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Deep Dive: right-handed starter edition, part 1

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Taking a look into righties moving through the lower levels of the White Sox system

Z-Ball: Zach Lewis has made his pitch to begin next season with Winston-Salem.
Kannapolis Intimidators

“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the Chicago White Sox organization. Each position will be a four-part series:

  1. Depth in the lower levels (Dominican through Kannapolis)
  2. Depth in the higher levels (Winston-Salem through Charlotte)
  3. Under the Radar-type detail on one of the White Sox players at that position
  4. Free-agent options at that position, plus sneak peeks into available players in the upcoming 2019 MLB draft.

While most of the top right-handed starting pitching prospects finished the season with Winston-Salem or higher, the lower levels also had their fair share of d prospects as well. The players’ ages listed below are as of April 1, 2019.


Kannapolis Intimidators

Zach Lewis
6´3´´
205 pounds
Age: 23

Lewis, a native of Palos Heights and student of St. Laurence H.S. in Burbank, spent his first two years as a reliever for Wabash Valley Community College, where he followed up a sensational freshman season (1.84 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 2.76 BB/9, 5.11 H/9, 9.51 K/9, and drafted but unsigned by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 33rd round) with a disappointing sophomore one (6.23 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 4.41 BB/9, 11.16 H/9 and 7.91 K/9).

Lewis transferred to NCAA powerhouse Wichita State but ultimately struggled in his junior season, splitting his time in starting and bullpen roles for the Shockers (5.96 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 3.28 BB/9, 9.24 H/9, 8.03 K/9 — almost an exact split of the results between his freshman and sophomore seasons at Wabash). Finally, in his collegiate swan song (primarily as a starter), Lewis enjoyed a 3.07 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 3.51 BB/9, 6.59 H/9, and 7.02 K/9. However, due to his inconsistencies and relative inexperience as a starter, he went undrafted in 2017 and signed a minor league free agent deal with the White Sox.

Lewis joined southpaw John Parke to form a terrific 1-2 punch at the top of the AZL White Sox rotation in 2017. In 12 games (eight starts), Lewis compiled a 2.72 ERA and 1.11 WHIP by allowing just 46 hits (.241 OBA) and 13 walks (6.1%), with 45 strikeouts (21.0 K%) over 53 innings. He began at Kannapolis in 2018 as a reliever behind a stacked rotation that included Kade McClure, Blake Battenfield, Lincoln Henzman, Parke and Parker Rigler. However, due to a combination of promotions and injuries, Lewis was reinstated to a starting role, where he excelled. For the Intimidators, Lewis compiled a 2.60 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over 103 2⁄3 innings (29 games, 16 starts) while allowing just 69 hits (.189 OBA) and 48 walks (11.2%) and striking out 103 (24.1%). Thus, it appears Lewis was effectively wild, as he walked more hitters but allowed far fewer hits, while considerably improving his strikeout percentages. Taking a closer look, Lewis was especially dominant in his final 10 starts, posting a 1.93 ERA and 0.98 WHIP and allowing just 36 hits and 19 walks, with 64 strikeouts over a total of 56 innings. What’s especially notable is that Lewis’ control improved considerably as the season progressed.

Lewis should begin 2019 with Winston-Salem, with a chance for a promotion to Birmingham around the All-Star break if all goes well. At 23, Lewis was about a year older than league average in Kannapolis, so if he makes it to Birmingham by the end of the 2019, he should be around league-average age for the Barons.

Kade McClure
6´7´´
230 pounds
Age: 23

While McClure had a solid three seasons as a starting pitcher for the Louisville Cardinals, his numbers slipped a bit during his junior season. As a sophomore, he enjoyed a 12-0 record in 78 innings, with a 2.54 ERA and 0.88 WHIP; during that season, he allowed just 49 hits (5.65 H/9) and 20 walks (2.31 BB/9) while striking out 77 (8.88 K/9). McClure’s junior season, though good, didn’t quite surpass his previous season’s results: he was 8-4 in 103 innings, with a 3.58 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. That season, he allowed 81 hits (7.08 H/9) and 36 walks (3.15 BB/9) while fanning 111 (9.70 K/9). The results were good enough for the White Sox to draft him in 2017’s sixth round.

