2019 Winston-Salem Dash season recap

Surging starter: Jonathan Stiever had the best season of any White Sox pitching prospect in 2019. (Winston-Salem Dash)

The Dash had one of the better records for the MiLB White Sox teams (72-61), as they barely missed out on a “wild card” playoff berth. It may not have been the most prospect-heavy team to to start the year, but by the end, there were some big names, especially on the pitching side.

This recap will start a little differently because, well, we have our first manager snapshot. Justin Jirschele was the manager of the Kannapolis Intimidators in 2017 and 2018 — both of those teams made the playoffs, so was promoted to the Dash for this season. Jirschele’s MiLB record so far is 217-198. He will only be 30 next season, but that would fit the recent mold of teams in the majors hiring younger managers. He also fits the Jerry Reinsdorf hiring mold, since he has been in the White Sox organization since 2012, when he was a player. Jirschele has managed most of the top prospects over his tenure, so he has familiarity with the important parts of the rebuild. There is not really much else to add about his managing style and philosophies, but here is an MLB.com from 2017.

But I’m sure you all care more about the players more than the manager, right?

The Dash had the two best hitters in the farm system to start the year, Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal, who made it all the way to Charlotte by season’s end. Robert was clearly too good for High-A (and basically every other level) but he left the Dash with a 305 wRC+. Madrigal started out slower but got going enough to get an early promotion. But that was really it for hitter promotions. Zach Remillard is not in the same talent conversation as those other two, but he was promoted as well. After hitting .289 in 95 games (a personal MiLB best), he was sent up to Double-A.

There was a bit more positive movement for the Dash on the pitching end. Kyle Kubat also started here and earned his way all the way up to Charlotte. He was one of the quicker promotions, and left after four starts with a 1.23 ERA. We forget now, but Alec Hansen looked far better with the Dash than the Barons. Hansen only played nine games and left with a 2.13 ERA, but carried a walk problem that traveled with him to Birmingham.

A trio of starters got promotions later in the season after a good first part of the season. Blake Battenfield, Lincoln Henzman, and John Parke each got the call to the Barons, where they finished the year. Battenfield had the best season of the bunch, with a 2.83 ERA. Parke does not get much fanfare, but keeps chugging through the system. He averaged just about a quality start over 12 starts. Henzman, after an injury blip, finally got his skills together to get himself to Double-A. The stats don’t look great overall, but a 1.89 ERA in his final 19 innings was good enough.

On the reliever side, there were three promotions of note. As mentioned in the Kannapolis recap, Vince Arobio made it all the way to Double-A. Well, he had an 8 2/3 innings stint with the Dash and didn’t allow a run. It was apparently good enough to earn his second promotion. Codi Heuer is a converted starter from college and his rookie league season, and thrived in the reliever role. He left High-A with a 22% K-BB rate and a 2.82 ERA. Bennett Sousa had two promotions during his season as well. After pitching 30 innings with a 2.70 ERA in A+, he got into two games for the Barons. There is a chance he ends up in Chicago next season. More on all these guys later, but it’s time for the holdovers.


Dash Mashers

Of the hitters who spent most of their season with the Dash, Steele Walker is by far the most heralded prospect. He is currently rated as the sixth-best White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, and earned a quick promotion from Kannapolis to Winston-Salem. He started out strong and did slow down later in the season, which is what should be expected from a player in his first full professional season. His 2019 stats still look great, though. He finished with a 124 wRC+, and showed some decent pop over the season. His increased walk rate from his days with the I’s stayed with the Dash, but Walker was able to drop his K-rate even further as he continues to show his advanced plate discipline and coverage.

Of the hitters that ended their seasons with the Dash, Andrew Vaughn is the best prospect. He’s rated as the best first base prospect in baseball and 21st overall by MLB Pipeline. The 2019 first round selection looked fine in his first stint in professional baseball. With all the movement and it being Vaughn’s first time playing baseball this late in a year, him just being healthy is really the most important takeaway. From the scouting reports out of college, Vaughn is a very good hitter, and it did show. The pop and the fantastic eye was there, as he was an above-average hitter at every stop. Vaughn has a chance, though slim, to be on the South Side next season but it will depend on whether he starts 2020 in Birmingham or Winston-Salem.

