The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for White Sox fans. First, Jose Quintana was traded to the north siders, and many expected a few moves to follow as Rick Hahn continues to orchestrate the rebuild. Not wasting any time, Hahn has already made three separate deals since the Quintana trade with four more days to spare before the trade deadline comes into effect. Reasonably, Chicago only has one more piece to trade, and that’s left-fielder Melky Cabrera, and his market seems to be picking up:
Clearly, Rick Hahn isn’t hesitating to make strides in the rebuild. If he sees a good deal, he’s going to execute. After years of half-hearted front office efforts and mediocrity, it’s refreshing and frankly overdue.
Of course, the recent three swaps have come at the expense of the bullpen. Lost track of them? Here you go:
- 3B Todd Frazier, RP David Robertson, RP Tommy Kahnle traded to NYY for OF Blake Rutherford, LHP Ian Clarkin, OF Tito Polo, RP Tyler Clippard
- RP Anthony Swarzak traded to Milwaukee for OF Ryan Cordell
- RP Dan Jennings traded to Tampa Bay for 1B Casey Gillaspie
Jake Petricka is the only reliever who started the year with the White Sox. Excluding Clippard, the Sox bullpen is now entirely made up of former members of the Charlotte Knights. Petricka was just activated from the 10-day DL and LHP Aaron Bummer was just called up, so here’s what the pen looks like now:
Yikes. Enough about the major-league team. Though all except one (Rutherford) of the new prospects are outside of the top 10 of Chicago’s system, they all could play a significant role in the future of the White Sox. Focusing on the present, their impact is more in the form of depth, and though it’s intangible, depth is a key factor in a rebuild.
After trading Chris Sale and Adam Eaton during last year’s winter meetings, the White Sox gained four elite prospects. However, you can hardly build a contender out of four above-average guys, and chances are at least one of that quartet won’t even blossom into a good player. The Sox needed depth. Quantitatively, they only possessed 11 prospects with a rating (determined by MLB Pipeline) of 50 or higher. 50 constitutes an average grade.
Now? Well, Rick Hahn and Co. have managed to boost that number up to 19 players. Off the bat, they grabbed two solid hitters in the 2017 amateur draft and followed suit by acquiring Cuban phenom Luis Robert. Combine that with the recent deals, and that’s where the 8-man bump comes from. In the current MLB Pipeline Top 100 rankings, the Sox sport the most amount of players in the top 68. How do they measure up depth-wise?
An argument can be made, quite easily in fact, that the Sox have both the most front-end talent and the most depth in their farm system. Doubters of the rebuild claim, accurately, that prospects are volatile commodities, but with such depth, the White Sox can now afford to see a few youngsters fail.
A quick look at Casey Gillaspie
Interestingly, Gillaspie is quite the opposite of outfielder Ryan Cordell, who Rick Hahn got in return for Anthony Swarzak. Cordell is putting up surprisingly great numbers this year, while Gillaspie is struggling to perform up to expectations. Ranked towards the back of the Top 100 list before the season started, Gillaspie has since fallen off but still, comes in as the Sox’s #14 prospect.
In 2017, Gillaspie is batting .227 with a sub-.300 on-base percentage and a .357 slugging percentage. His OPS is .653 this year, as compared to a .869 mark in 2016 when he batted .286. Hopefully, it’s just a prolonged slump. A very slow runner, Gillaspie is limited to first base with his 6’4″, 240 lb. frame. However, he is a decent defender, so there aren’t worries that he’ll quickly turn into a one-dimensional designated hitter. For more on the Gillaspie trade, look out for an article within the next 24 hours.