“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
The White Sox system has no southpaw relievers currently among the MLB Pipeline list of Top 30 prospects, and the system’s best lefty prospects are pitching in the higher levels. However, there are three or four bullpen arms that are at least intriguing.
Below are those lefty relievers who finished the 2021 season with Winston-Salem.
Ages below are as of April 1, 2022
2020 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 49
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 57
Peralta, a native of Queens, was a well-traveled collegian who pitched for San Jacinto CC, Palm Beach State College and Division II powerhouse University of Tampa. Other than a high walk total that caused his ERA and WHIP to balloon a bit, he supplied his Spartans enough strikeouts to entice the White Sox to select him in the 18th round of the 2019 MLB draft. In 2019 for Tampa, Peralta posted a 4.93 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 22 appearances (42 innings) by allowing 33 hits and 25 walks (13.2%) while striking out 74 (38.9%). Excluding his first four outings, he was terrific over his final 34 1⁄3 innings, posting a 2.62 ERA and 1.08 WHIP during that span.
After four outstanding appearances for the AZL White Sox that year, in which he allowed just three hits and two walks in 6 1⁄3 innings while striking out 13, Peralta was promoted to Great Falls on July 4. Peralta continued his mastery of Rookie League hitters with the Voyagers, as he kept his walks and hits down while striking out 45 hitters in just more than 30 innings. Combined with both teams in 18 outings spanning 36 2⁄3 innings, Peralta compiled a 1.96 ERA and 0.95 WHIP by relinquishing just 25 hits (.182 OBA) and 10 walks (6.7%) while fanning 58 (38.7%). When hitters made contact off him, they hit grounders over 43% of the time. While lefties hit Peralta at a .250 clip, he held righties to a .165 average.
After the 2020 pandemic cancellation of the minors, Peralta spent his first three months of this season with Kannapolis before a promotion to Winston-Salem. With little disparity between stops, Peralta combined to produce a 4.07 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 31 games (55 1⁄3 innings) by allowing 54 hits (.251 OBA) and 16 free passes (6.6%) while striking out 68 (27.9%). While lefties hit him 65 points better in 2019, righties fared better by nearly the same margin this year.
In two years, Peralta has managed to limit offensive production by keeping the ball down, inducing batters to strike out 32% of the time and limiting his free passes. That’s a great recipe for success, folks! While he did spend the majority of this year with Kannapolis, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Peralta promoted to the Birmingham roster to begin the 2022 season.
A twin brother of former White Sox second-sacker Nick, Ty shared the Sacramento Bee Co-Player of the Year Award with his more diminutive brother as a senior in 2015 while playing for Elk Grove (Calif.) High School. That year, Madrigal posted he posted a 9-3 record and 1.62 ERA on the mound with three complete games as a senior, while also batting.320 with 20 runs scored, 14 RBIs and seven doubles. The twins both took divergent paths in college, however, as Ty opted to pitch for St. Mary’s College while Nick played ball for Oregon State University.
Ty pitched well out of the pen for the Gaels as a freshman in 2016, but struggled in the rotation as a sophomore the following year. He enjoyed a sensational junior year in the pen as a junior in 2018, as he posted a 1.90 ERA and 1.08 WHIP while striking out 54 in 47 2⁄3 innings. However, after getting off to a rocky six-game showing to begin his senior season, Madrigal required season-ending surgery.
Well enough to pitch in 2020 as a redshirt senior, Madrigal understandably got off to a slow four-game start in the rotation with a 4.43 ERA and 1.43 WHIP before that season finished prematurely as well — this time due to the pandemic shutdown.
After going unselected in the abbreviated, five-round 2020 draft, Madrigal signed as an undrafted free agent with the White Sox on July 30. His results were uneven after signing, largely because he had only pitched 10 games in the previous two years.
Beginning 2021 with Kannapolis and finishing with an eight-game stint at Winston-Salem, Madrigal entered 32 games out of the pen this year. In a combined 58 2⁄3 innings, the southpaw posted a 6.05 ERA and 1.64 WHIP by doling out 58 hits (.258 OBA) and 37 walks (16.0%) while striking out an impressive 71 hitters (30.7%). For the most part, he pitched better as the season progressed, until he tired out in September with nine earned runs for the Dash in his final 6 1⁄3 innings.
