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White Sox Minor League Update: March 3

Minor leaguers are in Glendale, working on their craft before the official opening of MiLB spring training.

Scottsdale Scorpions v Glendale Desert Dogs
If José Rodríguez really wants to emulate his baseball idol, he better pick up the pace with his whiffs.
Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

It seems like now that minor leaguers who are not on the 40-man roster are all arriving at spring training, beat writers are picking one a day to write on. What else is there to do? James Fegan took time to concentrate on a big name in the White Sox system, in José Rodríguez.

Rodríguez had a breakout yearin 2021 that started in Kannapolis and then improved in Winston-Salem. His .919 OPS in High-A last year earned him a series in Birmingham, and some time in the Arizona Fall League as well, both to little success (in only 20 combined games). Rodríguez should start the year in Birmingham and though every year is important, this could be a make-or-break one for him. Rodríguez could prove that he deserves to be the second baseman of the future, or he could show that he is just a utility infielder — something the White Sox seem to specialize in creating over the past couple of years. For 2022, he needs to really work on defense and increasing walks. Reading Fegan’s story, it’s very funny that Javy Báez is one of Rodríguez’s favorite players, considering Rodríguez only had 72 strikeouts in 111 games last season.

Meanwhile, Merk concentrated more on a player who has a real shot to see MLB time in 2022, Carlos Pérez. Now, some of that is because Pérez is a catcher, and the depth at that position for the Sox is weak to say the least. But with Yasmani Grandal going to get the vast majority of the time behind the plate, backup catcher is not a priority for offseason spending. So, you could see a lot of moves here regarding the backup spot, and Pérez has a good shot to see himself in the majors this year.

In terms of Pérez’s play on the field, he has been with the Sox since 2014 and has ever-so-slowly moved up the ranks. He spent the majority in Birmingham last year, with a cup of coffee in Charlotte. It was the first time Pérez had an average year at the plate (102 wRC+) since his time in the DSL in 2014-15; but while the bat improved, it is not something to rely on. All indications point to Pérez being solid behind the plate, and since catching the ball seems to be hard for all White Sox catchers, Pérez impresses with only had four passed balls last year and a 42% caught stealing rate. OK, it’s not a ringing endorsement, but he is fourth on the depth chart for catcher currently.