In 2017 for three different teams (AZL, Kannapolis, Great Falls), McClure relieved in 10 games, with a microscopic 0.82 ERA and 0.55 WHIP over 11 innings, walking three while striking out 19. McClure began 2018 in the Kannapolis rotation and pitched reasonably well in eight outings, with a 3.02 ERA while walking 14 and striking out 42 in 41 23 innings. Unfortunately, McClure needed knee surgery in late May after being hit by a come-back line drive.

McClure has a nice, four-pitch repertoire, including a four-seam fastball that runs up to 94 according to Future Sox, along with a two-seam fastball with sink, a slurve, and a change-up. If he returns to health in 2019, expect McClure to start in Kannapolis, with an early promotion to Winston-Salem if all goes well.

Yosmer Solorzano
6´2´´
181 pounds
Age: 22

Solorzano, a native of Venezuela, received a $100,000 signing bonus from the White Sox in 2014. His first season in the organization, with the AZL Sox in 2015, turned out quite well, as he posted a 3.02 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 62 23 innings, allowing just 16 walks and 43 strikeouts. The following season was spent at Great Falls, where results were even better considering that he was pitching in the high altitudes of the Pioneer League: He posted a 4.11 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, while walking just 18 and striking out 81 in 81 innings of work.

However, Solorzano’s results in full season play have been disappointing. In 2017 with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem, he combined for a 6.19 ERA and 1.65 WHIP while allowing 147 hits and 52 walks while fanning 93 hitters in 116 innings. In 2018, his results were a little better, as he returned to Kannapolis: 5.55 ERA and 1.42 WHIP over 84 13 innings, while allowing 74 hits and 46 walks compared to 58 strikeouts. Opposing hitters hit just .240 against his offerings this year compared to 2017; however, his BB/9 shot up to 4.91 while his K/9 dropped to 6.19. While some progress has been made, expect Solorzano to return to Kannapolis for 2019 and stay there until his control improves.

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Great Falls Voyagers

Jonathan Stiever
6´2´´
205 pounds
Age: 21

After a great freshman season for the Indiana Hoosiers as a reliever, Stiever was converted to a starter for his sophomore and junior seasons. In his three years overall, he attained a 3.56 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over 217 23 innings with a .264 OBA, 1.90 BB/9 and 7.61 K/9. His junior season was the best overall, as he worked 100 innings with a .250 OBA, 2.87 BB% and 8.70 K%. As a result of his success, Stiever was drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 MLB draft by the White Sox and received a $386,800 at-slot bonus.

Because Stiever had already attained a career high in innings with the Hoosiers, his innings were severely limited at Great Falls. In 13 starts totaling 28 frames, he maintained a 4.18 ERA and 1.14 WHIP despite working in a difficult pitching environment. In those 28 innings, Stiever ceded only 23 hits (.223 OBA) and walked just nine (2.89 BB/9) while striking out 39 (12.54 K/9). His fastball typically runs from the low 90s to 96 mph, but has good running and sinking action. Stiever has an upper-70s spike curveball which also features slider action, and an above-average changeup, which helped limit lefties to an OBA of .250. Stiever currenly ranks 29th among White Sox prospects according to MLB Pipeline, so expect him to begin next season with Kannapolis.

Codi Heuer
6’5´´
195 pounds
Age: 22

Heuer, whose surname is pronounced like former Chicago Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer, spent his first two years with the Wichita Shockers as a reliever. In 2018, he moved to the rotation and peripherals indicated that he was more comfortable in that role. While his college numbers weren’t anything to write home about (5.17 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, .272 OBA, 4.48 BB/9, 9.08 K/9), Heuer posted a credible sophomore season in 79 innings with a 4.31 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, .238 OBA, 4.20 BB/9, and 9.30 K/9. The Sox saw enough of him as a starter to draft him in the sixth round, where he signed for an under-slot $260,000 bonus.

Like Stiever, Heuer had far exceeded his career-high in innings, so he was held to a tight pitch count. In 14 starts, Stiever posted a 4.74 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. In his 38 innings, he allowed 49 hits (.310 OBA) and 14 walks (3.32 BB/9) while fanning 35 (8.29 K/9). The numbers weren’t fantastic, but he was likely battling some fatigue while pitching in a friendly hitting environment. Heuer actually improved in his last five starts, however, as he ceded only five earned runs and 16 hits in 15 innings while striking out 16. He’s got terrific size, a fastball that peaks at 96 mph, an average-but-improving slider, and a changeup that needs refinement. Heuer, again like Stiever, should begin next season with Kannapolis.

