Chris Getz on the White Sox Player Development team, Senior Junior for 2023
If you’re your typical White Sox prospect, the kind of player who plays an entire season at a minor league level and gets promoted to the next level the following year, and you liked your manager, then the player development announcement for 2023 on Tuesday staff brought good news.
Beginning with the Sox’s longtime minor-league manager Justin Jirschele, who managed promotion to Triple A, managers Lorenzo Bundy (Double A), Guillermo Quiróz (High A) and Patrick Leyland (Low A) all rose a notch . Pitching coach John Ely follows Quiróz to Winston-Salem, and both pitching coach Danny Farquhar and hitting coach Nicky Delmonico follow Bundy to Birmingham. Farquhar replaces longtime pitching coach Richard Dotson, who was not renewed after last season; his 21st in the Sox farm system.
Promising prospect Cristian Mena credits Farquhar for breaking his slider grip. Bundy is revered for creating a checklist of routines for Oscar Colás he needed to make a major league and is now in a position to continue working with top prospects Colson Montgomery and Bryan Ramos. It shouldn’t be hard to conjure up other beneficial pairings, but assistant general manager Chris Getz – entering his seventh season with the Sox farm system – hasn’t committed to any specific policy.
“They look at the players who are likely to go to certain places and who would be a best fit for that group,” Getz said. “Because in the end, the drivers are the players, and we want to serve them well.”
White Sox announced their player development team for 2023. Justin Jirschele will manage the Triple-A Charlotte Knights as all returning managers have moved up a level pic.twitter.com/WsnsKraWYa
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) January 31, 2023
Upgrading all of the veteran managers while bringing in Danny González for his managerial start with the complex league team allows the White Sox to return Julio Mosquera to his original focus as catch coordinator. Mosquera spent much of his freshman season with the Sox, serving as acting manager at Triple A after Wes Helms (now no longer with the organization) was placed on an indefinite leave of absence in late May. Additionally, the focus is on coaches working together rather than marrying them off to specific players.
With JR Perdew transitioning to the role of Pitching Advisor, Donnie Veal and Matt Zaleski will both hold the title of Assistant Pitching Coordinator under Everett Teaford as Zaleski continues as Triple-A Charlotte’s pitching coach. Getz discussed Veal and Zaleski’s North Carolina base and the flexibility to move them between the team’s three state affiliates (all roughly within 90 minutes of each other), including assisting new Kannapolis pitching coach Blake Hickman, a former Sox farm hand and ACE amateur program graduate.
“There will be days when Zaleski or Donnie will visit Blake and spend some time with the poor down there,” Getz said. “There will be days when they go to Winston-Salem and spend time there. Or, of course, Charlotte will be given some attention with this group. So why not take advantage of having these three clubs in North Carolina where we as an organization are very fortunate to have something like this?”
Getz didn’t design a similar setup under batting coordinator Andy Barkett, but by bringing in new assist batting coordinator Danny Santin (first signed by then-scout Pedro Grifol when he was a player) from the Giants and placing Devin DeYoung in a special “batting initiatives” role he spoke again of uniform programs. The White Sox are proud of the progress made by their hitting program over the past several years, both in terms of results and coordination with their amateur scouting program. For DeYoung, his particular job is to achieve the same synergy with the strength and conditioning staff.
“We were impressed with what he was able to do, taking some of our technical skills, our evaluations and our Arizona lab and incorporating it into our strength and conditioning program,” Getz said. “Merging with the recommendations of our field reps and bringing all of those worlds together and finding some special projects and growing that connecting shell between those groups is something that Devin is set up to do and it really helps me and Danny put programs together around our hitters.” to grow.”
Being able to coordinate with strength and conditioning while still eliciting an increase in performance was likely the greater focus of Tuesday’s media availability. The organization has sought to hone its sports science skills, bringing back biomechanical analyst CJ Gearhart for a second season, adding a minor league assistant performance coordinator in Sergio Rojas and trying to create internally the consistent health the team has struggled to maintain at premier league level. The numerous offseason camps the Sox held for minor leagues, which brought in prospects at the level of first-round pick Noah Schultz, also focused on strength and conditioning and introduced players to the organization’s pitching program. Hickman’s understanding of body movement has also been cited for his attitude.
