19 Former ‘Sox Set To Compete in Professional Baseball in 2023

19 former Tom Sox are participating in Minor and Major League Baseball this year, including Vinnie Pasquantino – the first Tom Sox player to play in Major League Baseball.

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The Tom Sox have a long history of sending players to the pros, with 30 MLB draft selections in six years and nine additional free agent signings. 19 former ‘Sox are participating in Minor and Major League Baseball this year, including Vinnie Pasquantino – the first Tom Sox player to play in Major League Baseball. Let’s take a look at all 19 of these players in professional baseball this season. (Note: Statistics are entering games on April 18)

 

MLB 

Vinnie Pasquantino (2017)

·      Team: Kansas City Royals

·      School: Old Dominion

·      MLB Draft: 11th round pick by Royals, 319th overall (2019)

·      Last season (MLB): .288 BA, 10 doubles, 26 RBI, 35 BB, .832 OPS

The aforementioned Pasquantino became the Tom Sox’s first MLB player last season, called up by the Kansas City Royals in late June and playing 72 games in 2022. Pasquantino hit .295 for Kansas City as a rookie, with ten home runs and 35 walks to 34 strikeouts. He spent the majority of his season at third base, also serving as designated hitter for select games. Including 18 games this season, Pasquantino has a 138 OPS+ over his career – 38 points above the league average.

 

Triple-A

Bryce Windham (2017)

·      Team: Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs AAA)

·      School: Old Dominion

·      MLB Draft: 32nd round pick by Cubs, 972nd overall (2019)

·      Last season (AA): .202 BA, 40 R, 10 doubles, 31 RBI, 44 BB, .611 OPS

The only ‘Sox player currently at the Triple-A level is 2017 shortstop Bryce Windham, now at catcher for the Iowa Cubs (Chicago’s AAA affiliate). Windham is a career .254 hitter over his 3+ seasons at the minor league level, hitting .202 across 79 games at the double-A level last season. He added 40 runs scored, 10 doubles, 31 RBI, and a 1:1 strikeout to walk ratio to his record for the Tennessee Smokies last season and is currently on the 7-day injured list for Iowa.

Double-A

Connor Gillispie (2017)

·      Team: Bowie BaySox (Orioles AA)

·      School: VCU

·      MLB Draft: 9th round pick by Orioles, 258th overall (2019)

·      Last season (A+): 25 APP (14 starts), 97 ⅓ IP, 3.79 ERA, 48 BB, 113 K

Gillispie had a major improvement for the High-A Aberdeen IronBirds last season, improving his ERA from 4.97 in 2021 to 3.79 in 2022; despite throwing 17 ⅔ more innings. He improved his strikeout total by 35 and dropped his opponent batting average from .242 to .204. Our hometown star has allowed one earned run in seven innings so far this season, walking three and striking out nine.

 

Bradley Hanner (2018)

·      Team: Akron RubberDucks (Guardians AA)

·      School: Patrick Henry Community College

·      MLB Draft: 21st round by Twins, 629th overall (2019)

·      Last season (A+): 39 APP (1 start), 58 ⅔ IP, 4.60 ERA, 27 BB, 65 K

Hanner was a strong arm out of the pen for the Cedar Rapids Kernels last season, striking out 65 batters in 58 ⅔ innings while throwing exactly 1,000 pitches for the year. He had a massive improvement from 2021, lowering his ERA by over two points while appearing in 13 more games. He also lowered his opponent batting average from .278 to .216 (a difference of 62 points) and has done so more in limited action this season (5 ⅓ innings), allowing only one hit thus far for double-A Akron.

 

Kyle Nicolas (2018)

·      Team: Altoona Curve (Pirates AA)

·      School: Ball State

·      MLB Draft: Competitive Balance Round B by Marlins, 61st overall (2020)

·      Last season (AA): 24 APP (22 starts), 90 ⅔ IP, 3.97 ERA, 47 BB, 101 K

Nicolas, the earliest draft pick in team history, had a strong season in 2022 for the Curve following a trade from the Marlins to the Pirates. He pitched to a 3.97 ERA in 24 games, averaging close to four innings in his 22 starts on the year. Nicolas struck out double-digit batters for the second straight season, mirroring his .216 average and 1.30 WHIP from his 2021 debut season. The #20 Pirates prospect according to MLB.com, Nicolas looks to do more of the same in 2023.