Jason Bilous
6’2´´
185 pounds
Age: 21

Bilous, though possessing great stuff, posted mediocre results with Coastal Carolina. He missed his senior season in high school after undergoing Tommy John surgery. In three years as a Chanticleers starter encompassing 179 23 innings, Bilous combined to post a 4.28 ERA and 1.63 WHIP; he allowed 152 hits (.255 OBA) and 143 walks (7.12 BB%) while striking out 212 hitters (10.56 K/9). His junior season, his best, still exhibited poor control. In 83 innings of work, Bilous allowed just 61 hits (.214 OBA) but walked 66 (7.13 BB/9) while striking out 105 (11.34 K/9). FanGraphs, Baseball America, and MLB Pipeline all had Bilous ranked among the top 200 MLB Draft prospects this year, so when he fell to the 13th round (378th overall), the White Sox snapped him up.

When putting a pitcher with poor control into a hitting environment like the Pioneer League, you’re asking for trouble. In 36 23 innings over 14 starts, Bilous posted a 7.85 ERA and 1.91 WHIP despite 31 strikeouts (7.61 K/9), as he allowed 46 hits (.324 OBA) and 24 walks (5.89 BB/9). MLB Pipeline gave him grades of 65 fastball, 55 slider and 50 changeup. As a starter, Bilous’ fastball typically ran 92-95 mph with sink but, in short stints, got as high as 99.

The White Sox will likely see what he can do as a starting pitcher going forward, but he has the size and velocity conducive to a high-leverage bullpen role if he improves his control. The ideal situation for Bilous would be to begin next season with the AZL League (he’s still only 21) so he can work on his mechanics and control in a much more pitching-friendly environment, but I expect him to return to Great Falls instead.

Kevin Folman
6´2´´
215 pounds
Age: 24

Folman spent four years with the North Dakota State Bison, the final two spent as the team’s closer. In those two years, he pitched 71 23 innings over the course of 39 games. During that time, Folman posted a 3.01 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 14 saves; he also struck out 72 hitters (9.04 K/9) while walking just 19 (2.39 BB/9). Despite being ranked the top North Dakota player eligible for the 2018 MLB draft, he went undrafted. He was pitching for the independent Sioux Falls Canaries when the White Sox signed him to a minor league contract on July 24.

Folman split 2018 with the AZL Sox and Great Falls. Unsurprisingly, his results were far better in Arizona. In Arizona, his ERA was 3.45 and WHIP 1.01; at Great Falls, those numbers declined to 6.75 and 2.06, respectively. Overall in 39 13 innings, Folman posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.30 WHIP with 33 strikeouts (7.55 K/9) while allowing 43 hits (.269 OBA) and just eight walks (1.83 BB/9). Folman’s fastball runs as high as 92 mph, so he profiles as more of a swingman/long reliever. If he returns to the White Sox organization for 2019, it would likely be back with the Voyagers.

For White Sox trivia buffs, Folman isn’t the first player from North Dakota State to play in the Sox farm system—Don “Chip” Devlin advanced to the Single-A Appleton 1984 as a third baseman.

Chris Comito
6´6´´
240 pounds
Age: 22

Comito is a graduate of Norwalk H.S. (Iowa), ranked as the fourth-best prep prospect in Iowa prior to the 2015 MLB draft according to PerfectGame. When the White Sox drafted him in the 15th round, Comito eschewed his verbal commitment with the Iowa Hawkeyes and did fairly well with the AZL Sox that year by posting a 3.32 ERA in 57 innings. After a solid start in 2016 with the Great Falls Voyagers (3.43 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 1.56 BB/9, 9.24 K/9), he struggled badly with Kannapolis (6.48 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 2.38 BB/9, 5.83 K/9). In 2017 Comito struggled for both teams and combined to post a 5.21 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 2.80 BB/9, and 4.53 K/9.

In 2018, Comito didn’t fare any better while hurling for Great Falls. In 71 13 innings over 15 appearances (eight starts), he posted a 6.06 ERA and 1.64 WHIP with 67 strikeouts (8.45 K/9) while allowing 98 hits (.323 OBA) and 2.40 BB/9. While many of the peripherals were still bad, he did strike out far more hitters.

