|For the second consecutive spring, the Giants traded an out-of-options position player for a young reliever, this year flipping 25-year-old third baseman Conor Gillaspie to the White Sox for righty reliever Jeff Soptic, a third-round pick in 2011.
Last year, San Francisco swapped backup catcher Chris Stewart to the Yankees for George Kontos, dealing excess catching depth after Buster Posey proved he was healthy.
|White Sox Acquire|
|Conor Gillaspie, 3b
Age: 25. Born: Jul 18, 1987 in Omaha.
Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 195.
Bats: L. Throws: R.
School: Wichita State.
Career Transactions: Selected by Giants in supplemental first round (37th overall) of 2008 draft; signed Aug. 6, 2008.
The first player from the 2008 draft to reach the majors, Gillaspie received a September callup that same year as mandated by contract terms. He hit a career-best 14 homers last season, though his isolated slugging percentage remained virtually unchanged from the 2011 season (about .160), which he also spent with Triple-A Fresno. Gillaspie drives the ball to the alleys with a quick lefty stroke, and few scouts doubt that he can hit for at least a modest average in the big leagues. He batted .289/.368/.447 in 968 plate appearances for the Grizzlies, and he actually managed to reduce his strikeout rate significantly, dropping from about 16 percent of PAs in 2011 to about 12 last year. Gillaspie offers playable defense and arm strength for third base, though his lefty bat, feel for hitting and lack of minor league options could give him a long leash with Chicago.
|Jeff Soptic, rhp
Age: 22. Born: Apr 8, 1991 in Leawood, Kan.
Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 210.
Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Johnson County (Kan.) CC.
Career Transactions: Selected by White Sox in third round of 2011 draft; signed July 13, 2011.
The latest in a long line of White Sox pitching prospects with extreme velocity and limited feel for pitching, e.g. Nate Jones, Jake Petricka, Aaron Poreda, Soptic won best fastball in the Chicago system honors each of the past two winters. He tops out near 100 mph and shows a nice slider occasionally, but it could take years for Soptic to refine his mechanics and reduce his walk rate, which last season registered at 6.0 per nine innings in low Class A.