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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 59: Xavier Fernández

This incredible defender is making his way up the backstop depth chart.

Kansas City Royals Photo Day
Based on his defense alone, Xavier Fernández could be an MLB backup right now.
Rob Tringali/Getty Images

Xavier Fernández

245 pounds
Age: 26
SSS rank among all catchers in the system: 3

Xavier Fernández, as a Puerto Rican prep star, was selected in the 11th round by the Kansas City Royals in 2013. Since that time, he’s done a respectable job both offensively and defensively, with the exception of a difficult rookie league campaign in 2014 with Burlington.

Fernández’s rise was slow but sure in the Royals system until things picked up during 2018, when he acquitted himself quite nicely after a midseason promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he slashed .328/.382/.504 (138 wRC+) in 36 games with three homers, 10 walks and 17 strikeouts in 36 games.

Fernández was eligible for the Rule 5 draft that year, and Drew Osborne of The Royals Farm Report stated “Fernández is a solid catcher who will be a big league catcher at some point in the near future ... he could be a backup immediately in the majors. His defense is outstanding. Fernández blocks well and is a tremendous receiver with soft hands that frame well. As far as throwing, he has gunned down minor league runners at a 39% pace in his career and 41% this season in NWA. His throws are low, on the money, and carry well.”

Perhaps it was due to his lack of power, but for whatever reason, Fernández was not selected in that Rule 5 draft and received a promotion in 2019 to Triple-A Omaha, but opted for free agency upon season’s end. The Sox snatched him up in 2020, but didn’t get to see him action due to the pandemic.

After beginning 2021 with Winston-Salem for an injury rehab assignment in mid-June, Fernández slashed .283/.353/.446 for Birmingham in 58 games with five doubles, nine homers, 21 walks (9.5%) and 44 strikeouts (19.9%). His defense was outstanding for the Barons, and he threw out 11-of-27 attempted base-stealers (40.7%)

It’s somewhat surprising that a player of Fernández’s ilk has only played 39 games of Triple-A ball. His profile is actually quite similar to Carlos Pérez. It seems that the White Sox would be likelier to promote Pérez than Fernández, simply because Pérez is a home-grown talent.

The underrated Fernández would be an excellent candidate to begin 2022 with Charlotte, depending upon roster adjustments elsewhere in the organization’s upper levels.

2022 South Side Sox Top 100 White Sox Prospects

59. Xavier Fernández, C
60. Wilber Sánchez, SS
61. Kohl Simas, RHRP
62. Johan Dominguez, RHSP
63. Jagger Rusconi, 2B
64. Ronaldo Guzman, LHSP
65. Laz Rivera, 3B
66. Adam Hackenberg, C
67. Will Kincanon, RHRP
68. Lane Ramsey, RHRP
69. Tommy Sommer, LHSP
70. Randel Mondesi, RF
71. Shawn Goosenberg, 2B
72. Zack Muckenhirn, LHRP
73. Cameron Butler, CF
74. Godwin Bennett, RF
75. Logan Glass, CF
76. Dario Borrero, 1B
77. Craig Dedelow, RF
78. Carlos Hinestroza, RHRP
79. Gunnar Troutwine, C
80. Kade Mechals, RHSP
81: Caberea Weaver, CF
82. Layant Tapia, SS
83. Homer Cruz, RHRP
84. Kaleb Roper, RHSP
85. Jerry Burke, RHSP
86. Emerson Talavera, RHRP
87. Isaiah Carranza, RHSP
88. Davis Martin, RHSP
89. Tyler Osik, 1B
90. Samil Polanco, 3B
91. Manuel Veloz, RHRP
92. Pauly Milto, RHRP
93. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
94. Colby Smelley, C
95. Manuel Guariman, C
96. Everhett Hazelwood, RHRP
97. Garrett Schoenle, LHRP
98. Kyle Kubat, LHRP
99. Anderson Comas, RF
100. Jake Elliott, RHRP