The Chicago White Sox minor league system is stocked with prospects, some of which are names that you might not know. Let the Sports Bank and Sox Minor League Hitting Coordinator Jeff Manto, who was gracious enough to do a conference call for Sox bloggers last week fill you in.
By Paul M. Banks
Winston-Salem’s Jose Martinez saw his development inhibited by a knee injury. Manto discussed how he’s recovering.
“The results are very encouraging. I’m pleasantly surprised, that knee has come along very well. He seems to be running like he was. His at bats are as if he didn’t miss any time at all. His at bats are tremendous, and I’m definitely pleasantly surprised to some degree. I think he’s back on the radar. He’s showing that he’s still in the picture.”
Manto on Kannapolis’ Trayce Thompson:
“Trayce came up here and made adjustments. And I hate to keep saying it, but with every young hitter there is a learning area. Trayce adjusted well and we’re happy with his progress. And one thing with the power, is that the power numbers as we move on may not be there until AA. If you look at the power guys, it takes time for the power to develop. The beauty of Trayce though, is that he has the ability to hit for average also, which will lower his frustration level.”
Winston-Salem’s Brandon Short:
“He’s probably got some of the fastest hands we have in the organization. He’s extremely quick. He probably has the ability to hit 15-20 homeruns at some point. He’s another guy who has made tremendous adjustments. He’s a guy who can be a leadoff-type guy. Right now he’s driving the ball. He has some speed, but he’s really putting it together this year. I don’t know if he’ll ever hit 25 or 30 or those kind of numbers, but he definitely has a little bit of power. Maybe 15 is more realistic at some point.”
Birmingham’s Christian Marrero, and the difference between this season and last:
“Christian made some slight adjustments to his swing and to his approach, and is paying attention more to the at bat. He’s not going up there and just hitting. He understands the situations that he’s in. He understands when he’s getting the breaking ball and who is hitting behind him. I think all things considered, that has made him a better hitter than he was in the past and he continues to get better every day.”
Manto’s response when asked which guys who are worth keeping an eye on, despite their not possessing attention-grabbing numbers.
“Nick Ciolli is having a great year. Jim Gallagher has really picked it up some in Birmingham. Those first couple months he had to figure some things out, and he’s starting to swing the bat real well. Here in Kannapolis, you’ve got Ciolli, Saladino, Wagner. There’s some players here that have really turned the page and have really jumped on page with what we’re trying to do. And quite frankly, Gartrell in AAA has really opened some eyes with what he’s doing this year”
For more on the bigger name hitting prospects in the organization go here.
And thanks to Marty Maloney, Coordinator of Public Relations for the White Sox for setting this up, and Manto for taking the time to answer our questions.