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Deep Dive: left field edition, part 1

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Still a lot of work to do to get left field right in the lower levels of the White Sox system

Choke Up: After a strong 2017 debut and disappointing 2018, Dedelow needs to prove he’s more than mere organizational depth.
Tiffany Wintz/South Side Sox

“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the 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

Left field is traditionally the weakest position among the three outfield spots. Center field usually features the best athletes due the to range they must cover, while right fielders tend to have the stronger throwing arms, in order to make the longer throw to third base. Left fielders often (but not always) have strong bats but are generally less-skilled defensively, with weaker throwing arms.

None of the featured players here were drafted higher than the ninth round, so it’s relatively slim pickings on the lower levels of the farm. That’s OK, because the team’s best prospect, Eloy Jiménez, happens to be a left fielder, and players can of course move to left field from center or right.

Without further ado, let’s focus on the left field depth in the organization by providing small bits of information on players who primarily played that position for DSL, AZL, Great Falls and Kannapolis. Player’s age as of April 1, 2019 is listed.


Kannapolis Intimidators

Craig Dedelow
6´4´´
195 pounds
Bats: Left
Age: 24
Additional positions: right field, center field

Dedelow, a native of Munster, Ind., had a solid if unexceptional four-year career with the Indiana Hoosiers. He seemed to sacrifice his hit tool to make a run at more dingers his senior season, as he increased his homers from five to 19; however, he upped his strikeouts from 40 (15.56%) to 56 (20.66%) and dropped his batting average from .302 to .258. While his reduction in batting average and increase in Ks dropped his stock, the White Sox saw enough power potential to select him in the ninth round of the 2017 MLB Draft.

With Great Falls and Kannapolis in 2017, Dedelow slashed .306/.341/.552 in 268 at-bats, with 21 doubles, three triples, 13 homers, 55 RBIs, five stolen bases, 14 walks (4.76%) and 43 strikeouts (14.63%). Because most of last year’s at-bats were with Great Falls (and the few he had in Kannapolis didn’t turn out quite so well), he returned to the Intimidators in 2018, where he continued to struggle.

In 2018, in 502 at-bats, Dedelow slashed .245/.294/.406, with 12 homers, 69 RBIs, two stolen bases, 30 walks (5.56%) and 128 strikeouts (23.70%). Dedelow may end up a platoon player, as his slash line this year was .271/.318/.458 against righties and just .164/.221/.246 against southpaws. He’s got a slightly above-average arm (with a whopping 17 assists) and was efficient defensively, making just three errors in 216 total chances. Dedelow’s fairly long swing will need to be cut down for him to find more success as he climbs toward the majors. I project Dedelow to begin next season with Winston-Salem, which is a much more hitting-friendly environment.

Ian Dawkins
5´11´´
195 pounds
Bats: Right
Age: 23
Additional positions: center field, right field

Dawkins was a model of consistency in his college career, the first two years of which were spent with Chabot Junior College in Heyward, Calif. The outfielder’s combined NCAA slash line was .350/.426/.477, and he fortuitously had his best season as a senior for the Sacramento State Hornets by hitting .359/.415/.528 with six homers, 33 RBIs, eight stolen bases, 22 walks and 41 strikeouts over 248 at-bats — all career highs. As a non-power hitter in a non-power conference (WAC), Dawkins fell all the way to the 27th round of the 2018 MLB Draft, where the White Sox were happy to snag him.

With Great Falls and Kannapolis after the draft, Dawkins hit .303/.351/.390 in a combined 251 at-bats, with 13 doubles, three homers, 21 RBIs, 14 stolen bases, 16 walks (5.88%) and 43 strikeouts (15.81%). Dawkins spent over 62% of his time at left, with the rest spent at left (36%) and right (2%). He was a sure-handed fielder, making just one error in 106 chances, with five assists. While it’s possible Dawkins returns to Kannapolis for 2019, I expect him to play in a Winston-Salem outfield that could include Luis Robert, Dedelow and Tyler Frost.

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Great Falls Voyagers

Alex Destino
6´3´´
215 pounds
Bats: Left
Age: 23
Additional position: right field

Destino had an up-and-down three-year career with the South Carolina Gamecocks, with his best season coming as a sophomore when he slashed .321/.373/.509 with 14 doubles, 10 homers, 59 RBIs, 19 walks (7.45%) and 45 strikeouts (17.65%) in 234 at-bats. As a junior in 2017, Destino fell to .255/.338/.441, with eight doubles, 10 homers, 41 RBIs, 27 walks (11.49%) and 42 strikeouts (17.87%) in 204 at-bats. The only category that improved was his walks; a large reason his stats declined so much was that his BABIP slumped, from .361 to .271. With that as perhaps a consideration, the White Sox took a chance and selected him in the 14th round of the 2017 MLB Draft.

In 2017 with the AZL White Sox, Destino’s improvement in walk rate continued, and he enjoyed a decent season overall. He slashed .290/.408/.432, with 13 doubles, two triples, three homers, 23 RBIs, one stolen base, 38 walks (16.89%). 40 strikeouts (17.78), and an improved BABIP (.352). However, with Great Falls and Kannapolis in 2018, Destino’s numbers slid to a combined .248/.298/.407, with five homers, 36 RBIs, 17 walks (5.88%), 55 strikeouts (19.03%), and a .295 BABIP in 270 at-bats. Especially alarming was that Destino’s walk rate was basically a third of what it was the year before.

