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Examining the White Sox’ Newest Pitching Prospects

The White Sox have made a few moves over the last week, adding three pitching prospects to the farm system. Sean Williams takes a look at the newest members of the White Sox organization.

On Thursday, the White Sox made their first move near the trade deadline, sending Joakim Soria to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for left-handed pitcher Kodi Medeiros and right-handed pitcher Wilber Perez.

On Sunday, the White Sox would continue to make another move. This time they acquired left-handed pitcher Caleb Frare from the New York Yankees in exchange for $1.5 million of bonus pool money.

It’s clear that the White Sox had a goal during the trade deadline period and that goal involved piling up pitching prospects. They’ve been able to accomplish that so far, loading up on talent that can help the team in the future.

Let’s take a look at what exactly the White Sox have added to their already deep pitching staff throughout the farm:

Left-handed pitcher, Kodi Medeiros

Kodi Medeiros was the 12th overall selection in the 2014 MLB Draft as a high school prospect out of Hawaii. Medeiros is 22-years-old and has a low-90s fastball that he pairs with a slider and changeup. He joins the White Sox ranked as the 19th prospect in their system according to MLB Pipeline and is assigned to Double-A Birmingham.

Kodi Medeiros was the clear headliner in the Soria trade and it’s not hard to see why. His fastball and slider both have life and late movement to them, making them very difficult pitches to hit, especially as a left-handed batter.

Medeiros’ delivery is consistent and repeatable. His arm action helps generate the life we see on his pitches. His slider is his most dangerous pitch and is his “go-to” when he wants to pick up a strikeout. Batters have a tough time getting a read on him because he keeps the ball hidden and doesn’t show his grip too early. In the video above, you can see that his changeup can be nasty too.

Kodi Medeiros is having his best professional season in 2018. Playing in Double-A, he had a 3.14 ERA, 107 strikeouts, and 45 walks in 103.1 innings pitched. Medeiros’ career best K/9 came in rookie ball, but this season he’s reached his second highest in that category with a 9.3 K/9.

He’s listed as a starting pitcher, however, his quickest route to Chicago is likely as a member of the bullpen. Control has been an issue with him so far throughout his career, but he’s been able to keep those numbers down a bit recently. In 2016 he had a career-high 6.7 BB/9 and has lowered that to a 3.7 BB/9 in 2016 and a 3.9 BB/9 in 2018.

Those walk numbers are still on the higher side for Kodi Medeiros, even with him lowering them over the last two seasons. If he can continue to develop control, he will definitely have a shot to continue as a starting pitcher. However, with the White Sox already having a farm system loaded up on starting pitchers, we might see him make the transition into the bullpen eventually.

Right-handed pitcher, Wilber Perez

Wilber Perez is a 20-year-old right-handed pitcher that has yet to play professional baseball in the United States. His professional career began in 2017 where he participated in the Dominican Summer League and has continued to play there up to this day.

In his first professional season, Wilber Perez saw action out of the bullpen, but since then he has made the transition into a starting pitcher and it looks like that’s what he will continue to work moving forward with the White Sox.

With Wilber Perez only playing in the DSL so far, there’s limited information available on the right-hander. However, he has some pretty impressive numbers in just his second year of professional baseball.

In 8 starts and 40.1 innings pitched with the Brewers in 2018, Wilber Perez has 47 strikeouts, 13 walks, a 2.01 ERA, and a 0.94 WHIP. He was brilliant in a start last month against the Diamondbacks where he went 6.2 innings with a career-high 12 strikeouts, had no walks, and only allowed three hits.

He saw his first action with the White Sox last Saturday, throwing two innings of shutout baseball while allowing one hit and striking out three. In just two professional seasons and 98.1 innings pitched, Wilber Perez is 10-2 with a 2.20 ERA and has 113 strikeouts and only 36 walks. His K/9 is at 10.3 in the early stages of his career.

It’s safe to say that Wilber Perez will continue to pitch the rest of the season with the DSL White Sox affiliate. Since he hasn’t played in the United States yet, there’s a good chance he will be assigned to the Arizona Rookie League affiliate upon his arrival.

Left-handed pitcher, Caleb Frare

Caleb Frare joins the White Sox as a bullpen arm from the Yankees and he will continue to see action there. He was recently promoted to the Triple-A affiliate of the Yankees and that’s where his assignment will be with the White Sox.

His professional career got off to a rough start. After his first year of professional baseball, Caleb Frare was sidelined for the 2013 and 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery and being hit by a car. He’s come a long way since then and has bounced back to have his most successful season in 2018.

Similar to Medeiros, Caleb Frare has a low-90s fastball, slider, and a changeup. The 25-year-old was an eleventh-round selection for the Yankees in the 2012 MLB Draft as a high school prospect out of Montana.

Caleb Frare has been used as a late inning reliever and has seen a lot of work in save or hold situations. He will likely continue to get late inning work with the Charlotte Knights. Frare keeps the ball on the ground consistently and batters often struggle to generate hard contact when facing him.

In 2018, Caleb Frare played in both Double-A and Triple-A, posting a combined 0.81 ERA in 44.2 innings pitched. He’s also racked up 58 strikeouts and issued 15 walks, giving him an 11.7 K/9 and a 0.94 WHIP during the season.

Control is also an issue with Frare. However, this season he’s posted a 3.0 BB/9 which is the second lowest of his career and his lowest since his first season of rookie ball. This season he’s had a career best K/9, WHIP, and ERA. Looking at that with the lowered walk numbers, Caleb Frare is showing signs of development and he could end up being a valuable bullpen piece in the future.

I’m pleased with the moves the White Sox have made as the trade deadline gets closer and closer. All three of these pitchers are high upside prospects and they’ve acquired them without having to package multiple players in a deal. Time will tell if these are the only moves the White Sox make at the deadline. If that’s the case, I’m satisfied with who they’ve acquired and excited to see what they can do with the White Sox.

Follow Sean Williams on Twitter-Feature Photo Credit: Brad Krause/Krause Sports Photography


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