Yesterday the White Sox chose Ozzie Guillen’s son, 18-year-old Ozney Guillen, in the 22nd round of the draft and the manager isn’t happy about the high school outfielder dropping that far:
Obviously, it’s a disappointment. Twenty-second round? Anybody can go 22nd round. There are a few players out there that weren’t [high] picks and made it to the big leagues, but I think the 22nd round in high school doesn’t mean anything. I respect the scouts’ opinion with all my heart. I hope the 20 guys they pick before him help us or help the White Sox, but I’m a baseball man.
I saw him play, and I saw him compete against a lot of people out there. It surprised me that he [fell] that far before getting picked. I know baseball a little bit. This kid has a good future as long as he doesn’t get hurt. You can say, “The hell with this thing” and do something else, or get better and prepare yourself for what is coming. Knowing my kid, he will prepare himself better and show people they were wrong or right. That’s all you can do.
In the meanwhile, it’s kind of hard. His expectations, not mine, his expectations were a little higher. He thought he was a little better player than what other people think. The hardest thing for us is to talk to him about it. He feels embarrassed, he feels like he let himself down. He thinks he’s better than a few players picked by teams before him. But I said, “Listen, that’s part of life. You learn from that, you get yourself stronger mentally and you prove people wrong. That’s all you can do.”
Of course, according to Scott Merkin of MLB.com “Guillen admitted that he did not talk to scouts or anyone involved with the draft to see where their projections had Ozney slotted.” I spoke to one of the guys from Baseball America, who said Ozney is “not really” a legitimate prospect, but likely would have been drafted at some point if the White Sox didn’t take him in the 22nd round.
Whatever the case, Ozney Guillen presumably won’t sign with the White Sox and will instead play college ball at South Florida, where he’ll try to take his dad’s advice to heart and show everyone they were wrong. Oh, and if you’re curious: Ozzie Guillen wasn’t drafted (or eligible to be drafted). He signed with the Padres as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela and was traded to the White Sox a few years later.
We wrote a lot about Casey Kelly on this site circa 2010-12.
It was understandable. Kelly was a big-time draftee for the Red Sox and famously split time as a shortstop and a pitcher in the minors, with some people even wondering if he could do it full time. The Sox put the kibosh on that pretty quickly, as he became the top overall prospect in the Boston organization as a pitcher. He then made news when he was sent to San Diego — along with Anthony Rizzo — in the famous Adrian Gonzalez trade in December 2010.
He made his big league debut for the Padres in late August of 2012, holding a pretty darn good Atlanta Braves team scoreless for six innings, striking out four. He would pitch in five more games in the season’s final month to not very good results but missed all of 2013 and most of 2014 thanks to Tommy John surgery.
He wouldn’t make it back to the bigs until 2015 — pitching only three games after being converted to a reliever — before the Padres cut him loose, trading him to the Braves for Christian Bethancourt who, like a younger Kelly, the Padres thought could be a two-way player, catching and relieving. That didn’t work for him either, but I digress.
Kelly made a career-high ten appearances for a bad Braves team in 2016, was let go following the season and was out of the majors again in 2017 after the Cubs released him a couple of months after he failed to make the team out of spring training. He resurfaced with the Giants this past season for seven appearances. The Giants cut him loose last month.
Now Kelly’s journey takes him across the ocean. He announced on Instagram last night that he’s signed with the LG Twins in the Korean Baseball Organization. He seems pretty happy and eager about it in his little video there. I don’t blame him, as he’ll make $1 million for them, as opposed to staying here and almost certainly winding up in a Triple-A rotation making $60K or whatever it is veteran minor leaguers make.
This was probably way too many words to devote to a journeyman heading to play in Korea, but we so often forget top prospects once they fail to meet expectations. We also tend to forget all of the Tommy John casualties, focusing instead on the Tommy John successes. As such, I wanted to think a bit about Casey Kelly. I hope things work out well for him in the KBO and a baseball player who once seemed so promising can, after a delay, find success of his own.