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This Week In White Sox Minor League Baseball

Brandon Short
Brandon Short

This week:

  • Ah, 2009. That was a good year for the Birmingham Barons.  Gordon Beckham, Tyler Flowers, Dayan Viciedo, Jordan Danks, Brandon Allen, Daniel Hudson and Aaron Poreda gave fans something to dream on.  The 2011 Barons, not so much.  And maybe that's a good thing, considering how things have developed (or not) for most of that 2009 team.
  • The position players are particularly weak.  OF Brandon Short made himself kind of a prospect with a good 2010 for the Dash.  The promotion to AA is traditionally considered the most difficult and Short has fulfilled his part in that stereotype with a .229/.289/.371 performance so far.  Importantly, though, his strikeout (21%) and walk (5%) rates are in line with his minor league career averages.  The noticeable difference is in BABIP, where he's got a .278, compared to a .372 last season and almost as high rates in prior seasons.  Batted ball classifications are notoriously unreliable, particularly in the minors, but the data doesn't reveal a marked difference in those.  Maybe it's luck, maybe it's weak contact, probably it's a mixture of both of those and other factors.  He's at least an interesting guy to be watching as the season goes on.
  • Josh Phegley is not a catcher.  Our esteemed Managing Editor and noted wordsmith describes him behind the plate "as effective as a piece of propped-up plywood." And that may be charitable.  So far, he has 7 passed balls, inflating his career totals to a prodigious 26 in just 102 games.  I've never seen a rate like that and, if anyone has, I'd love to know a "catcher" who has.  Phegley at least throws out baserunners (59% kill rate this season), which is the least he can do.  Phegley is supposed to be one of those offense-first catchers. However, he's never shown that as a pro.  His .228/.268/.402 this season is in line with his career line. Yes, he had a blood disorder and maybe his removed spleen is like Adam Dunn's removed appendix.  He needs to start showing something soon.
  • The pitching is marginally more intriguing, though the best case for all of them is probably reliever.  LHP Charlie Leesman is currently starting: 25.1 IP, 18 H, 12 BB, 24 K, though he's been prone to wildness with 3 HBP and 6 WP (though keep in mind who is catching him).  He's going to need to tame that, and with that hopefully reduce the walks a bit, because he's not going to keep up such a low H/9. 
  • RHP Dan Remenowsky is making a mockery of the whole AA is tough axiom, as he continues to be utterly filthy as a pro. Despite only 39.1 IP at Winston-Salem in 2010 before injuring his knee, the 2008 non-drafted free agent just piles up the stats: 13 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 17 K. No, I didn't make any mistakes. That's a 0.385 WHIP.  His stuff isn't overwhelming, with a fastball around 90 MPH, but deception and excellent movement as well as a four pitch arsenal continue to get outs, despite oft-repeated concerns that more advanced hitters will find him out. 
  • RHP Gregory Infante has better stuff, meaning he's more like to have a future as a late-inning reliever. His line this year, 12.1 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 8 K, is lacking in the strikeouts he's been known for. I suspect that may be the result of a focus on developing his secondary offerings to complement his upper 90s fastball.
  • Others of note: 27 year old RHP Brian Omogrosso continues to tease: 9.1 IP, 9 H, 3 BB, 12 K.  Maybe this is the year he stays healthy. But don't hold your breath.  RHP Nate Jones has just about stopped teasing: 13.1 IP, 15 H, 11 BB, 11 K.  RHP Nevin Griffith: 23.1 IP, 17 H, 18 BB, 21 K.