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 AZL White Sox All-Stars (MVP votes in parenthesis)
Catcher Jakob Goldfarb (10)
First Base Bryan Ramos (20)
Second Base Tom Archer (2)
Third Base DJ Gladney (28)
Shortstop José Rodriguez (40)
Left Field Anthony Coronado (13)
Center Field Logan Glass (6)
Right Field Josue Guerrero (15)
Designated Hitter Micker Adolfo (10)
Utility Player Andrew Vaughn (10)
Right-Handed Pitcher Yoelvin Silven (12)
Left-Handed Pitcher Hector Acosta/Trey Jeans (2)
Points leader missing the cut Ivan González (8)
Some strange lineup jimmying here, given that guys like Archer, Acosta and Jeans were All-Stars on the basis of just one outstanding game. But when so few contests are played, perhaps it’s to be expected. No other middle infielder in Arizona earned MVP consideration, nor did any lefthanders.
Speaking of, as you can see, the AZL pitching was ... not outstanding. Now, it’s not to say there weren’t good performances (for example, Avery Weems was in fact OUTSTANDING in four games, but those games always fell on a day when José Rodriguez went 8-for-8 or DJ Gladney had two homers or something), but really, this AZL season was not about pitcher development.
What was it about? OFFENSE. Wow, some hitters came through AZL. DJ Gladney and Bryan Ramos were standouts, Micker Adolfo and Andrew Vaughn had some nice cameos, and there was promise from some part-season players, like Logan Glass and Anthony Coronado.
But really, one hitter stood shoulders above the rest ...
2019 AZL Player of the Year: José Rodriguez
For all of the hype Benyamin Bailey got in the DSL, Rodriguez was better for the AZL White Sox. Just a year removed from the DSL, where Rodriguez was ... good, the shortstop, at a year-and-a-half younger than league average, ate the AZL up. Playing in just 44 games, Rodriguez led the AZL White Sox in hits (55), triples (3), homers (9), RBIs (31) and total bases (95), and was second on the club in steals (7) while only being caught once. His .293 batting average, .505 slugging percentage and .834 OPS topped any teammate who played at least half of the season. Now, to be fair, Rodriguez’s 13 errors in 32 games at short means he is at best very raw at the position, at worst destined for second base, where he committed just one error in 10 games. But on a team where he was overshadowed by several other hitters, Rodriguez stood out as 2019’s best.