The White Sox made their second, and to this point, most meaningful round of spring cuts Wednesday morning, sending many of their better known prospects to minor league affiliates.
The team sent catcher Seby Zavala to Triple-A Charlotte. Pitchers Zack Burdi and Bernardo Flores, along with outfielders Micker Adolfo, Luis Basabe and Blake Rutherford, went to Double-A Birmingham. And pitchers Tayron Guerrero, Bryan Mitchell, Caleb Frare, Kodi Medeiros and Matt Tomshaw were sent to minor league camp.
Of that list, perhaps the most notable when it comes to the 2020 big league team is Burdi, the 2016 first-rounder who after ascending all the way to Triple-A Charlotte in 2017 had Tommy John surgery and faced other injuries during his recovery. He returned to the mound last season, pitching 17 times at Birmingham with poor results, a 6.41 ERA.
Burdi fared well in his brief spring stint, striking out four batters and giving up just a pair of base runners in four one-inning outings. Considering how many bullpen pitchers a team goes through in a season, it's hardly out of the question that if he does well in the minor leagues he could make an appearance at the major league level this season. But for now, he's heading back to Birmingham.
So, too, are the three outfielders, who all played at Birmingham last season. Adolfo is coming off his own injury-shortened campaign, playing just 23 games at the Double-A level. Basabe played 69 games there in 2019, and Rutherford was there the entire season, logging 118 games with the Barons. None could be said to be coming off excellent campaigns, so getting them to that point before bringing them up to Triple-A goes along with the patient approach the White Sox have taken with their prospects during the rebuilding process.
Zavala heading to Charlotte is no surprise. We're still awaiting the fate of two other catchers, though: Zack Collins, who expressed little optimism that he will end up making the big league roster, and Yermin Mercedes, who's hit four homers this spring and has expressed plenty of confidence that he will be the White Sox 26th man.
Flores might not be long for Birmingham after he made 15 starts there last season and recorded a 3.33 ERA. Guerrero, picked up on waivers from the Miami Marlins this offseason, is a flamethrower who figured to at least be in the mix for a spot in the big league bullpen. As mentioned with Burdi, it wouldn't be a shock to see him as one of the pitchers used at the big league level in some capacity this season. Same goes for Tomshaw, who had a 2.90 ERA pitching with both Birmingham and Charlotte last season.
The White Sox stand at 49 players in big league camp after these moves. They need to get down to 26 by Opening Day.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.