After Vaughn and Walker, there is a huge drop-off in terms of hitting talent that ended the year with the Dash. Most just have one kind of tool, like Craig Dedelow. He showed good power, with a .198 ISO and 18 home runs. The same thing with Tyler Frost, although Frost’s power dipped compared to his time in rookie and Low-A ball. Both players are old for the their level and there’s not much draft capital/money tied to them. Jameson Fisher, a former fourth round selection, did have that draft hype, and he did do well with the Dash. But he was sent down from Double-A after a bad 2018 campaign, and will be 26 next season.

Yeyson Yrizarri and Evan Skoug are guys who also had some value in the past, but have since fallen flat. Yrizarri is just 22, even though his professional debut was in 2014. This past season was his third in High-A, and he has only gotten worse. His batting average has fallen to .218 to go along with an increased strikeout rate, and his defense has gotten worse too (31 errors at third this year). Skoug is kind of a worse Zack Collins. Skoug has power, walks a lot, and strikes out a lot, but routinely hits far worse than the Mendoza line. Skoug hit .172 with the I’s, and then .165 with the Dash. This should be a big offseason for him, because he has some good tools — he just has awful bat-to-ball skills.

A little note for a 2019 draft pick who played in two games for the Dash, Jonathan Allen. The 32nd rounder played in both rookie leagues — not particularly well, but he did get himself to High-A. He clubbed two homers in his two games, for a 420 wRC+. I’m guessing that won’t hold next season.


Dash Hurlers

Dash pitchers were led by a big three in terms of prospect pedigree in the starting rotation to end the year. Jonathan Stiever is now by far the most hyped, and had the best season.

Stiever should win MiLB pitcher of the year for the White Sox after finishing with a 2.15 ERA in 71 innings with the Dash. He made 12 starts, and 10 of them were quality starts, as he rode his superb stuff to a great season. He 23.3% K-BB rate and only allowed a .215 batting average against. It was a truly dominant year.

Kade McClure is next up in terms of season success. He also started 12 games, but finished his time with a 3.39 ERA. McClure did finish earlier than other starters, possibly because he was at his innings limit after a season-ending injury from last season. But McClure was great during his time. The strikeouts were down and the walks were slightly up after his promotion, but .284 BABIP really helped. McClure also kept runners on base at an 81.3% clip, so his peripherals are not as kind. But he got through this season and looked very good, again.

Last on the top starting pitching end is Konnor Pilkington. He did not have as good a year as the others, with a 4.99 ERA. His strikeouts fell, but it was still better than one K per inning. The walks also rose, but it was not a significant rise. What hurt Pilkington was a .341 BABIP, because he didn’t really allow many homers (just seven in 95 1/3 innings). Therefore, FIP and xFIP liked Pilkington much better. Hopefully he can have a Stiever-like season in 2020, where the FIP and ERA more closely align.

For relievers, there are a couple to keep a close watch on prospect-wise and a couple more who just overmatched their competition. Jacob Lindgren is probably the most interesting, because he has the most arm talent. This was the first time Lindgren had pitched in pro ball since 2016, and he was all right. Lindgren is 26 and obviously has advanced stuff, but his success, and health, were promising. He threw 17 1/3 innings with the Dash, for a 1.53 ERA. Lindgren might not be the pitcher he was before (you know, the one who made it to the majors in one season), but the potential could still be there.

Andrew Perez is the other. The eighth round selection in the 2018 draft was lights-out with the Dash for his final 31 1/3 innings of 2019. The lefty had a 1.15 ERA, though he does allow a concerning amount of baseballs into the air (a 50% fly ball rate). The walks also went up quite a bit while the strikeouts fell, but Perez was very successful overall. With the three-batter minimum coming soon, his ability to go multiple innings as a lefty could come in handy in the future.

Will Kincanon and Luis Ledo may not be big names, but they had big seasons. Both served time as a closer, with both getting eight saves. Kincanon is probably the better prospect because he has a better arm. Kincanon had a 1.86 ERA, and though the walks slightly went up the strikeouts improved, so it seemed to be a negligible difference. Kincanon will need to cut down on his walks as he continues up the ranks, but he is a guy to watch moving forward. Ledo is a bit older, and had a good year as well. He has a 1.83 ERA and is not as big a strikeout pitcher, but still has the walk issues. Ledo’s walk issues improved significantly from last season, but he still has work to do.


Some big names from the manager to the players graced the diamond in Winston-Salem, earning the Dash the best MILB record of all White Sox affiliate. Most of the big names actually worked out pretty well this season, especially Madrigal, Robert, and Stiever. It is a possibility that when it is all said and done with the rebuild, the 2019 Winston-Salem Dash was the start of something special.

