“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the Chicago White Sox organization. Each position is broken into a five-part series:
- 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
Just one of the four right-handed relievers among the MLB Pipeline list of Top 30 prospects finished with either Birmingham or Charlotte. However, there are several right-handed relievers on this list that could help sooner rather than later.
Due to the vast amount amount of right-handed relievers who pitched for each team, and in order to conserve time for our readers, Deep Dives will be provided for just five relievers on each squad. Plus, we have divided the Barons and Knights this time around.
Ages below are as of April 1, 2022
2020 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 53
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 32
Despite incredible stuff, Freeman struggled for Texas Tech largely because of his lack of control and command. His best year with the Red Raiders was as a sophomore in 2018, when he finished with a 5.18 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 22 contests spanning 33 innings, as he allowed 35 hits and 18 walks while fanning 31. Freeman’s junior season this year saw him slip to a 6.89 ERA and 2.49 WHIP in 15 2⁄3 innings, as he relinquished 26 hits (.388 OBA) and 13 walks (16.3%) while also striking out 13. The White Sox drafted Freeman, however, in the 15th round in 2019 with the hopes that they could help him reach his high ceiling.
Freeman did well at all three of his stops (AZL, Great Falls and Kannapolis) that year. In a combined 17 games totaling 24 2⁄3 innings, he saved four with a 2.19 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. In those innings, Freeman allowed just 15 hits (.170 OBA) and nine walks (8.9%) while striking out a whopping 38 batters (37.6%). It’s like he found his control and command overnight. He, like nearly everyone else, missed the 2020 season due to the pandemic shutdown.
The goal for Freeman in 2021 was to prove that his professional results in 2019 were no fluke — especially given him being cited specifically by farm director Chris Getz as the reliever to watch that summer. By all accounts, he did just that. In 25 appearances for Winston-Salem, Freeman posted a 3.62 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. In in 27 1⁄3 innings for the Dash, he surrendered 22 hits (.218 OBA) and 14 walks (12.1%) while striking out 33 (28.4%). Most of his control issues occurred in May and June, as he was still trying to shake off some rust. Freeman was promoted to Birmingham at the end of July, and performed even better. In 14 games totaling 16 2⁄3 innings, he produced a 2.70 ERA and 1.20 WHIP by relinquishing just 15 hits (.231 OBA) and five walks (7.1%) while fanning 22 (31.4%).
Just before the draft, Baseball America stated Freeman’s fastball typically runs 94-98 mph and flashes of a plus curve. However, they continued, his 20-grade control and command keeps him from taking advantage of his high-end stuff. Currently ranked 21st among Sox prospects per MLB Pipeline, his fastball is given a 60 grade with his curve rated a notch below at 55. He offers a hard slider, but due to its inconsistency, grades at 50. Largely stemming from his college days, his control is his weakest tool, at 40.
Freeman induced grounders at a 44.2% clip while with Birmingham, which should certainly ease his transition to the bandboxes of Charlotte’s Truist Field and Guaranteed Rate Field in the near future.
Where will he begin in 2022? There’s no easy answer to this question, as he still won’t require protection from the Rule 5 draft until the end of 2022. If he’s throwing strikes with effectiveness, he could be given the Codi Heuer treatment and start the year on the Opening Day roster. Freeman could return to Birmingham for a month or so, and then get an early promotion to Charlotte. Or he could simply begin the season with the Knights. No matter where he begins, it’s certainly been encouraging to see him make some impressive inroads on his control and command.
2019 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 99
2020 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 38
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 30
Kincanon, a native of suburban Berwyn, pitched for nearby Triton College for two seasons before transferring to Indiana State University. In his junior season with the Sycamores, he posted lackluster numbers (5.24 ERA, 1.48 WHIP) as a starting pitcher: In 14 starts totaling 79 innings, he surrendered 82 hits (.264 OBA) and 35 walks (9.6%) while striking out 93 (25.4%). Nonetheless, the White Sox selected him in the 11th round of the 2017 draft, with the intent of converting him to a reliever. After receiving a $150,000 signing bonus, Kincanon entered 21 games for Great Falls and did quite well: a 3.94 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 29 2⁄3 innings with three saves, 24 hits (.220 OBA), 13 walks (10.2%) and 29 strikeouts (22.7%).
