“Chris Sale is going to be in the bullpen,” Kenny Williams announced during Spring Training 2011 in order to get a full Major League season under his belt before moving into the starting rotation 2012. In his first full MLB season the southpaw posted a 2.79 ERA over 71.0 IP. He also saved 8 games in 10 opportunities. In preparation for his projected starting role next year Sale began using his changeup more and also worked more appearances of 2+ innings.
2. Brent Morel, 3B:
Solid defense and a little pitching in with the bat is what was expected from Morel in his first season when he was announced as the starter to begin the season, and that’s what they got. Morel’s average of .245 was about where he was expected to hit though his homer total of 10 was a bit below what was expected of the first year 3rd baseman.
3. Dayan Viciedo, OF
In his first year as an outfielder Viciedo didn’t miss a stride, even a broken thumb could slow Viciedo down as he continued from where he left off hitting .296 with 20 homers and 78 RBIs, becoming the first Charlotte Knight to have back-to-back 20 Homer season since Brian Daubach (‘97-’98). Much was made of the lack of a MLB promotion early in the year as the White Sox offense struggled mightily. He finally earned his call-up when right fielder Carlos Quentin injured his shoulder. He started on a torrid pace going 2/3 with a homer, 3 RBIs and a walk in his first game, proving that he should be up there. He finished the season going .255 with 1 homer and 6 RBI
4. Eduardo Escobar, SS:
The 22 year old Shortstop earned his first Major League call up and hit in 2011. Although his MLB experience was sparse, he made the most of the opportunity earning his first career hit in his first career at bat, off of AL MVP/ Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander.
5. Jared Mitchell, OF:
After being taken as the White Sox 23rd pick Mitchell was destined for big things unfortunately he missed the entire 2010 season after having surgery on a torn ankle tendon that happened in Spring Training. Buddy Bell, Director of player development said, “He’s talented, smart and competitive, he’s going to be fine.”
This year was more about building Mitchell back into baseball shape after missing an entire year of devlopment, earlier this year Mitchell said, “You miss six months, and you rehab but you don’t condition yourself to play. It was a combination of everything: not being used to baseball activity and some strengthening and conditioning.”
6. Gregory Infante, RHP:
Infante went 2-0 with 0.00 ERA over 12 games for AA Birmingham earning him his first call up to AAA Charlotte. He also was elected to represent the World team in the MLB Futures game after going a combined 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA over 33 innings split between AA Birmingham and AAA Charlotte.
7. Brandon Short, OF:
Last year’s solid season at Advanced A batting .316 with 15 homers and 79 RBIs, earned Short a call up to AA to start 2011 where his numbers fell off a bit with a .262 average. He began the season strong with a .316 average with 8 homers before the All-Star break but a .214 average 5 homers afterwards.
8. Trayce Thompson, OF:
The 2009 second round draft pick played his second season at A Kannapolis. This year his power numbers were very solid hitting 24 homers, #2 of all White Sox MiLB Players.
9. Tyler Flowers, C:
Seeming to take a step back at the plate last year, Manger Ozzie Guillen has some positive words for the young catcher after watching him in spring training, “He swings the bat better and more comfortable [at the plate]. Behind the plate, he’s outstanding. The 25 year old prospect batted .261 with 15 homers and 32 RBIs for the Charlotte Knights. Immediately following a call-up for the injured Ramon Castro, Flowers showed he could handle the work behind the plate and after he took over primary catching duties for injured AJ Pierzynski he showed, defensively, he’s ready for the next level.
10. Josh Phegley, C:
The first round 2009 draftee made stops in AA and AAA this year, as he was rehabbing after having his spleen removed for a blood disorder.
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