White Sox minor league manager Omar Vizquel was named the Carolina League Manager of the Year on Thursday morning but don’t expect him to ascend to the throne of the south side kingdom. With the rebuild hitting full throttle Rick Renteria has to be given a fair shot when the prospect corps and core (pun intended) reaches the majors.
Omar Vizquel named Carolina League manager of the year in his first season as a manager. He’s got a good chance to be White Sox’s next manager if someone else doesn’t give him his shot first. Rick Renteria seems on solid ground, for now.
— Phil Rogers (@philgrogers) September 13, 2018
Vizquel managed a loaded High-A affiliate, the Winston-Salem Dash to an 84-54mark this season and a birth in the Carolina Leauge playoffs. This was Vizquel’s first season at the helm of a minor-league ballclub and while he had success, he was also given a roster that featured Blake Rutherford, Nick Madrigal, Luis Robert, Gavin Sheets, Luis Gonzalez, Micker Adolfo, Luis Alexander Basabe, and catcher Yerman Mercedes who earned a post-season all-star nod.
Rutherford and Madrigal were first-round picks, Robert (although he suffered an injury-shortened season) was the highest rated international prospect in 2017, Sheets and Gonzalez were the second- and third-round picks in 2017 and Adolfo and Basabe came alive this season. As a team, they batted an astounding .273
The pitching staff included Dylan Cease for much of the season, Bernardo Flores, Dane Dunning, Ian Clarkin, Jimmy Lambert and Tyler Johnson. Dunning was lost to injury mid-season and Cease was promoted to Double-A, but Alec Hanson joined the staff — despite his rough performance all season — while up and down the roster there were serious prospects.The staff’s earned run average at the end of the season was 3.66 with a WHIP of 1.28.
Vizquel is the third Dash manager to earn the award and Joe McEwing is a notable peer who earned manager of the year twice (2009 and 2010) and now has a seat on the White Sox coaching staff. But despite Vizquel’s artistic lineup cards and quick honors he still needs some seasoning in the minors before he vaults to the majors.
I love Omar Vizquel’s lineup cards. pic.twitter.com/YZawWAnmVd
— Dominic Cotroneo (@Dom_Cotroneo) August 31, 2018
The roster he steered through the 2018 season was the envy of minor league baseball. This fact cannot be ignored. The interruptions to Roberts season notwithstanding, Sheets found his power stroke, Rutherford matured, Madrigal was a late-season catalyst, and Basabe, Adolfo and Gonzalez were forced in the lineup.
Vizquel has 24 years of experience in the majors and there’s no denying his baseball acumen, but I’m more impressed with Justin Jirschele’s achievement with Kannapolis last season than Vizquel’s dominance this season.
It’s unfair to both Vizquel and Renteria to start speculating the Sox’s next move at manager. Give both a chance to settle in before churning the coaching roles.