Welcome to a bit of a new year-end feature here at South Side Sox, postseason affiliate All-Star teams. In 2018, we introduced the MVP concept to the Minor League Updates, but didn’t do anything with the data. This year, I compiled the MVP votes for each affiliate game, ranked performances in order of value (on a day when seven affiliates played, Luis Robert going 3-for-3 with six RBIs would earn seven points, Tate Blackman going 1-for-4 with a double would earn one), and came up with our minor league All-Star teams.
Obviously, these All-Stars are subjective and based merely on individual MVP awards and not all-around season performance; thus players who were very hot and cold have an unfair advantage over the slow and steady performers. Still, with a few oddball exceptions, the results seem pretty true to form.
MVP voters this season at South Side Sox and South Side Hit Pen include Brett Ballantini, Darren Black, Julie Brady, Leonard Gore, Joe Resis, WSM, Tiffany Wintz and Year of the Hamster. Four days of results in July are missing, as Sox on 35th deleted our Minor League Updates after the site had been scolded for both censoring and “rebranding”/lifting our work, so this final tally is about 2% incomplete.
2019 DSL White Sox All-Stars (MVP votes in parenthesis)
Catcher Luis Pineda (9)
First Base Matthew Mercedes (21)
Second Base Wilber Sánchez (9)
Third Base Jhoneiker Betancourt (10)
Shortstop Yolbert Sánchez (21)
Left Field Benyamin Bailey (29)
Center Field Johnabiell Laureano (23)
Right Field Lazaro Leal (8)
Designated Hitter Ruben Benavides (13)
Utility Player Jefferson Mendoza (8)
Right-Handed Pitcher Homer Cruz (26)
Left-Handed Pitcher Ronaldo Guzman (8)
Points leader missing the cut Ray Castro (14)
For a White Sox system with an embarrassing dearth of catchers, it’s encouraging that three catchers wormed their way onto this All-Star team (Pineda, Benavides and Mendoza) and that all six of the players who caught for the DSL White Sox this season earned at least one MVP win during the course of the 70-game DSL season. Laureano made an interesting run at team MVP despite getting very little prospect hype relative to Bailey, and it seems had Yolbert Sánchez played a fuller portion of the season (he was active in only 29 of 70 games), he eventually would have taken the crown.
Guzman is probably an example of a player who was cheated by the MVP system, because he clearly had a greater impact on the club than several of these other All-Stars despite having fewer “points.”
A team with an 18-win increase and 20-loss decrease (from 18-54 to 36-34) has had some major success, no matter how random or transient the Dominican Summer League is. That means we are almost assured of seeing several of these players make their way Stateside in 2020 and continue to blossom as they move up the ranks.
2019 DSL Player of the Year: Benyamin Bailey
Benyamin Bailey received the lion’s share of prospect hype for the DSL White Sox in 2019, and rightly so: At just 17, he was the youngest of the three primary contenders for team MVP. He not only led the team in walks with 52, he was a unicorn among baseball players circa 2019: Bailey walked more than he struck out (52 passes, 40 Ks). Only three other players did so on the DSL White Sox, and none by as significant a margin. Correspondingly, Bailey also led the DSL White Sox in on-base percentage, at .477. It is comically early to say based on a 55-game sample size, but Bailey is a player to be very, very excited about.