rotoworld's AFL wrap-up, they seem to be pretty high on Egbert and Sweeney.
Dewon Day - RHP White Sox - DOB: 09/29/80
2-3, 3.60 ERA, 26 H, 48/12 K/BB in 25 IP (AA Birmingham)
0-2, 6.28 ERA, 10 H, 15/20 K/BB in 14 1/3 IP (AAA Charlotte)
0-1, 11.25 ERA, 19 H, 7/9 K/BB in 12 IP (Chicago - AL)
0-1, 1.38 ERA, 9 H, 17/4 K/BB in 13 IP (AFL Phoenix)
With a low-90s sinking fastball and a plus slider, Day has the stuff to be a force out of the bullpen. However, he's now 27 and he still hasn't put it together. He struck out 63 and walked 32 in 39 1/3 IP innings in the minors last season. What makes Day especially intriguing, in addition to the strikeouts, is his strong groundball rate. Including his time in the AFL, he gave up just two homers in 64 1/3 innings last season. The White Sox could really use a guy who can get double plays in the sixth or seventh inning. Day, though, walks too many batters to be trusted with men on base right now. He'll enter camp as a long shot to make the team.
Jack Egbert - RHP White Sox - DOB: 05/12/83
12-8, 3.06 ERA, 138 H, 165/44 K/BB in 161 2/3 IP (AA Birmingham)
1-0, 3.26 ERA, 14 H, 17/11 K/BB in 19 1/3 IP (AFL Phoenix)
Egbert, a Rutgers product drafted in the 13th round in 2004, is shaping up as quite a find. Despite a middling fastball, he manages to induce grounders from right-handers, and he strikes out a lot of lefties with his top-notch changeup. That he only occasionally hits 90 on the gun means the combination might not work as well in the majors. However, he does enough things well that he should put together a career as a fourth or fifth starter, and there's a chance he'll be something more. The White Sox could give him his first opportunity during the first half of 2008. He's a reasonable bet for immediate success while the league tries to figure out his change.
Adam Russell - RHP White Sox - DOB: 04/14/83
9-11, 4.80 ERA, 159 H, 95/58 K/BB in 138 2/3 IP (AA Birmingham)
2-0, 2.81 ERA, 16 H, 16/8 K/BB in 16 IP (AFL Phoenix)
Russell wasn't all that far away from making the White Sox last spring, but he didn't fulfill the team's expectations after being assigned to Double-A. An imposing figure at 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds, Russell looks like he'd be tough to hit. However, the Southern League batted .290 against him and he struck out just 95 in 138 2/3 innings. As a full-time reliever in the AFL, he did generate more missed cuts, but he still had a 1.50 WHIP while fanning 16 batters in 16 innings. With his mid-90s fastball and occasionally impressive slider, he has real potential as a short reliever. The White Sox figure to leave him in the pen and hope that he'll be ready to help by June or July. He's due for some time in Triple-A as he continues to adjust to his new role.
Ryan Sweeney - OF White Sox - DOB: 02/20/85
.270/.348/.398, 10 HR, 47 RBI, 71/48 K/BB, 8 SB in 397 AB (AAA Charlotte)
.200/.265/.333, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5/4 K/BB, 0 SB in 45 AB (Chicago - AL)
.286/.347/.345, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 18/9 K/BB, 5 SB in 84 AB (AFL Phoenix)
I want to give White Sox GM Ken Williams credit and assume he's not as close to giving up on Sweeney as the Chicago media suggests. Talk about a half-baked idea.
OK, moving on.
Sweeney has been mishandled by the White Sox nearly from day one. The 2003 second-round pick was sent to high-A ball as a 19-year-old in 2004 and got talked up as a candidate for the major league roster as early as 2005. All along, he's posted numbers in the minors that were average at best, but because of his youth, there were always encouraging signs to be taken from them. Only during last season did he take his first step backwards. However, he was just 22 and he hardly embarrassed himself with a .270 average in Triple-A. While his power hasn't emerged as hoped, there's still good reason to believe he'll eventually establish himself as a quality regular. He's willing to go to all fields with his left-handed stroke, and he doesn't whiff all that often. The 20-homer ability should arrive within a couple of years. The White Sox will likely send him back to Triple-A next year, but he could emerge as their top option in case of an injury to any of their starting outfielders. Odds are that he'll be some team's right fielder in 2009.