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2021 South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 87: Jefferson Mendoza

Big offensive numbers in 2019 were betrayed by a setback in fighting the running game

The 2018 DSL White Sox award winners. From left to right: Cristopher Melendez (best pitcher), José Rodriguez (MVP), Jhonabiell Laureano (best defender), Yoelvin Silven (best rookie) and Jefferson Mendoza (best catcher).
Chicago White Sox

Jefferson Mendoza
170 pounds
Age: 20
SSS rank among all catchers in the system: 7
2020 SSHP Top Prospect ranking: 87

Another catcher from Venezuela, Jefferson Mendoza signed with the White Sox on International Signing Day on July 2, 2017. International scouting director Marco Paddy said of Mendoza at the time, “Jefferson is a plus defensive catcher with an excellent frame for the position. His abilities to handle a pitching staff and call a game should help him develop quickly.”

Mendoza struggled through his first season with the DSL White Sox in 2018, as he slashed just .207/.289/.289 in 121 at-bats by hitting seven doubles, one homer, 15 RBIs, one stolen base, 12 walks (8.9%) and 26 strikeouts (19.3%).

With a year under his belt, Mendoza picked up his offensive game in his 2019 return to the DSL. In 33 games encompassing 95 at-bats, he slashed .305/.391/.484 with eight doubles, three homers, 21 RBIs, one stolen base, 10 walks (9.1%) and 28 strikeouts (25.5%). Unlike in 2018 where he curtailed the running game by thwarting 46.2% of stolen base attempts, Mendoza was only successful doing so 16.3% of the time in 2019. On the plus side, after 12 passed balls in 2018, he allowed nary a one in 2019.

Mendoza should begin the 2021 season with the AZL White Sox — but it could be a hard fight for playing time.