21 Former Tom Sox Set to Compete in Minor League Baseball

Professional baseball is finally upon us in 2022, and that includes Minor League Baseball - where MLB’s next stars are developed. In 2022, Minor League Baseball (MiLB) will consist of four divisions - Single-A, High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, and former Tom Sox players are playing in all four. There is also the rookie level, which begins play in mid-June. The Triple-A season began Tuesday, while the rest of the main divisions begin play today, April 8. Let’s check up on how all 21 of your former Sox players are doing in the pros.

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Professional baseball is finally upon us in 2022, and that includes Minor League Baseball – where MLB’s next stars are developed. In 2022, Minor League Baseball (MiLB) will consist of four divisions – Single-A, High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, and former Tom Sox players are playing in all four. There is also the rookie level, which begins play in mid-June. The Triple-A season began Tuesday, while the rest of the main divisions begin play today, April 8. Let’s check up on how all 21 of your former Sox players are doing in the pros.

 

Triple-A

1B Vinnie Pasquantino (2017)

  • Team: Omaha Storm Chasers (Kansas City Royals AAA)

  • School: Old Dominion

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

  • Last season (High-A & AA): .300 average, .957 OPS, 37 doubles, 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 64 walks/64 strikeouts

  • Outlook: Pasquantino had an outstanding season last year, totaling 64 extra-base hits (7th in all of MiLB) a .957 OPS (23rd), and a 1:1 walk to strikeout ratio. He was the only player in all of Minor League Baseball with an OPS over .950, as many/more walks than strikeouts, and 60+ RBI. Now promoted to Triple-A and with top Royals prospect Bobby Witt Jr. on the Major League club to start the season, MLB.com’s #5 Royals prospect (and #6 overall first baseman) looks to put on another show in the minors and could be the first Tom Sox player to play in the big leagues.

Double-A

RHP Kyle Nicolas (2018)

  • Team: Altoona Curve (Pittsburgh Pirates AA)

  • School: Ball State

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

  • Last season (High-A & AA): 21 games (20 starts), 4.18 ERA, 99 innings, 136 strikeouts/49 walks, 1.30 WHIP, .216 opponent average

  • Outlook: Nicolas had a rough start in high-A last season, but took it to a whole new level in AA; with a 2.52 ERA (11 ER in 39.1 innings) and 50 strikeouts. Perhaps his most encouraging number is his opponent batting average, allowing only a .167 average to opponents for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos last season. Now with a new club in the Pirates this season, Nicolas looks to continue his second half from last season and work his way up to Triple-A after recently joining the Pirates in Spring Training. He has a shot at playing in the majors, but he’ll have to work through a deep RHP pool in the Pirates’ Minor League system.

RHP Tad Ratliff (2015)

  • Team: Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals AA)

  • School: Lenoir-Rhyne

  • MLB Draft: Royals undrafted free agent (2017)

  • Last season (Rookie & High-A): 7 games (4 starts), 3.72 ERA, 9.2 innings, 11 strikeouts/2 walks, 0.83 WHIP, .176 opponent average

  • Outlook: The only remaining Minor League player from the Sox’s inaugural team, Ratliff looks to put together a full season in 2022 after being injured for the majority of 2021. All seven of his games last season were on rehab assignments, only throwing 9.2 total innings. Now entering his fifth pro season, Ratliff carries a career 2.70 ERA in 78 games with 128 strikeouts.

RHP Carson Spiers (2017)

  • Team: Chattanooga Lookouts (Reds AA)

  • School: Clemson

  • MLB Draft: Reds undrafted free agent (2020)

  • Last season (A & High-A): 25 games (20 starts), 3.55 ERA, 111.2 innings, 130 strikeouts/34 walks, 1.08 WHIP, .220 opponent average

  • Outlook: Spiers had a good season in the minors last year, with a 3.55 ERA on a heavy workload (111.2 innings). He finished off the year strong, with a 1.20 ERA in 3 September starts (15 innings). Spiers looks to continue his strong pitching with a move to Double-A in 2022.

