SAN DIEGO — The White Sox selected right-hander Nick Avila from the Giants’ AAA roster in the Rule 5 Draft Wednesday.
Avila, who worked with Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz while Katz was the Giants’ minor league pitching coordinator, features a four-pitch mix with a slider, curveball, changeup and mid-90s fastball with above-average command.
General manager Rick Hahn said Avila, 25, will compete for a spot in the Sox’ bullpen.
“It was made with the intention of Nick potentially being someone who could play a role in our bullpen in 2023,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “We like the long term upside, but we would not have made the selection if we didn’t think he had the chance to potentially contribute as most likely a multi-inning reliever for us next season.”
As a Rule 5 pick, Avila can’t be optioned to the minor leagues in 2023 without offering him back to the Giants. He can spend time in the minors on an injury rehab assignment but otherwise must stay on the major league roster all season.
Avila went 4-2 with a 1.14 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 58 strikeouts over 55 1/3 innings between High-A Eugene and Double-AARichmond in the Giants system in 2022. He owns a 3.66 ERA with 16 saves over three career minor-league seasons.
“Ethan thinks very highly of him, liked the idea of bringing him in and letting him compete for a spot,” Hahn said. “In the end, not surprisingly given where we’re at, we’ll obviously go with the best group that helps us win in Chicago and if that doesn’t fit given the Rule 5 status, we’ll adjust accordingly. We figured it was a nice opportunity to capture a kid who shows well from a scouting standpoint and from a data standpoint and see what we can get out of him.”
Avila was drafted in the 26th round out of Long Beach State in 2019. He was likely left unprotected by the Giants, who have valued younger pitching prospects, because of his age.
The Sox’ 40-man roster increases to 37.