10 Future Birmingham Barons Stars to Watch this Year
May 12, 2022
The good news is that the White Sox are a contender for a World Series. The bad news is that they’re that good because all of the top talent in their farm system is now playing in the majors. That leaves Birmingham with a lot of guys who have something to prove this season. They didn’t make many lists. They didn’t get drafted first overall. They’re just ballplayers, trying to reach the Show and live out their dreams. Let’s take a look at 10 guys who could be coming through Birmingham this season on their way to the Southside of Chicago.
Current Level: AA
Rodriguez moved through levels faster than a rich Scientologist last year, passing through three teams on his way to making a case for minor league player of the year. He finished the season just over .300 with 14 pokes and stole 30 bags. He’s knocking on the door at Guaranteed Rate Field already so catch him while you can.
Usually, when people say you’re a tool, it’s not a good thing. For Yoelqui, it’s meant as a compliment thanks to his 5-tool skillset. If the name looks familiar, that’s because this is the kid brother of 2-time All Star, Gold Glover, and back-to-back Home Run Derby Champ Yoenis Cespedes. He played 27 games in the Magic City last year and hit around .300. Like his big bro, he should start mashing pretty soon, but his calling card might be a straight-up laser beam arm from the outfield. He’ll be in so many highlights that his tips might turn frosty.
Dude draws comparisons to new Ranger and former Dodger Corey Seager, so the upside is there. But he just took the ACT, so he’s probably got a few years of seasoning before he dons the stripes. If he plays like Seager though, he’s got a good shot at being a Baron.
Like the Bavarian burger at Big Whiskey’s, Kelley brings some serious cheese. His heater hits 98 and he works comfortably at 93-96. That’s some major league speed right there. If he develops an off-speed pitch or two he’ll be sitting down hitters at Regions real quick.
New White Sox pick Jared Kelley ranked No. 12 on our big board.
The Sox picked Kath in the second round last year after he was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for high schoolers. He’s a big kid with a cannon arm from the hot corner and projectable power from the left side of the plate. With any player fresh out of High School, there’s a lot of work to do, but the Sox think he and Colson Montgomery will be the future of their infield someday.
biggest bat flip of all time!
2021 Draft prospect, Wes Kath, sent this bat into orbit after hitting a walk-off bomb
When you’re not throwing a million miles per hour, you’ve gotta have some tricks up your sleeve and Drew Dalquist has plenty. Like a good Instagram filter, he practices in deception. His pitching motion fools hitters regularly thanks to a 5 pitch repertoire and a consistent release point. It looks like he’ll get a shot with Barons this year for sure so you’ll get to see his sleight of hand up close.
Thompson has more drip than a hipster coffee shop The chains, the tats, the long hair. He pitches with style for sure, but he’s also been called the best athlete in the White Sox entire farm system. He’s still young so his 96 mph fastball could pick up a few notches over the next few years and he pairs it with a big Uncle Charlie that breaks 11-5 to keep hitters off balance.
— Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (@Kcannonballers) May 7, 2021
Current Level: A
Vera is smoother than apple skin. He beams fastballs to the plate like it’s nothing and when he gains some muscle, we could be looking at a starter who throws over 100 mph into the second half of games. Baseball America has him as their top pitcher in ChiSox farm, others have him all the way down at 6th or 7th. The potential is there. He’s just gotta cut down the walks and he’ll be moving up fast.
Cuban prospect RHP Norge Vera (21) pitching today in DSL vs. Dbacks (1.0 IP, 0 ER, SO). He threw two pitches at 99 mph and five at 98 mph. pic.twitter.com/gTGikf1Xwf
A power-hitting second baseman is a luxury most teams can’t find. The Sox might have a good one in Ramos. He’s still young, but scouts love his power potential. He’s been playing third, but he could get more looks at second because it's the big league team’s only weakness. He’ll have to fight off other prospects like Rodriguez and Yolbert Sanchez to get the job, but it’s certainly possible his season in AA is a tryout for that spot.
Once dubbed the Cuban Ohtani thanks to his light-tower power and fireball pitching arm, Colás is now singularly focused on being an outfielder. At 23, he’s played professionally in both Cuba and Japan, so he could be on a fast track through the minors. Coaches rave about his approach, saying he’s advanced. He’ll probably spend a year or two in the minors, which means Regions Field is probably in his near future.
Cuban OF Oscar Colas' 2nd homer in Minor Leagues was simply insane.
Hey, if you can’t make it out to the game in person, you’re always welcome at Big Whiskey’s in Hoover. We’ll get every Barons game we can and all the games in the big Leagues. We’ve got some great good mood food to eat while you’re watching and the most celebrated bar in town!