Prospects Zack Burdi, Luis Basabe to begin rehab stints in White Sox minors

Prospects Zack Burdi, Luis Basabe to begin rehab stints in White Sox minors

Tommy John surgeries have knocked out two top White Sox pitching prospects for 2019 (Michael Kopech and Dane Dunning), but one pitching prospect is set to make a notable step in his return from the surgery.

Zack Burdi will join Single-A Kannapolis on a rehab stint on Monday. Burdi had Tommy John surgery in July of 2017. In his first game action since the surgery, he made seven appearances last August with the Arizona League White Sox (rookie level). The Downers Grove native made five more appearances in the Arizona Fall League before being pulled from the league due to “general fatigue.” He talked about his recovery process on an episode of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

In spring training, Burdi was not invited to major league camp and he wasn’t on a minor league roster when the season began. With this news, he is set to hit another milestone in his return. If all goes well in Kannapolis, it is expected that Burdi will join Triple-A Charlotte, where he was in 2017 when he got hurt.

If Burdi can recapture his stuff, which profiled him as a back end of the bullpen pitcher, he could even join the White Sox sometime in 2019. He has to show he is healthy and back to his old self first though. The 24-year-old was taken with the 26th pick in the 2016 draft and is the No. 16 prospect in the system according to MLB Pipeline.

Another prospect will be joining Burdi in Kannapolis on a rehab assignment. Outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, No. 7 prospect in the system, will also join the Intimidators on Monday. Basabe broke the hamate bone in his left hand during batting practice in spring training. It was initially estimated that he would return in late May, so Basabe appears to be ahead of schedule. The 22-year-old spent the second half of 2019 with Double-A Birmingham and is expected to return there after rehabbing with Kannapolis.

Elsewhere on the White Sox prospect injury watch, Luis Robert left a game on Saturday with soreness in his left hand and is reportedly day-to-day. He was hit by a pitch in the first game of a doubleheader for Single-A Winston-Salem. He made one at-bat in the second game, a leadoff groundout, and then was taken out of the game. He did not play on Sunday.

Robert endured an injury-plagued 2018. He was limited to 50 games, but has been on fire early in 2019. Robert leads the Carolina League in batting average (.475), home runs (6), hits (28), runs (16), on-base percentage (.530) and slugging percentage (.915) and is tied for the league lead in RBIs (18) and stolen bases (7).

 

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More bad news for the White Sox: Prospect Luis Basabe broke a bone in his hand

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USA TODAY

More bad news for the White Sox: Prospect Luis Basabe broke a bone in his hand

The White Sox were already enduring plenty of bad news on Tuesday when Manny Machado agreed to a deal with the Padres.

If the White Sox also miss out on Bryce Harper, that means the team will move forward going back to relying on the stable of young players and prospects taking the team back into contention. With that in mind, it’s extra deflating for White Sox fans that prospect Luis Alexander Basabe suffered a broken hamate bone in his left hand during batting practice Monday in Arizona.


Basabe will have surgery Wednesday in Chicago. He is set to miss 4-6 weeks and then gear back up for the season with a late May return timetable for now.

The outfield prospect was one of the pieces going from the Red Sox to the White Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. He reached Double-A Birmingham in 2018, and with a breakout 2019 had an outside shot of earning a big league call-up late in 2019.

Basabe was the No. 9 prospect according to MLB Pipeline (which is set to update its list on Wednesday) at the end of the 2018 season. He featured in the Futures Game in July and blasted a 102 mph pitch out for a home run.

Last season, Basabe hit .266/370/.502 in Single-A Winston-Salem before earning a promotion to Birmingham. There, he hit .251/.340/.394 in 270 plate appearances. The 22-year-old is considered somewhat raw and went to the Arizona Fall League after the season ended to get more reps.

Considering the White Sox were trying to get him more playing time by sending him to Arizona, having him miss the start of 2019 (and big league camp in spring training) is definitely not what the front office would have envisioned for him this season.

 

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Top White Sox MiLB moments of 2018: Luis Alexander Basabe homers in Futures Game

Top White Sox MiLB moments of 2018: Luis Alexander Basabe homers in Futures Game

With the White Sox season over, we're looking back on the top 10 moments of the club's minor league season. We'll unveil one per day for 10 days, showcasing each moment in chronological order.

The moment: Luis Alexander Basabe homers in the Futures Game off a 102 mph pitch, July 15.

Basabe batted lead off for the World in the Futures Game and stole the show in his second plate appearance.

The Venezuelan outfielder faced off against 2017 Reds first-round pick Hunter Greene. Greene came home with a 102 mph fastball. Basabe took it deep to right-center for a home run.

Basabe's season: Basabe was a much less heralded part of the Chris Sale trade with Boston. Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech were the centerpieces and both have already made their major league debuts.

Basabe was younger, more raw and not as highly touted as Moncada and Kopech, but 2018 ended up being a breakout year of sorts. He returned to Single-A Winston-Salem after struggling there in 2017 and showed his improvement by hitting .266/.370/.502.

Basabe earned a promotion to reach Double-A Birmingham before his 22nd birthday. He held his own with the Barons, hitting .251/.340/.394. Those numbers aren't going to blow anyone away, but he showed a good batting eye and decent power at an advanced level for his age. Basabe was the youngest player on the Barons' roster to finish the season.

There are plenty of talented outfield prospects in the White Sox system. Basabe is currently ranked No. 9 in the system by MLB Pipeline, but sits behind fellow outfielders Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Blake Rutherford. Basabe's ability to play centerfield while showing good on-base skills give him an intriguing profile and he could prove to be much more than a throw-in from that Sale trade.