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White Sox affiliates lose 16

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Reviewing a big batch of newly-minted minor league free agents

Los Angeles Angels v Chicago White Sox
Caught a big ’un: The net snagged Cordell in September, but the tall right fielder was declared a minor league free agent after the World Series.
Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The end of the playoffs doesn’t just mark the opening of major league free agency; hundreds of minor league players, often with lengthy service time to a club or actual cups of coffee in the bigs, are freed as well.

The White Sox lost 16 players to free agency, which seems at first like quite a bit. But while some clubs lost far fewer (Houston two, St. Louis three), there were some MLB teams who lost an entire roster’s worth of young players (the Dodgers 25, Washington 27, Texas 28, Cincinnati 31! ... thanks, Baseball America).

Below is a recap of the players cut loose; any are available to be re-signed by the big club.

Charlotte Knights

Ryan Cordell (OF) Two years with the White Sox after a trade from Milwaukee; career .792 OPS in the minors, .602 in the majors; 116 career games with the White Sox.
Brandon Guyer (OF) A veteran of the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland, Guyer caught on with Charlotte this spring, played a month with a .733 OPS in 16 games, and spent the rest of the year on the injured list.
Trey Michalczewski (3B) Has been with the White Sox so long (2013), he played with the old White Sox Appalachian League affiliate in Bristol. The seventh-rounder had a poor season for Birmingham-Charlotte and holds a career .698 OPS.
Gerson Montilla (2B) Seven years into his minor-league career, Montilla caught on with the Winston-Salem Dash and played one season (2016); short of one AZL game the next year, Montilla hasn’t played since, and spent all of 2019 on the Knights injured list.
Justin Nicolino (LHSP) The White Sox grabbed him from Minny in May and he put up a 6.28 ERA in 19 starts; put another way, he was so bad that he somehow managed not to get a gift start with the White Sox this season.
Donn Roach (RHSP) Roach was golden in 2018 (2.65 ERA) but battled injury and ineffectiveness all season long in 2019 (18 games, 7.83 ERA).
Ramón Torres (SS) After leaving the Kansas City system as a free agent after last season, Torres had a pedestrian season for Birmingham and Charlotte (.683 OPS).
Colton Turner (LHRP) joined the White Sox system from the Blue Jays in 2016 and gradually worked his way up to the Knights; his Birmingham work was outstanding, but Triple-A was not as kind (5.48 ERA in 37 games).

Birmingham Barons

Mauricio Cabrera (RHRP) Hooked on with the White Sox in 2018 and spent two years in Birmingham; this past season he had 41 games in relief, for a 4.50 ERA.
Alfredo González (C) 10 years in the minors, never a regular, 157 career RBIs. Pretty cool that he did this in Chicago, though:

Luis Martinez (RHRP) Has spent his whole career with the White Sox, dating back to 2014. After starting for all of 2018 in Winston-Salem, relieved with the Barons in 2019 and was a tick better (4.26 ERA in 39 games) than Cabrera.

Winston-Salem Dash

Kevin Escorcia (LHRP) Parlayed a very strong 2018 at Kannapolis (2.66 ERA) into a merely decent encore in 2019 with the Dash (4.33 ERA in 29 games).
Luis Valenzuela (SS) The former Braves infielder caught on with the White Sox in August and saw action in 17 games (.603 OPS).

Kannapolis Cannon Ballers

Justin O’Conner (RHRP) Former Atlanta catch came to the White Sox in 2019 and converted to pitching, where in small sample sizes his strong showing in the AZL could not be duplicated at Kannapolis.
Tyler Watson (LHRP) Did Watson retire? He was traded to the White Sox for the 2019 season and pitched in just 10 games before being placed on the temporarily inactive list.

DSL White Sox

Matthew Mercedes (1B) He’s spent three years in the DSL (the first two for the Pirates DSL affiliate), with a career .756 OPS, and hey, he’s 21 years old.