Comito posted slightly better results as a starter than a reliever. As evidenced by his low walk rates, he definitely pounds the zone. However, because he doesn’t have the greatest stuff (his fastball peaks at 90 mph) despite his size, he gets hit hard if he has too much of the zone. Comito also features a curveball, slider, and changeup; however, since those pitches don’t have a great velocity difference compared to his fastball, he hasn’t been very effective. If Comito returns to the Sox organization for 2019, expect a return to Great Falls where he can hopefully miss more bats.


Arizona League White Sox

Brayan Herrera
6´2´´
185 pounds
Age: 20

Herrera was part of a large contingent that signed with the White Sox on July 2, 2016, with others signed that day including Lenyn Sosa, Luis Mieses, Anderson Comas, and Kleyder Sanchez. Of the nine players who signed on July 2, seven signed for larger bonuses than Herrera’s $50,000. However, Herrera turned out to be one of the best signings that day. According to Baseball America’s Ben Badler at the time, “He’s 6-foot-2, 185 pounds with a fastball up to 95 mph and a hard slider. Herrera has a four-pitch mix with a curveball and changeup too, though he might fit best in relief.”

Last year for the DSL Sox in 15 games (12 starts) totaling 68 23 innings posting a 2.62 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, he allowed just 57 hits (.221 OBA) and 17 walks (2.23 BB/9) while striking out 47 (6.16 K/9). This year for the AZL Sox in 12 games totaling 56 23 innings with a 2.70 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, he allowed just 46 hits (.216 OBA) and 15 walks (2.38 BB/9) while striking out 43 (6.83 K/9). Herrera’s been quite consistent during his two years and his control has been solid. Despite a good fastball, he’s not striking out a ton of hitters; as he progresses through the system, it’ll be interesting to see how well Herrera performs against sturdier competition. In the meantime, he likely will begin next year in the Great Falls rotation.

Yordi Rosario
6´2´´
185 pounds
Age: 20

Rosario, a native of the Dominican Republic, signed a minor league contract with the White Sox on February 29, 2016 as a 17-year-old. Unsurprisingly, he struggled his first season with the DSL Sox — in 35 innings over 12 outings, he posted a 7.20 ERA and 2.06 WHIP with 26 strikeouts (6.69 K/9) but relinquished 48 hits (.320 OBA) and 24 walks (6.17 BB/9). However, he returned to the DSL Sox last year and posted much different results: A 2.26 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 71 23 innings, allowing just 56 hits (.215 OBA) and 26 walks (3.27 BB/9) while fanning 64 hitters (8.04 K/9).

Rosario returned to the DSL again this year for eight outings. By posting a nifty 1.82 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in eight outings, he finally earned his long-awaited promotion to the AZL Sox at the end of July. While not as spectacular in Arizona, he still posted good results, with a 3.42 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in six outings. For the year combined with both squads, Rosario combined to post a 2.57 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over 56 innings, allowing just 51 hits (.244 OBA) and 12 walks (1.93 BB/9) while striking out 70 (11.25 K/9). His fastball sits in the low 90s, which with his age, smooth delivery, and build still could gain additional oomph.

According to Eric Longenhagen at FanGraphs, Rosario’s ability to throw strikes, with both his fastball and 12-6 curveball, is advanced for his age: “His stuff is very average right now, but he could be quite exciting if things break right.” Though it’s possible he returns to the AZL to begin 2019, I expect him to start with Great Falls.

Isaiah Carranza
6´5´´
180 pounds
Age: 22

Carranza spent his first two seasons with the Pac-12 Oregon Ducks before transferring to Azusa Pacific, in the Los Angeles area and closer to home. Carranza posted decent results for the Division II Cougars in 2018, with a 3.89 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 74 innings; in those innings, he allowed 77 hits and 31 walks (3.77 BB/9) while striking out 86 (10.46 K/9). Those results weren’t elite, but Carranza was considered highly enough to be ranked in the Top 200 by most major baseball publications. When he fell to the 12th round of this year’s MLB draft, the White Sox couldn’t pass on him with the 348th overall pick. However, as his arm was battling fatigue, Carranza didn’t pitch for any of the Sox affiliates after receiving his $175,000 signing bonus.

With his height, Carranza has some projection, with the chance to add velocity as he puts on strength. He’s already up to 95 mph with his fastball and comfortably sits around 92 mph. His low-80s slider is inconsistent, but shows depth and tilt enough to make you think it can be an average pitch in the future. He’ll flash a solid changeup with fade on occasion as well. Command has eluded him, both in and out of the strike zone, leading to a high walk rate and getting hit more than he should. Still, his live arm and good frame could lead to a nice future going forward. Officially listed on 2018’s AZL roster, it’s difficult to project him to begin at a particular location for 2019; he could start anywhere from Arizona to Kannapolis. As of right now, I expect him to begin with the AZL, with opportunities to advance quickly with success.