With Kannapolis in 2018, Kincanon continued to put solid numbers on the board, although his control was lacking at times. In 26 games spanning 34 2⁄3 innings for the Intimidators, he compiled a 3.63 ERA and 1.27 WHIP by relinquishing 29 hits (.218 OBA) and 15 walks (9.7%) while fanning 42 (27.3%). Pitching for Winston-Salem in 2019, Kincanon enjoyed his best season yet, with a 1.86 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, saving eight games and ceding 45 hits (.208 OBA) and 26 walks (10.6%) while striking out 71 (28.9%).
Beginning this season ranked 28th in the Sox system per MLB Pipeline, Kincanon started off well with Birmingham, as he allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out four in his first four innings. However, he missed the remainder of the season due to injury. As a result, he’s dropped out of MLB’s Top 30 — for now.
MLB Pipeline graded his 92-95 mph heavy fastball and his mid-80s slider as 55 offerings, with his lower-speed curve and change both graded at 50. Depending upon where he’s at in his recovery, Kincanon could begin the season with Charlotte. However, the team may want him to slowly transition his way to Charlotte by pitching the first month or two with Birmingham.
2020 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 93
After an above-average first two years with the University of Oklahoma, Elliott picked a bad time to have an off-year. In his junior season, he posted a 6.02 ERA and 1.77 WHIP in 12 appearances (10 starts) totaling 46 innings for the Sooners by allowing 58 hits and 24 walks while striking out 30. As a result of those struggles, Elliott slipped to the White Sox in the 15th round of the 2016 draft. After the draft, he was immediately inserted into the Great Falls bullpen, where he posted a respectable 4.30 ERA and 1.27 WHIP while providing a nifty 5:1 K/BB ratio.
Despite putting up solid numbers for Kannapolis during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, he received only a fleeting promotion to the Dash, for an emergency appearance. In those two seasons combined for the Intimidators, Elliott combined to post a 2.67 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 138 1⁄3 innings by surrendering 105 hits (.211 OBA) and 32 walks (5.9%) while striking out 145 (26.6%).
While Elliott didn’t pitch badly for the Dash in 2019, his numbers weren’t at their usually high standards. In addition to two games he pitched for Birmingham, Elliott combined for a 4.75 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 35 appearances (66 1⁄3 innings) by allowing 63 hits (.252 OBA) and 27 walks (9.2%) while fanning 57 (19.3%). He especially struggled in August, with a 7.31 ERA and 1.69 WHIP in 16 innings as he allowed 17 hits and 10 walks while striking out 11.
After the 2020 pandemic shutdown, Elliott pitched the entire 2021 season with Birmingham. In 30 games for the Barons totaling 55 2⁄3 innings, he produced a solid 3.72 ERA and 1.24 WHIP by limiting opponents to 48 hits (.230 OBA) and 21 walks (9.0%) while fanning 48 (20.5%). He’s succeeded in the past by keeping the ball down, but his ground ball rate this year was just 31.% — well below his career norms. This could’ve been by design, as allowing fly balls is usually to the pitcher’s advantage when pitching in Regions Field. He appears to have an excellent changeup to stifle lefties, as they hit just .165 against him as compared to righties’ .269 average.
He throws a 91-93 mph fastball according to 2080 Baseball, along with that 78-80 changeup. His control had been decent, but based upon his slow trajectory and relatively modest fastball, it seems he’s viewed as more of an organizational arm than a true prospect. Elliott likely will begin the 2022 season with Charlotte. Of course, a return to Birmingham isn’t totally out of the question. On a side note, Elliott’s brother, Jensen, pitched for Single-A Delmarva in the Orioles system this year.
For Downers Grove South H.S. as a junior in 2012, all Glowicki did was post an 8-1 record and 1.20 ERA in 60 innings while striking out 80 hitters and walking just six. After producing similar results as a senior, he opted to play college ball for the University of Minnesota. Aside from a disappointing sophomore season, he produced great numbers out of the pen. His senior season in 2017 was his best, however, as he saved 16 games while contributing a 2.20 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. In 28 games that year for the Golden Gophers totaling 32 2⁄3 innings, he surrendered just 25 hits (.216 OBA) and seven walks (5.4%) while fanning 39 (30.2%). As a result of his efforts, he was selected in the 10th round of that year’s draft by the Cubs and pitched later that year for their rookie league club in Eugene.
