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Meet Caleb Frare, the latest prospect to enter Chicago’s loaded system

If the southpaw can keep his control, he’ll stay on the fast track to the majors

Minor League Baseball: Eastern League All Star Game
Savoir Frare: After dominating in the New York Yankees system, this splendid southpaw is ready to help pitch in for the Knights.
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

In a bit of surprise, on Sunday the Chicago White Sox acquired Caleb Frare for $1.5 million in international pool money. That’s more pool money than the Sox spent on Ryan Burr, Yeyson Yrizarri and Thyago Viera combined!

Frare (six-foot-one, 210 pounds) was the New York Yankees’ 11th-round draft choice in 2012, from Custer County H.S. in Miles City, Mont. and just enjoyed his 25th birthday earlier this month.

After a solid campaign with the Yankees rookie league squad, Frare underwent Tommy John surgery, which forced him to miss the 2013 and 2014 campaigns. After a good start for the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs in 2015, Frare was promoted to the High-A team in Tampa, where he struggled in seven outings (5.59 ERA, 2.07 WHIP). The following year, Frare returned to Tampa, where he dominated with an ERA of 0.92 and WHIP of 1.14 while allowing just 33 hits and 23 walks in 49 innings of relief work.

While Frare’s control was mediocre to that point in his career, it really tailed off in 2017 for Tampa and Double-A Trenton. Frare struck 78 hitters in 62 23 combined innings, for a nifty 28.6 K%; however, he walked 52, for an atrocious 19.0 BB%. Despite having a 1.60 WHIP last year, his combined ERA was surprisingly low at 4.02 (which likely was the result of a solid bullpen).

Fast-forward to 2018: In 43 23 innings for Trenton, Frare enjoyed a 0.62 ERA/0.92 WHIP/33.7 K% by striking out 57 hitters while only allowing 25 hits and 15 walks. This earned him a promotion earlier this week to Triple-A, where he pitched in just one game prior to today’s trade.

Trenton manager Jay Bell told The Trentonian four weeks ago, “I don’t want to speak for [Brian Cashman] or anybody that are my bosses, but as far as I’m concerned, at least in my eyes, [Frare] has certainly put himself on the map. I know for a fact that there are scouts out there that are asking questions about him. He does so many things well.”

Frere’s repertoire and future with the White Sox

Frere’s fastball typically runs from 93 to 96 mph, with tons of movement. Combined with a wipeout slider, he’s certainly got the goods to work in high-leverage situations. Frare also has a sweeping 2/8 curveball with a short break, and a change that he doesn’t throw often. He doesn’t appear to be a LOOGY either, as both left-handed and right-handed batters in Double-A hit exactly .167 against his offerings this year. Those even splits have been consistent throughout his minor league career.

Frare’s first team in the White Sox organization will be the Charlotte Knights. Frare has only pitched one AAA game thus far in his career, so it will be interesting to see if he can continue to maintain his command. Frare clearly has the arm and a solid high-leverage arsenal, he just needs to maintain/improve his control in order to win a closing or setup role in the Sox organization. Clearly, other than injuries, command is the only thing that should hold Frare back.

The Sox currently have an abundance of viable southpaw bullpen options in their system: Luis Avilan, Xavier Cedeno, Jace Fry, Aaron Bummer, Colton Turner, Brian Clark, Kyle Kubat and Bennett Sousa, among others. Frare’s stuff, however, may be the best of these — providing he continues to throw strikes. Like recently acquired pitcher Kodi Medeiros (who may end up being part of the southpaw bullpen mix himself, eventually), the White Sox will have to add Frere to the 40-man roster this offseason in order to avoid losing him, as he will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.