Sunday, May 19, 2024

White Sox Call Up Top Pitching Prospect

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The White Sox are calling up one of their top pitching prospects, as James Fegan of Sox Machine has reported that right-handed pitcher Nick Nastrini will be called up and make his MLB debut against the Royals tomorrow night in Chicago.

Nastrini’s Backstory

A former fourth-round pick of the Dodgers back in 2021, the 24-year-old Nastrini was acquired by the White Sox at the last trade deadline along with reliever Jordan Leasure in exchange for Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly. Nastrini reached the AAA level for the White Sox last season, pitching in four games with the Charlotte Knights. He is currently the #8 prospect in the White Sox organization per MLB.com.

Delayed Promotion

Nastrini had a very good spring training this year, pitching to a 3.77 ERA in 14.1 innings. Given his performance and the fact that the White Sox lacked quality starting pitching options, it was a realistic possibility that he could have made the 2024 Opening Day roster. However, it did not play out that way, most likely because of service time reasons. The White Sox will now get the extra year of control of Nastrini’s services. That would not have been the case had he made the team out of spring training.

The White Sox schedule to open the season also prevented the need for a fifth starter. Garrett Crochet, Michael Soroka, Erick Fedde, and Chris Flexen have started 14 of the 15 games so far this season. Tanner Banks started the other game in a spot start. Now that the fifth spot in the rotation has rolled around, Nastrini has the chance to show what he can do in the majors.

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Nastrini’s Potential Growing Pains

While he is a very talented pitcher and highly thought of prospect, Monday will be Nastrini’s MLB debut. He might experience growing pains as he adjusts to the major league level, and expectations should be tempered accordingly. Calling him up now provides an excellent opportunity for him to pitch in a low-pressure environment to begin his MLB career. Nastrini’s career high in innings pitched professionally is 116.2 in 2022, so the organization will likely monitor his innings and workload.

Rotation Shakeup

The call-up of Nastrini and the addition of Mike Clevinger will change the makeup of the White Sox starting rotation. Chris Flexen is most at risk of losing his rotation spot, as he has gotten shelled in his three starts. The team will likely go with a rotation of Crochet, Fedde, Soroka, Clevinger, and Nastrini moving forward.

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

The White Sox are historically bad. It is only mid-April, and many people have already lost interest in the team for the foreseeable future. However, a player like Nastrini provides some glimpse of hope for the future. He is the first significant prospect call-up of the season. Others will follow eventually, including Colson Montgomery and perhaps Edgar Quero. Being a White Sox fan is tough sledding right now, but hopefully, these younger players will help show a light at the end of the tunnel.

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