I read and listen to lots of underground White Sox media, whether it be tweets or blogs or podcasts, I try to keep up to date with the groups of people whom I consider fans, or that are doing more or less “passion” work. As my favorite, Nassim Taleb would say, “Amateurs are the best!“.
In a recent ChiSox Weekly podcast (hosted by the affable Jon Suarez @ChiSoxJonda and Tony Marchese @chisoxmkz) the fellas had Josh Nelson (@soxmachine_josh) on as a guest and they got to talking about future White Sox teams and trying to slot players in all over the diamond from the minors and dreaming up free agents that would fit into the next good White Sox team. They had a hearty chuckle over some of the fine folks on this current White Sox roster. While I tend to agree you “hope” that all the prospect pan out and reach their incredible ceilings, we all know that shit ain’t happening. In fact, there is probably some dude on this 40 man roster that you don’t expect, who ends up a big contributor to the upcoming teams you’ll really care about. The teams that I will be able to give away select games of my season ticket package for. This got me thinking….although I’m not nearly the most qualified person to do this, why not take a look at this roster and see how it can be managed, into the future with respect to minor league options and the tightness of the 40 man roster. Maybe someone who does know this stuff will see this feeble attempt and improve on it, but until that happens you fuckers are stuck with my take….first a little background.
Once a player has graduated to a team’s 40 man roster, they are granted 3 minor league option (years). This is sort of like the teams being granted 3 life lines for each player. A minor league option is used, when a player spends 20 days on a minor league roster each season. Some players will never use their options, they are stars quickly as they ascend through the minors and go to the majors with all 3 options in tact, running through their service time into arbitration and finally reaching free agency. That isn’t the type of player we are talking about here. We are talking about the proverbial grinders, people with a skill that is valuable, but other skills that are lacking, we are talking about people with upside potential that is as of yet unrealized. When Rick Hahn talked about building a “sustainable success” he not only meant having a beavy of top 100 prospect talent coming up to fill in the major league roster, he was also implicitly talking about having useful players on either the major league roster or in AAA with available options to cover injuries. As an example, think about how the Dodgers have conjured up Chris Taylor and Max Muncy out of thin air over the last two seasons. You want that type of organizational depth in your system. This is why I find this part of the equation so much more interesting. You guys can have the top 100 prospect lists (101 at BP), I’ll take the edge of the roster lottery tickets as fodder for conversation because to me, the out-of-the-money options are just inherently more fun to talk about. LEGGO!!!
WARNING!!! These options are pulled from www.rosterresource.com which is a great informational website, but I am assuming the info is correct without cross-referencing so, YMMV, BFD, GFY, etc…..
Chorizy and myself have often said that Kevan Smith or Omar Narvaez would be the perfect #3 catcher on a good team. The kind of player that hangs out in AAA most of the year, but plays ~25 games when you have one of your top two catchers banged up and gives you a serviceable performance (we said this before both of these guys started hitting everything in sight, but it was a reasonable thought even before).
Kevan Smith 1
With just a single remaining option left for Smith, you might like to see the White Sox carry him to start the year in 2019 if nothing else but to save that option. Smith is an atrocity at throwing out runners and he doesn’t walk much, but otherwise, he’s a fine #3 catcher as we noted above, plus he has boyish good looks and that’s important for White Sox because we want to avoid the ballpark from looking like the sausage fest that was the Barstool at the Park tailgate.
Omar Narvaez 3
Now, Omar is a perfect candidate for being on the periphery of the roster for the “good” White Sox teams forthcoming, with his 3 minor league options. If the White Sox decide not to spend money in the upcoming free agent market, I’d suggest they trade Welington Castillo and just run with Smith / Narvaez no matter how painful that is just to keep the option years at their behest. Omar has legit on-base skills no matter how you cut it AND he’s starting to hit the ball with more authority. I know…Zack Collins….Seby Zavala…..let them dudes marinade while we let Omar come into his own, we might have something here that just needed some time.