C Bryce Windham (2017)

  • Team: Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA)

  • School: Old Dominion

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

  • Last season (rookie & High-A): .276 average, .757 OPS, 28 runs, 30 RBI, 25 walks

  • Outlook: Sox fans remember him as the starting shortstop on the 2017 championship team, but Windham has found his footing in the Minors as a catcher – where he’s been highly regarded by the Cubs. Windham hit .273 in High-A last year, and is built to improve on that with a promotion to Double-A this season.

High-A

RHP Alaska Abney (2019)

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

  • School: Coastal Carolina

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

  • Last season (rookie & A): 12 games, 0.56 ERA, 16 innings, 22 strikeouts/7 walks, 0.88 WHIP, .127 opponent average

  • Outlook: Abney dazzled out of the pen in both rookie and A ball last year, allowing one total earned run in 16 innings last season. Now in High-A, Abney looks to keep it up in 2022.

SS Zac Ching (2018)

  • Team: Great Lakes Loons (Dodgers High-A)

  • School: VCU

  • MLB Draft: 10th round pick by Dodgers, 311th overall (2019)

  • Last season (High-A): .240 average, .739 OPS, 42 runs, 13 home runs, 52 RBI, 9 stolen bases

  • Outlook: Ching looks to build on last season after posting a good line in 2021. Ching hit .240 in 89 games (all at the High-A level), adding 13 home runs and 52 RBI.

RHP Brooks Crawford (2016)

  • Team: Eugene Emeralds (Giants High-A)

  • School: Clemson

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

  • Last season (A): 32 games, 1.96 ERA, 46 innings, 57 strikeouts/7 walks, 0.98 WHIP, .221 opponent average

  • Outlook: Crawford was outstanding out of the bullpen in A ball last year, with allowing only 10 runs in 46 innings. He only walked 7 batters while striking out 57. He looks to keep up that pace in 2022 for the Emeralds.

1B Thomas Francisco (2019)

  • Team: Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals High-A)

  • School: East Carolina

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

  • Last season (A & High-A): .294 average, .807 OPS, 8 doubles, 15 RBI

  • Outlook: Francisco saw limited action after being drafted last June, but he made the most of it – hitting just under .300 and knocking in 15 runs. Francisco looks to keep up that consistent pace in 2022 and boost his home run numbers, after hitting three in 33 games last season.

RHP Connor Gillispie (2017)

  • Team: Aberdeen IronBirds (Orioles High-A)

  • School: VCU

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

  • Last season (High-A): 21 games (12 starts), 4.97 ERA, 79.2 innings, 78 strikeouts/29 walks, 1.24 WHIP, .242 opponent average

  • Outlook: Gillispie had an up-and-down season last year, pitching well for the majority of the year but struggling for five games in June/July that boosted his ERA. Outside of those five games, he had a 2.47 ERA. Gillispie looks to finish rehabbing from an injury he suffered in September and stay consistent through the 2022 season.

RHP Hunter Gregory (2018)

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

  • School: Old Dominion

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

  • Last season (A): 6 games, 6 innings, 9 ER, 6 strikeouts/3 walks

  • Outlook: Gregory struggled in very limited action in A ball last year, allowing 9 earned runs in 6 innings. Now in his first full season, he looks to improve on those numbers and get back to his form from his college days.

RHP Bradley Hanner (2018)

  • Team: Cedar Rapids Kernels (Twins High-A)

  • School: Patrick Henry Community College

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

  • Last season (A): 26 games (1 start), 7.13 ERA, 41.2 innings, 49 strikeouts/34 walks, 1.90 WHIP, .278 opponent average

  • Outlook: Hanner struggled for the majority of last season, but settled down in August & September for his best numbers of the season (7 ER in 13.2 IP). Hanner looks to continue his better stuff into the 2022 season.

