White Sox Winter Leagues update

Leury Garcia - Brian Kersey

Players all over the world

We wrapped up the Arizona Fall League the other day. While that is the preeminent offseason league, there are others in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Australia. And the better White Sox prospects/players are in those leagues this season, not the AFL.

Dominican Republic

INF Leury Garcia is playing for Gigantes del Cibao.  After a hot start, he's cooled down and is now batting .224/.337/.316 in 20 games* and is a perfect 9 for 9 in stolen bases  The switch-hitter's offensive value is going to be pretty dependent upon his batting average; if hits aren't dropping in, or he tries to get too power-happy, he's not going to have enough opportunities to use his legs to get on-base or use his speed on the basepaths.

1B Dan Black is playing for Aguilas Cibaenas and is batting .290/.411/.470 in 24 games.  The 25-year-old switch-hitter doesn't quite have the talent to be much more than an org player but he's got good makeup and easy MiLB-level power.  If he wants it, he can certainly carveout a long MiLB career for himself and maybe even get a cup of coffee in the right organization.

Recent acquisition LHP Frank De Los Santos got in a little work over an eight day stretch in October for Toros del Este: 4 G, 3 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 3 K.  He's obviously one of the names in the mix for a bullpen role. He's got a low to mid 90s fastball and induces groundballs at a pretty good rate but his secondary offering, a slider, isn't much and he's never been a big strikeout guy.

LHP Santos Rodriguez decided to throw a few pitches on November 3 for Leones del Escogido, facing a single left-handed batter and giving up a hit. A long-shot lefty for the bullpen, as the the soon-to-be 26-year-old has nifty strikeout rates but walks too many.

RHP Francellis Montas, recently ranked the #10 prospect in the organization by BP's Jason Parks, also has gotten in a little bit of work for Escogido: 2 G, 0.2 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 K. His is the usual story for a 20-year-old, lots of strikeouts and lots of walks with difficulty repeating mechanics. He'll take his big fastball to High-A in 2014.

Venezuela

INF Carlos Sanchez had a forgettable 2013 season but he's bounced back in a big way for Tiburones de La Guaira: .361/.434/.437 in 32 games. I've suggested that fatigue from a long 2012 campaign and an earlier return to action in 2013 with his invite to major league camp may have played a role in his poor performance. Parks passed along a scouting report suggesting that was accurate and that the 21-year-old got his sharpness back in the VWL, justifying Parks ranking him the #7 prospect in the organization.

C Miguel Gonzalez is also playing for Tiburones. In 20 games, he's put up a .250/.339/.365 line. Not likely to entice any team to pick him in the Rule 5 Draft but the 23-year-old still has a chance to be a back-up in the majors and the additional reps will help in that pursuit.

CF Trayce Thompson had a forgettable four weeks for Tiburones, batting just .045/.120/.045 in 13 games, most of them as a sub, before he was released.  For a guy who needs reps, that was certainly disappointing to see. However, I'm sure he'll be happy with his raise when he gets added to the 40-man roster today.

1B Andy Wilkins almost joined Thompson on a flight back to the US but saved his Tiburones roster spot with a very good November. Overall: .311/.393/.466 in 30 games. The 25-year-old has an outside chance at being a major leaguer, particularly since he bats lefty, but his lack of elite power probably makes him the classic AAAA-type with a possible career in Japan.

RHP Nestor Molina is pitching for Cardenales de Lara. His line: 10 G, 13.2 IP, 15 H, 2 BB, 12 K. With his injury issues this season, he needs the extra work.  Maybe he'll finally appear on the big league club sometime in 2014.

Puerto Rico

Everyone's [read: TasteeFreeze's] favorite non-prospect, 3B Chris Curley, is making some extra money with Indios de Mayaguez but not really earning it: .231/.268/.282.

Mexico

3B Alex Liddi batted  .239/.273/.391 in 25 games for Tomateros de Culiacan prior to his release.  As discussed, the recent MiLB free agent signing should compete for a role at third base next season.

Australia

CF Jacob May is a guy you'll find on the fringes of the White Sox top ten prospects this offseason.  It's good to see a 2013 third round pick getting some extra work in a competitive (for him) league.  And he's played well so far for the Sydney Blue Sox: .257/.316/.486 in nine games and is 5 for 6 in stolen bases (though he benefits a lot from a league with few left-handed pitchers).  Unlike other White Sox outfield prospects, May doesn't have nearly as much swing-and-miss in his game, though his upside potential is smaller. Still, a switch-hitting, good defensive center fielder with a bit of pop is a nice profile.

2B Joey DeMichele hasn't benefited quite so much from the lack of lefty pitchers but he's certainly enjoying the power-friendly league. His .195/.233/.488 line for Sydney is driven mostly by a tied-for-the-league-lead four home runs.  The shine on his star dimmed quite a bit after he couldn't replicate his 2012 power numbers for Winston-Salem this past season, despite being in a more power-friendly environment. But he takes his walks and a rebound in power next season in Birmingham could see him reemerge as a utility candidate.

* Much to my chagrin, MLB does not see fit to include plate appearances in its winter league stats, in favor of the rather useless at-bats.  They also do not provide all the components of plate appearances so it is not possible to manually add them up.

Follow White Sox players in winter leagues here.

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