White Sox rookie league affiliate wins championship
Over the last year, much has been made of the White Sox upcoming class as they’ve rebuilt around players such as Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, and Michael Kopech.
It appears that the lower rungs of the White Sox minor leagues are showing signs of success too.
Last Thursday, the Great Falls Voyagers – a rookie league affiliate of the White Sox that plays in the Pioneer League in Montana – swept the Rockies’ affiliate Grand Junction in a best-of-five series to capture the Pioneer League championship.
"“The Voyagers started out hot with clutch hits by Travis Moniot (2-for-4, two RBI), and Romy Gonzalez (3-for-3, one RBI) that drove runs across the board in the first few innings” noted Brett Kennedy of MontanaSports.com. The future White Sox pitchers struck out 13 batters, with one pitcher, Devon Perez, getting seven of those Ks."
Despite trailing 5-0, Grand Junction fought back valiantly as they narrowed the score to 5-4. However, it wouldn’t be enough. Great Falls would add another run late to help finish off the game with a 6-4 score.
As is often the case in minor league baseball, personnel changes occurred throughout the year. In his article, Esmay noted that halfway through the season, eight of the team’s players were promoted to Single-A Kannapolis.
In the Great Falls Tribune, Kennedy quoted the GM Scott Reasoner:
More from White Sox Prospects
- Tyler Schweitzer could become a great White Sox pitcher
- The Chicago White Sox drafted well on days two and three
- This White Sox prospect is absolutely on fire right now in AAA
- Yoelqui Cespedes has been red-hot for the White Sox
- Looking at the potential of White Sox prospect Oscar Colas
"“It was unbelievable to have an amazing first half like we did, and then to lose eight of our players in one week…And then you have a brand-new team, and you have to relearn and form new chemistry and come together.”"
As a part of the Pioneer League, which is lesser known compared to Triple-A, Double-A, or even Single-A, players for Great Falls receive training that trains them for the big leagues.
Jeff Moore of Fangraphs notes, “[L]eagues like the New York-Penn, Northwest or Pioneer involve travel, minor league stadiums, and all of the rigors that come with the lifestyle of professional baseball. These are the more advanced short-season leagues. In addition to acclimating a player to professional competition, they help him transition into the lifestyle of a professional ballplayer.”
One can only hope that the successful players fighting for victories in Great Falls will one day do the same at Guaranteed Rate Field.