White Sox add Sanchez and Thompson, claim Elmore
CHICAGO -- The White Sox raised their 40-man roster total to 39 by purchasing the contracts of infielder Carlos Sanchez and outfielder Trayce Thompson from Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday and claiming infielder Jake Elmore off of waivers from the Astros.
Adding Sanchez and Thompson came before the 11 p.m. CT deadline Wednesday for setting the 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 Draft scheduled for the last day of baseball's Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 12. Players first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process.
Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $50,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $25,000.
Sanchez, who came to the White Sox in 2009 and turned 21 on June 29, had positioned himself as a long-shot candidate to break camp with the White Sox prior to the 2013 Spring Training after hitting .323 with a .378 on-base percentage and 26 stolen bases during the '12 campaign. But Sanchez didn't have a particularly overwhelming showing in Arizona and then followed that effort by hitting .241 with a .293 on-base percentage in his first full season with Charlotte in '13.
Those numbers have picked up considerably during winter ball for the native of Venezuela, as he's hitting .361 with a .434 on-base percentage over 32 games for La Guaira. Sanchez's struggles, coupled with the emergence of Micah Johnson and Marcus Semien, seemed to drop Sanchez on the organization depth chart at second base.
The organization remains confident in Sanchez, and not just at second base. He played 52 games at shortstop for Charlotte last season and has played 50 games at third base during his Minor League career.
"That attitude and approach he brought to winter ball, if he brings that same approach back to the States, we are going to see the guy we saw at the lower levels," said White Sox Minor League field coordinator Kirk Champion of Sanchez, the White Sox No. 9 prospect according to MLB.com.
Thompson, who turns 23 in March, was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. The No. 4 White Sox prospect hit .229 with 23 doubles, five triples, 15 home runs, 73 RBIs, 78 runs scored and 25 stolen bases over 135 games for Double-A Birmingham last season. He was tied for third in runs scored and ranked fourth in RBIs among Southern League hitters.
His father, Mychal, played 14 seasons in the NBA, and his brother, Klay, is averaging 20.5 points per game for the Golden State Warriors. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Thompson was named to the Southern League midseason All-Star team and joins Courtney Hawkins, Keenyn Walker, Jared Mitchell and Brandon Jacobs as a group of toolsy young outfielders in the White Sox system.
Jacobs and left-handed-hitting first baseman Andy Wilkins were two noticeable names not added to the 40-man. Wilkins, 25, hit .277 with 17 homers and 79 RBIs over stops at Birmingham and Charlotte last season, while Jacobs was acquired from Boston in the Matt Thornton trade.
With a player selected in the Rule 5 having to stay on the 25-man roster, many times the focus of these picks are on defense, versatility or maybe even the last arm or two in the bullpen. Wilkins is primarily limited to first base, while Jacobs' outfield defense remains a work in progress. Wilkins has proven his offensive ability across individual series but hasn't quite defined himself across a full season, while Jacobs, the White Sox No. 7 prospect, has the potential to take off with greater consistency in his swing.
Elmore, 26, hit .242 with two home runs, six RBIs and 16 runs scored in 52 games with Houston in 2013, playing in his first season with the Astros organization after being claimed off waivers from Arizona on Nov. 1, 2012. He played all nine positions with the Astros during the season, appearing in 20 games at shortstop, 12 at second base, nine in left field, two in center and one each at pitcher, catcher, first, third and right.
On Aug. 19 at Texas, he became the 14th player in Major League history to pitch and catch in the same game. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Elmore also hit .299 with 16 stolen bases and a .382 on-base percentage in 70 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City in '13. Elmore joins Jeff Keppinger, Leury Garcia, Semien and Sanchez as versatile, utility type infielders on the White Sox 40-man.