“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 and 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
Right field has long been an area of concern on the South Side — especially since the White Sox began their most recent rebuild. Many an outfielder has tried to patrol that area, but names like Daniel Palka, Nicky Delmonico, Nomar Mazara and Adam Eaton were at best stopgaps and at worst failures unable to produce consistently positive outcomes over that time.
Unfortunately, due to injuries or underperformance, the minor league system hasn’t produced anyone as yet to assume that role. While Gavin Sheets did fill in nicely last year, he’s by no means a sure thing. The White Sox currently have three right fielders among its Top 30 — the most such players of any outfield position. (And this doesn’t even include Oscar Colás, who is slated to officially sign with the Sox in January and is currently ranked among the Top 5 international prospects per MLB Pipeline.) Two of these three right fielders finished this season with either Kannapolis or Winston-Salem.
Will these, or any of the under-the-radar types, be able to be the long-term answer to a question that has long confounded the organization?
Below are the organization’s right fielders who finished the season at either Low-A Kannapolis or High-A Winston-Salem.
Ages below are as of April 1, 2022
Other positions played: LF, CF
2019 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 45
2020 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 39
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 37
On July 2, 2016 and just more than a month after turning 16, Dominican native Mieses received a signing bonus from the White Sox for $428,000, as part of a large International Signing Day class that included Luis Robert, Lenyn Sosa and Anderson Comas. Mieses began professional ball with the DSL squad in 2017, and slashed .263/.302/.320 in 59 games with eight doubles, three triples, 25 RBIs, three stolen bases, 10 walks (3.8%) and 42 strikeouts (16.0%). It was enough to receive a promotion Stateside for 2018, when he slashed .226/.236/.328 in 48 games with the AZL squad with 10 doubles, two triples, two homers, 26 RBIs, three stolen bases, four walks (2.0%) and 35 strikeouts (17.2%).
Mieses’ numbers improved a bit in 2019 with Great Falls, although it could be attributed in part to the thinner air. In 59 games for the Voyagers, he slashed .241/.264/.359 with 14 doubles, four homers, 28 RBIs, seven walks (3.0%) and 46 strikeouts (19.9%). The production was a bit disappointing, although Mieses has been more than a year younger than his competition at every level he’d played thus far. He, like nearly every minor leaguer, missed the 2020 season due to the pandemic shutdown.
After getting off to a difficult start with Winston-Salem (.155/.189/.366) in 19 games to begin 2021, Mieses was demoted to Kannapolis, where he performed much better. In 52 games for the Cannon Ballers totaling 203 at-bats, Mieses slashed .305/.347/.463 with 12 doubles, six homers, 41 RBIs, 13 walks (5.8%) and 33 strikeouts (14.7%). He played well enough to merit another trip to Winston-Salem, where he slashed .275/.319/.510 for the final two months of the season. While he didn’t club many homers for the Dash in his second go-around with the team, he did produce more extra-base hits than singles. Combined with both teams, It’s also encouraging to see Mieses pick up steam, as he was nearly two years younger than his High-A competition. Combined with both teams, he slashed .270/.312/.463 with 31 doubles, three triples, 15 homers, 74 RBIs, 24 walks (5.2%) and 81 strikeouts (17.6%). For the year, he posted a 116 wRC+ for Kannapolis and a 93 wRC+ for Winston-Salem, which wasn’t too bad based on his rough start.
MLB currently ranks Mieses second among White Sox right field prospects and 22nd overall in the system. Their highest grade for him is his arm (60), followed by fielding and power (50). His weakest tools are hitting (45) and speed. He’s reduced his ground ball rate every year thus far, dropping it to below 39% this year. By doing so, he’s been better able to unleash his power — he more than doubled his combined career homer total this year, while producing an OPS more than his previous career high set in 2017. Mieses still doesn’t take a lot of walks, but at least doesn’t compound that weakness by striking out an inordinate amount.
Mieses was not added to the 40-man roster on November 19, which means he will be eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 draft. However, since he has yet to advance beyond A-ball, he will not be selected. Expect the 21-year-old to begin the season with Birmingham.
Other positions played: LF
2020 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 75
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 63
After posting a nifty .882 OPS in his sophomore season, Destino struggled a bit for the University of South Carolina during his junior year in 2017, hitting .255/.338/.441 for the Gamecocks with eight doubles, 10 homers, 41 RBIs, three stolen bases, 27 walks (11.5%) and 42 strikeouts (17.9%). Due in part to his power potential, the White Sox selected him in the 14th round of that year’s draft. Destino rewarded the Sox that year with a strong campaign with the AZL squad, slashing .290/.408/.432 in 49 games with 13 doubles, two triples, three homers, 23 RBIs, one stolen base, 38 walks (16.9%) and 40 strikeouts (17.8%).
