Thursday, May 23, 2024

Former White Sox Top Pick Is Having A Breakout Season


After a few years of the White Sox farm system being one of the worst in the major leagues, it finally is shaping up to be one of the better units in the league. This is mostly due to some recent trades, however, there was some solid drafting from Rick Hahn in his last few drafts as General Manager.

Some of the notable names picked by Hahn are Colson Montgomery and Noah Schultz, the two top prospects in the White Sox system and two consensus top 50 prospects in all of baseball. Now, another one of his top draft picks is off to a much better start this year, as this player was considered a disappointment in his first few years in the minor leagues.

This player is Wes Kath, a second round pick in the 2021 MLB draft. Before the draft, Kath was projected as a borderline first round pick. He ended up falling to 57th overall due to signabilty issues, but the White Sox were able to come to terms on a contract.

Unfortunately, Kath’s minor league career didn’t get off to a great start. In the rookie complex league, he hit .212 with a .287 OBP, adding three homeruns and 15 RBIs in 104 at-bats. While not the start people were looking for, he was just 18 adapting to professional baseball, so that can be expected.

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In 2022, he had a solid first year of affiliated baseball. He played a majority of the year in Kannapolis, the low-A affiliate of the White Sox, before getting promoted to AA to join Project Birmingham. In both of those levels, he hit a combined .230 with 13 homeruns and 45 RBIs. This was a decent start to his offical minor league career, as he showed off his power potential.

However, last season, which was supposed to be a breakout year for Kath, didn’t go as planned. Over 95 games at Winston-Salem, the High-A affiliate of the White Sox, he hit .193 with a .275 OBP. He only hit eight homeruns and had 31 RBIs. He struck out 168 times compared to just 37 walks. Kath was going in the wrong direction and if he didn’t perform better, he could be out of the White Sox system soon. However, he made some changes and is looking much better this year. Here Kath discusses some of the changes he made:

Still just 21, Kath can still be apart of the White Sox future. While a recent slump has lowered his average from .244 to .212 in a span of two weeks, he looks a lot more comfortable at the plate. He has already hit six homeruns and has 17 RBIs. He is on pace to crush his season highs, so this is an encouraging sign. His OPS and OBP are as high as they’ve ever been, even with this recent slump.

This is exactly the kind of improvement the White Sox are looking for out of Kath. If he keeps it up the rest of the year, he could be an interesting addition to the mix of top prospects. While his numbers still aren’t amazing across the board, he is showing improvement, which is key, as he is clearly a talented baseball player.

He could see a promotion to Birmingham at some point and that will be the true test. I hope Kath continues to play well, as the White Sox can use all the talent they can get.

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