It hardly seems possible that pitchers and catchers are already reporting in less than a month, but somehow that’s where we’re currently sitting. The White Sox have issued 19 non-roster invitations for Spring Training thus far, with eight of those invites being free agents. Your friends and coworkers will come to you over the next few months and grill you over who Nicky Delmonico is and whether or not Anthony Swarzak is a baseball player or a local mobster. Have no fear! We’ve got you covered with the Cliffnotes version of what you need to know about the group.
RHP Spencer Adams - I wonder if Adams is a bit miffed that right when he was about to be the top White Sox pitching prospect they went out and added almost half a dozen better guys. Probably not! But I’m a petty man. Adams struggled a bit with Double-A last season but maintains the advantage of only being 20 years old. He will repeat the year at the level.
RHP Zack Burdi - Burdi is the second-hardest throwing pitcher in the Sox system and seemed on the fast track to the majors by season’s end only to not get the call. He shouldn’t start the season in the majors (game that service time clock), but it will be fun watching his heat against big leaguers this Spring.
RHP Michael Kopech - Kopech stole Burdi’s velocity crown and is running away with it. He hit 110 MPH (on an outfield throw) this winter and the Sox will give him a long leash towards becoming a starter.
LHP Aaron Bummer - Aaron Bummer has a horribly unfortunate last name for a professional athlete and will have my eternal pity for it. Bummer is 23 and has appeared in four games above Rookie Ball.
LHP Brian Clark - Clark was shifted completely into a relief role for Birmingham and Charlotte last season. He did very well for the Barons and somewhat less so for the Knights. If he improves this season, he’ll likely ride the reliever rotisserie up to the bigs at some point.
LHP Jace Fry - A former 2014 third-round pick, Fry pitched 52 acceptable innings as a 21-year-old in Winston-Salem in 2015 before undergoing the second Tommy John surgery his young life. Major league Spring Training seems a little heavy for his first action since the injury, but the Sox must still have a lot of interest in him.
LHP Matt Purke - If you watched the 2016 White Sox, you may know who Matt Purke is. If not, he is a bespectacled man from Nagodoches, TX who has the golden trait of being left-handed. If he wasn’t, you wouldn’t know his name. Five years ago, he cracked the back end of BP’s top-100 prospect list, but it is not five years ago.
C Zack Collins - The Sox first round draft pick last year, who they are praying will beat the odds and stick at catcher. His bat has been fairly legit thus far, so there’s a chance he could still have some value even if he is inevitably moved down the defensive spectrum.
INF Nicky Delmonico - Delmonico was once traded for Francisco Rodriguez and no one can ever take that fact away from him. He’s a left-handed corner man without too much power.
INF Danny Hayes - Not to be confused with CSN’s own Dan Hayes, Danny Hayes is a left-handed DH with decent gap power and a good eye at the plate. He probably won’t hit enough in the majors to be a regular DH, but could maybe stick as a bench bat.
OF Courtney Hawkins - The former top-100 prospect and first round draft pick repeated Double-A last season to increasingly poor results (.604 OPS, 137:28 K:BB). He’s still only 22-years-old, but he’s running out of chances to impress.
INF Cody Asche - A 3B/LF in that he can sort of play both positions; although rather poorly. A left-handed hitter who for most of his career had dwelt just below league-average, the Phillies cut him loose after he only managed a .635 OPS last season. A definite bench possibility on this roster.
INF Everth Cabrera - It was somehow only four years ago that Cabrera was an All-Star shortstop for the San Diego Padres, stealing 81 bases in 97 attempts from 2012-13. A PED suspension and a wealth of off the field incidents resulted in a precipitous decline and him being completely out of affiliated baseball last season. This may be his last chance.
LHP David Holmberg - There was a time that Holmberg looked like he could wind up being someone the Sox would regret including in the Edwin Jackson trade. That time was 2013. Holmberg got hit very hard over parts of three seasons in the majors and wound up back in Charlotte last season to rather ho-hum results. Somehow he’s still only 25-years-old.
LHP Cory Luebke - Another former Padre, Luebke had a decent run from 2010-12 when he threw 188.1 innings with an ERA+ of 111 and a K:BB of 3.36. He then had more Tommy John surgeries than he has UCLs in his pitching arm (one in 2012 and another in 2014) and has been working his way back since. If healthy, he could be a useful enough piece.
C Geovany Soto - Soto took his impossibly manicured eyebrows and inability to throw the ball back to the pitcher without falling down to Los Angeles last season, and did pretty well over 26 games before a knee injury effectively ended his season. Soto won’t be anything more than a backup, but he at least knows some of the pitching staff.
C Roberto Pena - Pena last played for the Houston Astros Double-A and Triple-A affiliates in 2016 as a punchless catcher. A .245 slugging percentage in the PCL is not going to get you into the majors no matter how good you are defensively.
RHP Anthony Swarzak - You’d be forgiven for not remembering Swarzak from his three years with the Twins when they were winning less than 70 games a season. He had a good season as a long man in 2013 before slipping back into mediocrity.
RHP Blake Smith - Smith pulled a reverse-Rick Ankiel and went from a failed-power hitting outfielder to power-throwing pitcher. So far the results have been interesting. He’s got a lot less mileage on his arm than most pitchers in their late 20’s and could amount to a bottom of the bullpen guy if he develops some control.
Lead Image Credit: Anthony Gruppuso // USA Today Sports Images