Glowicki was outstanding for Single-A South Bend in 2018, as he posted a sensational 1.20 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 45 relief appearances while posting nearly a strikeout per inning. However, while he did just well in another half-season with South Bend in 2019, he struggled with his promotion to High-A Myrtle Beach with a 7.36 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in 19 games. Then, in May 2020, he was released by the Cubs.
A year later, the White Sox signed Glowicki to a minor league contract. In 23 games and 29 2⁄3 innings with Winston-Salem in 2021, he posted a 4.55 ERA and 1.25 WHIP by allowing 29 hits (.254 OBA) and just eight walks (6.5%) while impressively striking out 55 (44.7%). After a late-season promotion to Birmingham, he produced a 4.32 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 8 1⁄3 innings for the Barons by surrendering seven hits (.233 OBA) and three walks (8.6%) while fanning six (17.1%).
Glowicki has always shown good control, and if he can produce strikeout rates in the future similar to what he did with Winston-Salem, he may still have a chance to attain his dream of reaching the majors. He is now 27 and the clock is ticking, so he’ll need to perform well in Birmingham so he could earn his first-time promotion to Triple-A. After that, who knows?
Cronin, as a senior pitcher for Regis H.S. (New York City), produced a 2.13 ERA and 61 strikeouts and 41 strikeouts. The year before, he helped his team win the state baseball championship. Opting to cross state lines to play college ball for the College of the Holy Cross University (Worcester, Mass.), he produced decent but unspectacular numbers. During his senior year for the Crusaders, he produced a 4.06 ERA and 1.54 WHIP as a starting pitcher. Believing that he profiled better as a reliever, the White Sox selected him in the 36th round of the 2019 MLB draft.
That year, he combined with the AZL White Sox and Kannapolis for an outstanding 2.88 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 20 relief appearances. In 34 1⁄3 innings, he relinquished just 25 hits (.208 OBA) and 11 walks (8.1%) while striking out 29 (21.5%).
After the pandemic layoff, Cronin in 2021 struggled with Winston-Salem in 38 innings with a 5.08 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, as he allowed 33 hits (.226 OBA) and 19 walks (11.3%) while striking out 37 (22.0%). However, after receiving a late-season promotion to Birmingham, he produced better results in a smaller sample size. In seven outings totaling 8 1⁄3 innings, he produced a 2.16 ERA and 1.20 WHIP by relinquishing just seven hits (.226 OBA) and three walks (8.3%) while fanning six (16.7%).
While producing lackluster strikeout numbers even during his collegiate career, Cronin has survived by keeping the ball down. In fact, nearly two-thirds of all balls hit off of him this year were grounders. Because he doesn’t possess high-octane stuff, he’ll have to do more of the little things to stifle hitters: Keeping the ball down, staying ahead of hitters, change speeds, alter the hitters eye-levels both vertically and horizontally. Also, Cronin will need to stifle lefties a bit better by developing pitches that drift away them — perhaps continued work on a cutter or changeup would help.
Cronin will likely return to Birmingham, with a possibility for a late-season call-up to Charlotte if his command and control are both in top form.
JB Olson (27 years old): Olson combined with Winston-Salem and Birmingham for a 6.00 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 31 relief appearances. He produced similar numbers with Glendale in the Arizona Fall League.
Alec Hansen (27): The Hansen Dilemma continued in 2021. So dominant in 2017, Hansen has now become a mere afterthought thanks to his poor control. If the correct switch is flipped, things could certainly change. In 2021 he posted a 6.04 ERA and 2.28 WHIP for Birmingham, as he allowed just 14 hits but 37 walks in 22 1⁄3 innings while striking out a whopping 43 hitters.
Vince Arobio (27) Injured for much of the year, Arobio combined with three teams to post a 7.20 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in 15 innings.