Sean Thompson
6´3´´
190 pounds
Age: 23

Thompson was the model of consistency as a four-year starter for Virginia Commonwealth. His highest ERA for the Rams was 3.48, while his best was 3.03, in 2018. Along with that 3.03 ERA, Thompson posted a 1.17 WHIP in 92 innings, allowing 81 hits (.233 OBA) and 27 walks (2.64 BB/9) while striking out 79 (7.73 K/9). Despite the results, Thompson was not drafted, with the White Sox signing him to a minor league contract shortly afterward.

This year for the AZL Sox, Thompson pitched in 13 games (nine starts) and posted a 3.68 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. He did allow 42 hits (.282 OBA), but only walked seven (1.72 BB/9) while striking out 31 hitters (7.61 K/9). Thompson doesn’t possess overpowering stuff, as his fastball maxes out at 90 mph. However, he pitches over that thanks to good control and an outstanding 12-6 curveball. Though he was primarily a starter in Arizona, he seems best suited for a long relief role. He will likely pitch in that role in 2019.

Edinxon Arias
6´2´´
155 pounds
Age: 21

A native of Venezuela, Arias signed with the White Sox on July 10, 2014 as a 16-year-old. His first four seasons in the White Sox organization have been difficult. In his first three years combined, these were his averages: 6.39 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, .322 OBA, 5.26 BB/9, and 5.83 K/9. His numbers actually had gotten progressively worse with each year. Arias’ slim build indicates he may be best suited for a role in the bullpen. At 21 to begin 2019, he’ll be older than his average competition. Thus, if he does win another opportunity to pitch for the AZL Sox, he needs to show improvement.

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Dominican Summer League White Sox

Cristofer Melendez
6´3´´
170 pounds
Age: 21

Melendez, as a 16-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, sign with the Houston Astros on July 7, 2014. After posting good seasons with the DSL Astros in 2015 and 2016, he struggled mightily there in 2017, with a 7.68 ERA and 1.76 WHIP. As a result, the Astros released him in late August 2018, with the White Sox opting to sign him shortly before the DSL season was to get underway.

This year with the DSL Sox, Melendez was easily the best and most consistent player on a team that was atrocious. In 15 games (11 starts) and 70 13 innings, he posted a miniscule 1.54 ERA and 0.95 WHIP, allowing 39 hits (.158 OBA) and walking 28 (3.58 BB/9) while striking out 93 (11.90 K/9).

Melendez has a nice, projectable starting pitcher’s build, with clean arm action and solid mechanics. He throws a fastball that jumps out of his hand, and has solid feel for a curveball. His repertoire may also include a groovy changeup, which would explain why lefties are hitting a microscopic just .111 against him compared to .189 against righties. The age is a bit of a concern, because Melendez is 1.6 years older than league average. Jose Nin from last year’s DSL squad was even older last year — but he pitched admirably for Kannapolis out of the bullpen in 2018. I envision Melendez beginning next year in the AZL starting rotation, with an opportunity for promotion to either Great Falls or Kannapolis if all goes well.

Wilber Perez
6´2´´
170 pounds
Age: 21

Perez signed a minor league deal as a 19-year-old with the Brewers on July 10, 2017, and ultimately pitched in nine relief outings last year for their DSL squad. Although he enjoyed a respectable 3.45 ERA in his 15 1⁄3 innings of work, Perez’s other results were rather mediocre: 1.72 WHIP, 18 hits allowed (.281 OBA), nine walks (12.3 BB%) and 16 strikeouts (21.9 K%).

In 2018, in eight starts for the DSL Brewers encompassing 40 1⁄3 innings, his results dramatically improved: 2.01 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 25 hits (.177 OBA), 13 walks (8.0 BB%) and 47 strikeouts (29.0 K%).

After being traded to the White Sox (along with Kodi Medeiros, for Joakim Soria), Perez picked up right where he left off. In six outings (five starts), he pitched 30 innings, allowing just 18 hits (.188 OBA) and eight walks (7.0 BB%) while striking out 28 (24.6 K%). His combined results for 2018 were terrific: 70 1⁄3 innings, 44 hits, 21 walks and 75 strikeouts, with a 1.92 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. Of course, his results should be taken with a grain of salt, as he was 1.6 years older than the league average.