LHP Evan Justice (2018)

  • Team: Spokane Indians (Rockies High-A)

  • School: NC State

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

  • Last season (rookie): 3 games, 3 innings, 1 ER, 4 strikeouts/2 walks

  • Outlook: Justice only had three outings in rookie ball last year, but skipped single-A to start 2022. He looks to make a good impression early with the Indians this season.

1B Patrick McColl (2018)

  • Team: Lansing Lugnuts (Athletics High-A)

  • School: Harvard

  • MLB Draft: 10th round pick by Athletics, 314th overall (2019)

  • Last season (High-A): .180 average, .636 OPS, 33 runs, 24 RBI, 10 stolen bases

  • Outlook: Now in his second year in Lansing, McColl looks to improve on his 2021 numbers and show the power that he exhibited in Charlottesville in 2018.

RHP Nick Roth (2017 & 2018)

  • Team: Aberdeen IronBirds (Orioles High-A)

  • School: Randolph-Macon

  • MLB Draft: 26th round pick by Orioles, 768th overall (2019)

  • Last season (A & High-A): 28 games, 7.11 ERA, 44.1 innings, 46 strikeouts/17 walks, 1.58 WHIP, .290 opponent average

  • Outlook: Roth had a rough season, but improved in September with 1 ER allowed in 4 appearances (1.59 ERA). He looks to carry that late-season success into something bigger in 2022.

Single-A

OF Kyle Battle (2017)

  • Team: Tampa Tarpons (Yankees A)

  • School: Old Dominion

  • MLB Draft: Yankees undrafted free agent (2021)

  • Last season (rookie & A): .290 average, .932 OPS, 18 RBI, 14 walks/13 strikeouts

  • Outlook: After being picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Yankees last year, Battle played excellent in rookie ball with a .302 average and .998 OPS. He looks to keep up that pace in his first full season in the minor leagues this year.

LHP Peyton Glavine (2019)

  • Team: Fredericksburg Nationals (Nationals A)

  • School: Auburn

  • MLB Draft: Nationals undrafted free agent (2021)

  • Last season (rookie): 7 games, 3.00 ERA, 9 innings, 12 strikeouts, 3 walks, 0.78 WHIP, .129 opponent average

  • Outlook: Glavine saw limited action last year after being picked up as a free agent by the Nationals, allowing three earned runs in nine innings in rookie ball. Now pitching just an hour and 45 minutes away in Fredericksburg, Glavine looks to put together a solid first full season in pro ball.

LHP Jared Wetherbee (2018)

  • Team: Clearwater Threshers (Phillies A)

  • School: Elon

  • MLB Draft: Phillies undrafted free agent (2021)

  • Last season (rookie & A): 10 games, 0.79 ERA, 11.1 innings, 19 strikeouts/6 walks, 0.79 WHIP, .079 opponent average

  • Outlook: Wetherbee looked outstanding in limited innings last season, allowing only one earned run and three hits in 11.1 innings. He looks to continue that effort for his first full season in 2022.

Rookie/Other

LHP Alex Ayala Jr. (2021)

  • Team: FCL Rays (Rays rookie)

  • School: Florida Southwestern State JC

  • MLB Draft: 9th round pick by Rays, 281st overall (2021)

  • Last season (rookie): 4 games, 0 ER, 5.2 innings, 1 hit, 10 strikeouts/3 walks

  • Outlook: One of the first Tom Sox players to get drafted the year they played in Charlottesville (along with teammate Carlos Rodriguez), Ayala looked great in his limited innings last year. He looks to move up to A ball once the season gets under way.

RHP Antonio Menendez (2018)

  • Team: Rays organization

  • School: Wake Forest

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

  • Outlook: Menendez did not play last year after getting Tommy John surgery. He recently posted an Instagram video pitching in a Rays practice uniform, and looks to start pitching soon.

LHP Carlos Rodriguez (2021)

  • Team: Brewers organization

  • School: Florida Southwestern State JC

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

  • Outlook: Another 2021 draft pick from the 2021 team, Rodriguez did not pitch in 2021. He also posted an Instagram video pitching in a Brewers uniform, and looks to start pitching soon.

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