2023 International Reviews: Chicago White Sox

The White Sox secured multiple pitchers throwing in the mid 90s with a chance for more velocity coming, giving them a mix of high-bonus and lower-dollar signings. Here are scouting reports on 10 international signings from Chicago’s class, with room to add more impact by the end of the year with more than $1 million remaining in their bonus pool. 

Top Of The Class

The White Sox signed 17-year-old righthander Luis Reyes for $700,000, the third-highest bonus this year for a Dominican pitcher. Reyes spent a lot of time in Florida pitching in Perfect Game events in 2021, racking up 29 strikeouts with 13 walks over 14.2 innings that year. He was touching 93 mph then, but has since grown to 6-foot-2, 190 pounds and is reaching 96 mph. Reyes will need to tighten his control, but there isn’t much effort to his delivery with good extension out front and feel for two secondary pitches. Some scouts think his best offspeed pitch is his changeup, which he sells well by maintaining his arm speed to look like a fastball out of his hand before dropping with late sink and fade. Others liked his slider, giving him a starter’s mix of he can throw enough strikes. 

Names To Know

Abraham Nuñez Jr., OF, Dominican Republic: Abraham Nuñez played three seasons in the majors from 2002-04 as an outfielder with the Marlins and the Royals. His son, Nuñez Jr., is 17 and signed with the White Sox for $700,000. He’s 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, an athletic outfielder with good bat speed who performed well during amateur tournaments in the Dominican Republic. Scouts highest on Nuñez liked his bat control from the right side and strike-zone judgment, with the strength projection and bat speed to project his gap power to grow. He’s a solid-average runner who moves well enough for now to develop in center field, though as he fills out he might shift to a corner.

Angelo Hernandez, C, Venezuela: Hernandez sticks out for his defensive polish at 17. Signed for $500,000, Hernandez has strong catch-and-throw skills for his age, moving around well behind the plate as an advanced receiver and controlling the running game well with an above-average arm. Defense at a premium position is what stands out the most with Hernandez, but at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, he has strength in his swing to generate power from the right side, with a chance for 20-plus homers in a power-over-hit profile. 

Rafael Alvarez, 3B, Cuba: Alvarez had played shortstop in Cuba, but once he got bigger he moved to left field and was working out for clubs in the Dominican Republic as an outfielder. The White Sox asked to see him play the infield, liked what they saw there, and signed him as a third baseman for $350,000. Alvarez, 18, hit well in Cuba’s U-15 national league in 2020, batting .366/.505/.662 with three home runs, 18 walks and 14 strikeouts in 98 plate appearances for Granma. He’s 6-foot-2, 190 pounds and stands out for his righthanded power and plus arm. He has impressed the White Sox already with his defense at third base, especially for a player who had previously moved to the outfield. 

D’Angelo Tejada, SS, Dominican Republic: Signed for $350,000 at 17, Tejada is an athletic shortstop at a lean 6 feet, 160 pounds with plus-plus speed underway, good footwork and a plus arm. He will bare his arm in his righthanded swing, but scouts highest on him saw him catch up to good velocity and show gap power. 

Stiven Flores, C, Venezuela: Flores, 17, signed for $250,000. He’s 5-foot-11, 180 pounds and a potential power-hitting catcher from the right side. His offensive game stands out the most right now, with a chance to hit 20-plus home runs and drive the ball well to all fields. He has solid catch-and-throw skills for his age, too, with an average arm.

Juan Uribe Jr., 2B, Dominican Republic: Shortstop Juan Uribe played 16 seasons in the big leagues, including 2004-08 with the White Sox. His son, Uribe Jr., signed with the White Sox for $200,000. Born in Chicago during the 2006 season when his father played for the White Sox, Uribe Jr. grew up in the Dominican Republic and trained at shortstop but projects better at second base. He’s 5-foot-10, 160 pounds at 16 with a short, quick swing from the right side. He has shown the ability to barrel good fastballs with the pitch recognition and adjustability in his swing to square up breaking stuff as well. It’s likely a hit-over-power profile, with a chance for 15-plus home runs once he grows into his stocky strong frame. 

Sleeper Watch

Venezuelan shortstop Javier Mogollon signed with the White Sox for $75,000. Mogollon, 17, is 5-foot-8, 160 pounds, and while he isn’t that big, his offensive game makes him an exciting sleeper to watch. His righthanded swing is short, quick, clean and balanced, allowing him to barrel balls at a high clip against live pitching. Despite his stature, Mogollon isn’t a slap hitter either, with the ability to generate startling power for his size, even clearing the batter’s eye at the White Sox academy in the Dominican Republic. He’s also at least a plus runner. Defensively, he could see time at shortstop but most likely ends up as an offensive second baseman with an average arm. 

Another sleeper to watch out of Venezuela this year for the White Sox is righthander Fabian Ysalla, who signed for $50,000. Ysalla, 18, was a shortstop eligible to sign the previous year who had a great arm but a light bat. A year ago, he moved to the mound, was throwing mid-to-upper 80s with feel to spin a breaking ball, and he agreed to sign with the White Sox this year once the new bonus pools kicked in on Jan. 15. Since then, he has taken off, with his fastball reaching 95 mph this spring during intrasquad games. He’s 6-foot-1, 185 pounds with long arm action and shortstop athleticism that has helped him repeat his mechanics for someone with minimal pitching experience. With his arm speed, Ysalla looks like he could eventually throw in the upper 90s with more experience and mechanical adjustments. Ysalla isn’t just raw arm strength, either. He throws a hard curveball with tight rotation, sharp bite and good depth, giving him a potential plus secondary pitch to miss bats or lock up hitters.  

One other smaller bonus signing from this year’s class standing out from Venezuela is Eyke Ugueto, a 17-year-old shortstop the White Sox signed for $60,000. He’s 5-foot-11, 175 pounds with a good mix of bat control and some extra-base damage for his age with an aggressive, hard-nosed style of play. He has a chance to stick at shortstop with above-average speed now, though that could slow down as he fills out, and an average arm. 

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