He made five errors playing the corner outfield spots in 2018, and does have a strong enough arm to play right field. As of right now, I have Destino projected to begin the season with Kannapolis; how he improves his plate discipline and BABIP in a tougher hitting environment will determine whether or not he advances any further.

Travis Moniot
6´1´´
190 pounds
Bats: Both
Age: 23
Additional positions: second base, shortstop, third base

Moniot had a well-traveled collegiate career, to say the least. His freshman year was spent with the Oregon Ducks, but was eventually beaten out by Cadyn Grenier after slashing just .168/.286/.293 in 167 at-bats, with five homers, 18 RBIs, five stolen bases, 24 walks (11.82%) and 53 strikeouts (26.11%). Moniot transferred to Orange Coast JC (Calif.) for his sophomore season, where he boosted his stock considerably by slashing .353/.524/.608 in 153 at-bats, with seven homers, 34 RBIs, 17 stolen bases, 50 walks (23.81%) and 27 strikeouts (12.86%). Moniot returned to the Pac-12 as a junior, but struggled in a utility role with Arizona: a slash line of .160/.295/.240 in just 50 at-bats. Despite his bleak results against the stronger competition of the NCAA, the White Sox looked beyond the stats and selected him in the 17th round of the 2018 MLB Draft.

Moniot enjoyed a surprisingly decent season with the Great Falls Voyagers, in a utility role. In 38 games and 114 at-bats, he managed to slash .289/.391/.412 with one homer, 14 RBIs, two stolen bases, 17 walks (12.59%) and 29 strikeouts (21.48%). Being a switch-hitter doesn’t hurt his stock, and neither does his versatility — he played four different positions over those 38 games. It’s possible that Moniot may return to Great Falls to begin the 2019 season, but if someone like Steele Walker earns a promotion to Winston-Salem before June, Moniot may be called up to take Walker’s place before the Voyagers season even begins.


Arizona League White Sox

Josue Guerrero
6´2´´
190 pounds
Bats: Right
Age: 19

Josue Guerrero, nephew of Hall-of-Fame outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, was part of a large White Sox international signing class in 2016 which included Lenyn Sosa, Luis Mieses and six others. A native of the Dominican Republic, Guerrero signed for a whopping $1.4 million bonus. Scouts were mixed about the signing: the best assessments viewed Guerrero as possessing a natural knack for hitting, with big-time power but an overly-aggressive offensive approach. On the flip side, Ben Badler of Baseball America stated at the time, “He is a limited athlete and runner with a below-average arm that might restrict him to left field, though his arm could get stronger.”

Guerrero struggled with the DSL White Sox in 2017, slashing .222/.293/.348 in 207 at-bats, with three homers, 25 RBIs, five stolen bases, 16 walks (6.93%) and 54 strikeouts (23.38%). He moved up to the AZL White Sox in 2018 and struggled badly, in part due to inconsistent playing time. These numbers aren’t for the squeamish: .192/.231/.288 in just 73 at-bats with no homers, eight RBIs, no stolen bases, three walks (3.85%) and 27 strikeouts (34.62%). Though Guerrero played right field exclusively for the DSL Sox, he moved to left field exclusively once he got Stateside. Left field (unlike his uncle, who had a cannon of an arm) is the outfield position Josue is better suited for. The White Sox have a lot invested in Guerrero, so expect him to receive much more playing time in his expected return to Arizona for 2019.

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Dominican Summer League White Sox

Andres Rosario
6´3´´
190 pounds
Bats: Right
Age: 20
Additional positions: right field, third base, first base

A native of the Dominican Republic’s hotbed of baseball, San Pedro de Macoris, Rosario signed a minor league deal with the White Sox this April. He wasn’t a deeply-coveted prospect, and the results bear this out. In 193 at-bats in 2018, Rosario slashed .176/.263/.244 with a team-high three homers, 12 RBIs, three stolen bases, 21 walks (9.68%) and a highly-elevated strikeout total of 85 (39.17%).

On the positive side, Rosario has a nice, projectable build, conducive to power, and his walk rate wasn’t all that bad. While his featured position was left field (86%), Rosario also played a bit in right and at the infield corners. Unfortunately, in the five games Rosario played at the hot corner, he committed seven errors (he also played one inning at first base and immediately committed an error there as well), so the infield may not be his thing. Obviously, Rosario will need to curtail his strikeouts significantly if he expects an eventual promotion to the States. In the meantime, expect him to return to the DSL White Sox for 2019.

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Summary

While the outfield depth in the organization is exceptionally strong, it’s weakest in the lower levels at left field. That’s not too surprising, as traditionally, the best outfield athletes play center, while the strongest arms play right. Also, not including the international signings of Guerrero and Rosario, the highest MLB Draft selection of any of these players was the ninth round (Dedelow). As a result, most of the White Sox’s left field prospects profile best as organizational depth, with the possible exceptions of Guerrero and Dedelow (although Dedelow himself appears to be headed that way as well, if he doesn’t break out in 2019). Perhaps this is to ensure time for the organization’s best prospects to develop at their own pace.