2014 Kannapolis Intimidators: Season preview

Tyler Danish - Kannapolis Intimidators

Low-A affiliate

The Intimidators are often a bit light on prospects to start a season. The White Sox' aggressiveness with assignments often sees players moved quickly to High-A. Also, younger players often are held back in extended spring training for extra instruction or to keep innings pitched down. 2014 fits that profile.

The most interesting prospects are in the starting rotation. Tyler Danish made a few top ten lists (including mine) and the righty will get the chance to prove the naysayers wrong about his ability to start. He mowed down hitters in his pro debut but, likely due in large measure to his unorthodox delivery, he was particularly devastating to right-handed hitters. At 19 years old, he'll be one of the youngest pitchers in the South Atlantic League. His progress is certainly a very intriguing thing to watch this season.

Andrew Mitchell found himself on Keith Law's top ten list but other evaluators were not as smitten. The righty's 12.2% walk rate certainly raises eyebrows but he does have talent. His fastball is low to mid 90s and Baseball America rated the 22-year-old's curveball as the best among college pitchers in the 2013 draft. If the White Sox can clean up his mechanics and consequently get that walk rate to a manageable level, he's potentially a fast-riser.

On the position player side, Trey Michalczewski is getting a typical aggressive assignment. The 19-year-old wasn't particularly impressive for Bristol but the White Sox think they've got a good one in this 2013 7th round pick. A shortstop in high school, he moved to third base and was predictably a little rough there but he has the ability to play there. Buddy Bell mentioned the very intriguing idea of having him try out catching but that's down the road, if ever. I wouldn't expect too much in the stats department from him this year but hopefully steady improvement during the season will be seen.

Adam Engel is another 2013 draftee the White Sox think they might have stolen. The 19th round pick didn't hit in college but a mechanical adjustment to his hand positioning appeared to pay off with a strong performance for Great Falls. The right-handed outfielder has a lot of speed - he led the Pioneer League with 31 steals in 38 tries - and he's best-suited to a contact-oriented approach at the plate. The 22-year-old was skilled in college in getting on base via the hit-by-pitch and that carried over to the pros, with 10 HBP in 274 plate appearances.

Cleuluis Rondon came over in the Peavy deal and the soon-to-be 20-year old lived up to his billing as a superb defender with an extremely light bat. He's a legit shortstop but he needs to do a lot better than his career .214/.310/.234 line if he wants to make it to even the high minors.

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