2019 Kannapolis Intimidators season recap

Tough year: But Kannapolis ended on a pretty good note. (Tiffany Wintz/South Side Hit Pen)


The Kannapolis Intimidators finished the year at 64-74, after an abysmal first half and a decent second thanks to the addition of 2019 draft picks. However, they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2016 because the reinforcements did not come quick enough — or in Andrew Vaughn‘s case, left too quickly.

Low-A baseball is a big step for players. Maybe there is not a big talent gap between advanced rookie leagues, but Low-A is the first stop in playing a full professional season. The leagues start in April and players travel to different states, though not as frequently as a Triple-A or MLB team. It is the first taste of what a grind a baseball season is, and as such it weeds out some of the younger players.

But some players definitely rose above the rest in Kannapolis this season. Though it is best to note, as in rookie league evaluation, age and previous Low-A experience is an important factor in assessing Low-A players.

First off, the promotions and other cameo appearances (like Vaughn, who played 23 games for the I’s). Steele Walker started the year with the I’s before earning a promotion after a great 20 games, in which he had a 189 wRC+. Johan Cruz started with the I’s as well and was more of a peripheral player to start, but because of his hot bat finally earned a promotion to the Dash. Cruz left the I’s with a .296 batting average, and some surprising pop. Evan Skoug rounds out the list of player promotions, but it seems like his was more out of necessity to get another catcher to Winston-Salem than talent. Though with Skoug’s eye and power, maybe a swing change could unlock that potential.

The pitching side is a bit more fun with some much bigger names. Konnor Pilkington, Jonathan Stiever, and Kade McClure each started the year with the I’s. Pilkington had the best year of the bunch, and earned his promotion more quickly as he left with a 1.62 ERA.

Next up was McClure with a 3.09 ERA and finally, Stiever. Stiever’s ERA did not look good in Low-A, but his peripherals showed a more advanced and much improved pitcher (as you will see in the Dash recap, Stiever was, simply, awesome). Taylor Varnell became sort of a prospect-buff favorite with multiple fantastic starts in Low-A, and the 24 year-old finally got a much deserved promotion later in the year.

A few notable relievers jumped to High-A baseball as well. Vince Arobio started his season with the I’s before eventually ending the season in Birmingham. Andrew Perez and Bennett Sousa were promoted at the same time after a dominant half-season in the Kannapolis bullpen. Perez left with a 2.25 ERA, Sousa with a 2.51.

That is a lot of players on the move, but some of note stayed the entire year, or ended their seasons with the I’s and helped them to a much better second-half record.


The Hitters

Two hitters that played well and stayed the entire season shared the outfield together, Ian Dawkins and Alex Destino. They ended the season with the same batting average (.298), but got there in very different ways. Dawkins is more of a slappy hitter, with speed and not much power. He had a fantastic first half of the season, but slowed down in the second. Dawkins finished with a 124 wRC+ and 23 stolen bases in 31 attempts. He has a fine walk rate at 6.3%, and the reason it is fine is because Dawkins hit almost .300, and he also has a below-average K-rate. Destino has the bigger bat, with 17 homers and 39 total extra-base hits. He walks more than 10% of the time, but also strikes out out at a decently high rate, so he is just a typical hitter who has some power. The downside is that both guys are older. Destino is about to turn 24, and Dawkins already is 24. In Dawkins’ case, he had 37 games in Low-A in 2018, so it was familiar territory. They are outfielders to keep an eye on, but both will need to show something more with the Dash.

A few other hitters deserve attention, but for different reasons, first off, the underperformers: Gunnar Troutwine, Corey Zangari, Ramon Beltre, Bryce Bush, and Lenyn Sosa. Troutwine probably had the best season among them, but might also be less of a prospect than the other four. He had a 106 wRC+, so a fine season, but he struck out more than 30% of the time and didn’t show improved bat-to-ball skills or extra power in his first full season. His defense was also, in a word, atrocious. Zangari was finally healthy, kind of, but fell flat. He hit only .204, but showed fantastic power with a .224 ISO. He also struck out more than 30% of the time, and a big reason why his season was salvageable was his very good walk rate. Beltre played the most, but probably had the worst season of this group and was even worse in his second Low-A stint.

