Saturday, April 20, 2024

White Sox Minor Leaguer Opening Eyes In AAA


Danny Mendick has now homered in five straight games for the AAA Charlotte Knights. Yes, that Danny Mendick. The 30-year-old infielder ranks second in the International League in home runs and OPS, trailing only top Orioles prospect Heston Kjerstad for the league lead. A minor league signing by the White Sox this past February, Mendick has been one of the best players at the AAA level this season. He has been so good that some fans have started clamoring for the White Sox to call him up again. That might not be the worst idea for a team starved for offensive production.

Mendick’s First Stint In Chicago

Mendick is a familiar face for White Sox fans, as he played parts of four seasons on the south side from 2019 to 2022. He had some success in his first stint in Chicago, especially in his final season in 2022. He hit .289 with a .786 OPS and 122 OPS+ in 31 games that year. Given how he was playing then, it was a real possibility that he could have earned a more significant role on the White Sox roster.

Unfortunately for him and the team, he tore his ACL in a collision with Adam Haseley on June 22nd, 2022. That injury ended his season and his first stint with the White Sox. He then signed a one-year/$1 million contract with the Mets in December 2022 but struggled in his lone season there in 2023. Mendick then returned to the White Sox on a minor league deal in February 2024.

White Sox Utility Infielder Battle

Mendick did not make the big league club out of spring training this year. 26-year-old infielder Braden Shewmake beat him in the competition for the utility infielder job on the Opening Day roster. 24-year-old infielder Lenyn Sosa has also subsequently gotten the call because of injuries to other players on the roster. However, Shewmake and Sosa have yet to show much of anything so far. Both have been well below average with the bat and are contributing to the White Sox historically bad offense. It might be time to make a change. Mendick is a logical candidate to be called up, given how well he has played in AAA.

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Calling up Mendick could be viewed as counterproductive in the eyes of some given where the organization is at right now. After all, Mendick is already 30 years old and will not be a long-term solution for the White Sox. It is reasonable to believe that the organization is better off sticking with the younger options in Shewmake and Sosa for the time being and hoping they figure it out instead of giving at-bats to a 30-year-old in a lost season.

Mendick Has Earned Another Chance

However, there is no denying Mendick has been on absolute fire in AAA, and the White Sox desperately need a spark offensively. Calling him up would also reward a veteran player who has overcome adversity. It will be interesting to see what route the organization decides to go. Mendick has done everything possible to force the White Sox hand to give him another opportunity.

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