So far we've taken a look at five somewhat-unknown pitchers: three starters and two relievers to go along with two first basemen. Although it appears Rick Hahn listened to me with Andy Wilkins' stock suddenly rising, it's now time to discuss two bigger names that, well, you may not know … or at least not as well as maybe you should. Going back to the bullpen, we'll shift our focus on 25 year-old Dominican lefty Santos Rodriguez and 23 year-old Kentucky-native, righty Daniel Webb (pictured).
Acquired in the deal that sent reliever Jason Frasor back to the Blue Jays, Daniel Webb struggled to meet expectations throughout the Blue Jays organization for two seasons. In fact, the former 18th round draft pick was pretty bad for the Kannapolis Intimidators (A) in 2012, too going 1-8 with a 5.81 ERA. But 2013 has been a different story.
It's been an electric story.
He has a plus fastball, and a nice changeup to go along with his curveball. And this year, they show in the statistics. Through 36.2 IP (in A, AA, and AAA), he's struck out 42 hitters. His control can be an issue at times, as he's normally walked a lot of hitters throughout his career, but he's been better of late.
Through his 22 appearances in total this year, he's finished 15 ball games (seven saves) with his nice 0.927 WHIP. It's pretty clear that if he continues to develop and grow more consistent (remember, he's only 23), he could certainly slot into the back end of the bullpen with Nate Jones, Addison Reed, and company.
He was promoted to AAA Charlotte on Monday (6/24/2013), so hopefully he can fare well there and be in line to come up to the White Sox at some point this summer.
If he can pitch anywhere near the way he did in A-ball (0.00 ERA in 15 IP) or AA (1.77 ERA in 20.1 IP), we'll probably see him in pin stripes sooner rather than later.
Originally of the Atlanta Braves' organization, this lanky 6'6 south paw is filthy when at his best. Since coming to the White Sox' system for the 2009 season, the Dominican fireballer has been pretty consistently solid and dominant at times.
In '09, he had a 1.16 ERA for Bristol and Kannapolis, earning him a promotion for 2010, but only to Winston Salem. After all, he had walked 18 batters in just 31 innings that season.
There, his ERA jumped all the way to 3.57, as he walked 32 hitters in 40.1 innings … a number way too high no matter how good your stuff is. But in that time, he did strike out 59 batters, so the organization was far from giving up on him.
In 2011 he stayed with the Dash and his control got better. He walked 33 hitters, but this time it was spread out over 62 innings. He went from walking .79 guys an inning to .53 … no where near good enough, but better nonetheless. Though his ERA and WHIP both jumped that year (3.77 and 1.661, respectively), he got yet another promotion to AA Birmingham for the 2012 season.
And there something finally clicked for the first time since '09.
He made 37 appearances for the Barons that year, closing out 21 games with eight saves to go along with his much improved 2.81 ERA and 1.031 WHIP. In total (he also pitched 7.1 innings for Charlotte), he walked 35 hitters in 71.1 innings, or 0.49. Again, it was an improvement at the very least.
In 2013 he has passed out 14 free passes in just 23 IP but in spite of that has maintained a nice 2.35 ERA, earning him a promotion to Charlotte along with Daniel Webb on Monday (6/24/2013). Apparently, he's the next lefty that the team likes to give a chance in the south side bullpen. That's probably large in part because lefties are 4-for-31 against him this season.
But given his talent and 97 MPH heater, hopefully a genius like Don Cooper can make him much better going forward.
At this point in time it seems that Webb and Rodriguez will be the guys called up if/when Jesse Crain and/or Matt Thornton are traded within the next five-or-so weeks.
On paper it looks like they both can play a large role in the back-end of an MLB bullpen, so with little pressure riding on them if called up at some point in 2013, it may be worth it to see if they're worth building around.