2022 White Sox Affiliate Preview: Birmingham Barons (Double-A)

The Birmingham Barons were the only bastion of respectable team play in the White Sox farm system last year, although they even had some heartbreak. Justin Jirschele’s team went 62-56 for the best record in the chain, but they lost their last four games and rained a double as a last resort, missing the playoffs by half a game.

The Barons were partly victims of their own success. A big rotation in the first half lost Kade McClure and John Parker in Charlotte, and Konnor Pilkington in Cleveland in the business of César Hernández. As you may recall from the Winston-Salem Dash preview, rotation replacements weren’t the easiest to come by over the course of the season.

Unlike the Dash, the Barons don’t have an infusion of exciting new names to open the season. Instead, they bring back a number of notable prospects who have unfinished business to settle at Double-A. If the adjustments come quickly, a few of them could end up in Chicago at some point in the second half.

(Ages in parentheses as of July 1)


This rotation lacks brand appeal, but Bilous and Martin are third-day draft picks who were selected one round apart in 2018, and they had moments. Bilous dominated Winston-Salem to start his 2021 and had a few dominating starts at Birmingham’s start but ran out in the second half. The Sox marked him with an endorsement via a 40-man roster spot. Martin had the reverse of Bilous’ season, with diminishing returns at High-A before launching four consecutive goalless outings in six at Birmingham.

Henzmann hasn’t pitched since 2019, so it’s unclear what role he plays in this team. He started all 24 games he pitched that year, but he also struck out 62 over 120 innings, so it would be hard to fault the Sox if they traded him on relief. Dominguez returns to Birmingham after a late-season appearance with Charlotte. Neither this stint nor an Arizona Fall League tour went well. He allowed 27 runs in 19 innings between the two. Paulin fills the rotation.


Freeman is the headliner of an otherwise anonymous bullpen. Drafted in the 15th round in 2019, he’s figured out how to throw strikes with a fastball-slider combo, and he could consider some bullpen shots later in the season. Glowicki is a Downers Grove South product, so here’s a tribute to another Mustang.


Fernández has a Yermín Mercedes vibe about him, and also form. He’s 5’11” and weighs 245 pounds and hits well for someone who plays catcher, including a .282/.353/.446 line in 60 games with the Barons last year. Skoug goes up and down in the organization as needed. It’s a little surprising that Raudy Read isn’t listed as a catcher, but he played more first base than catcher for the first time in his career last year, and it seems let it stay there.

Inner fields

It’s the deepest part of the Barons’ roster, with Rodriguez, Sánchez and Sosa all capable of playing shortstop. I guess the arrangement will have Rodriguez there most of the time, with Sánchez up front in second. Sosa doesn’t have the power of a third baseman, but he does need the bats. The midfield representatives should be available in a few weeks. Sánchez hit 0.343/0.369/0.469 in 41 games for Birmingham last year, with a striking tool that makes him likely to progress quite quickly. Rodriguez has been a quick study on every level so far, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it took him longer to figure out the speed of the Double-A game.

Curbelo racked up 51 extra hits last year in Winston-Salem, but he also struck out 152 times in 109 games, so maybe that’s where his skills run its course.


Cespedes managed to overcome poor judgment in the strike zone (three walks, 27 strikeouts in 100 plate appearances) to hit a respectable .298/.340/.404 in Birmingham last year, but a turn humiliating in the Arizona Fall League highlighted the task at hand. He needs to tighten up his approach and get the ball off the ground, and if spring training is any indication, he’s taken the task to heart.

The outfield is otherwise filled with organizational players, which just means there’s room for Oscar Colás if and when he starts making fun of the Sally League.

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