Coats Putting Himself On White Sox’s Radar

GLENDALE, Ariz.—Less than two weeks before the 2012 draft, outfielder Jason Coats wrapped up his playing career at Texas Christian.

In his final regular season game with the Horned Frogs, Coats hit a grounder to third base, and when the throw to first sailed high, he acted accordingly.

“I crossed the bag at first, and when I planted and tried to go to second base, (my knee) just gave out on me,” Coats said. “Just a freak thing.”

Coats wound up tearing the ACL in his right knee, and his draft stock plunged. The White Sox grabbed him in the 29th round, but Coats wasn’t able to play until 2013.

“Things happen, but I feel like I’m in a good place right now,” Coats said at his first big league camp. “I think that was just a little bump in the road. The knee’s fine. It hasn’t bothered me since.”

At 26, Coats is one of the system’s older prospects, but his productive bat has put him on the major league radar.

He opened last season at Double-A Birmingham and was promoted to Triple-A Charlotte after just 12 games.

With the Knights, Coats hit .270/.313/.438 with 17 home runs. His 81 RBIs ranked third in the International League.

This year, Coats is ticketed to start the season at Charlotte, although he was one of the final cuts in Sox’s camp.

“My goal is to eventually make it (to Chicago),” said Coats, who can play all three outfield spots. “I don’t really think about it too much. If I keep producing, I think good things will happen.”

After striking out 93 times in 489 at-bats with Charlotte in 2015, Coats wants to put more balls in play.

“I just want to be a little more selective at the plate,” he said. “I think I fall in a hole sometimes (and become) a little too aggressive. It’s a good thing and a bad thing. But a little better plate discipline, I think that might help me along the way.”


• Assistant director of player development Del Matthews was hired by Major League Baseball as senior director of baseball development. He will head up the Urban Youth Academies program.

• The White Sox signed righthander Kameron Loe to a minor league contract, but he ended up being suspended 80 games for using performance enhancing drugs. Loe last pitched in the majors in 2013 and spent last year in the independent Atlantic League.

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