White Sox

White Sox announce 20 invites to spring training

875607.png

White Sox announce 20 invites to spring training

By James Fegan
CSNChicago.com contributor

The Chicago White Sox announced Thursday the invitation of 20 players to their spring training camp in Glendale, Arizona. The group is a combination of 13 prospects from the teams farm system and seven non-roster invitees signed to minor league contracts.

Outfielder Trayce Thompson and Infielder Carlos Sanchez are the most heralded prospects among those invited, rated second and third respectively in the White Sox organization according to Baseball America.

Thompson, 21, finished the 2012 season in Triple-A Charlotte after hitting 25 home runs across stops in Single-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. Sanchez is a year younger still, but is considered to have an outside chance at a major league roster spot. This year will also see Keenyn Walker, an outfielder who was selected with the White Sox first pick of the 2011 draft, make his first appearance at big league camp.

2011 second-round pick Erik Johnson, a right-handed starter who just completed his first year as a professional, is the highest-rated pitching prospect going to Glendale. Joining him will be Scott Snodgress, a left-hander out of Stanford who led the White Sox farm system in strikeouts, and right-hander Jake Petricka. Daniel Moskos, a left-hander who was selected fourth overall in the 2007 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, was also invited.

Rounding out the group of prospects are a pair of catchers in Michael Blanke and Kevan Smith, first basemen Andy Wilkins, and infielders Tyler Saladino, Seth Loman, and Marcus Simien. Saladino was featured on several top 10 lists for prospects in the White Sox organization coming into 2012, before enduring a rough season where he recorded a .668 OPS.

The announcement of non-roster invitees for the 2013 White Sox camp marks the return to the organization of right-handed reliever Jeff Gray, and outfielder Stefan Gartrell.

Gray pitched 13.1 innings for the White Sox in 2011 before being put on waivers and claimed by the Seattle Mariners. He spent all of 2012 working out of the bullpen for the rival Minnesota Twins, recording a 5.71 ERA over 52 innings. Gray was originally signed as a Free Agent by the White Sox in December.

Gartrell is returning to the organization that drafted him in the 31st round in 2006. He spent six seasons in the White Sox farm system before being traded to the Atlanta Braves shortly after the start of the 2011 season. Gartrell has hit 20 or more home runs in four straight seasons, almost all of which were spent in Triple-A.

Left-handed reliever David Purcey, who last saw major league action with the Detroit Tigers in 2011, right-handed pitcher Ramon Troncoso, catcher Bryan Anderson, and infielders Josh Bell and Steve Tolleson were all given non-roster invitations to camp as well.

Remember That Guy: Chris Snopek

white-sox-stadium.jpg
USA TODAY

Remember That Guy: Chris Snopek

Chris Snopek was born September 20, 1970 in Cynthiana, KY. He was a multi-sport standout in high school, averaging 18.5 points and 8.0 assists on the hardwood, as well as hitting .576 with 20 HR as a senior on the diamond. He was a standout third baseman/shortstop at Ole Miss, hitting .407/.491/.725 with 13 home runs and 62 RBI (a school-record at the time) in 54 games as a junior. The White Sox made him a 6th round draft pick in 1992.

In 1994, Snopek played for the Double-A Birmingham Barons, where he was one of two players on the team with 50+ RBI and 50+ walks. The other one was Michael Jordan.By 1995, Snopek hit .323/.402/.494 with 12 HR in 113 games for Nashville (AAA); that batting average good for second in the American Association. He made his MLB Debut on July 31, 1995, going 2 for 3 with a run, RBI, walk and stolen base as the starting third baseman. The 6’1” right-handed infielder drew a walk in each of his first five career MLB games; the first White Sox player to do so since Ray Morehart in 1924.

The White Sox had Robin Ventura at third and Ozzie Guillen at short, so Snopek had to settle for a start here and a start there. He was sent back down to the minors but returned in September. On September 20, 1995, Snopek connected for his first career home run; the blast coming off Indians starter Joe Roa. The milestone round tripper came on Snopek’s 25th birthday. He remains the only player in White Sox history whose first career home run came on his birthday. It was his lone homer of 1995, though Snopek did quite well in his first taste of MLB action, hitting .324 (22 for 68), .407 vs lefties (11 for 27) in 22 games.

Entering the 1996 season, he was the #52 overall prospect according to Baseball America (in between Jason Varitek and Dustin Hermanson); topping the White Sox organizational top ten:

White Sox top 10 prospects according to Baseball America entering 1996

  1. Chris Snopek
  2. Jeff Abbott
  3. Scott Ruffcorn
  4. James Baldwin
  5. Jeff Liefer
  6. Mike Cameron
  7. Jimmy Hurst
  8. Luis Andujar
  9. McKay Christensen
  10. Greg Norton

Snopek started the 1996 season in a utility role, making spot starts at third and short as well as pinch hitting. On April 28, 1996, he became the first White Sox shortstop to start and hit cleanup since Ron Hansen in 1967 (Only José Valentín & Alexei Ramírez have done it since). In limited duty, Snopek hit 6 home runs in 1996 – all off lefties.

Snopek got his chance in 1997 when Robin Ventura suffered an ankle injury, getting the nod as the opening day third baseman. He went 0 for 5 that game and never got it going, hitting .218/.263/.319 in 86 games. The following season, after struggling to the tune of .208/.291/.248 in 53 games, Snopek was traded to the Red Sox at the end of August, where he finished the season and as fate would have it, his MLB career, with eight final games. He bounced around the minors the next four seasons.

In 2017, Snopek and a business partner purchased P360 Performance Sports in Jackson, Mississippi, where they offer baseball training facilities and instruction programs. Snopek also serves as the Assistant Varsity Baseball Coach at Madison Ridgeland Academy in Mississippi.

Chris Snopek… remember that guy?

White Sox Talk Podcast: Inside the White Sox prospects trip to the Dominican Republic

0621-eloy-jimenez.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Inside the White Sox prospects trip to the Dominican Republic

Thirteen of the White Sox top American born prospects are in the Dominican Republic this week for a cultural exchange trip organized by the White Sox, giving players like Dylan Cease, Nick Madrigal, Zack Collins and Dane Dunning a first-hand experience to learn about the country where many of their Latin teammates like Eloy Jimenez call home. Chuck Garfien speaks with Ryan McGuffey who is covering the trip for NBC Sports Chicago. They talk about the White Sox training academy in the Dominican Republic (3:50), what the players are learning and how they're bonding on the trip (6:30), the crazy atmosphere going to a Dominican Winter League game (11:10), going with Reynaldo Lopez to the home where he grew up (14:40), personal stories from the trip (23:15) and more.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: