Over the weekend, the Chicago White Sox traded outfielder Alejandro De Aza to the Baltimore Orioles for a pair of pitching prospects, right-handers Mark Blackmar and Miguel Chalas. Here's a look at the two newest members of the White Sox farm system
Mark Blackmar, RHP: Blackmar was drafted by the Orioles in the 16th round in 2011 from Temple Junior College in Texas. He is the son of professional golfer Phil Blackmar. Mark posted a fairly ugly line for Low-A Delmarva in 2013, with a 5.53 ERA and 110 hits given up in 86 innings (48/29 K/BB), but has been more effective in 2014, running up a 10-1 record, 3.18 ERA with an 83/32 K/BB in 132 innings for High-A Frederick, with 109 hits allowed and an intriguing 2.60 GO/AO ratio.
Blackmar is a 6-2, 205 pounder born April 28, 1992. His fastball isn't especially fast in the 87-90 range, but it has some sinking action and he mixes it with a fair slider. His change-up needs work for him to start at higher levels, and it seems most likely that his eventual role will be middle relief. He has some athleticism and did a nice job fielding this tough line drive:
Miguel Chalas, RHP: Chalas was signed by Baltimore out of the Dominican Republic in 2010. He struggled as a starter in Low-A in 2012, but moved to the bullpen in '13 with better results. His '14 campaign resulted in a 4.80 ERA with a 49/20 K/BB in 69 innings for HIgh-A Frederick. He also pitched seven innings in two Triple-A appearances for Norfolk, walking six with five strikeouts and one run allowed.
Born June 27, 1992, Chalas is listed at 5-11, 6-0, or 6-1 depending on what source you use, with weight ranges between 155 and 170; the official data is 5-11, 155 but that dates back to when he signed. He has plenty of arm strength, clocked as high as 96 MPH and working consistently at 91-93. His control isn't bad (at least in A-ball), but he's had problems developing his secondary pitches, working at times with a slider, cutter, change-up, and splitter. His low strikeout rates reflect this difficulty. If he makes it, it will be as a middle reliever.
ANALYSIS: Both Blackmar and Chalas are Grade C fringe types who might, or might not, be able to contribute in the bullpen someday. That's nothing special but De Aza is a 30 year old outfielder who is not going to be part of the next good White Sox team. Adding a couple of depth arms for the farm system is a reasonable thing for the White Sox to do. For the Orioles, De Aza adds bench depth for the stretch run without costing a premium farm talent.