Madrigal will likely return to Winston-Salem to begin the year, although he was about eight months older than the High-A average this year. If he can limit his walks and keep the ball down (his ground ball rate this year was an impressive 61.7% for the Cannon Ballers but descended to an abysmal 32.4% with the Dash), he should advance to Birmingham by midseason.
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 96
Like Peralta, Jeans was also a well-traveled collegian as he attended the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Seminole State College and the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He posted his best season with Louisiana-Monroe in 2019 as a senior, compiling a 3.76 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 15 starts. In his 79 innings for the Warhawks, Jeans surrendered 61 hits (.213 OBA) and 37 walks (11.0%) while striking out 69 (20.5%). As a result of his efforts, the southpaw was selected in the 33rd round by the White Sox.
Jeans then sailed through the AZL season in 18 relief outings, while he pitched his final three games for Great Falls. In a total of 27 2⁄3 combined innings, he allowed 28 hits (.252 OBA) and just five walks (4.2%) while fanning an eye-popping 43 (36.4%). Righties (.253) and lefties (.250) hit Jeans at about the same rate.
After the 2020 pandemic cancellation of the minors, Jeans started 2021 with five relief outings in Kannapolis. After that, Jeans was promoted to Winston-Salem on May 27. In 29 games for the Dash spanning 47 innings, he compiled a 5.94 ERA and 1.55 WHIP by allowing 48 hits (.257 OBA) and 25 walks (11.7%) while striking out 54 (30%). Like Peralta, Jeans offers a three-pitch repertoire including a fastball, curveball (his plus pitch) and changeup. Unlike Peralta, however, Jeans hasn’t exhibited strong results — especially with regards to his control. He spent more time with the Dash than had Madrigal, so it seems he’s likelier to begin next year with Birmingham.
Williamson, as a senior for his high school (Cranford, N.J.), merely went 10-0 with a 0.56 ERA as a senior in 2013 on the way to a second consecutive state title. He was a teammate of Carlos Rodón’s while with North Carolina State in 2014, where he performed quite well out of the pen for the Wolfpack. Williamson gradually wended his way into their starting rotation, where as a junior in 2016 he posted a solid 2.69 ERA in 70 1⁄3 innings. He was selected by Washington in the 15th round of that year’s draft, knowing he would need Tommy John surgery to replace a torn ligament in his left elbow In August 2017, while coming back from the Tommy John surgery, Williamson suffered a fracture in the same arm that required surgery.
After finally getting some action in a brief, seven-game stint in 2018 with the Nationals’ Gulf Coast League squad, he performed quite well for the Hagerstown Suns (Low-A) in 2019 with a 3.84 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 23 games (two starts). The 2020 season was a difficult one for Williamson, not solely because of the pandemic shutdown but also because he was released on May 29. He did get in some work with the Somerset Patriots, part of the independent Atlantic League, later in 2020 to stay sharp, with the hopes of keeping his baseball dream alive.
After a long wait, Williamson signed a minor league deal with the White Sox in late May 2021 and was assigned to Winston-Salem. The results weren’t what he’d hoped for, however, as he posted a 6.15 ERA and 1.93 WHIP in 28 games. In his 41 innings for the Dash, he relinquished 48 hits (.294 OBA) and 31 walks (15.5%) while striking out 52 (26.0%). In addition to his spotty control, lefties proved to be his bane as they hit .378 against him. On the positive side, righties were limited to a .263 average while opponents hit the ball on the ground nearly 40% of the time.
Normally, a 26-year-old lefty with High-A struggles would be unlikely to return the following year, but in some ways, Williamson’s experience has been somewhat limited due to missing three years either with injuries/pandemic (not to mention just seven games in 2018). He likely will have to prove himself with the Dash before he can earn his first-ever promotion to Double-A ball in 2022.