The White Sox have placed left-hander Carlos Rodon on the 10-day injured list due to left shoulder soreness, per a team announcement. In his place, they’ve selected the contract of right-hander Brady Lail from their alternate training site. Outfield prospect Luis Alexander Basabe was designated for assignment to open space on the 40-man roster for Lail. In other Sox news, MLBTR has learned that they’ll add right-handed pitching prospect Andrew Dalquist, their 2019 third-round pick, to the 60-man player pool.
Rodon exited last night’s start early after displaying a worrying drop in velocity. The former No. 3 overall pick came out firing with fastballs in the 91-93 mph range in the first inning but topped out at just under 86 mph in the second inning. For a pitcher who has averaged better than 93 mph in his career with the heater, that type of drop is alarming — particularly given that he’s only just returning from 2019 Tommy John surgery. The Sox haven’t provided a more in-depth diagnosis or timeline for his recovery, though they’ll presumably provide more info the next time GM Rick Hahn or manager Rick Renteria meets with reporters.
As for Basabe, the 23-year-old was at one point a well-regarded outfield prospect. He joined the White Sox organization in the Chris Sale blockbuster, although he was a clear third piece behind headliners Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech. (Righty Victor Diaz was also sent to Chicago in that swap.) Basabe had a miserable first year with the White Sox before rebounding to hit .258/.354/.445 with 15 homers, 21 doubles, eight triples and 16 steals between Class-A Advanced and Double-A in 2018.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go well for Basabe in a second stint in the Double-A Southern League this past season. In 291 plate appearances, he slashed just .246/.324/.336 with a glaring 29.2 percent strikeout rate. The Southern League is a pitcher-friendly setting, but Basabe’s overall output was nevertheless below the league average. His strikeout totals and continued middling success rate on stolen bases — 60.4 percent over the past two seasons — surely worked against him as well.
Basabe can still be optioned for the remainder of the 2020 season, but he’ll be out of minor league options in 2021. Given his pedigree and the bit of flexibility he still carries as an optionable player in 2020, another team could have interest in taking a flier on him. However, he’s looked mostly overmatched at the Double-A level, so there’s a chance the Sox could succeed in passing him through waivers and keep him in the organization without requiring a 40-man spot.
As for Dalquist, he’s only pitched three innings with the White Sox’ Rookie-level affiliate, so he won’t be viewed as a 2020 option. Still, there’s plenty of value in allowing the 19-year-old to work with the team’s staff and other more experienced players at the satellite site. He ranks seventh among ChiSox farmhands at Baseball America and 12th at both MLB.com and FanGraphs, so it’s not a surprise that the front office wants to continue to get him some valuable developmental reps in the only setting that’s really available to them this season.