Wilson Betemit – Third Baseman – Moderate Sleeper
The White Sox are a team full of potential sleepers on offense. You could look at their second baseman or Jerry Owens, for starters. Even at third base, one could argue Dayan Viciedo as a potential sleeper, but I opted to go with former Yankee Betemit, who could fill either of the corner infield spots if necessary.
Josh Fields, the man expected to man the hot corner, struggled so badly when Joe Crede went down that he got just 32 AB before being banished to the minors. While he showed power in 2007 in 373 AB (23 HR), he hit just .244. With the White Sox jettisoning Nick Swisher and looking to get more athletic, it’s possible that they could quickly grow tired of Fields inability to hit for a strong average.
With Paul Konerko manning first, his ability to stay healthy could get called into question. He got only 438 AB last season, and while that was the first time since 2003 that he played in less then 150 games, he’s now 33-years old and could possibly breakdown again.
Betemit has long been considered a big-time power-hitting prospect (Baseball America ranked him as the #8 prospect in all of baseball back in 2002) who has the potential to hit for a better average. Last season he hit .265, though it did come with a .346 BABIP. He struggled with his plate discipline, however, which may have come from trying to make the most of the AB he had. He walked only 3.1% of the time, compared to a 9.0% career mark, so an improvement there is likely.
Obviously, he never fully realized his potential, but at 27-years old (there’s that magical age again), could this be the season that it all comes together? It’s certainly possible, and given the potential to find plenty of AB, he’s worth keeping an eye on.
Aaron Poreda – Pitcher – Prospect/Deep Sleeper
He’s very deep on the depth chart, with Clayton Richard and Jeffrey Marquez, as well as one or two others, ahead of him heading into Spring Training. Still, the player ranked by Baseball America as the team’s #2 prospect has the potential to make a huge mark sooner rather then layer.
He threw a total of 161 innings last season between Single & Double A, with significant success at both levels:
- Single A – 73.1 IP, 5-5, 3.31 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
- Double A – 87.2 IP, 3-4, 2.98 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
He did struggle in the Arizona Fall League, posting a 7.71 ERA over 9.1 innings, but it is possible that he simply tired down the stretch. It was the first full professional season for the 2007 first round draft choice.
He has a power fastball that is his ticket to the major leagues, reportedly having reached 100 mph. Still, he needs work on his pitches, as Baseball America says, “Poreda still is refining his slider, and he doesn’t have a lot of trust in his rudimentary changeup. His fastball straightens out at times, making him hittable. To succeed against big leaguers, he’ll have to learn how to change speeds and possibly develop a cut fastball…”
Even if he opens the season at Triple A, it’s only a matter of time before he makes his presence felt, making him a pitcher worth eyeing.
There you have my sleepers for the White Sox. What do you think of them? Do you like either? Is there any other players you’d rather gamble on?