Finally, Bryce Bush and Lenyn Sosa, the teenagers. Bush finished the year in the AZL but will definitely be back in Kannapolis in 2020. He barely hit above the Mendoza line and showed a concerning K-rate of 31.9%. Though he is definitely the best hitting prospect of this group, is still just 19, and had an injury-riddled year. Still, he looked impressive at times:

Sosa is a smidge younger than Bush, by about a month, and did have a better year in terms of play and health, though I’m sure the organization expected better. The international signee had his first full season this year and finished with a 93 wRC+. Instead of struggling down the stretch, which would have been understandable given a personal record amount of games played, Sosa was much better after the All-Star break. His batting average rose by almost 50 points and OPS went up over 100 points. Hopefully that translates over to next season, and Sosa gets a quick promotion to Winston-Salem.

Two non-Vaughn 2019 draft picks did make their way onto the I’s roster as well. Tyler Osik, a 27th round pick, ended with a 160 wRC+ in 108 plate appearance for the I’s. Osik showed a lot of power, probably unsustainable power at a .278 ISO, but the walk and strikeout rates stayed relatively the same from his rookie league statistics. Cameron Simmons, a 20th round pick, crushed it in Great Falls and earned a promotion. He didn’t do as well in Kannapolis but was right at average production. He did seem a little overmatched, as his K-rate went up a good amount, and the walks fell.


The Pitchers

After Pilkington, McClure, and Stiever left, there was obviously huge holes to fill in the rotation, and it was mostly filled by pitchers who were relievers earlier. Jason Bilous was the most fit for the role, but Johan Dominguez and Sam Long took over and did well. Bilous was much better as a reliever than starter, with a 2.86 ERA as a reliever and 4.01 ERA as a starter. However, a lot of Bilous’ struggles came late in the season, just like his struggles after being drafted in 2018. It is tough to say whether he will stay in a starting role, but hopefully Bilous can continue his progress and be better late in seasons. Dominguez and Long are older and probably aren’t players who will make it to the bigs, but they had good seasons as a reliever and as a starter. Dominguez ended the year with a 2.98 ERA, Long with a 3.06 ERA.

One starter who stayed with the I’s all season and didn’t miss a start was Davis Martin. Martin had an abysmal April and May, with an ERA of more than 7.00. He was able to figure himself out later in the year and had a 3.87 ERA in the second half. The peripherals like him a lot more because of his above average K-rate and pretty low walk rate. Martin ended with a 3.90 FIP, which is much better than his 5.04 ERA, so 2020 will be a big year to see who he truly is.

After Perez and Sousa left on the reliever side, again there were holes to fill, but the Kannapolis bullpen was already the strongest part of the team, and they continued to be successful thanks to three outstanding performances. There isn’t much fanfare with these players because they don’t carry any prospect expectations, but as relievers in Low-A all they need to do is throw hard.

Up first is Lane Ramsey, who SSHP’s Dan Victor likes quite a bit.

Ramsey had a 2.75 ERA this season, but his K numbers are low; he probably does not have a very good or developed breaking/off-speed pitch. If he is able to get an out pitch to use with his high-90s fastball, Ramsey could be a guy to watch going forward, maybe driveline isn’t a bad idea for the kid. Wilber Perez was a bit of a surprise to land in the Kannapolis bullpen after being in the DSL in 2018. Perez fit in well, and was terrific down the stretch. He had a 2.83 ERA and was mostly used in multiple-inning scenarios. Perez did show good strikeout numbers, but he has a significant control problem. Austin Conway rounds out the bunch, and he had the best season of all. He had 13 saves to go with his 1.59 ERA and even earned a cameo showing with the Dash, but was eventually sent back down. Conway already is 24, so take his success with caution, but he was fantastic.


Kannapolis was not the most talented team in terms of prospect hype, like it had been in previous seasons, but it did have appearances and performances from good players. Most of the above players will go to Winston-Salem in 2020, but the 2019 draft and a few 2020 draft prospects will be heading to Kannapolis’ new ballpark to replace them in the spring.

