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chosk8
07-10-2003, 10:56 AM
Chicago (AL)

Best Player: Even though the Athletics seemed to get the better end of the Billy Koch for Keith Foulke deal, the White Sox might eventually come out ahead by also acquiring lefthander Neal Cotts from the Athletics in the deal. Cotts was 7-2, 1.89 with 89 strikeouts and 40 hits allowed in 64 innings at Double-A Birmingham, ranking among Southern League leaders in wins, ERA and strikeouts.

His fastball rarely cracks the low-90s, but he changes speeds effectively enough with his changeup and curveball to keep batters off balance and still pile up punchouts. Cotts will participate in the Futures Game, and a late-season trial in Chicago seemed likely.

Biggest Leap Forward: Lefthander Ryan Wing has one-upped his high Class A Winston-Salem teammate and top White Sox prospect Kris Honel so far this season. While Honel’s 6-5, 2.65 numbers might have been expected, Wing’s 8-2, 1.67 mark with 47 hits allowed in 81 innings has thrust him into the same lofty status. It’s also a fine improvement on Wing’s solid-in-its-own-right 12-7, 3.78 campaign at low Class A Kannapolis in 2002.

Armed with a 90 mph sinking fastball and plus slider, Wing might have the best combination of pure stuff and command of any lefty in the system. His .175 opponents’ batting average ranked fourth in the minors.

Biggest Disappointment: Lefthander Corwin Malone zoomed to No. 3 on the White Sox’ prospect list following the 2001 season, but despite his impressive raw stuff hasn’t been able to find his control since. He walked 89 batters in 124 innings at Double-Birmingham last season as he went 10-7, 4.71. Back in Birmingham this year, Malone had issued 24 free passes in 28 innings to go along with a 2-2, 7.16 record before hitting the disabled list with elbow and shoulder problems.