“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the Chicago White Sox organization.
Welcome to another year of Deep Dive, where we analyze the past, present and future for each position in the White Sox organization. Each position is broken into five parts:
- Depth in the rookie levels (Dominican through Arizona)
- Depth in A-ball (Kannapolis and Winston-Salem)
- Depth in the higher levels (Birmingham and Charlotte)
- Under the Radar-type detail on a White Sox player
- Free agent options
Center field, along with shortstop, is where you want you want your most athletic players on the diamond. While this is also true for the White Sox, only one prospect currently ranks among the team’s Top 30 according to MLB Pipeline — Yoelqui Céspedes. There is certainly much raw but unproven potential, so it will be exciting to see how the youngsters progress in the 2022 campaign.
Below are the organization’s center fielders who finished the season at either the Arizona Complex League (ACL) or Dominican League (DSL).
Ages below are as of April 1, 2022
ACL White Sox
Other positions played: LF, RF
2020 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 60
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 49
Glass was quite the physical specimen for his Mustang H.S. (Okla.) varsity squad. According to Prep Baseball Report, he’s got a great arm and throws 92 mph from the mound, and his speed is better than average, as he runs the 60-yard-dash in 6.65. Also, according to PBR, his exit velocity sits at 96 mph, which is quite impressive.
Glass was verbally committed to Kansas, so the White Sox had to pry him from out of it after selecting him in the 22nd round of the 2019 draft. In 17 games for the AZL squad that year, Glass slashed an impressive .284/.342/.403 with five doubles, one homer, nine RBIs, one stolen base, two walks (2.7%) and 23 strikeouts (31.5%). He missed the 2020 season due to the pandemic shutdown.
The 2021 season did not go as hoped for Glass in his return to Arizona. In 45 games and 145 at-bats, he slashed just .159/.269/.310 with seven doubles, three triples, three homers, 15 RBIs, two stolen bases, 10 walks (6.0%, 78 strikeouts (46.7%)and a 58 wRC+. He did possess a 44.6% fly ball rate compared to a 32.6% grounder rate on batted balls, which is a good tendency with his power; however, Glass struck out nearly half of the time, which is deeply disconcerting. Even though he’s already spent two seasons in Arizona, he may need to spend a third in order to focus on better pitch recognition.
Other positions played: 2B, LF, RF
One can say that “Cam” Butler did OK for his Big Valley Christian High team in Modesto, Calif., and say with a smirk of understatement. All Butler did in his senior season was hit .771 while knocking in a whopping 61 runs on his way to winning to winning both the Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Player of the Year awards for California. Quite an impressive feat, playing in one of the biggest prep hotbeds in the country. Whether it was due to his commitment to in-state Cal Poly, or whether it was because teams didn’t feel he was quite ready for professional ball, he slid to the 15th round of this year’s MLB draft, where the White Sox were ecstatic to select him, and eventually sign him to an over-slot $150,000 bonus.
At the time of his selection, Prep Baseball Report compared him to long-time major leaguer Peter Bourjos. This is what their area scout Steve Doherty said of him: “Butler is an elite overall athlete showing speed, some pop in the bat, and above average defensive skills from both the outfield and shortstop positions. In my opinion Butler is the quintessential “Modern Ball-Player,” a Swiss Army knife so to speak; hyper-athletic, can play multiple positions, and is a football and basketball player. If you asked him to pitch and catch, he could probably do that at a high level too, he can do it all. The Oakland A’s 2020 Area Code Team selection confirms what we already know, he’s a good baseball player.” PBR timed him at 6.65 in the 60-yard dash, 4.37 seconds from home to first, and a 102 maximum exit velocity during one of their showcases.
Unsurprisingly, playing professional ball is a huge adjustment, and this was the case for Butler this year. In 18 games totaling 59 plate appearances, he slashed just .083/.254/.125 with two doubles, one stolen base, 11 walks (18.6%), 27 strikeouts (45.8%) and a 23 wRC+. On the positive side, Butler saw of plenty of pitches, as evidenced by his extremely high walk and strikeout rates. Defensively, he played well in center and left and at second, but his only two errors came during a brief, 13-inning stint at right field. Highly recognized as a gym rat, no doubt Butler’s struggles in Arizona this year will only give him the impetus to train and work on his pitch recognition skills. Due to his age (he was 1.8 years younger than his competition this year), expect Butler to return to the ACL to begin the 2022 season.
DSL White Sox
All the way back in December 2019, Dominican native Alvaro Aguero was signed to a minor league deal with the White Sox and international scouting director Marco Paddy. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic layoff, Aguero couldn’t get into his first action until this year.
While perhaps his pitch-recognition skills need work, Aguero’s ability to run the bases is just fine. In 52 games for the DSL Sox spanning 192 plate appearances, he slashed a respectable .246/.302/.383 with 12 doubles, three triples, two homers, 17 RBIs, 11 walks (5.7%), 55 strikeouts (28.6%) and 92 wRC+. Since pitchers typically have the most rudimentary control at this level, a 5.6% walk rate is actually quite low. What isn’t low, however, is Aguero’s 88% stolen base rate, as he swiped 22 bases in 25 attempts. He hit fly balls at a higher rate than grounders this year, so he may need to hit more worm-burners to better take advantage of his speed going forward.
Aguero should be a good candidate to begin the 2022 season in Arizona.