Rising Stars

Prior to the start of the current baseball season many notable publications release top ten lists of the organizations top prospects. Often times other players, for one reason or another, will catapult themselves “on to the scene”, for the White Sox 2011 was no different.

  1. 1.       Dylan Axelrod

Axelrod, 25, was drafted in the 30th round of the 2007 draft by the San Diego Padres. Unable to rise above the single A advanced league with the Padres in 2+ seasons he was released by the Padres. After a short stint in independent baseball, he was signed by the White Sox in August of 2009.   

In 2011 Axelrod made his MLB debut against the Minnesota Twins, a relief appearance, going 2 innings surrendering 2 hits and made his first start, for Jake Peavy, going 6 innings surrendering 2 runs on 6 hits walking 2 and striking out 8.

Currently the 5 spot in the rotation is a battle that the righty should be a player in.

  1. 2.       Zach Stewart

Stewart, 24, was drafted in the 3rd round by the Cincinnati Reds in 2008. He was traded as part of the deal that brought Scott Rolen to the Reds in 2009 and then 2011 he was trade with Frasor to the White Sox. With the Charlotte Knights Stewart was 0-1 in one start earning a 4.26 ERA. For the Sox in 2011 Stewart …###. Also taking a perfect game into the 8th vs the Twins.

Also a projected starter, Stewart may be in a battle for the fifth spot in the rotation.

  1. 3.       Addison Reed

Reed, 22, was drafted in the 3rd round in 2010 by the Sox. He was used as a backend of the bullpen pitcher while in the minors. Ozzie feels “[He] has a great opportunity, a great opportunity, to be a good big-league pitcher”. Reed made his big-league debut this season giving up a run in 1.2 innings on September 4th.

He made a similar Dan Hudson decent through the minors, pitching at A, A+, AA, and AAA this year. When asked about his fast accent reed said, “I started off at Kannapolis and I was there for a couple weeks. I thought maybe I’d finish the year off in Winston-Salem, and then I got the call I was going to Birmingham. At that point I was saying to myself, ‘I’m going to keep throwing as well as I can and see how the rest of this year unfolds.”

Reed could seriously be in the fight for the vacated bullpen spots.

  1. Tyler Flowers

Now I realize he isn’t on the same level as these other guys, since he has been a prospect for quite a while but, this season he has re-opened eyes with improved play behind the plate. The organization showed little confidence in the 2004 draft pick by signing AJ Pierzynski to a 2 year contract before the 2011 season instead of handing the reigns to Flowers. His biggest knock was the lack of defense he displayed in earlier seasons. This year as he was called up to replace an injured Ramon Castro. His hitting at times was solid at times dismal but all in all looked much improved with his abilities to call a game and to instill confidence in the pitchers.

Flowers will most likely start the season as the back-up to AJ in 2012.

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