CHISportsNation

This post is the third in a series called “Farm Fodder” that will examine White Sox prospects who could make a significant impact in Chicago in the coming years.  Recent trades have significantly increased the amount of talent in the White Sox Organization, but there are also a few very talented players that remain from before the trades.  The next prospect we will examine is Trey Michalczewski.

Trey Michalczewski, that’s “MEE-HALL-CHESS-SKI”… or is it, “MICHAEL-SHEW-SKI”?  Well, let’s check the tape together:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKwAULirGuI.  Ok, so per the video it’s:  “TRAY-MICHELLE-JUICE-SKI”… well now that doesn’t seem right either.  Ok, for today, he is just Trey.  Trey is an infielder selected by the White Sox in the 7th round of the 2013 amateur draft out of Jenks High School in Jenks, Oklahoma.  As a commit to the University of Oklahoma, the White Sox enticed the 6’-3” 210 lb. switch hitter to sign by offering a $500,000 signing bonus which was well over the expected slot value of $173,600.  Also a standout wide receiver in high school, Trey was touted as a baseball player for his athleticism, advanced approach at the plate, and good bat speed.  Most scouts agreed that the combination of Trey’s advanced approach, quick bat, and good size would lead to above average power as a potential future big leaguer.  He played shortstop in high school, and was also known as a solid defender with a strong arm.  Transitioning into pro ball, industry consensus was that Trey would be shifted from shortstop to third base, and the White Sox did just that.  The 7th round of the 2013 draft also saw Jake Bauers, a very highly touted 1B prospect for the Tampa Bay Rays, selected by the San Diego Padres 5 picks before Trey.  The 8th round featured current Oakland A’s starter Kendall Graveman, who was selected by the Blue Jays, and outfielder Trey Mancini selected by the Orioles.

Trey has progressed conservatively through the White Sox system, which is typical for a high school draft choice.  Trey played the 2016 season at age 21 for AA Birmingham where he hit .226/.314/.363 with 24 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, and 59 RBI in 487 at bats.  He also added 4 stolen bases.  However, his strikeout percentage increased to 32% in 2016 compared to 24% in 2015 at A+ Winston Salem.  Trey was also one of the White Sox prospect representatives in both the 2015 and 2016 Arizona Fall League.  While Trey’s stats aren’t eye popping, he has still impressed.  He has a quiet, compact swing from both sides of the plate.  His steady fielding has continued into his professional career as well.  MLB Pipeline describes Trey:

“A switch-hitter with a nice stroke from both sides of the plate, Michalczewski showed better pitch recognition in 2015.  He also hinted at his power upside by ranking second in the Class A Advanced Carolina League [A+ Winston Salem] with 35 doubles and tied for third with 46 extra-base hits.  His bat speed, strength and willingness to use the entire field bode well for his ability to hit for average and power.”

Coming into 2016, Fangraphs ranked Trey as the White Sox 10th overall prospect and also had flattering things to say about the young Third Baseman:

“Watching him at the plate, he has the look of an above-average hitter with smooth actions, though he has some swing-and-miss tendencies on pitches in the zone.  He shows a good eye at the plate, with power to make pitchers want to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate.  He may not reach average power production, though he already has the strength and swing path to provide solid doubles totals.”

Trey has been a productive player in the minor leagues so far in his career, despite not compiling overwhelming statistics.  There are plenty of players who can say the same, and who have experienced successful Major League careers with impressive stats compared to their underwhelming minor league numbers.  The key for Trey is his quick, compact swing.  Trey’s approach at the plate and easy swing make him a threat at the plate, and his quality defensive contributions make him a solid overall player.

Trey is a perfect example of a player whose tools do not overwhelm; however, he is a solid overall baseball player with a chance to become an average to slightly above average everyday Major League Third Baseman.  For me, the comparison player that stands out for Trey is current Yankees Third Baseman Chase Headley.  Headley is consistently a .250-.260 hitter with 10-15 HR.  He is a $13 MM per year player, though that is partially influenced by a career year in 2012 that saw him hit 32 HR.  While there are still improvements to be made for Trey, it wouldn’t take much for him to become at .260-.275 Major League hitter with 12-15 HR and 25-30 2B.  That kind of offensive output, combined with above average defense could make Trey a consistent 2.5-3.5 bWAR player.

Trey will likely begin the 2017 season at AA Birmingham, where he will look to improve his contact rate and average.  Look for him to improve and have a nice season, with a call up to AAA Charlotte coming at some point mid-summer.  There is an outside chance with a strong performance that Trey could receive a call-up to Chicago this season, depending on a few factors.  Should Todd Frazier and/or Brett Lawrie be traded, and the likes of Matt Davidson and Cody Asche underwhelm, Trey could be called upon for a chance in Chicago.  However, I expect if Trey is called up to the Majors this season, it would only be for a September call-up scenario.  Unlike me butchering the pronunciation of his last name, I look forward to seeing Trey put it all together and get things right in 2017.  Have a good season, Mr. Michalczewski, we hope to see you in Chicago soon.  -DV

Trey Michalczewski Video:

Trey Michalczewski 2016 AA Birmingham Home Run:  http://www.milb.com/multimedia/vpp.jsp?content_id=1029529683&sid=milb

Trey Michalczewski 2016 AA Birmingham RBI Double:  http://www.milb.com/multimedia/vpp.jsp?content_id=980479983&sid=milb

Trey Michalczewski Swing – 2016 Arizona Fall League:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSII249alxY

Trey Michalczewski Swing – 2016 AA Birmingham:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQT-uxHU3ow

 

 

Twitter:  @DaVroomer

Photo:  rkyosh007 via YouTube

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