White Sox Spring Training games are underway just in time to take our minds off of the major letdown of missing out on the two big fish of free agency. Rick made it seem reasonable to expect us to walk away victorious with one of the two trophy fish. However, instead of reeling in a Bonita Fish, we scooped up a few minnows that even prefer San Diego over Chicago (*cough cough* Jay and Alonso).
I always find Spring Training intriguing because it’s a collection of so many players that I’ve never heard of mixed together with players that I forgot existed. A place where J.B. Shuck is still somehow fighting for a roster spot with an MLB team and dick slaps one of the last home runs he’ll ever hit in an MLB uniform (somehow this happened yesterday in the Pirates vs. Yankees game.. and it was off of J.A. Happ). A place where misfit toys and young guns commingle with one goal in common: to find themselves in the big show.
This blog was inspired by my TV idol Stevie Janowski of Eastbound and Down (if you haven’t seen Eastbound and Down, well, you absolutely need to). Stevie is the submissive and loyal sidekick to former flamethrower Kenny Powers, who is attempting an MLB comeback after a downward spiral induced by booze and drugs. In a stand-off with Kenny’s rival, Reg Mackworthy, Stevie attempts to get into Reg’s head by belittling him and screaming “Who the fuck are you?!” Well, this is exactly what I’ve been doing in my own head upon seeing some of these names pop up during White Sox games so I decided to find out who some of them are.
Danny Mendick is an infielder who was drafted by the White Sox in the 22nd round of the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. The 25-year-old has seen action at all of the White Sox minor league levels with most of his time logged at AA Birmingham, where he had a slashed .247/.340/.395 with 14 home runs and 59 RBIs. Different scouting reports mention him as having below average hitting and power capabilities, noting that handling off-speed pitches is his major flaw. He possesses the necessary skills to be a decent minor league utility man, but lacks the range to consistently play shortstop or third base. Seems to me like some organizational depth.
Evan Marshall is a pitcher who was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft out of Kansas State University. The 28-year-old has seen time in an MLB uniform over the past five years with the D’Backs, Mariners, and Indians, posting a career 4-7 record and 5.15 ERA. He has spent a majority of his career in the minor leagues. In 2016 while pitching with the D’Back’s AAA affiliate, he nearly escaped death after taking a 105 MPH liner right to the side of the head. He suffered a fractured skull, but thanks to successful emergency surgery he underwent a full recovery and was back on a ball field just six months later. What a badass!
Preston Tucker is an outfielder who was drafted by the Houston Astros in the seventh round of the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of Florida. The 28-year-old has seen time with Astros, Braves, and Reds throughout his MLB career. His most damage in the MLB came in his 2015 rookie season, when he appeared in 98 games and hit 13 home runs. Things haven’t gone so great for him since then as he’s been up and down from the majors while bouncing from team to team over the years. He’s the older brother of the eighth best prospect in baseball, Kyle Tucker. Maybe the White Sox are saving all of this money to make their pitch to Kyle when he becomes a free agent years down the road?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
No one really knows with this dumpster fire anymore. Anyway, these are just a few of the mystery players you’ll see in Sox Spring Training games. Stay tuned for content live from Arizona as I will be attending White Sox games on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of the upcoming week!