The 2018 season saw Destino split his time between Great Falls and Kannapolis, but saw his combined numbers decline a bit to .248/.298/.407 in 68 games with 18 doubles, five triples, five homers, 36 RBIs, 17 walks (5.9%) and 55 strikeouts (19.0%). Aside from a brief, four-game stint with Winston-Salem, Destino spent the entire 2019 season with Kannapolis and posted rock-solid numbers despite playing in a pitching-friendly ballpark. In a combined 116 games, Destino slashed .293/.372/.465 with 20 doubles, two triples, 17 homers, 64 RBIs, 51 walks (10.4%) and 121 strikeouts (24.6%). Of course, he missed the 2020 season due to the pandemic shutdown.
This year in 105 games for Winston-Salem, Destino slashed .231/.323/.448 with 15 doubles, three triples, 21 homers, 60 RBIs, 50 walks (11.3%), 131 strikeouts (29.6%) and 105 wRC+. His numbers weren’t bad, but they watered down by a .287 BABIP. He’s consistently produced fairly high walk and strikeout rates, so Destino definitely sees a ton of pitches. He’s been a slow advancer through the Sox minor league system, and at 26 he’s more of an organizational guy than true prospect, having never advanced beyond A-ball.
Destino possesses an above-average arm ideal for right field and is considered an adequate defender.
He was two years older than his competition while with the Dash, and that figure’s been consistent throughout his minor league career. He will be eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 draft, but won’t be selected. Expect Destino to get his first taste of Double-A ball with Birmingham next year.
Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Other positions played: CF, LF
2020 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 96
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 84
González was a relative unknown when he was selected in the 12th round of the 2019 draft by the White Sox. Shortly afterward, amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler called him an 80-grade runner who showed power potential at his pre-draft workout at Guaranteed Rate Field. González unsurprisingly scuffled in his first professional season in Arizona, as he slashed just .195/.246/.237 in 36 games with five doubles, six RBIs, one stolen base, eight walks (6.3%) and 52 strikeouts (40.9%).
This year, after a year off due to the pandemic, was a tale of two seasons in the White Sox organization. González began the season with the ACL Sox on a real tear as he slashed .311/.393/.595 in 21 games with six doubles, five homers, 23 RBIs, four stolen bases, six walks (7.1%), 26 strikeouts (30.6%) and a fantastic 151 wRC+. He suffered through a trying season with Kannapolis, however, after being promoted on August 10. In 31 games for the Cannon Ballers, González slashed just .178/.286/.322 with four doubles, three homers, 10 RBIs, 11 walks (10.5%), 40 strikeouts (38.1%) and 71 wRC+. To be fair, he was more than a year younger than the league average, so this could’ve been a situation where opponents were more simply advanced than he.
González is the third-ranked right fielder in the White Sox system, behind only Micker Adolfo and Luis Mieses, and is currently ranked 27th among all the organization’s prospects. González’s highest grade is 60 for running, although he hasn’t established enough confidence yet to steal bases consistently. His fielding tool is 55, while his arm and power tools both grade at 50. As evidenced by his low average and high strikeouts with Kannapolis, his lowest grade is 40 for hitting.
Based upon his youth and lack of success with Kannapolis, González likely will return to the Cannon Ballers to begin the 2022 season.
Other positions played: LF
2020 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 57
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 70
Ranked as Baseball America’s 37th-best international prospect, the Dominican Republic’s Comas received a $450,000 signing bonus from the White Sox on July 2, 2016. He was highly-touted by Ben Badler of Baseball America, although Comas didn’t play ball for the DSL Sox until the 2017 season when he slashed a respectable .291/.316/.329 in 63 games with five doubles, two triples, 17 RBIs, one stolen base, eight walks (3.2%) and 45 strikeouts (18.2%). Comas followed that up with an even better 2018 season with the AZL Sox, in which he slashed .306/.339/.388 in 41 games with six doubles, two triples, one homer, 22 RBIs, five stolen bases, seven walks (4.1%) and 26 strikeouts (15.1%).
Comas struggled unexpectedly with Great Falls in 2019. In 54 games and 194 at-bats with the Voyagers, he slashed just .222/.251/.351 with seven doubles, six triples, two homers, 33 RBIs, seven walks (3.4%) and 58 strikeouts (28.6%). He, like nearly everyone else, missed the entire 2020 season due to the pandemic.
Like Misael González, Comas got off to a terrific start for the ACL Sox, as he slashed .345/.345/.897 in 10 games with four doubles, four homers and whopping 196 wRC+. Also like González, Comas struggled big-time after his promotion to Kannapolis. It is often said that the most difficult transition is to move from the rookie leagues to A-ball, and Comas makes a perfect case-point of that trend. In 13 games totaling just 42 at-bats, he slashed just .048/.091/.048 with one walk (2.3%), 21 strikeouts (47.7%) and -58 wRC+.
With a low walk rate and high strikeout rate throughout his career to date, Comas will obviously have to significantly improve his plate discipline in order to advance further in the system. Additionally, FanGraphs mentioned that his swing has also gotten “disconcertingly long,” which of course means he’ll have difficulty reaching normal-velocity fastballs.
Comas has got a lot to work on this offseason, but he’s got the talent and youth to still have a chance. However, time is beginning to tick for this once highly-touted prospect. Expect him to return to Kannapolis to begin the 2022 season.