Hawaiian LHP Kodi Medeiros was part of a high-risk 2014 Brewers draft class that also featured SS Jake Gatewood (who had elite raw power but also contact issues) and OF Monte HarrisonChristian Yelich). On Thursday, he was the centerpiece of two-prospect package traded to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for ageless reliever Joakim Soria.
Medeiros was a curious selection in the middle of the 2014 draft’s first round, as he had command issues and a low-slot delivery that made him vulnerable against right-handed hitters. The gap between where Medeiros was, developmentally, and where he’d eventually need to be in order to profile as a starter was much greater than is typical of a top-15 pick, even as far as high-school pitching is concerned.
After parts of four years in pro ball, Medeiros continues to have issues with strike-throwing efficiency and with getting right-handed batters out, so while he has been developed as a starter (which makes sense if you believe the extra reps help accelerate or improve pitch development), he still projects in relief. His fastball velocity is down beneath what it was when Medeiros was drafted, now residing in the 88-92 range. A move to the bullpen might reignite some of the fire that has been lost and, if it does, then Medeiros’s fastball, plus slider, and low arm slot mean he’ll be death to lefty hitters in late innings.
The White Sox also acquired 20-year-old righty Wilber Perez from the Brewers. Signed as a 19-year-old in July of last year, Perez pitched the rest of the summer in the DSL. He’s still down there and has a 47:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 40 innings this year. His fastball sits in the upper 80s and rarely crests 90, but he can manipulate its shape to have cut. Perez can spin a soft breaking ball, and there’s significant spin rate separation between his fastball and changeup, a favorable trait. He’s a fringe prospect in need of more velocity. There’s room on Perez’s frame for more weight, but most of these guys are relatively maxed out, physically, around age 22, so projecting heavily on a 20-year-old’s velo based purely on physical maturation seems excessive.
Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.
You can only trade for the players being offered but the Sox have focused WAY too much on pitching with this rebuild. Kopech looks good but I am not sure you can throw 105 mph and not have arm trouble. The other pitchers they traded for all look pretty bad. I am sure they could have got some hitters and did what the Cubs and Houston did after the hitters developed – sign/trade for some established pitchers.
They look bad? Cease has been one of the fastest rising prospects in baseball, and Dunning – prior to injury – had moved his way up onto top 100 prospects lists. I’m not sure how they have been “bad.”
The White Sox organization has done a much better job at developing pitchers than they have hitters. You trade for the best players available, regardless of role.
They seem to be following the Braves strategy for rebuilding; doing so around young (and thus risky), but high-upside pitchers. They know that a lot of guys won’t pan out, but that those who do will slot right into the rotation and some who only pan out halfway will make good bullpen pieces. Some will likely also make decent trade chips when they need them, because pitching is always in demand. It’s certainly not a foolproof strategy, but it’s at least a workable one.
In all fairness, it is hard to see how the White Sox can be happy with the development of their young players. They collected a large number of what were, at the time, considered some of the top prospects from the Red Sox for Sale, from the Nationals for Eaton and from the Yankees for Frazier, Robertson and Kahnle. They also drafted several pitchers very high. A quick assessment is not pretty. Fulmer, 1st round in 2015, looks like a complete bust. Burdi, 1st round in 2016, has undergone TJ surgery and is out until 2019 with no guarantee of success and Hansen, 2nd round in 2016, has been simply awful with more BB’s than innings pitched this year. The haul from the Nats has disappointed. Lopez has been fair but Giolito had been showing nothing, but has shown a sign of life recently. Dunning is still coming through the system. Kopech may develop but he still looks a long way off and Clarkin, also a former 1st rounder who came from the Yankees, has poor numbers in the Carolina League. Not every player is going fail to make it but the percentage of prospects that are doing well is very low. The White Sox tore their team apart and, unless a lot of players show a lot more than they have so far it looks bleak on the Southside.
Odd that you leave off Basebe who took a huge step forward. Cease and Eloy are top tier prospects and Quintana has fallen back. Rutherford starting to show the promise many had in him after high school. Luis Gonzalez has been one of the surprises of the minor leagues. Collins has been fine and actually took a step forward behind the plate as a catcher. Hansen was hurt all year… he hasn’t found his release point since he came back, but since when do we blast 2nd round picks that ascended as high as a top 50 prospect on some lists after 1 year in the minors? Hansen has a lot of promise – big arms have always taken longer to develop too and hes 6’7 with dominant stuff.
A lot of the sox depth talent took huge steps forward. While burdi goes down, ian hamilton cant stop getting outs. Moncada has had a lot of ups and downs but the talent is there. Eloy has been the 2nd best hitter in the minors.
To say this has been poor is laughable. The worst part of the year for the sox was Robert getting hurt twice.
Also how does kopech look a long way away?
kopech is in triple-A and literally all he has to do is limit walks. he strikes out everyone and rarely gives up homers. he’s some mechanical consistency from being an ace in the majors. burdi was mowing down AAA when he got hurt. hansen is just coming off an injury that’s kept him out for months. fulmer is not a starter, but not all these pitching prospects will be. dunning sprained his elbow but “still coming through the system” is hardly a complain considering he was succeeding at AA. Lopez is at the very least a cheap mid-rotation guy. Giolito might or might not figure it out. Prospects bust, especially pitching prospects, which is why it’s good for the White Sox that they have so goddamn many.
Dylan Cease is currently posting career numbers in AA. Eloy Jimenez has a .354/.398/.646 (195 WRC+) in AAA as a 21 year old. Luis Alexander Basabe (3rd player in the Sale trade) has had a career year and has been pushed to AA at 21 years old and has held his own. Dunning (hurt yes) has posted incredible numbers at every stop.
Alec Hansen has made like 4 starts off of an injury while he lead the minors in K’s last year. Yes not everything is perfect, but don’t ignore the good performances too!
Not a Sox fan buuut
and Yoan Moncada has graduated
So, hey, wtf are you talking about?
Have one of if the best farm systems in the game, with both star power and impressive depth. The Sox rebuild could hardly look better at the moment (if Moncada and Giolito weren’t playing awful is about the only way).
Of if they hadn’t traded Tatis for James Shields, buuuuut hindsight.
Moncada hasn’t been awful. He’s been pretty much average, which for a player with just about one full year in the majors, really isn’t bad at all. Not every ballyhooed rookie is Judge, hitting the ground already a superstar; some take some time to develop into that at the major league level.
I’m not concerned about Moncada long term, but he has definitely looked unimpressive. He is trending right direction already (and so is Giolito, who is still only 24 himself somehow). I was just commenting that they don’t LOOK great right now and that that’s about the only way the rebuild would be looking better. And I forgot about Tatis, so oops on that one lol
I am the most positive Sox fan alive (I am sure) and I have to admit Lopez and Giolito look concerning. I am not writing them off, but as it stands they both need to make actual improvements/changes. It’s certainly possible with how young they are but something needs to change
Agreed, Judge is also 3 years older!!
I was just going to say Moncada is 22 this year. Judge was in A and A+ when he was 22. That is no guarantee Moncada will end up a perennial MVP candidate; but it is to say the “Moncada is a bust” people need to chill and have some perspective.