“Right after I wrapped the 2020 season, I went straight into strength and conditioning just to better understand the body,” Hickman said. “I wanted to understand why I was getting these nagging injuries playing and just learning more from the strength coach I had, the pitching coach I had. I just took what I learned over the past three years.”
Above all, there is a lot of continuity. Aside from the departures already mentioned and former director of minor-league operations Jasmine Dunston, who is no longer with the company after being hired in 2022 (her duties are expected to be done internally), these are mostly additions and tweaks to one Staff set up during the past seven years.
Due to the nature of the White Sox roster and the offseason, the depth of the upper minor league was a topic that came to the fore when Getz spoke to the media. Oscar Colás’ primary job is to put the White Sox’s right field position in an above-average position. Though he didn’t crack Keith Law’s top 100 list, Colás received confirmation from Getz that after all his experience there last year in the minors, he can handle midfield on occasion in Chicago and is expected to a reliable defender is in right field.
“He has a plus arm and will certainly want to promote the upcoming spring training,” said Getz. “He can do some special things from at-bat to at-bat, but (when) you’ve got someone on the hill who doesn’t know or understand their inclinations, it’s a bit of a cat-and-mouse game at times. And (he has to) understand what he’s trying to do and what his strengths are and you have to stay disciplined. He has shown signs of this in the past. We’ve certainly emphasized a consistent approach for him to thrive at the major league level and we’ll see how he handles that. I know he’s worked really hard this off-season. He’s spent time in Florida with José Castro, Mike Tosar, Pedro (Grifol) and Danny Santin.”
With the Sox rotation in deep uncertainty, with Mike Clevinger under continued investigation by MLB and Davis Martin potentially needed on the opening-day roster, it’s more worth asking than who should provide depth beyond that. As he said earlier this offseason, Getz identified potential Sean Burke as likely next in line.
“I like his delivery. It’s compiled. He repeats the delivery very well. He has a power fastball. He can land an above-average breaking ball. His slider just keeps getting better. I know he worked hard on his transformation too,” Getz said of Burke. “He’s a guy who can add innings. Last year he had a very productive year. Certainly one of our better starters in the minor leagues and has worked his way up to Triple A. He’s a guy that we see as a rotation player pretty soon and may be for the foreseeable future.”
Former 2019 second-round pick Matthew Thompson is the next potential Getz to be named a top-league option sometime in 2023 thanks to “an excellent off-season,” but mentioned non-squad invites Nate Fisher, Jesse Scholtens and recent waiver AJ Alexy are experienced starter options as well.
“It’s the beauty of every season that you have players that we might not necessarily expect to get into starter depth,” Getz said. “We know it will happen.”
Highly valued Cuban pitching talent Norge Vera isn’t under consideration in the major leagues this season, but after a lat injury cut his US debut to 35 1/3 innings in 2022, he’s a prime example of one Player to work closely with Sox strength and conditioning team through this winter.
“I felt like being very close to him in the offseason was very important to avoid hiccups,” Getz said. “Last year he was able to get a few innings under his belt, not as many as we would have liked, obviously with the lat injury. Still a solid base. He did very well at Low-A Kannapolis and got a taste of Winston-Salem and even Birmingham as part of that project. We want to keep adding innings and increasing that workload. He’s a guy who takes it easy arm action, effortless speed. He has a good change. He has an effective breaking ball. We want to tighten up the breaking ball a bit but he is a physically gifted multi-pitch right-hander and we look forward to getting him rolling here in the spring.”
(Photo by Justin Jirschele: Brian Westerholt / Four Seam Images via Associated Press)
https://theathletic.com/4143246/2023/01/31/white-sox-chris-getz-development/ Chris Getz on the White Sox Player Development team, Senior Junior for 2023