospect lists this offseason.

Sam abbott
225 pounds
Age: 22
Sticks / throw: L / R
Ranking of the 2020 South Side Sox top prospects: 88
Ranking of the 2021 South Side Sox top prospects: 89

A three-time State MVP in water polo at Curtis High School in University Place, Washington, Abbott was awarded a partial scholarship to stay on that path at Long Beach State. But in the spring of 2017 – the spring he thought was his last for competitive baseball – he hit 0.438 (21 for 61) with eight doubles, two homers and 18 RBIs to win an eighth-round selection by the Whites. Sox. That year with the AZL White Sox, Abbott got off to a good start and showed good patience at home plate. However, he struggled to make contact, leading him to reduce to just 0.225 / 0.344 /, 275 with 17 walks (13.8%) and 38 strikeouts (30.9%) in 102 at-bat.

Abbott had an extremely difficult start with the AZL White Sox in 2018, but saved his season somewhat by regaining his power late in the season. Overall, however, he reduced just 0.139 / 0.347 / 0.306 in 72 at-batting with three doubles, three homers, nine runs batted in, 18 walks (18.9%) and 33 strikeouts ( 34.7%) in 72 at-bat. In 2019, with Great Falls, Abbott stirred up far too often, but began to make more difficult contact. In 58 games and 181 at batting with the Voyagers, he reduced 0.238 / 0.355 / 0.459 while producing 13 doubles, nine homers, 27 RBIs, 26 walks (12.0%) and 79 strikeouts (36 , 4%). He hit .212 / .350 / .455 against lefties and fared a bit better against righties (.243 / .356 / .450).

In his 14 games for Kannapolis this year after the 2020 cancellation due to the pandemic, Abbott collapsed badly with a .119 / .339 / .190 line with a homer, 14 walks (25, 0%), 30 strikeouts (53.6%) and 72 wRC +. Although he fared better after demotion to the ACL squad, the results were still slightly disappointing for Abbott, as he reduced just 0.171 / .273 / .324 with four home runs, 13 walks and 58 strikeouts in 35 games. Combined with both teams, Abbott was down 0.157 / 0.293 /, 288 with five doubles, five homers, 27 walks (13.9%) and 88 strikeouts (47.8%).

Abbott has great patience for someone so young, having walked 14% of the time in his professional career; However, that patience also caused him to scratch almost half the time. He was over two years older than the league average in Arizona, so it doesn’t make sense for him to repeat the season there. If Abbott plays at Kannapolis next year, it would likely be as DH, as Wilfred Veras could be on first base. The White Sox may just decide to let Abbott try his luck via minor league free agency, but hope is there for great power if he could find a way to shorten his swing and / or learn to recognize better. the throws.

Franklin reyes
205 pounds
Age: 23 years old
Sticks / throw: R / R

Reyes was an outfielder when the White Sox awarded him a $ 1.5 million signing bonus in 2015. The Dominican Republic native, whose brother Franmil plays for Cleveland, actually received a rating of 70 for the power – higher than Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at the time. Unfortunately, Reyes also came with a 30-degree hitting tool by MLB, while Baseball America described his approach as “aggressive, raw, with a lot of swing-and-miss, especially against broken pitches,” and they called his swing “long and crazy.”

Reyes’ first professional season (2016) saw him cut by 0.171 / 0.189 / 0.251 in 217 batting appearances with the AZL White Sox, as he recorded 10 doubles, two triples, one homerun and 16 RBIs by walking only five times (2.3%) and crossing out 71 (32.7%). Reyes played at Great Falls the following year, and although his stats improved, he still produced disappointing results: .249 / .270 / .361 in 241 batting appearances with 12 doubles, five homers, 34 RBIs, five goals (2.0%) and 68 strikeouts (27.2%).

Sadly, Reyes has missed the last three seasons with back injuries (and missed 2020 due to Covid-19). If he’s healthy in 2022, expect Reyes to return to Arizona and hopefully harness his immense potential. It’s unclear if he’ll return to baseball, but if he does, his best role could be that of designated hitter. Like Abbott, Reyes needs to cut back on his puffs. Unlike Abbott, he also needs to focus on more patience on the plate.

DSL White Sox

Dario Borrero
190 pounds
Age: 18 years old
Snowshoes / Jets: L / L
Other positions played: Left field, Right field

At his age (well, at any age, really) Borrero is a great individual. The Venezuelan native was signed by Marco Paddy for a minor league contract, and Paddy had this to say about him: “He’s going to have a lot of power. What’s intriguing about him is that he can strike line after line. He handles the pitchers, goes the other way when needed, reads the ball very well and it breaks. He is a very impressive child. Normally you don’t see such tall Venezuelan players with that kind of swing, being left-handed. “

In five games totaling 16 batting appearances, Borrero reduced an impressive .357 / .438 .429 with a double, two stolen goals, one walks and two strikeouts. Sadly, he missed the season from July 20 due to an undisclosed injury. Provided the injury doesn’t limit his range going forward, Borrero could be a versatile first baseman who could play both corners. Even with the extremely small sample size, it’s easy to project Borrero on the ACL list next year. However, the organization may have it revert to DSL instead.

Carlos Jimenez
220 pounds
Age: 20 years
Snowshoes / Jets: L / L
Other positions played: Left field

Like the aforementioned Borrero, Carlos Jiménez is also a great man who has the versatility to play left field. However, in his first experience with professional ball this year, he fought for the DSL team. For the year, Jiménez reduced .206 / .319 .324 despite being one year older than the league average. To give him credit, he was ready to take the free pass (13.3%) while maintaining his strikeouts at 15%. Jiménez had the athleticism to succeed in his four stolen base attempts, and has the throwable build to strike for added power. His offensive output would seem to indicate a return to DSL, as the organization may want their coaches in the United States to work to help Jiménez reach his potential.

Alberto Bernal
215 lbs
Age: 19
Sticks / throw: R / R

Bernal, from Cuba, received a signing bonus of $ 250,000 as he was selected by the White Sox on International Signing Day 2018. Recognized as a young man with potential for power, he received his first game that year, but fought to the tune of .167 / .361 / .270 in 43 games with five doubles, one triple, two homers, 16 RBIs, 33 goals (19.4 %) and 55 strikeouts (32.4%). Its high walking rate indicates a promising degree of patience for someone so young.

However, after a pandemic of a year off, Bernal fought for the DSL team and never fully recovered. Playing sporadically in 22 games, Bernal reduced to .169 / .269 / .305 with two doubles, two homers, five walks (7.4%), 28 strikeouts (41.2%) and a wRC + decreased from 95 to 65. Despite the sizable signing bonus, it’s hard to see him promoted to the US until he cuts strikeouts while improving his average. Admittedly, the inconsistent playing time didn’t help, but Bernal must also find a way to win it when he has the chance.

Juan Mercedes
190 pounds
Age: 21 years old
Sticks / throw: R / R
Left field, right field

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Mercedes (not related to Yermín) signed with the Sox on September 4, 2018. He struggled a bit at his first professional ball taste with the DSL Sox in 2019, despite not having reduced to .223 / .316 / .288 in 41 games with 16 walks (10.1%), 33 strikeouts (20.9%) and 78 wRC +. Mercedes continued to wrestle with the DSL squad for even less playing time in 2021, after the pandemic-canceled season, when they had reduced just 0.171 / .352 / .186; however, his wRC + jumped slightly to 80 as he increased his walk rate to 15.4% while reducing his strikeouts to 17.6%. It is not known what the role of Mercedes will be in 2022.

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