White Sox Weekly Minor League Update: Week 22

Mercedes running hot: Yermín had two bombs, trying to singlehandedly pull the Knights into the playoffs. / Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights

Charlotte Knights

Yermín Mercedes: .450 BA, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB, 3 K **MVP of the Week**
Nick Madrigal: .393 BA, 6 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 0 K
Luis Robert: .267 BA, 2 HR, 5 R, 5 RBI, 0 BB, 7 K
Danny Mendick: .231 BA, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 5 K
Zack Collins: .174 BA, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 9 K
Seby Zavala: .143 BA, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 SB
Matt Foster: 4 IP, 5.62 FIP, 4.5 K/9, 9.0 BB/9


Birmingham Barons

Gavin Sheets: .150 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 7 RBI, 8 BB, 8 K
Luis González: .111 BA, 4 R, 1 RBI, 6 BB, 9 K, 2 SB
Luis Basabe: .391 BA, 4 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 10 K, 1 SB
Blake Rutherford: .350 BA, 2 R, 3 RBI, 8 BB, 7 K
Alec Hansen: 4 IP, 4.55 FIP, 18.0 K/9, 15.75 BB/9
Tyler Johnson: 6 IP, 0.96 FIP, 10.5 K/9, 0.0 BB/8 **MVP of the Week**
Codi Heuer: 4 IP, 2.55 FIP, 6.75 K/9, 2.25 BB.9
Kodi Medeiros: 4 1/3 IP, 3.76 FIP, 4.15 K/9, 2.08 BB/9
Blake Battenfield: 10 IP, 4.80 FIP, 6.3 K/9, 0.9 BB/9
Bernardo Flores: 6 IP, 3.13 FIP, 15.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9


Winston-Salem Dash

Steele Walker: .152 BA, 1 HR, 6 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 SB
Andrew Vaughn: .308 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 4 K **MVP of the Week**
Andrew Perez: 4 1/3 IP, 4.53 FIP, 4.15 K/9, 6.23 BB/9
Jacob Lindgren: 2 IP, 3.88 FIP, 4.5 K/9, 4.5 BB/9
Bennett Sousa: 2 2/3 IP, 2.17 FIP, 10.12 K/9, 3.37 BB/9
Jonathan Stiever: 6 IP, 4.55 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
Konnor Pilkington: 10 IP, 3.68 FIP, 7.2 K/9, 0.9 BB/9


Kannapolis Intimidators

Ian Dawkins: .226 BA, 3 R, 6 BB, 6 K
Lenyn Sosa: .414 BA, 2 HR, 7 R, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K **MVP of the Week**
Davis Martin: 6 IP, 1.99 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Jason Bilous: 8 IP, 6.11 FIP, 12.37 K/9, 11.25 BB/9
Caleb Freeman: 4 1/3 IP, 6.26 FIP, 10.38 K/9, 4.15 BB/9 — Two promotions in his draft year


Great Falls Voyagers

Harvin Mendoza: .100 BA, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 K
Caberea Weaver: .150 BA, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K
Lency Delgado: .450 BA, 5 R, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 8 K **MVP of the Week**
Luis Mieses: .188 BA, 2 R, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K
Karan Patel: 2 IP, 1.05 FIP, 13.5 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Avery Weems: 10 IP, 3.95 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 0.9 BB/9

White Sox Minor League Update: August 22, 2019

Solid start: Matthew Thompson had another short, strong outing in Arizona tonight. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)

Charlotte Knights 4, Durham Bulls 2

Nick Madrigal: 2-for-3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 0 K (.317 BA, .821 OPS) **MVP**
Luis Robert: 0-for-4, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K (.302 BA, .1002 OPS)
Zack Collins: 1-for-3, 1 HR, 2 BB, 0 K (.293 BA, .974 OPS)
Dylan Covey: 5 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (3.05 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)

A four-game sweep for the Knights puts them in a solid wild card lead. Just four games ago, the Knights and Durham Bulls were tied, and now Charlotte is up by four games. All the bats needed to do was score in one inning to get that sweep. In the third inning, they scored all four of their runs. Nick Madrigal started the scoring with a two-run double into left field. Luis Robert would drive him in with a sacrifice fly a batter later, and Zack Collins hit his 17th homer of the season to punctuate it all (hopefully, I’m writing about all of these guys next season when they are in Chicago). After that, it was all up to the pitching. Dylan Covey threw five shutout innings and the bullpen was mostly good. Caleb Frare got in trouble and allowed two runs, but Matt Foster came in for the four-out save.


Birmingham Barons 6, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 0

Luis González: 4-for-5, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 SB (.256 BA, .691 OPS)
Luis Basabe: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K (.230 BA, .620 OPS)
Blake Rutherford: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K (.263 BA, .672 OPS)
Gavin Sheets: 1-for-4, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K (.271 BA, .760 OPS)
Tanner Banks: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (4.50 ERA, 1.23 WHIP) **MVP**

A shutout win for the Barons was keyed by a brilliant performance from Tanner Banks. He went seven shutout innings and could have gone more, throwing only 84 pitches and attacking the zone (61 strikes, 23 balls). He allowed no walks and was able to get out of trouble with ease on the two doubles he allowed. On the hitting side, it was all about Luis González. He had four hits and added a stolen base for good measure. With those four hits, he scored twice. Laz Rivera was the only other batter with multiple hits (two doubles).


