Perhaps no system has more unheralded but solid upper-minors players than the White Sox right now. I’ve discussed righthander Dylan Axelrod before, and with a 1.75 ERA in four starts in Triple-A, he looks ready for the big leagues. His replacement in Double-A is another old-for-his-levels finesse righthander, Terry Doyle, who’s got a 2.31 ERA in five starts. Both Axelrod and Doyle have put up stellar numbers for two years running.
And they’re not all the Pale Hose have going for them in the upper minors. This week, they promoted two players–righthanded reliever Dan Remenowsky and second baseman Tyler Kuhn–from Double-A to Triple-A. Let’s take a look at these two very underrated prospects.
When I did my All-Performance Team last week, Kuhn barely missed out. Some years, his stats would be better than any other middle infielder in the minors, but Jose Altuve‘s ridiculous season means that 2011 isn’t one of those seasons. In any case, when a middle infielder hits .366/.425/.500, you have to take notice.
Kuhn was a 15th-round pick in 2008 out of West Virginia, and he’s already 24. But he has a solid track record of hitting at every level, as he’s always posted at least a .279 average, and he’s never struck out over 75 times in a season. He’s not a power hitter or a walk machine, but walks and doubles enough to avoid being an Aaron Miles type who has to hit .320 to provide much value.
Kuhn also brings good speed, and could steal 20 bases per season. A left-handed hitter, he is a solid and versatile defender who looks like he could be a super-utility player in the big leagues. He’s seen time at second, third, short, and left field this season.
In short, Kuhn could be for the White Sox white Mike Fontenot used to be for the crosstown Cubs–a lefty-swinging infielder who may not always dazzle year in and year out, but can put together a couple of very helpful seasons with his solid offensive game and defensive versatility.
Remenowsky, like Kuhn, is far from flashy. He’s a tall righthanded reliever with upper-80′s velocity, so he relies on a deceptive delivery and a variety of offspeed junk, including an excellent changeup, to get hitters out. More or less, that equates to what would happen if hitters only got to see Josh Collmenter once in a game.
Remenowsky’s approach has resulted in some downright silly statistics–a 257/51 K/BB in 176 2/3 career innings, including a 53/10 mark in 38 2/3 frames in Double-A this season. The 25-year-old just missed the All-Performance Team as well–in fact, he was the last relief pitcher I eliminated.
With their promotions to Triple-A, Kuhn and Remenowsky now are at the doorstep of the big leagues. With Gordon Beckham and Brent Morel struggling on the South Side, the opportunity is there for Kuhn if he can keep his bat hot in Triple-A. Remenowsky may find it a bit tougher to break in–Chicago owns one of the best bullpens in the game–but he could nudge Brian Bruney aside or get called up when rosters expand.
While their system is very unheralded, and fairly thin on true impact prospects, the White Sox are quietly amassing a bunch of overachievers who could make some very meaningful contributions very soon. Don’t overlook these guys.