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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 74: Vince Vannelle

This undrafted free agent might be a diamond in the rough

NCAA Baseball: Tucson Super Regional
Vince Vannelle was an excellent college closer and yet went undrafted. At least the White Sox woke up in time to immediately run him up their system.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Vince Vannelle

Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
202 pounds
Age: 25
2022 High Level Birmingham (AA)
Age relative to high level -0.4 years
SSS rank among all right-handed relief pitchers in the system 16
Overall 2022 pro stats 4-3 ⚾️ 35 games/22 finished ⚾️ 5 SV ⚾️ 42 1⁄3 IP ⚾️ 2.98 ERA ⚾️ 1.370 WHIP ⚾️ 51 K ⚾️ 20 BB

Vince Vannelle seems to be a fascinating case of an overlooked player. He comes to the Sox after playing five seasons of college ball; two at Florida Southwestern State and three at the University of Arizona. While playing at the collegiate level, he was well-respected by teammates and coaches and put up some pretty impressive numbers throughout his amateur career. His success seems due in part to a unique delivery and competitive mentality. His overall stat line in 57 appearances over three seasons with the Wildcats was 8-5 with a 2.85 ERA and a 1.378 WHIP in 82 innings pitched, with an outstanding K/9 of 10.58.

By Vannelle’s senior year in 2021, he was primarily a bullpen arm and most often used as Arizona’s closer. He made 26 relief appearances and went 5-3 with a 2.78 ERA while leading the team with eight saves, which tied him for seventh-most in a single season in Wildcats history and fourth-most in the Pac-12.

Award recognition for Vannelle was bountiful in his final season with the Wildcats. Perfect Game named him to its Preseason All-Pac 12 list. He also earned Second Team All-American honors, was named a Stopper of the Year finalist by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and was selected to the Pac-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention squad. Finally, Vannelle was also a vital component of the Wildcats postseason, giving up only one earned run across four outings.

So, here’s where it gets weird.

Despite a solid and decorated collegiate baseball career, the 25-year-old righty went undrafted in June 2021. For good reason, Vannelle refused to believe being a professional ball player was not in the cards, and in November 2021 he signed on with the Florida Baseball ARMory. For four months, Vannelle endured an intense training plan, working primarily on his velocity and a bit on his changeup and breaking ball. In February 2022, the ARMory sent Vannelle’s data and video to all 30 MLB teams. On March 8, 2022, the White Sox flexed some smarts and signed the free agent to a minor league contract.

The Sox promptly assigned him to the Arizona Complex League, where he remained for about a month before being promoted to the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers. In four appearances with the Cannon Ballers, he did not give up any runs over 6 1⁄3 innings pitched. After only 18 days in Kannapolis, the Sox promoted Vannelle to the Winston-Salem Dash. High-A ball also suited him well, as he went 4-2 with a 1.82 ERA in 29 2⁄3 innings and an impressive 9.4 K/9.

Vannelle’s quick ascent through the minor league system came to a screeching halt when the Sox promoted him to the Birmingham Barons on July 22. In seven games, he owned an 11.37 ERA in 6 1⁄3 innings pitched and struggled with control, yielding nine walks. He also had a short stint on the 7-day injured list.

Vannelle’s Baseball Cube player ratings
Strikeouts 66
Durability 64
K/BB 62
Walks 55
Hittable 48
vs. Power 48
Team Winning Percentage .649

Vannelle will most likely start the 2023 season with the Barons, but with his control restored he should quickly shift up to Charlotte. He appears to have the tenacity, relentlessness, and never give up attitude to get himself there.

2023 South Side Sox Top 104 White Sox Prospects

74. Vince Vannelle, RHRP
75. Brooks Baldwin, 3B-2B
76. James Beard, CF
77. Gabriel Rodríguez, RHSP
78. Ronny Hernandez, C
79. Troy Claunch, C
80. Brooks Gosswein, LHSP
81. Tim Elko, 1B
82. Yoelvín Silven, RHRP
83. Trey Jeans, LHRP
84. Jerry Burke, RHSP
85. Carlos Jiménez, 1B
86. Mason Adams, RHSP
87. Frankeli Arias, LHSP
88. Ernesto Jaquez, RHSP
89. Laz Rivera, 3B
90. Xavier Fernández, C
91. Álvaro Agüero, CF
92. Ben Norman, RF
93. Erick Bello, RHRP
94. Adisyn Coffey, RHRP
95. Arnold Prado, RF
96. Alsander Womack, 2B
97. Johan Domínguez, RHSP
98. Evan Skoug, C
99. Noah Owen, RHSP
100. Javier Mora, 2B
101. Will Kincanon, RHRP
102. Yohemy Nolasco, RHSP
103. Billy Seidl, RHRP
104. José Rodulfo, RHRP