On Thursday morning the Chicago White Sox traded left-handed pitcher Dan Jennings to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for first base prospect Casey Gillaspie. Here’s a quick update on the newest member of the very deep Sox prospect cadre.
Casey Gillaspie, 1B: Gillaspie was drafted by the Rays in the first round in 2014 from Wichita State University. He is the younger brother of former White Sox infielder Conor Gillaspie. Casey was expected to advance quickly through the minors but his progress has perhaps been slower than expected. He hit very well in 2016 (.284/.388/.479 in Double-A and Triple-A) but has been less effective in 2017 (.227/.296/.357 in Triple-A).
Gillaspie is listed at 6-4, 240, a switch-hitter born January 25th, 1993. I liked him pre-season, writing the following in the Rays Top 20 prospects report:
5) Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Grade B/B+: Age 23, first round pick in 2014 from Wichita State; hit .284/.388/.479 between Double-A and Triple-A, 18 homers, 80 walks, 117 strikeouts in 472 at-bats; wRC+150; not as athletic as Jake Bauers, two years older and strikes out more often but has more present power along with a good eye and high walk rate; limited to first base but switch-hitting power and patience are valuable assets; should be a productive slugger. ETA late 2017.
Wayne Cavadi wrote an article about Gillaspie back on July 9th, shortly after seeing one of his best games of the season. Wayne noted that Gillaspie’s swing “is not perfect” and while “consistent,” it “doesn’t explode with quickness through the zone. . .he seems to get by with pure power when he unloads on a pitch he likes.” Wayne also noted deterioration in Gillaspie’s batted-ball numbers and mentioned that Gillaspie wasn’t showing the same plate discipline and strike zone judgment he’d demonstrated in past seasons.
Given Gillaspie’s past achievements and overall pedigree, it is far too soon to give up on him and a fresh start in a new organization could unlock his skills once again.