Spring Training results don’t always translate over to the regular season. Most numbers in the Cactus League can be taken with a grain of salt for everyday starters. But a bad Spring Training result is a great way to lose a roster battle for players on the fridge. The White Sox have plenty of players whose stock is going down based on the early Cactus League returns. Here are some of the biggest fallers for the White Sox thus far during Spring Training.
Romy Gonzalez received rave reviews upon his arrival to camp, in the front offices, attempts to hype him up as the starting second baseman. The praise was short-lived once the White Sox signed Elvis Andrus to take over the second base job.
In his first 17 at-bats, he is hitting .059 with a .297 OPS and no extra-base hits or RBIs. Sox of those at-bats have ended in a strikeout. There were questions regarding Gonzlaez’s offensive ability based on the previous season. People liked Gonzalex because he is a scrappy player who hustled on a team that showed little enthusiasm in 2022. It was refreshing to see. As a result, he immediately received a favorable impression from most fans.
His effort masked the lack of production. In his 42 MLB games, he owns a .241/.261/.350 slash line. In 32 games in 2022, he slashed .238/.257/.352 (25-for-105) with seven extra-base hits (including two home runs and a triple) and 11 RBIs. He played 25 games at second base and three at shortstop, with one appearance in right field and two in left field.
He does possess speed and can play multiple positions which makes him a good candidate as a depth piece. His speed placed him in the 81st percentile of all MLB players. That speed could be a factor with the larger bases and new rules that limit pickoff attempts, which makes stealing much easier.
His results this spring haven’t exactly helped his chances at cracking a roster spot in a tightly contested battle.
Leury Garcia suddenly has increased pressure on him with the arrival of Elvis Andrus. Romy Gonzalez is challenging his spot as the utility man. Oscar Colas has shown that he can be the starting right fielder, which means Gavin Sheets is now battling for a bench spot, and Jake Burger is tearing the cover off the ball.
He also has Jake Marisnick and Victor Reyes to worry about. (though neither is doing much at the plate this spring either).
The White Sox like Garcia. It’s the reason he is the longest-tenured member if the team. But he only hit .210 in 2022 with a .500 OPS in 300 at-bats.
This spring, he has picked up right where he left off. He is batting .174 with one home run, two RBIs, and a stolen base. He should still make the team, but with the wealth of options behind him, he can’t afford to be a liability at the plate any longer.
His versatility will only keep him on the big league roster for so long.
Yoelqui Céspedes was pegged as a potential star in the White Sox farm system when he signed with the organization in 2021. He possesses formidable arm strength, bat speed, and raw power. He represented Cuba at the 2017 World Baseball Classic at 19 and is related to two-time All-Star Yoenis Céspedes.
Céspedes had lofty goals of reaching the big leagues in his first season with the organization. That obviously did not happen. “My approach right now is just to get to the Majors this year, but not just to get there and be demoted. I want to get there and stay there,” Céspedes told the media through interpreter Billy Russo the following season. Once he did not accomplish this ambitious task. In fact, he dropped from 6th overall on the White Sox’s top 30 prospect rankings to 11th and then 12th.
The 25-year-old posted respectable numbers in Double-A by slashing .258 /.332/.437 with 17 home runs and 59 RBIs. But with the White Sox right field job wide open, he missed an opportunity to make a strong impression.
This spring, he has gotten just one at-bat that resulted in a strikeout. The fact he hasn’t gotten much of an opportunity is concerning. It seems like the White Sox have cooled their expectations for Cespedes, and his opportunity with the big league club is going to be hard to come by this season despite having an estimated MLB arrival of 2023, according to MLB.com.