December 7, 2022

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Céspedes tallies first multihomer performance

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Welcome to the White Sox prospect update, where you’ll find news, promotions and standout performances, all year long.

Céspedes parks a pair for first time (April 17)
Looking more and more like his big (half) brother, Yoelqui Céspedes enjoyed the first multihomer game of his professional career, slamming his first two long balls of the season in Double-A Birmingham’s 7-6 loss to Charlotte. The No. 4 White Sox prospect drove in a personal-best four runs with his solo and three-run jacks.

Céspedes opened the scoring with a long home run off the scoreboard in left field and with the Barons trailing, 7-3, in the eighth, brought them to within a run with his three-run shot to left-center. The home runs pushed the 24-year-old’s OPS to an impressive .814 over his first nine games. Along with his two homers, Céspedes has three doubles, six RBIs and six runs in 37 at-bats to begin 2022.

The Cuba-born slugger put together an impressive professional debut last year, batting .285/.350/.463 with 30 extra-base hits, eight roundtrippers, 27 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 72 games with High-A Winston-Salem and Birmingham. — Michael Avallone

Colas walks it off for Dash in extras (April 15)
In a game that saw 23 hits and 21 runs, it was the knock off the bat of second-ranked White Sox prospect Oscar Colas that provided the difference. In just his seventh professional game since signing out of Cuba on January 25, the 23-year-old posted his first three-knock effort — the last securing the victory for High-A Winston-Salem in the 10th inning.

Colas finished 3-for-6 with a double, a pair of RBIs and a run scored. After leading off the game with a two-bagger to left, Colas drove in the Dash’s third run with a hit to left in the second, and went back up the middle for the game-winning RBI in the 10th. The outfielder is sporting a .321/.406/.429 slash line with three doubles, five RBIs and four runs scored this season. — Rob Terranova

Dominguez fans 9 for Charlotte (April 14)
Johan Dominguez, the White Sox No. 26 prospect, racked up nine strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings for Triple-A Charlotte. The 26-year-old right-hander threw 56 of his 92 pitches for strikes, walked two and gave up four hits.

Dominguez is off to a fast start this season as he’s pitched to a 1.93 ERA with 16 strikeouts through two starts (9 2/3 innings). He pitched across three levels in 2021 and posted a 5.30 ERA over 107 innings. — William Boor

Burger relishes starting two Opening Days in one year (April 8)
Jake Burger, the No. 7 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, now has a unique distinction on his resume.

“It’s crazy. We opened up in Norfolk, and how many guys can say they played Triple-A Opening Day and then MLB Opening Day in the same year?” Burger said. “So that’s really exciting.”

Burger opened the season with Triple-A Charlotte but was pulled from the team’s game on Wednesday when Yoán Moncada was placed on the injured list with a slightly strained right oblique. So it was Burger who started at third in Friday’s 5-4 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park, finishing 1-for-3 with one run scored and one walk.

Burger also made his Major League debut at Comerica Park last season.

“The adrenaline is probably about the same right now,” Burger said. “I’m a little more confident, understanding what I have to do day in and out, so less adrenaline and nervousness in that sense but still really really excited and pumped up.” — Scott Merkin

Montgomery, Kath a duo to watch in Single-A (April 5)
Chris Getz, the White Sox assistant general manager for player development, had nothing but praise for shortstop Colson Montgomery and third baseman Wes Kath during a media Zoom session focused on the Minors.

“I loved watching them play,” Getz said. “They’re both very professional; they go about their business very well. They’re certainly on a mission.

“Their maturity really stands out, and to watch them on the left side of the infield together is a real joy. They’re getting more comfortable with the White Sox, getting more comfortable with professional baseball.”

Getz went on to break down some of the impressive particulars for Montgomery.

“The way he plays defense, he’s so under control,” Getz said. “The way his feet and hands work, plenty of arm. He looks like a Major League shortstop.

“He’s just getting started with us. His at-bats are impressive. Once again, he’s under control in the box. Takes pitches, makes good passes at the ball when appropriate, can drive the ball to all gaps and certainly have seen some power, as well.

“So having those guys in the lineup together at Kannapolis will be fun. I think they drive each other, and having them grow up together as professionals and work their way up the organizational ladder is certainly something we’re all looking forward to watching.” — Scott Merkin

Colas to Winston-Salem (April 5)
Oscar Colas, the White Sox No. 2 prospect, will begin his career with High-A Winston-Salem and get some looks in center field.

“Very impressive athlete, and he clearly is very passionate about the game,” said Chris Getz, White Sox assistant general manager/player development. “Strong left-handed stroke. He’s got power. He’s got the ability to use the whole field, and that’s certainly something that we emphasize here with the Chicago White Sox. Just an aggressive player overall.

