This Week in White Sox Minor League Baseball

Donnie Veal

This week:

  • With the call-up of Jhan Marinez, nearly every single reliever on the preseason depth chart already has been brought to Chicago. So now seems an appropriate time to go over the next layer of depth. I'll start with the lefties, where the White Sox still maintain some decent depth in the minors.
  • The one guy who hasn't been to Chicago this season is Donnie Veal. He was probably 5th on the left-handed reliever depth chart and he may still maintain that position (advanced one peg due to Will Ohman's departure) but only just. He's been decent for Charlotte: 39.1 IP, 35 H, 20 BB, 49 K. With a .357 BABIP, the 27 year old can complain of some bad luck - although that is balanced by the good luck of not yet giving up a home run. His somewhat inflated walk rate shows that he hasn't taken to the strike-throwing ways of his compatriots who have gotten promoted.
  • So now we'll get into the guys who have moved into the picture due to attrition. Charlie Leesman may be challenging Veal's position, though he's remained in a starting role for the Knights. He's been effective: 89.2 IP, 90 H, 35 BB, 69 K. Unlike Veal, the 2008 11th round pick appears to be a convert to throwing strikes. Last season for Birmingham, Leesman had 83 walks in 152 innings and, for good measure, added 16 wild pitches and 13 hit batsmen - something which wasn't unusual in his career. While moving up a level, he's made a significant dent in his walk rate and made colossal dents in the other categories. So far, the 25 year old has only 3 wild pitches and 2 hit batsmen. Given that he still has a chance to be a starter, he's a good bet to be at least a September call-up.
  • The recently promoted Pedro Hernandez likely sits next. The 23 year old was fine for Birmingham as a starter and, in two appearances, doesn't seem to have been fazed by Triple-A. While he's pitched as a starter, he probably profiles as more of a middle relief or swingman type. Between the two levels: 80.2 IP, 80 H, 19 BB, 48 K. The White Sox didn't need to convert him to strike-throwing because he's always been stingy with the walks. But his stuff certainly isn't of the swing and miss type, as is evident in his rather low strikeouts.
  • At Birmingham, Santos Rodriguez has seen a bit of a renaissance as a prospect. The lefty was one of the pieces in the Javier Vazquez trade. Given that he really hadn't pitched that much, in part due to frequent but relatively non-serious injuries, the Dominican was extremely raw when the White Sox acquired him. Injury issues continued to sidetrack him and the White Sox were also careful in increasing his workload. He managed to pitch basically a full season in his second go at Winston-Salem in 2011, though he had trouble missing bats. This season, his 8.5 K/9 is still well off some of the eye-popping K rates he had in the lower levels but the 24 year old managed to get back to giving up far fewer hits and is getting his walks to a manageable level. He still has a mid-90s fastball and may well have the highest upside of any of the lefties in the upper minors. For the season: 46 IP, 22 H, 21 BB, 43 K.
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