This Week In White Sox Minor League Baseball

Brian Bruney

This week:

After Phil Humber's injury, the White Sox again required the services of a pitcher from their minor leagues.  And only one of those called up this season - Lucas Harrell - was on the 40 man roster at the start of the season.  The rest of the call-ups - Jeff Gray, Jeffrey Marquez, Brian Bruney, Hector Santiago and now Josh Kinney - were so little thought of by both the White Sox and all the other major league teams that they were either not offered major league contracts (Gray, Bruney, Kinney) or did not require the protection of a roster spot (Marquez, Santiago).  While the 40 man roster often includes players with potential but who may not be quite ready for the majors, it normally also contains guys who a team feel can contribute now.  So what the heck is wrong with the minor league pitchers on the 40 man roster that the White Sox repeatedly have passed them over? Let's go through them:

  • Anthony Carter:  His stuff just isn't very good.  I've never thought of him as anything other than organizational filler and was quite surprised to see Phil Rogers/Baseball America rank him 10th in the system this past offseason.  In his first taste of AAA as a 25 year old, the righty went 47 IP, 60 H, 26 BB, 48 K, resulting in a demotion to AA last month.
  • Kyle Cofield: The bounty from the Linebrink trade, the 24 year old had his third crack at the Southern League this season.  The righty wasn't bad - 28 IP, 26 H, 13 BB, 23 K - but he has had injury issues and pitched in only two games since June 6.
  • Gregory Infante:  The righty got a taste of the majors last September but returned to Birmingham to start the season.  After an impressive 12 game stint, he earned a promotion to Charlotte where he's been a bit too hittable: 41 IP, 42 H, 19 BB, 34 K.  The mediocre strikeout rate is also disappointing from a pitcher with his above average fastball, though it may be suggestive of the White Sox having him focus more on developing his curveball - which has a very nice 12 MPH difference from his mid to upper 90s fastball.  We will be seeing him in September.
  • Nathan Jones:  Another guy we should expect to see next month, things might finally be clicking for the 25 year old.  He's always had excellent raw stuff - a mid to upper 90s fastball and what is reputed to be the best curveball in the organization - but locating it was always the problem.  In June this season, the righty appears to have turned a corner.  After walking 15 against 16 strikeouts over the first two months, he's walked only 7 since then while striking out 40.
  • Jhonny Nunez:  The sole remnant of the Swisher trade, Nunez has always put up excellent peripherals but has a problem with giving up runs.  This is at least partially due to giving up too many home runs because he too frequently leaves his slider up in the zone.  While the righty has a pretty good fastball and the slider is usually good, homerunitis doesn't play in the Cell.
  • Leyson Septimo:  Claimed off waivers from Arizona in June, the lefty is a converted outfielder with an upper 90s fastball that he often has no idea where it's going.
  • There you have it.  Two guys (Infante, Jones) are still developing their pitches, three guys (Carter, Cofield, Nunez) simply aren't good enough and one guy (Septimo) is a public safety risk.  The White Sox aren't exactly getting a lot of value for the extra salary they pay these guys for being on the 40 man.

    • For those of you on Dayan Viciedo watch, the injury scare earlier this week has passed, as he was back in the lineup last night.
    • For those of you who care about such things, Birmingham has already qualified for the playoffs by  virtue of being the first half winners.  That is why Tyler Kuhn and Josh Phegley returned to AA this week, in order to be eligible for the playoff roster.  Winston-Salem is currently tied for first place in their second half division standings.  Kannapolis leads their division by one game.  Great Falls is in a three-way tie for their second half division lead.
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