 

Carlos Rodriguez (2021)

·      Team: Biloxi Shuckers (Brewers AA)

·      School: Florida Southwestern State JC

·      MLB Draft: 6th round by Brewers, 177th overall (2021)

·      Last season (A/A+): 26 APP (20 starts), 107 ⅔ IP, 3.01 ERA, 40 BB, 129 K

Rodriguez, the first ‘Sox player to be drafted the summer he played in Charlottesville, has seen success early on in his pro career. The #12 Brewers prospect went 6-5 in 107 ⅔ innings last season, allowing 36 earned runs and only seven home runs in his 26 appearances. So far this season, Rodriguez has allowed a run in nine innings (two appearances), striking out 11 and walking four.

 

Carson Spiers (2017)

·      Team: Chattanooga Lookouts (Reds AA)

·      School: Clemson

·      MLB Draft: Free agent signing by Reds (2020)

·      Last season (AA/AAA): 27 APP (23 starts), 121 ⅔ IP, 5.33 ERA, 45 BB, 105 K

After appearing from both the mound and the plate during his summer and Charlottesville and serving as Clemson’s fireman towards the latter part of his college career, Spiers has made his pro career as a starter thus far – with 43 of his 54 career appearances being starts. He handled a heavy workload between the Double-A Lookouts and Triple-A Louisville Bats last season, with a 5.33 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 121 ⅔ innings. This season, he has appeared out of the bullpen in both appearances, allowing two runs and striking out five.

 

High-A

Alaska Abney (2019)

·      Team: Lake County Captains (Guardians High-A)

·      School: Coastal Carolina

·      MLB Draft: 15th round by Indians, 456th overall (2021)

·      Last season (A+): 42 APP, 49 ⅔ IP, 2.54 ERA, 28 BB, 58 K

Abney appeared in 42 games – all out of the bullpen – last season and was effective with only 14 earned runs allowed in that time. Over his 2+ year career, Abney has allowed only 22 earned runs in 70 ⅔ innings, striking out 85 batters. His start to the 2023 season has been rough so far, but there is little to read into with only five innings so far on the year.

 

Kyle Battle (2017)

·      Team: Hudson Valley Renegades (Yankees High-A)

·      School: Old Dominion

·      MLB Draft: Free agent signing by Yankees (2021)

·      Last season (A/A+): .199 BA, 18 R, 12 doubles, 16 RBI, 17 BB, 20 SB, .604 OPS

Battle struggled in 43 games at the Single-A level last season, hitting .173 with 23 hits in 133 at bats and 11 RBI. However, following an August promotion to the High-A level, Battle found his groove, hitting .321 in eight games with four doubles, five RBI, and four stolen bases. He begins the 2023 season at that same level and looks to continue that success in 2023.

 

Trace Bright (2021)

·      Team: Aberdeen IronBirds (Orioles High-A)

·      School: Auburn

·      MLB Draft: 5th round by Orioles, 137th overall (2022)

·      Last season (Rookie/A): 4 APP (1 start), 9 ⅔ IP, 1.86 ERA, 4 BB, 9 K

Bright – the first 2022 draftee to appear on our list – is just beginning his pro career, having already thrown almost as many innings this season (eight) as all of last season (9 ⅔). He has already doubled his strikeout total from 2022 while slicing the walks in half, striking out 18 in the eight innings while walking just two so far.

 

Brooks Crawford (2016)

·      Team: Dayton Dragons (Reds High-A)

·      School: Clemson

·      MLB Draft: 29th round by Giants, 866th overall (2019)

·      Last season (A+): 43 APP, 56 ⅔ IP, 3.18 ERA, 20 BB, 64 K

The fifth and final of the 2019 draftees on our rundown and the only player from the 2016 team that is still playing in the pros, Brooks Crawford is beginning his first season in the Reds organization after playing his first three in the Giants system. Crawford has seen success in his career so far, going 14-5 with a 2.94 ERA in 89 career appearances (all out of the bullpen). Crawford has struck out 139 batters in his career, including four in two appearances so far this season for the Dayton Dragons.

 

Thomas Francisco (2019)

·      Team: Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals High-A)

·      School: East Carolina

·      MLB Draft: 19th round by Cardinals, 571st overall (2021)

·      Last season (A/A+): .233 BA, 32 R, 17 doubles, 6 HR, 58 RBI, .662 OPS

Francisco, who holds the team’s all-time record with a 23-game hit streak, has had a decent start to his pro career with a .248 average and 77 RBI in 131 career games. He suffered from a sophomore slump at the single and high-A levels last season, hitting .233 with 58 RBI in 90 games. So far in eight games this season, he is hitting .233 with four RBI and three walks.

