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Zapata working out, to play in instructional league

Zapata working out, to play in instructional league


NEW YORK -- During a recent interview concerning Micker Adolfo Zapata, White Sox assistant general manager Buddy Bell paused for a moment to ask a question of his own about the No. 2 ranked player on MLB.com's list of top International prospects, who signed in July for the largest amount ever spent by the White Sox on an international prospect at $1.6 million.

"Have you seen him?" said Bell, offering up a broad smile without saying anything to convey the impressive nature of his being.

"Strong kid," Bell added quickly, with that smile growing wider.

The 16-year-old right-handed hitting outfielder from the Dominican Republic has been working out with Rookie League Bristol, but his White Sox career truly will begin in mid-September during instructional league action at Camelback Ranch in Arizona. Zapata has created more buzz around the organization than almost any prospect in recent memory, and he has yet to take the field.

So, patience will be key for the White Sox once Zapata gets into action. He has an abundance of talent, but he still needs to learn the game.

"I know enough to know that this kid has got a lot of tools," said Bell. "The problem is a lot of these kids that have been showcased, they really haven't played a lot of games. So, that's our biggest issue with guys like that. Trying to get him in, think the game.

"But in terms of just flat-out tools, the guy has power, he can throw, he has speed. Not only that, he's fluent in English. The guy has plenty of tools, but our biggest issue is getting him to understand how to play the situational game without taking any of his tools away from him."

According to Bell, Zapata will start with the White Sox Arizona Rookie League entry in 2014. He'll then move to Bristol or Advanced Rookie Great Falls the following season.

"We always want it to go quicker than it always does," Bell said.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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