Over the next few weeks, BP South Side will be reviewing the performance of all 51 players who suited up for the 2017 White Sox. Players whose seasons were particularly noteworthy will get their own standalone article, while smaller contributors or those who were traded/cut will be grouped together. We’ll do our best to summarize and analyze what each player brought to this year’s club, what we learned, didn’t learn, and what it all means for his future with the team.
Aaron Bummer: In some respects, Bummer is an unsual relief prospect. Many relievers of consequence are starting pitchers who couldn’t hack it and got bumped to the bullpen for lack of durability, command, or a third pitch. The White Sox had Bummer pegged for relief from day one, and the 19th rounder with Tommy John surgery under his belt still blitzed through the minors at blinding speed.
Bummer dominated High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A en route to the majors all in 2017 with his mid-to-high 90s heat from the left side and slurvey breaking ball. His time on the South Side didn’t go smoothly, which is understandable given how rapidly the quality of his opposition improved.
The pedigree and profile will always foster doubt. But heat from the left side is heat from the left side, and one has to imagine he has a solid claim on a bullpen spot next year, and crazier things have happened for players with his repertoire to turn into good setup men. Sometimes they’re just LOOGYs and then sink back into the ocean.
Dylan Covey: Scooping up former Top 10 picks in the Rule V draft is a perfectly good idea for a team in the 2017 White Sox’ position. Hence Covey. But, you know, he was available in Rule V for a reason. His DRA of 7.61 matches the eye test as major league hitters absolutely tuned him up between DL stints
Fortunately, there’s still some hope for him, especially now that he has made it through ’17 and the White Sox have secured his services if they want them. And, while it is not true of every failed starter as some would have you believe, Covey’s velocity and breaking stuff visibly improves when he airs it out in a relief role. He could even wind up being a pretty good one, and getting pretty good relievers for free is more valuable than it has ever been.
Tyler Danish: In his first full crack at Triple-A after only 29 innings there last year, the 22 year old should have gradually improved at the level and been knocking on the door for some starts in the second half of the year. Instead, he was generally effective right out of the gate, and earned a spot start in late May with the big club. He somehow struck out 6 and also walked 6 over 5 shutout innings, then went back to Triple-A and was dreadful the rest of the year.
He’s young, but he doesn’t project to add anything to his stuff. He has what he has and he’s going to go as far as his command takes him. Some have had him pegged as a reliever for most of his career, but I’m of the opinion, given his repertoire, that either he’s a back-end starter or he’s not a major leaguer. Even with injuries and uncertainty plaguing the ’18 rotation, Danish is almost certainly going to go back to Charlotte to keep refining in the hopes that he can break through next year instead.
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