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The Reading Room: The flip side of the coin

Starter depth at Charlotte, which was seen as a strength in the past, seems a bit more thin than the recent past.

Rich Pilling/Getty Images

Last week, I looked at Brad Penny's chances to make the White Sox.  While, he didn't help his chances with a four inning, five hit, three run, and four strikeout performance yesterday, it might be time to look at the flip side of the coin.

While it seems likely that Carlos Rodon will make his way to Chicago after a short trip to Charlotte, starter depth at Charlotte might still be a bit of a concern.  While the Sox started 10 different pitchers through the 2014 season, Charlotte started an amazing 19 pitchers and used a total of 35 different pitchers last season.

Scott Carroll and Eric Surkamp both seem to be in line to return to the starting jobs in Charlotte although there are no guarantees there.  Chris Beck would seem to be next on the list.  Beck has added a couple ticks to his fastball this spring, hitting 93 to 95 this spring.  He's had problems with getting the strikeout in the minors with a K/9 of 5.3 through his time in the minors.

To start the season at Charlotte, a rotation of Rodon, Penny, Carroll, Surkamp, and Beck would certainly be fine.  If Penny doesn't go to Charlotte and Rodon is promoted, things become a little less clear.  Erik Johnson has only appeared in one game so far this spring, and he also isn't showing up on the pitching schedule through Tuesday.  Frank Montas and Tyler Danish both need some seasoning at Birmingham before moving up to Charlotte.  Right now, the next guys up would seem to be guys like Mike Recchia and Myles Jaye.

Finally, in case you missed this, PITCHf/x data is now available for Carlos Rodon.

Carlos Rodon has thrown 72 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system in 2015, all of them occuring in Spring Training. In 2015, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (95mph) and Slider (88mph), also mixing in a Sinker (95mph) and Change (82mph).

For fun, let's compare that with Frank Montas.

Francellis Montas has thrown 92 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2014 and 2015, including pitches thrown in Spring Training and Fall/Winter Ball. In 2015, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (97mph), Slider (88mph) and Sinker (96mph), also mixing in a Change (90mph).


In honor of his appearance with the big league team on Saturday, we now present the Christian Marrero Reading Room.


Putnam fighting for bullpen spot -

Zach Putnam, owner of a 19.64 ERA this spring, has already been a target of discussions about a trip to Charlotte this April.  While the title of the article has a hint of clipbait-ness, Don Cooper is a bit more clear about Putnam's chances.

"You never should go on Spring Training, good or bad," Cooper said. "For three or four innings, are we throwing out the [54 2/3] he got last year? That's silly.

"He's not where we want him to be. He's close. But it would be nice to see him go out there and have a couple of innings where he puts it all together. He's putting it together for hitters, but not for a full inning just yet."


Minor league transactions - BaseballAmerica

The Sox have started making some minor league moves, but the next jobs for a couple of guys has been a bit unusual.  After three seasons in Rookie ball, Anthony Santiago, Hector Santiago's brother, is now listed as an Assistant coach for the White Sox.  Also, moving up to the coaching ranks is long time minor leaguer Luis Sierra.  Sierra, who's been in the organization since 2007, was technically waived last week, but the Chicago Tribune noted his promotion the previous week.

The surprise move in the minors was the news that catcher Jose Barraza has been cut.  Barraza, a 2012 seventh round pick, hit a promising .287/.355/.463 in the Arizona Rookie league last season after missing all of 2013 with an injury.


White Sox prospect Courtney Hawkins opening eyes, right to plan - ESPN Chicago

Hawkins' hot spring reaches new high with two homers -

While Twitter was going crazy yesterday afternoon, talking about Kris Bryant's two homer game, Courtney Hawkins did the same, including the walkoff homer to end the game.  Hitting .419/.438/.871 this spring, Hawkins is getting back some of the attention a former first round pick should have been getting.

"This has been a great spring for him as far as being able to come up here and get at-bats, put some good swings on the ball and we are seeing the kind of power he has too," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "I don't think there's anybody in our camp that has had the strides and improvement that Courtney has."

To tame the optimism a bit, his BABIP this spring is .474 with a K% of 25%.  I don't care really care right now because those homers were beautiful.