There was a brief positive for the DSL White Sox early in the season: They won their first game, the only time they were better than .500 in 2018.
Hector Acosta was also an early positive, as he earned a promotion to Arizona after only four games pitched. He left the DSL with a 3.33 FIP, but then the bad resurfaced, as Acosta had a 7.09 FIP in the AZL.
The 2018 season was abysmal. Because the White Sox signed Luis Robert and couldn’t sign any additional international free agents for more than $300,000, negatives were expected, of course. The good news is that some players did stand out.
Jose Rodriguez was the best White Sox hitter in the DSL, hands down. He finished the year with a slash line of .291/.318/.401 with a 12.1% K-rate. He also was able to steal a base on 16 of his 20 attempts. He only had a wRC+ at 105 (which tells you just how bad this team was) but he proved he can be a future player to keep an eye on. He is only 17 years old, so there’s still a lot of room for Jose to grow.
Harold Diaz ended up being even better than Rodriguez, but he was signed in July and missed most of the DSL season. Diaz slashed .290/.388/.406 after being signed. with an 11.3% K-rate. He has a much better eye than most on the DSL Sox, but because of his limited playing time he should be back in the DSL in 2019.
Jefferson Mendoza was one of the $300,00 players signed a season ago. There weren’t big expectations, but since Mendoza was signed to a max, there were some, and he faltered. He still is only 17, so there is still plenty of time for the catcher to step up. He slashed .207/.289/.289, with a 19.3% K-rate. That all equals adds up to a bad 75 wRC+. There is not much information to trust for defensive statistics for a catcher in the DSL, but for what it’s worth, Mendoza allowed 28 stolen bases and threw out 24, along with 12 passed balls. Those numbers seem OK; his arm seems to be a plus while the receiving is down but, again, it is the DSL.
Sidney Pimental was signed earlier this year, like Diaz, but did not fare as well. Again, Pimental is only 17, so he has time to improve. He slashed .167/.219/.300, with a 28.1% K-rate, for an ugly 52 wRC+. In his 64 plate appearances, Pimental did show some pop, with four extra-base hits (two homers). But he could just not get the bat on enough pitches to show what he can do.
Probably will be Stateside in 2019 good
Cristofer Melendez and Wilber Perez will both be 21 next year, which is a little old for for first-year Stateside players, should they be promoted. But both finished the season with an outstanding FIP, Melendez at 2.49 and Perez, since being acquired him from the Milwaukee Brewers, 3.27. The Sox obviously did not feel either were ready to come to the States yet, but they were both productive enough to force their way to becoming legitimate prospects, longshots or not. There is not much information on pitch velocities or pitch types out of the DSL, but Melendez seems to be more of a strikeout guy, probably a future reliever, with a 11.90 K/9 and a .158 batting average against. Perez looks to be a better starter, having a low batting average against, at .186, but also fewer walks (2.40 BB/9).
Still interesting because of some peripherals, but quite frankly did not do well
A lot of qualifiers for this group, but again, the DSL is not a good league to get a read on players. So even though Luis Rodriguez and Francisco Benitez were bad, they can still be prospects to keep an eye on.
Rodriguez is six-foot-six and weighs 220 pounds, and he will be 19 to start the year next year. That size alone warrants an eye. But Luis was not particularly good; he had an average K-rate and walked too many batters, but he was able to keep the ball on the ground and induce weaker contact more often than not. Benitez does not have the size, but he does have the age and better peripheral numbers. He walked the same amount of hitters as he struck out, at 10.10 per nine, and is clearly wild, with 13 HBP and six wild pitches. However, Benitez had a .195 batting average against, and that K-rate does look good. He will be 18 next year, so he has plenty of time to figure out his control issues.
There will be a lot of familiar faces next July in the DSL. Some new guys who were signed will appear, but the roster should be mostly the same. Not many of these guys besides Melendez, Perez, and Jose Rodriguez deserve a promotion.
The good news is that it would be very difficult to be as bad next year. Full speed ahead to 2019!