The White Sox made a series of procedural moves this morning in advance of tomorrow’s opener in Detroit, including designating outfielder Micker Adolfo for assignment and outrighting catcher Seby Zavala to Charlotte. The Southsiders will open the season with Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Andrew Vaughn, and the recently acquired AJ Pollock in the outfield, with Adam Engel in reserve. Reese McGuire will open the season as Yasmani Grandal’s deputy behind the plate.
The team also announced a series of other moves this morning, including placing several players on the 10-day IL: right-handers Ryan Burr, Joe Kelly, and Lance Lynn; lefty Garrett Crochet; third baseman Yoan Moncada; and DH Yermin Mercedes. Moncada, who has a grade-1 oblique strain, is expected back within a few weeks, while Crochet will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the 2022 season, but timetables have not yet been established for others. Lynn in particular was expected to play a major role in anchoring the rotation as the Sox look to repeat in the AL Central, but he’s expected to miss at least the first month and a half of the season as he recovers from knee surgery.
Adolfo, 25, was ranked as the 18th best prospect in the White Sox organization recently, with a 45 scouting grade. It’s the eighth year BA has ranked Adolfo as a top-25 White Sox prospect; he’s been in the organization since signing for $1.6MM out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old back in 2013. He still boasts plus-plus raw power, but with a hefty strikeout rate north of 30%. Adolfo has a plus-plus arm as well, even with Tommy John surgery part of his lengthy injury history. Given that Adolfo is out of minor league options, a club will have to keep him in the Majors if they want to avoid exposing him to waivers again.
Zavala, apparently, passed through waivers unclaimed and has been bumped off the 40-man roster. He caught 19% of Chicago’s innings behind the plate in 2021, but they’ve got McGuire backing up Grandal. The Sox will have to re-add Zavala to the MLB roster should the need for him arise in the Majors again. The 28-year-old Zavala hasn’t posted a wRC+ above 89 at any level since Double-A in 2018. Three years ago, Baseball America described him as “a borderline average defender who blocks well but needs to do better at smothering balls in the dirt,” describing his throwing arm as “average.”
In the case of Moncada’s oblique strain, “the White Sox say the injury is much worse than they thought,” according to Alex Shapiro of NBC Sports Chicago. It seems Moncada will be out for a few weeks rather than the expected few days, so Jake Burger snags the Opening Day start at the hot corner tomorrow at Comerica Park.