Sanchez Emerges For White Sox

Middle infielder enjoying breakout season





Best Player: The White Sox lack for middle-infield prospects in their system, meaning switch-hitting shortstop/second baseman Carlos Sanchez has a good chance to advance quickly. In fact, the major league club took a peek at the 20-year-old Venezuelan by starting him at second base in a March 24 spring-training game against the Brewers, and Sanchez hit a single that fueled a three-run rally against lefthander Randy Wolf.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Sanchez is known for his defense but has enjoyed a breakout season at the plate by batting .326/.381/.409 with 13 doubles and 11 stolen bases in 67 games for high Class A Winston-Salem. He served as Chicago's lone representative at the Futures Game.

Biggest Leap Forward: White Sox minor league pitching coaches have simplified the delivery of 6-foot-5, 180-pound lefty Santos Rodriguez, who has responded positively to the challenges the player development staff gave him after moving him to Double-A Birmingham after two average seasons with Winston-Salem.
Rodriguez still needs to harness his 95 mph fastball, but he had struck out 34 while allowing just 17 hits in 36 innings for Birmingham. More encouraging is that the coaching staff has noticed that Rodriguez is gaining a better sense of his strengths and weaknesses in his repertoire of pitches and has gained more trust pitching late in games.

Biggest Disappointment: Chicago expected shortstop Ozzie Martinez to challenge for a backup infield job on the Opening Day roster. After all, they targeted him as part of the compensation that allowed manager Ozzie Guillen to depart for the Marlins. Instead, Martinez was outplayed by less-experienced Eduardo Escobar and outrighted off the 40-man roster after just two months.

Chicago hoped the 25-year-old Martinez would have provided enough production at the plate to serve as a capable backup, but a .174/.218/.231 batting line at Triple-A Charlotte said otherwise.

CHI-LITES

• First baseman Keon Barnum, a supplemental first-round pick, signed for $1,052,500 and got off to a good start for Rookie-level Bristol. He was hitting .421/.421/.895 with three home runs in five games.

• As of June 28, the White Sox had signed all of their picks in the first 10 rounds and were $158,800 under budget.