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This Week in White Sox Minor League Baseball

Brent Morel (via Soxmachine)
Brent Morel (via Soxmachine)

This week:

  • Brent Morel continues his adjustment to AAA.  After a not unexpected poor couple weeks after his promotion, he's up to .304/.344/.453.  And, also not surprisingly, he's now being talked about as perhaps the most likely trade candidate in the system.  The scouting reports have been very good for awhile now and the consensus seems to be that he's likely to be an everyday third baseman.  Even if he fails to reach that ceiling, I don't think there's much debate that he's a major leaguer.  Even if the bat doesn't translate quite so well to the majors - he's a low walk, contact hitter with only decent doubles power - his glove is excellent and that should make him at least a utility player.
  • Jose Martinez: .288/.354/.407.
  • We also saw a plethora of player movement.  Eduardo Escobar, Kyle Bellamy and Charlie Leesman were promoted to the Barons.  Ryan Buch, Juan Silverio and Tyler Saladino joined Kannapolis. 
  • Chris Sale was also on the move this week, making the long trek from Winston-Salem to Charlotte.  With Dan Hudson's promotion to the majors, Sale is now the undisputed top pitching prospect in the White Sox minors.  However, this promotion is confirmation that the White Sox don't intend for him to retain that title for long.  Obviously Sale will need to perform in AAA but Erick Threets is merely keeping a seat in the bullpen warm for him.  He made his Knights debut last night, throwing a scoreless inning while giving up no hits and a walk while striking out two.
  • Jordan Danks: .243/.314/.377 and a 31% strikeout rate.
  • Steven Upchurch was a 12th round pick in 2008 out of Alabama high school.  Considered a third round talent, the White Sox signed him to an overslot bonus to keep him away from Auburn.  He had an impressive pro debut for Bristol but followed it up with a terrible repeat season at Bristol in 2009.  Now 20, he was assigned to Great Falls this season and, while not as bad as last season, he hasn't been particularly good: 5 GS, 31.2 IP, 28 H, 7 BB, 11 K.  While the hits and walks are fine - particularly for the hitter's league in which he's pitching - he's continued his trend from last season of not striking anyone out. 
  • Tyler Flowers: .232/.334/.484 and a 32% strikeout rate.
  • It's tough to scout the Dominican Summer League affiliate using just stats.  However, I have been able to identify some legitimate talent (like Miguel Gonzalez and Andre Rienzo) in the past simply by using the complex "young age plus premium position plus good stats" formula.  This season, there seems to be a bit less offense on the team.  One to keep an eye on, though, is Jerry Puentes, a Venezuelan who will be 19 tomorrow.  He's been around the last couple seasons and played SS, 3B and 2B.  It's a bit of a red flag that he's playing mostly 2B this season but there's another 19 year old on the team who has been getting the starts at SS.  Puentes' line this season isn't overwhelming - .301/.389/.344 - but there may be some growth left in him and, anyway, he's the best of a weak bunch.
  • Statistically at least, the DSL pitching is much more impressive.  Jean Duque is a turned 21 years old today Venezuelan who has a very nice line of 46.2 IP, 33 H, 17 BB and 52 K.  He's been around since 2007 and, while the K rate was always nice, he also walked a bunch.  He's at least rectified that in his 4th go around at the league.  Leopoldo Sanchez is a 19 year old Venezuelan who was a 3B the past two seasons.  He's adjusted well to the mound with a solid line of 29.2 IP, 27 H, 9 BB, 23 K.  Worryingly, however, he hasn't pitched in two weeks.  Finally, Euclides Leyer is an 18 year old Dominican who has put up a line of 31 IP, 30 H, 14 BB and 28 K.

Programming note: This column will be off next week.