Because Perez wasn’t a heralded prospect when he signed with the Brewers last year, and also because he’s pitched exclusively in the Dominican League during his brief career, scouting information on Perez is quite scarce. According to Baseball Prospectus, Perez has a 88-91 mph fastball with a cutter, curve and changeup. It’s possible that his fastball could project higher, as he gets older (he just turned 21 in November) and increases his weight.

Regardless, Perez’s results indicate that his repertoire is clearly working. Lefties batted .160 against his offerings this year, while righties batted just .187 — and those numbers indicate that his change and cutter were both quite effective. It’s not necessarily how hard a pitcher throws that determines his effectiveness, but a combination of several things: movement, location, speed variation between the fastball and off-speed pitches, and focus. Based on relatively small sample sizes, Perez seems to have these assets in hand.

Perez should begin the 2019 season with the AZL White Sox, with a chance for early promotion to Great Falls halfway through the season due to his age. Then, if all goes well, he should be ticketed for Kannapolis in 2020. His profile is similar to Melendez, except he doesn’t have as much minor league experience.

Yoelvin Silven
6´1´´
176 pounds
Age: 19

Silven, another native of the Dominican Republic, signed with the White Sox just weeks before this season’s DSL began. He posted a solid inaugural season in 15 games (10 starts) spanning 64 innings with a 3.65 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, allowing 65 hits (.262 OBA) and just 16 walks (2.25 BB/9) while striking out 71 (9.98 K/9). Pitching in the Dominican League, and being lightly regarded to boot, not much is known about him. However, the results seem like he’s got good stuff with even better control. Like Jendersson Caraballo, expect Silven to return to the DSL — but he may get an earlier crack at a promotion to the States if he gets off to a great start, due to his better control and strikeout percentage.

Jendersson Caraballo
6´3´´
190 pounds
Age: 19

Caraballo was one of nine international players signed on International Signing Day in 2016. The Dominican Republic native received a $350,000 signing bonus on July 2. According to Ben Badler of Baseball America at the time, “He touches 92 mph with his fastball and his best pitch is his power slider. The White Sox saw feel for a changeup and a repeatable delivery that allows him to throw strikes as well.” Caraballo partook in his first game action with the DSL White Sox in 2017. In his first season, he posted a 2.11 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 64 innings over 14 starts. In that time, he allowed 52 hits (.226 OBA) and 29 walks (4.08 BB/9) while striking out 38 (5.34K/9). Lefties (.225) and righties (.227) shared the same lack of success against his offerings.

However, Caraballo joined many Sox farmhands in battling the injury bug, missing the entire 2018 season due to injury. Expect him to return to the DSL Sox in 2019, with perhaps an opportunity for promotion to AZL before year’s end if he can maintain his health and improve his strikeout ratio.

Luis Rodriguez
6´6´´
220 pounds
Age: 18

Rodriguez, a Venezuelan native, signed an international deal with the White Sox on June 1. He’s quite large for anyone, let alone someone who’s just 18, so he may need some work on his mechanics. In 16 games, including 10 starts, Rodriguez posted a 4.68 ERA and 1.64 WHIP. Overall, he allowed 44 hits (.238 OBA) and 38 walks (6.84 BB/9) in 50 innings while striking out 48 (8.64 K%). Obviously he has trouble with command, but there seems to be some potential here. Mechanics are likely the culprit of his control issues, as Rodriguez is quite large for anyone, let alone someone who’s just 18. On the plus side, despite being down in the count so frequently, he still struck out his fair share of hitters, while not allowing many hits. This indicates he has above-average stuff; it’ll be fun to see what he can do now that a full season is under his belt. Expect Rodriguez to return to the DSL Sox for 2019.

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Summary

There are some talented right-handed starters in the lower levels, although only Stiever ranks among the Top 30 White Sox prospects according to MLB Pipeline. This is understandable, considering their ages and that none of the pitchers listed here were drafted in the top four rounds. Also, the White Sox have been bare of elite international prospects for the past couple of years due to the Luis Robert signing.

Pitching, at these low levels, is hard to project long term. It all has to depend upon good luck and the avoidance of injuries. Hopefully, some of these arms could end up making it to the majors in a White Sox uniform, but some could also be dealt when the White Sox contention window actually arrives.