Arizona Fall League to feature Chicago White Sox prospects

(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

The Chicago White Sox may not have any player listed in MLB’s Top 100 Baseball Prospects but they do have seven players showcasing their talents in the annual Arizona Fall League. Those seven are playing for the Glendale Desert Dogs.

The league, which usually runs from mid-September through the end of October, is making a comeback this year after taking last year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A showcase for some of the top prospects coming up, this year’s version features 17 of the top 100 players including four of the top 10 as ranked by MLB Pipeline.

The White Sox players taking part in some fall ball are hoping the experience gained playing against other teams’ top prospects will help move them up the ladder quickly to either higher Minor League status or the parent club. Here is a look at the seven White Sox taking part:

The Chicago White Sox has a lot of really good prospects in the farm system.

Outfielder and number two rated prospect in the White Sox system, Yoelqui Cespedes is taking part along with shortstop Jose Rodriguez (#9 prospect), second baseman Yolbert Sanchez (#15), and pitchers Caleb Freeman (#21), McKinley Moore (#25), Johan Dominguez, and J.B. Olson.

Cespedes played for the Cuban team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, then defected two years later. He signed a $2.05 million deal with the White Sox in January before splitting time between Class A Winston Salem and Class AA Birmingham. In 72 games, he posted a slash line of .285/.350/.463 with eight homers and 27 RBI’s.

While Cespedes is trying to get on track offensively in the AFL, Rodriguez found his power stroke during a game Monday night against the Mesa Solar Sox, hitting a grand slam in the team’s 7-1 win and is currently hitting .273.

Rodriguez came from the Dominican Republic in 2018, signing for just $50,000. In 2021, Rodriguez played Low A, High A, and Double-A ball. While at High A Winston Salem he put up a solid hitting line of .361/.381/.538 in 29 games. Projections have him at AA Birmingham next season.

Yolbert Sanchez defected from Cuba in 2018 and signed a $2.5 million dollar deal with the White Sox in 2019. Sanchez is considered to be a good defensive presence up the middle and at 24 years of age, could be a nice utility player at the Major League level.

The White Sox may have found a Cody Heuer type replacement in right-hander Caleb Freeman.  The 23-year-old had trouble as a starter at Texas Tech over three seasons, posting an ERA of 6.68. However, he thrived in a relief role while in the Cape Cod League and rose up to AA Birmingham where he posted an ERA of 2.70 with 11.88 strikeouts per nine innings total in 16.2 innings of work.

The 6’6″ right-hander McKinley Moore is an imposing figure on the mound and was a strike-out machine in rookie ball. He posted 32 K’s over 22.1 innings but his 17 walks were a little concerning. At Kannapolis, he averaged 13.9 K’s per nine innings but walked 22 in 14 innings. He managed to lower the free passes at Winston Salem to 7 over 18 innings while striking out 24.

The last two players representing the White Sox are right-handed pitchers Johan Dominguez and J.B. Olson. Dominguez is projected into a relief role and posted 10.14 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9 in just over 65 innings of work at Winston Salem, then backed that up at Birmingham with 10.19 K/9 and 2.04 BB/9 in 35 innings. Olson is also viewed as a reliever who won’t strike out too many but won’t allow too many free passes either. Both are Rule 5 eligible.

The AFL began on October 13th and will run through November 20th. The Fall Stars Game will take place on November 13th and will be broadcast on MLB Network.

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