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Congratulations to the 2021 South Side Sox Minor League All-Stars!

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Led by Player of the Year José Rodríguez and Pitcher of the Year Kade McClure, here are the best of the best — as picked by your MVP votes all year long.

José Rodríguez nearly doubled the vote total of White Sox minors MVP runner-up Luis Mieses.
Tiffany Wintz/South Side Sox

After more than 20,000 votes for minor league MVPs and Cold Cats this summer, South Side Sox announces our first organizational All-Star team based solely on your votes.

The voting system is fairly simple; in order to avoid unfairly penalizing teams or leagues getting fewer votes, each game awards 10 MVP points, determined by the percentage of the vote each player on the ballot gets. It works similarly for Cold Cats, except that each vote there subtracts from a player’s total. We keep the raw vote total in case it’s needed as a tiebreaker.

Thank you for your participation, all season long. It was an atrocious year for the White Sox system, which makes your devotion to reading about five of six teams finishing well worse than .500, and collectively 116 below .500 (243-359), downright amazing!

The full roster list is below, but first, let’s get to our Player and Pitcher of the Year.


2021 South Side Sox Minor League Player of the Year: José Rodríguez

You could say that Popeye ran away with this win, and it would be true. He nearly doubled the MVP points total of his nearest pursuer, Luis Mieses. Rodríguez was one of just a handful of White Sox players to perform at three different levels this season. Starting at Kannapolis for 78 games, Rodríguez excelled at an age 1.2 years younger than Low-A average. Upon promotion to High-A Winston-Salem, Rodríguez went completely bonkers: .361/.381/.538 for a .919 OPS, playing 2.9 years younger than High-A. He got a courtesy promotion to Birmingham at season’s end, so in his age-20 season Rodríguez ended up in a Double-A 4.5 years older than him.

As if his prodigious gap power isn’t enough, José’s wheels are a weapon as well, as he stole 30 bases against 11 times caught.

One problem: Rodríguez cannot field the shortstop position, at least not at this point. There is still time for him to settle in with the leather, but if second base doesn’t work out as a backup option (third base seems to be off the table at the moment), Rodríguez may be headed to the outfield.

Finally, Rodríguez’s extraordinary season earned him a bonus: Arizona Fall League play this month, competing against the best of the best in MiLB while still giving away almost three years in age.

2021 South Side Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year: Kade McClure

If a player ever backed more into this award, it’s McClure. Here’s how the race transpired in 2021:

  1. Taylor Varnell, crushed Winston-Salem (2.89 ERA in 13 games, but almost three years too old for High-A) and took an early lead in balloting. But then he flagged at Birmingham (5.68 ERA in six games, before abruptly retiring at 26), opening honors up for ...
  2. Konnor Pilkington, whose 3.48 ERA in 14 starts at Birmingham made him the clear top starter in the system. But in César Hernández lust, the White Sox shipped KP to Cleveland, so ...
  3. Norge Vera emerged as a favorite, but some early shoulder woes reduced his workload in what would already only have been a half-season in the DSL even at full health. Vera had a scoreless 2021, in “only” 19 innings, but those innings came against baby competition, more than three years younger than him ...
  4. so McClure, who pitched well enough in Birmingham (3.82 ERA in 15 starts, but a clear No. 2 to Pilkington) but biffed a promotion to Charlotte (6.81 ERA in nine starts). McClure will enter 2022 as the ace of the Knights staff (or, with a nod to Jimmy Lambert, perhaps just its prime workhorse) at a year younger than average Triple-A age, so there’s ample time for a re-set and final push to the majors.

No matter how he got there, congratulations to Kade, even though his hoops fandom is more LeBron than MJ.


Top 10 MVP Player Votes

José Rodríguez (Kannapolis CBs, Winston-Salem Dash, Birmingham Barons) SS: 182.3
Luis Mieses (Kannapolis Cannon Ballers, Winston-Salem Dash) RF-LF: 107.2
Yolbert Sánchez (Winston-Salem Dash, Birmingham Barons) 2B-SS: 92.6
Jake Burger (Charlotte Knights) 3B: 91.6
Bryan Ramos (Kannapolis Cannon Ballers) DH-3B-2B: 84.9
Gavin Sheets (Charlotte Knights) 1B-RF: 75.7
Micker Adolfo (Birmingham Barons, Charlotte Knights) RF: 64.2
Jameson Fisher (Birmingham Barons) 1B: 63.8
Misael González (ACL White Sox, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers) RF: 63.1
Harvin Mendoza (Kannapolis Cannon Ballers, Winston-Salem Dash) 1B: 60.1

Top 9 MVP Pitcher Votes

Kade McClure (Birmingham Barons, Charlotte Knights) RHSP: 37.5
Norge Vera (DSL White Sox) RHSP: 36.9
Mike Wright Jr. (Charlotte Knights) RHSP: 29.2
Johan Dominguez (Winston-Salem Dash, Birmingham Barons, Charlotte Knights) RHSP: 19.1
Kohl Simas (ACL White Sox, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers) RHRP: 18.7
Tommy Sommer (ACL White Sox) LHSP: 16.7
Emilio Vargas (Birmingham Barons) RHP: 16.4
Sean Burke (ACL White Sox, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers) RHSP: 15.8
Homer Cruz (ACL White Sox, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers) RHRP: 15.7


2021 South Side Sox Minor League All-Stars Roster

C Carlos Pérez (Birmingham Barons, Charlotte Knights)
1B Gavin Sheets (Charlotte Knights)
2B Yolbert Sánchez (Winston-Salem Dash, Birmingham Barons)
SS José Rodríguez (Kannapolis Cannon Ballers, Winston-Salem Dash, Birmingham Barons)
3B Jake Burger (Charlotte Knights)
LF Luis Mieses (Kannapolis Cannon Ballers, Winston-Salem Dash)
CF Mikie Mahtook (Charlotte Knights)
RF Micker Adolfo (Birmingham Barons, Charlotte Knights)
DH Bryan Ramos (Kannapolis Cannon Ballers)

Jameson Fisher (Birmingham Barons) 1B
Misael González (ACL White Sox, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers) RF
Harvin Mendoza (Kannapolis Cannon Ballers, Winston-Salem Dash) 1B
Tim Beckham (Charlotte Knights) SS-3B-1B
Romy González (Birmingham Barons, Charlotte Knights) SS
Ti’quan Forbes (Birmingham Barons, Charlotte Knights) 1B-3B
Luis Curbelo (Winston-Salem Dash) 3B
Yoelqui Céspedes (Winston-Salem Dash, Birmingham Barons) CF

RHSP Kade McClure (Birmingham Barons, Charlotte Knights)
RHSP Norge Vera (DSL White Sox)
RHSP Mike Wright Jr. (Charlotte Knights)
RHSP Johan Dominguez (Winston-Salem Dash, Birmingham Barons, Charlotte Knights)
LHSP Tommy Sommer (ACL White Sox)

RHRP Kohl Simas (ACL White Sox, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers)
RHRP Emilio Vargas (Birmingham Barons)
RHRP Sean Burke (ACL White Sox, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers)
RHRP Homer Cruz (ACL White Sox, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers)


However I failed the big club this year, I made up for in the minors: