Deep Dive: Rookie league left fielders
Head of the class: Anderson Comas is one of the top outfield prospects in the system — although the DSL's Benyamin Bailey is gaining quickly. (Phrake Photography/South Side Hit Pen)
“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the Chicago White Sox organization. Each position is broken into a five-part series:
- Depth in the rookie levels (Dominican through Great Falls)
- Depth in A-ball (Kannapolis and Winston-Salem)
- Depth in the higher levels (Birmingham and Charlotte)
- Under the Radar-type detail on one of the White Sox players at that position
- Free agent options at that position
Although not currently on the Top 30 list of White Sox prospects found on MLB Pipeline, these outfielders all have the upside to appear on that list relatively soon — especially Benyamin Bailey. The 2020 season will be big for all of them, as they hope to make big strides forward.
(age as of April 1, 2020)
Great Falls Voyagers
Other positions played: Center field, Right field
Ranked as Baseball America's 37th best international prospect, the Dominican Republic's Comas received a $450,000 signing bonus from the White Sox on July 2, 2016. He was highly-touted by Ben Badler of Baseball America, although Comas didn't play ball for the DSL Sox until the 2017 season, when he slashed a respectable .291/.316/.329 in 63 games with five doubles, two triples, 17 RBIs, one stolen base, eight walks (3.2%) and 45 strikeouts (18.2%). He followed that up with an even better 2018 season with the AZL Sox in which he slashed .306/.339/.388 in 41 games with six doubles, two triples, one homer, 22 RBIs, five stolen bases, seven walks (4.1%) and 26 strikeouts (15.1%).
Comas struggled unexpectedly with Great Falls in 2019. In 54 games and 194 at-bats with the Voyagers, he slashed just .222/.251/.351 with seven doubles, six triples, two homers, 33 RBIs, seven walks (3.4%) and 58 strikeouts (28.6%). According to FanGraphs last year, Comas' swing has gotten "disconcertingly long" which could equate with his struggles. For someone as lanky as he is, that evaluation makes sense. Provided he can make adjustments, Comas has the potential to gradually move up the system. Because of his relatively limited range, he really profiles as a corner outfielder. He'd have to hit better in order to fit that profile, however, so it wouldn't be a bad idea to see him return to Great Falls to hone that swing a bit.
Arizona League White Sox
Other positions played: Right field
Part of the same 2016 international signing class as Comas, Venezuelan outfielder Coronado received a significantly smaller signing bonus of $150,000. Badler said this of him at the time, "He’s 6-foot-1, 180 pounds with above-average speed and a fringy arm. He’s a right-handed hitter with gap power now but the physical projection to hit 12-15 home runs down the road, though there is swing-and-miss in his game."
Coronado acquitted himself nicely in his first professional season in 2017, as he combined with the AZL and DSL squads in 58 games to produce a .265/.354/.425 slash line with 20 doubles, four homers, 28 RBIs, one stolen base, 17 walks (7.4%) and 60 strikeouts (26.1%). However, he struggled in his first full season with the AZL squad (in part due to lack of consistent playing time) as he slashed just .145/.229/.194 in 21 games with one double, one triple, four RBIs, six walks (8.6%) and 23 strikeouts (32.9%).
Coronado's playing time increased in 2019, and his results reflect this. In 28 games totaling 101 at-bats with the AZL Sox, he slashed a respectable .307/.358/.475 with seven doubles, two triples, two homers, 14 RBIs, five walks (4.6%) and 27 strikeouts (24.8%). Even though this was Coronado's second full season playing for the team, he was still a tad younger than league average. Although he played some right field this year, Coronado really does profile best at left due to his fringy arm. In all likelihood, he'll begin 2020 with Great Falls.
DSL White Sox
Other positions played: Right field, Center field
Bailey, a native of Panama, received a minimal signing bonus from the White Sox on April 27, 2019, with literally no fanfare. However, by the time he ended the season, Bailey was the best-known prospect on the entire DSL roster. In 55 games totaling 185 at-bats, he slashed an incredible .324/.477/.454 with 12 doubles, three triples, two homers, 19 RBIs, 52 walks (21.4%), 40 strikeouts (16.5%) and 10 stolen bases. Bailey's OBP was hovering around .500 for most of the year, before a late-season slump dropped him to .477. With that said, Bailey still led the league in that department and was near the top in walks and OPS as well. In most cases, the DSL leaders are either returning players and/or much older than the league average; in Bailey's case, this was his first year in professional ball and he was about six months younger than his competition.
While it's likely that he won't steal in the double digits going forward due to his size, it's hoped that Bailey's size will help enable him to hit the long ball. In the meantime, his batting eye and hitting prowess have certainly earned him the opportunity to play ball for either the AZL Sox or Great Falls in 2020. Also, expect to see him mentioned in some prospect lists next year as well.
Other positions played: Right field, First base
Leal, a native of Cuba, played for the Pinar del Rio squad in 2016 before legally emigrating to Mexico. During the 2017 and 2018 seasons, he played ball in the Mexican League's AA and AAA circuit before signing with the White Sox on February 5. Leal was assigned to the DSL squad for the 2019 season, with the hopes that he could perhaps move Stateside by season's end. However, the year didn't turn out as well as he had hoped. In 55 games totaling 182 at-bats, Leal slashed .225/.372/.357 with 13 doubles, one triple, three homers, 23 RBIs, two stolen bases, 38 walks (16.8%) and 29 strikeouts (12.8%). He has the athleticism to play both corner outfield spots fairly well, and his plate discipline should warrant him another opportunity in the minors. With his age, he likely won't return to the DSL in 2020. Provided he stays in the organization, he's likely to begin the season with Great Falls.