White Sox news, Minor Leagues updates and more

March 19, 2012

Hector Santiago, starting pitcher?

Scott Merkin:

[Hector] Santiago, 24, entered Tuesday’s scheduled off-day for the White Sox as a veritable lock to break camp as one of the team’s seven relievers. He threw a scoreless inning against the Reds during Monday’s 1-0 loss at Camelback Ranch, giving him six without allowing a run this spring, while striking out six.

And the screwball has played a major part in this success.

… After being selected in the 30th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, Santiago made 129 of his first 130 appearances out of the bullpen for Bristol, Class A Kannapolis and Class A Winston-Salem. He started 23 games for Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham in 2011, before pitching 5 1/3 scoreless innings in relief for the White Sox, giving up just one hit.

His impressive debut with the White Sox and continued success in Spring Training has caught the eye of the higher-ups in the organization.

“You know, we may take a [Chris] Sale approach with him,” said White Sox general manager Ken Williams of Santiago, who also could work as a late-inning left-hander. “We might keep him in the bullpen and then look to start him down the line.”

Speaking of pitches, Jake Petricka wants to continue developing his breaking stuff:

The harshest critic of Jake Petricka is … Jake Petricka.

Armed with a mid-90 mph fastball that most deem to be a “plus” offering — scouting jargon for beyond big league average — the White Sox’s No. 5 prospect shrugged and said he believed it to be only average. OK, he relented, maybe slightly above average.

Despite receiving an invitation to Chicago’s Major League camp this spring, it’s clear the 23-year-old right-hander is wary of becoming a one-pitch pitcher destined for the bullpen. He’s intent on improving his secondary pitches — a changeup and a slider — necessary ingredients for a future in the rotation.

Petricka finished 2011 in Class A Advanced Winston-Salem’s starting rotation. He went 7-8 with a 3.65 ERA over a career-high 113 1/3 innings across three lower levels before working exclusively as a reliever in the Arizona Fall League. Impressing others, if not himself, in either role this month likely would lead to a spot with Double-A Birmingham.

MiLB.com asked Petricka to describe and grade each of the three pitches he employs, fastball included. (His grade is based on a scout’s traditional 20-80 scale, 50 being Major League average.) Here is Petricka, in his own words:

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