Nicky Delmonico 3
Everyone that has prospect fever discards Nicky like that 3rd Maxwell Street Depot cheeseburger that you just can’t force down after a long night of boozing (for the record, I’ve knocked back 7 of those puppies back when I was in my 20’s….and this was in a 30 minute span….ah to be young again). Nicky can’t really run, he’s a brutal defender and he doesn’t hit for as much power as you’d like, BUT, he is left handed and has good on-base skills, the skills he has are important, especially for a guy with 3 options. The White Sox will get good use out of Nicky even if he’s saddled with LF/1B/DH duties, much like our next guy……
Daniel Palka 2
The White Sox shouldn’t need Daniel Palka’s options, he’s the only bat out of this group with legit MLB pop #108thicc. He’s the type of guy that could be the strong side of a LF / DH platoon and knock you 25 HR in 450 PA, he’s got that kinda power. If he gets demoted over one of these other fellas, WE. WILL. RIOT!
Charlie Tilson 2
Adam Engel 2
Let’s put these boys in the same basket, we’ll give a slight nod to Tilson because he’s a local kid and rumors have it he’s got future 108 talent in his makeup. Tilson’s hit tool also puts him slightly above Engel even if he’s a worse defender. I wouldn’t bend over backwards to hang on to either of these dudes, but if I had to pick one, it’s Tilson. Re: Engel……I often laugh when people give you, the “he’s got a good glove, too bad he can’t hit”….fam, we could go get half the failed punt returns in the NFL, give them a glove and have them work with DBo for a couple of weeks and they’d be able to run down fly balls in the OF better than some of the guys you say this about. Engel is a guy who is destined for multiple organizations because someone will think they can fix the bat. Actually, I think he will eventually have a productive half season with the bat, like 3 years from now in some other town.
Out of options
Yolmer Sanchez 0
Matt Davidson 0
Leury Garcia 0
The main reason that the 108ers were touting Matty D getting DFA’d before the season is that he is out of options and although he might be slightly better than some of the fellas above in the outfield basket, he’s really basically relegated to DH with a little 3B / 1B sprinkled in. Matty D also has big power, but unless Jose Abreu finds a different address sometime soon, he’s a redundant part. In an ideal world you’d figure out a way to keep him and just see if the walk rate continues to rise and you get a solid part-time player out of him because of his power. If they trade Abreu, he’ll draw everyday 1b reps, which is another reason to trade Abreu. He’s also a handsome kid, so the stuff I said about Kevan Smith above, ditto here.
Yolmer is controllable one year longer than Leury, so he gets the nod initially, but Yolmer is also less versatile than Leury, so there is that. Yolmer is also running into a situation in which, he’s sort of mismatched at 3b, he just doesn’t have the pop to play there long-term and the White Sox just used their 1st pick (4th overall) on an up the middle player, making his theoretical future value decrease. One of these guys should likely be traded given the redundancy. Despite the fact that Leury is more versatile, we need Yolmer to stay because he is so much goddamn fun!
Lucas Giolito 1
The fact that he has only 1 option remaining (a relic of his Washington days) is the reason why you’ve gotten to enjoy the fruits of his ~7 ERA labor for the entirety for the 2018 season.
Dylan Covey 3
We’ve enjoyed good and bad Dylan Covey this year and I’d envision that we see him shuffled back and forth between Charlotte and Chicago on the regular over the next couple years, picking up injured pitchers starts / bullpen assignments along the way. He still has material upside, but even if he never gets there, his 3 options make him a valuable player for an org in the rebuild phase.
Reynaldo Lopez 1
Lopez belongs in the bigs, this option is valuable tho’ in case they need to re-tool him into a reliever at some point and want to do it midseason. Although truthfully you could just do it with the big club and never need this option. Regardless, it is good to have.
There you have it! Hit me up on the twitters with where you think I’m full of chit!