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White Sox winter league update

After the AFL, some players saw action in even warmer climates

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago White Sox at Seattle Mariners
Winter vacation: Eloy Jiménez had a notably brief stint in the Dominican Winter League.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Though it is the offseason for most players with the White Sox, there were still some that received extra action this winter. The Arizona Fall League, featuring Luis Basabe, Laz Rivera, Luis Robert, Tanner Banks, Zack Burdi, Danny Dopico and Zach Thompson, ended a couple months ago and players not selected for the AFL had to look elsewhere. Again, much like the AFL, there cannot be any vast assumptions made about winter league results, but more experience cannot hurt these players.

Dominican Winter League

The Dominican Winter League saw the most action in terms of White Sox players. Eloy Jimenez was the big name of the group. Before leaving the league with a quad injury, he did very well over eight games: .448/.500/.759 with two home runs, one of which made the rounds on social media. He also struck out just seven times and walked three.

Yermin Mercedes also had a stint in the Dominican. He played the second-most games of any of the winter leaguers, with 30 games played. The catcher slashed .232/.315/.305 without any home runs, which explains that low slugging percentage. He did show some decent plate discipline, with only 17 strikeouts to 11 walks, but his hitting ability was a calling card for him during the regular season. That does not mean Mercedes was not productive though; he had 12 RBI including this one:

Mercedes’ teammate, Randall Delgado, had a much shorter outing with the club. The recent White Sox minor league signee only pitched in three games (2 23 innings), allowing three hits, two walks, two strikeouts, and an earned run. The next time Sox fans see Delgado will be during spring training, as he received an invite to major league camp.

Nobody had a more brief stint than José Nin this offseason. He pitched in one game and only got through one-third of an inning, allowing a run and a walk.

Nin’s teammate, Felix Paulino, was able to last a bit longer. Paulino was acquired by the White Sox in 2018, in the trade that sent Luis Avilan to the Phillies. Nin appeared in 13 games spanning 13 13 innings, earning one save. He did have some trouble, with a 4.05 ERA and a .314 batting average against. The low strikeout totals during the season continued here in the Dominican (just five), but Paulino did show better command, at least, with only three walks.

Venezuelan Winter League

The Venezuelan league did not see the prospect power the DR did, but three White Sox appeared in games over the winter.

Jose Rondon was the biggest name of the three. He appeared in a winter league high for the White Sox (38 games) but did not fare so well. He slashed .237/.292/.356, with three home runs. He also walked nine times and was punched out 18 times. Though Rondón did not do well, he seems to have been respected by his opponents, because he was intentionally walked twice.

Luis Martinez also made an appearance in Venezuela. The reliever threw 9 13 innings in 11 games. Like others, Martinez struggled, with a 4.82 ERA, but that was mostly due to him not commanding a good strike zone. He walked seven batters and only struck out five. When Martinez was not missing the zone he did do wel,l with a .194 batting average against.

Jhoan Quijada probably had the most success of any of the pitchers in these winter leagues. He had a 1.93 ERA in 9 13 innings pitched, with a 1.50 WHIP thanks to a .294 batting average against and four walks. He did have five strikeouts — and they must have been very timely outs. Of course, he did induce two double plays which helped make his ERA look better.

Mexican Pacific Winter League

Evan Marshall, the new minor league signee, rounds out the Sox players from the winter. He seems to have been the closer for his team as he was 5-of-6 in save chances. He had a 3.00 ERA in nine innings pitched, with just two walks and five strikeouts. He too, gave up a high batting average against (.294) but the lack of walks is good to see from a player who will probably be up on the South Side at some point.

But for him and every other player in the Sox organization, it’s almost time for spring training, even if it does not feel like it yet.