 

Peyton Glavine (2019)

·      Team: Wilmington Blue Rocks (Nationals High-A)

·      School: Auburn

·      MLB Draft: Free agent signing by Nationals (2021)

·      Last season (Rookie/A): 16 APP, 22 ⅓ IP, 3.63 ERA, 9 BB, 31 K

Peyton Glavine, a 2019 champion with the ‘Sox and son of MLB Hall of Famer Tom Glavine, has had an up-and-down start to his pro career with multiple injuries so far in his 2+ seasons. He pitched well in his 22 ⅓ innings last season, with a 3.63 ERA and 31 strikeouts to only nine walks for the single-A Fredericksburg Nationals (with two rehab appearances in the Florida Complex League). Glavine is currently on the 60-day IL with an undisclosed injury.

 

Hunter Gregory (2018)

·      Team: Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays High-A)

·      School: Old Dominion

·      MLB Draft: 8th round by Blue Jays, 242nd overall (2021)

·      Last season (A+): 10 APP (6 starts), 32 ⅓ IP, 7.24 ERA, 11 BB, 40 K

Gregory has had a tough start to his pro career, much of it unfortunately mired by injury. He made only six starts for the Canadians last season, throwing 32 ⅓ total innings while walking 11 and striking out 40. He has made one start in his return this season, tossing three innings thus far on the season.

 

Evan Justice (2018)

·      Team: Spokane Indians (Rockies High-A)

·      School: NC State

·      MLB Draft: 5th round by Rockies, 140th overall (2021)

·      Last season: DNP (injured)

Justice missed the entirety of last season with a shoulder injury and is just starting to work his way back to pro baseball. He has only pitched five career MLB innings across rookie ball in 2021 and High-A this season, allowing one run and striking out nine. Justice looks to start making inroads on his pro career with a fully healthy shoulder this spring.

 

Antonio Menendez (2018)

·      Team: Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays High-A)

·      School: Wake Forest

·      MLB Draft: 14th round by Rays, 431st overall (2021)

·      Last season (Rookie/A/A+): 20 APP (2 starts), 37 IP, 1.70 ERA, 10 BB, 48 K

After missing his first season with an injury, Menendez had a strong start to his career last season with a 1.70 ERA in 37 innings for three Rays affiliates. He walked only 10 batters during that time while allowing opponents to hit .203 against him. He has thrown three innings in two games so far this season.

 

Single A

Alex Ayala Jr. (2021)

·      Team: Charleston RiverDogs (Rays Single-A)

·      School: Florida Southwestern State JC

·      MLB Draft: 9th round by Rays (281st overall)

·      Last season (Rookie/A): 16 APP (6 starts), 57 IP, 3.63 ERA, 24 BB, 68 K

The second of the our three FSW Bucs currently in the minors, Ayala had a strong season split between rookie and A-ball last season, allowing 23 earned runs in 57 innings and striking out 68 batters. He did not allow a run in his first 4-inning start of the season this year, allowing one hit and striking out six.

 

Carson Skipper (2019)

·      Team: Fresno Grizzlies (Rockies Single-A)

·      School: Auburn

·      MLB Draft: 11th round by Rockies, 326th overall (2022)

·      Last season (Rookie): 2 APP, 2 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Skipper, like fellow Auburn teammate Trace Bright, is just beginning his pro career. With six innings under his belt so far, the 2019 VBL Champion is beginning his first season with single-A Fresno – having tossed four innings so far in the young season for the Grizzlies.

 

Rookie

Satchell Norman (2022)

·      Team: ACL Brewers Gold (Brewers Rookie)

·      School: Florida Southwestern State JC

·      MLB Draft: 15th round by Brewers, 462nd overall (2022)

·      Last season (Rookie): .344 BA, 6 R, 3 RBI, 4 SB, .853 OPS

The first of our 2022 players to be drafted, Satchell Norman got the call before a doubleheader in Strasburg last season and immediately started performing for the Brewers rookie affiliate in Arizona. Norman hit .344 with a .853 OPS in 10 games last summer, and looks to keep his hot streak going when the rookie ball season begins.

 

You can keep an eye on Tom Sox social media – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – for updates on all your #ProSox. Over the summer, Tom Sox Weekly will provide intermittent updates.

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