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The competition under the White Sox positional battles

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Jairo Asencio and Zach Phillips lead non-roster invitees in games pitched

Jairo Asencio
Jairo Asencio
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We've tracked a number of positional battles over the last couple of weeks, and as we review the numbers coming off the White Sox's only off day of the spring, nothing much has changed.

Second base: Micah Johnson is running away with it, hitting .444/.500/.667 with respectable walk (three) and strikeout (six) totals over 30 plate appearances, and without an error to his name. Carlos Sanchez is in the rear-view mirror (.263/.333/.263), but objects are not closer than they appear.

Bullpen: Maikel Cleto is the only one of the four relievers who has given up a run since the last time we checked in, but he's still leading all righties in strikeouts, so the pecking order is still hard to peg from here.

Last bench spot: If they choose a traditional fourth outfielder, J.B. Shuck looks like the only possibility.

Now that we're halfway through the spring, we can start paying attention to another stat in particular: games pitched. There's a lot of noise in this column early on, with extra pitchers needed out of sheer necessity for two-inning starts and split-squad games. But as cuts pare down the roster and the regulars need regular work, there are a few obscure non-roster guys who get more looks than others. They may not break camp on the 25-man roster, but they're not out of mind when replacements are needed later in the season.

Let's go through the last few seasons for examples:

2014

  1. Donnie Veal, 11
  2. Zach Putnam, 10
  3. Maikel Cleto, 9
    Nate Jones, 9
    Jake Petricka, 9

Veal, Jones and Cleto made the Opening Day roster, but Cleto in particular got plenty of work to see if his control would crack and he'd give the Sox a way to safely send him to Charlotte. Putnam and Petricka were the first two called up in April, and Putnam came from further off the radar as a non-roster invitee.

2013

  1. Ramon Troncoso, 13
  2. Brian Omogrosso, 10
    Veal, 10

Troncoso and Omogrosso each lasted until the last round of cuts, and both received lengthy, unsuccessful looks during the season. Omogrosso received a call on May 1, and Troncoso replaced him the next month, lasting the rest of the season.

2012

  1. Nate Jones, 11
    Addison Reed, 11
  2. Will Ohman, 10
    Hector Santiago, 10
  3. Brian Bruney, 9

Jones came out of out of nowhere to seize a roster spot on Opening Day, so much so that we had to write a post explaining who he was. Bruney also grabbed a major-league promotion later in the year, and, just off the list with seven appearances, Leyson Septimo laid the track to his only year in the majors.

So keep that in mind when looking at the leaders in spring training appearances halfway through Cactus League play:

  • Six games: Jairo Asencio, Zach Phillips, Javy Guerra, Daniel Webb
  • Five games: Logan Kensing, Eric Surkamp

The information on Asencio, Phillips and Kensing from the "who's who" post still holds up for the time being, but we may develop our own opinions if they keep seeing action.