Bristol Sox 2013 season preview

Jonathan McCoy/Virginia Intermont College

The White Sox's most prominent high-school picks will get their first chance to prove their worth as Appalachian League play begins

While Great Falls is the place to be for collegiate arms, the White Sox's top high-school picks, traditionally head to Bristol. The Appalachian League is also where the White Sox blood stateside their international players.

Tim Anderson, who straddles the line between the two as a 19-year-old pick out of junior college, won't be on either roster. The shortstop was initially rumored to be headed to Bristol, but he's since said on his Twitter feed that he'll start at Kannapolis after the Sally League's All-Star break, and Keon Barnum -- who played well at Bristol last year before suffering the first of a string of injuries -- will join him with the Intimidators.

With the first-round pick absent from the Bristol Sox's roster, that means second-rounder Tyler Danish steps into the spotlight. The intriguing righty with the atypical delivery runs the risk of allowing his first earned run this year after posting a 0.00 ERA during his senior senior at Durant High School in Florida.

He'll be joined on the Bristol staff by three other picks from the first 11 rounds of the June draft, all of whom signed for above slot.

  • RHP Thaddius Lowry (5th): $400,000 (slot: $309,200)
  • LHP Chris Freudenberg (8th): $175,000 (slot: $154,000)
  • RHP Matt Ball (11th): $150,000 (last slot in 10th round: $135,300)

None of those pitchers will be the Opening Day starter, though. That honor goes to Robinson Leyer, brother of Kannapolis pitcher Euclides Leyer.

RHP Luis Martinez, Marco Paddy's first signing, is on Bristol's 60-day DL with an unknown injury. Other notable international players include Victor Velasquez, an 18-year-old Venezuelan middle infielder (fancy that) who played for the DSL White Sox last year, RHP Kelvis Valerio, a 20-year-old Dominican who posted solid peripherals for the DSL Sox the past two years, OF Antonio Rodriguez, an 18-year-old Dominican who got a $400,000 bonus in 2012, and RHP Yelmison Peralta, an 18-year-old Dominican who got a $200,000 bonus in 2012.

Among the drafted position players, third baseman Trey Michalczewski will command your everyday attention. The switch-hitter played shortstop -- when he wasn't playing football -- at Jenks High School in Tulsa, and his potential was worth a spot on more than one top-100 list. He was easily the most ambitious signability pick out of the top 10, and the Sox paid handsomely to lure him away from his Oklahoma commitment. He signed for $500,000, well above the assigned slot value of $173,600 for the 217th overall pick.

The Sox didn't draft another high-school position player until the immortal Wolfie Tash in the 39th round, so (relative) pro-ball veterans and late-round college picks will occupy most of the roster. Among returning players, Sammy Ayala is the most intriguing. The Sox pried the catcher away from college after a lengthy negotiation process with a sizable $258,000 bonus for a 17th-round pick, and he played 24 games for Bristol in 2012. He's still 18 for another month as he rejoins the Sox for the start of the season this time around.

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