“He’s got a big arm. He really stands out. I look forward to getting Oscar rolling at Winston-Salem, felt like that was a nice spot for him to get acclimated to the organization. It’s wise to get him to the lower-level affiliates and, hopefully, gain some confidence and get his career rolling toward Chicago.” — Scott Merkin

Céspedes off to Birmingham (April 5)
Yoelqui Céspedes
, the club’s No. 4 prospect, “turned some heads” in big league camp offensively and defensively, said Chris Getz, White Sox assistant general manager/player development. Céspedes will begin his 2022 season back at Double-A Birmingham.

“Mechanically, he’s now in a much more sound position to make more contact within the zone,” Getz said. “Those are tough adjustments to make overnight, but that’s what player development’s for. That’s what we’re here for, and we feel like he’s making strides forward, steps forward.” — Scott Merkin

Céspedes goes deep (March 19)
The early White Sox lead in Cactus League home runs belonged to Yoelqui Céspedes. He went deep in the eighth inning of an 11-2 loss to the Guardians at Camelback Ranch, connecting off Thomas Ponticelli.

“I feel so happy because I never hoped I could play this year in Spring Training,” said Céspedes, who is looking more for his pitch in the zone during at-bats. “My mind was on the Minor Leagues and then I’m playing with the big leagues.

“Right now, I feel so good. I’ve got my mind positive, and everything is doing good.” — Scott Merkin

Former hoops star Montgomery shows swagger (March 9)
As a two-sport standout hailing from Indiana, top prospect Colson Montgomery did what amounted to the unthinkable in his state: He gave up basketball to pursue a baseball career with the White Sox. Story >

Vera dealing with minor injury (March 8)
Norge Vera, the No. 5 White Sox prospect, per MLB Pipeline, is dealing with a Grade 1 right lat strain, according to White Sox assistant general manager for player development Chris Getz. It’s not a serious strain, per Getz.

“But we’re talking about a young starting pitcher that we need to appropriately build up and he’s throwing right now, he’s working through it,” Getz said. “Every day he’s getting better.

“This year with Norge, just managing his innings was going to be something that was going to be a main focus. So, in a way, this allows us to really map out his year and take some of the management that we were set up to make from a workload standpoint.”

The White Sox don’t want to send out the right-hander for one or two innings in his stateside debut. So, it’s likely he’ll break camp a little later than everyone else, “which is OK,” per Getz.

“It allows us to really control his work and his innings down here so we can send him out to an affiliate and almost treat him like a normal pitcher, let’s put it that way,” Getz said.

Montgomery, Kath to start at Low-A Kannapolis (March 8)
White Sox assistant general manager for player development Chris Getz said shortstop Colson Montgomery and third baseman Wes Kath, the team’s top two picks in the 2021 Draft, will start this season with Single-A Kannapolis.

“I think those guys are ready,” Getz said. “They are chomping at the bit to get to Kannapolis, and they deserve to be there.”

“Those two have a lot of boxes checked already,” said White Sox hitting coordinator Andy Barkett. “They are physical … and they both have a little attitude to them in a good way.”

Colas delivers in intrasquad (March 8)
Oscar Colas finished 1-for-3 during an intrasquad contest, tripling in his first at-bat.

“It’s been a lot of fun to watch. A really gifted player, he’s got some real power, ease to his swing,” White Sox assistant general manager for player development Chris Getz said. “He has some personality, some fun-loving personality that is infectious to others — his teammates and staff — and he enjoys playing the game, which is not always easy to do as a player.”

Colas makes powerful early impression (March 7)
White Sox hitting coordinator Andy Barkett has been impressed by left-handed-hitting outfielder Oscar Colas both on and off the field since the start of the organization’s Minor League minicamp on Feb. 20 at Camelback Ranch.

“First, you look for personality, I feel like. You are looking for skill and all that, but I figured there was skill. I saw the videos,” Barkett said. “I just wanted to see what kind of guy he is. My initial view of him was just kind of very fun to be around, nice cool guy to be around, fun personality.

“Looking to learn too. We have a specific hitting program with some drills, etc. He showed an interest in those right away and wanted to stay after the first opportunity to learn the drills and the ‘why’ behind them. He’s nodding his head and understanding. I’m able to speak in two languages, so we are communicating and he’s getting it and doing it. It’s really cool to see him embrace the process right away.”

Barkett views Colas as possessing instant leadership qualities.

“The other players from Cuba, it seems like, they kind of go towards him a little bit in a way,” Barkett said. “He’s got this leadership about himself, and they look up to him.”

When Colas is delivering his A swing on the field? Barkett described it in part as, “Oh, wow. This guy can do some things.”

Added Barkett: “He’s got some explosive power. Some big-time, upper-deck light-tower power. He can do it to all fields. His body — he’s a fast mover, boom. And then when he stays on the ball, he doesn’t just hit the ball, he compresses it.

“That difference with that biomechanics and launch angles, it basically all means we want the body to connect. We compress it, we don’t hit it. He’s able to do that when it all connects.”

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