Winston-Salem 9, Lynchburg Hillcats 4

Steele Walker: 0-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 SB (.284 BA, .807 OPS)
Andrew Vaughn: 2-for-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K (.250 BA, .787 OPS) **MVP**
Manny Bañuelos: 4 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K (4.15 ERA, 2.08 WHIP)

It took awhile to get going, but the Winston-Salem Dash finally got their offense in gear by the end to win. Manny Bañuelos continued his rehab assignment and did fine. He only allowed two runs in four innings, but he also let 12 batters reach base. Jake Elliott was not much better in his two innings, and the Dash found themselves down late in the game. Andrew Vaughn did most of his work before that, though. He hit his second home run with the Dash in the fourth inning, tying the game at one. The big inning didn’t come until the eighth, though, with a little help from the opposing pitcher. In total W-S scored six runs that inning, two of which came on bases-loaded walks. After Elliott, the bullpen was fantastic. José Nin and Will Kincanon combined for three shutout innings to preserve the win.


Rome Braves 14, Kannapolis Intimidators 4

Ian Dawkins: 1-for-5, 0 BB, 1 K (.305 BA, .771 OPS)
Lenyn Sosa: 0-for-5, 0 BB, 0 K (.235 BA, .618 OPS)
Tyler Osik: 3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K (.296 BA, .934 OPS) **MVP**
Johan Dominguez: 4 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (3.05 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)

It was just not Kannapolis’ day today. They grabbed the lead right in the top of the first, and then gave it right back in the bottom half. Tyler Osik gave the team that 2-0 lead with his first home run with Kannapolis. The I’s grabbed the lead again in the third inning, as Tyler Osik homered and the very next batter, Corey Zangari, added a homer of his own. Again, the I’s gave away the lead quickly, though this time, it took a whole inning, not a half. Then the wheels fell apart in the seventh. The offense was scuffling and not really threatening. The pitching ended up not helping, either. In the seventh inning, two Kannapolis pitchers combined to allow nine runs in the inning to give the Braves a 10-run lead, and that is where it would stay.


Great Falls Voyagers 7, Missoula Osprey 6 (10)

Harvin Mendoza: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K (.310 BA, .906 OPS)
Lency Delgado: 1-for-5, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K (.272 BA, .719 OPS)
Luis Mieses: 0-for-5, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K (.251 BA, .653 OPS)
Anderson Comas: 4-for-5, 1 R, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K (.233 BA, .646 OPS) **MVP**
Sean Thompson: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 6 K (6.62 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)

A walk-off winner for the Voyagers! It was a back-and-forth affair, whenever the offenses actually scored. The Osprey started out the scoring with a four-run third inning, but the Voyagers scored five in the next two innings, including a four-run inning of their own. Anderson Comas helped propel the first of the four runs with an RBI triple, his sixth triple of the season. The Osprey came back in the eighth inning to tie the game, and it went into extra innings. After Missoula took the lead in the 10th inning, the Voyagers came back to win it in the bottom half, as Luis Curbelo hit a single for the walk-off hit.


AZL White Sox 16, AZL Brewers 15

James Beard: 2-for-7, 2 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K (.195 BA, .523 OPS)
Jose Rodriguez: 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K(.277 BA, .808 OPS)
DJ Gladney: 3-for-6, 2 R, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K (.265 BA, .746 OPS) **MVP**
Matthew Thompson: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

Another walk-off in the rookie leagues, this time to end an offensive barrage. The AZL White Sox combined for 24 hits and 16 runs scored in their win, and all but one hitter from the starting lineup had multiple hits. The most amazing part of this game were the type of hits, or lack thereof. The AZL Sox only hit two extra-base hits and 22 singles. Bryan Ramos and Samil Polanco led the way with the offense with four hits apiece, and several others had three. The pitching though, was not good. Matthew Thompson did get some action on the mound, his second game as a pro, but it was just one inning. The defense didn’t help at all, either. Seven of the 15 runs scored by the AZL Brewers were unearned, though one of those errors was by a pitcher.


DSL Dbacks 6, DSL White Sox 2

Yolbert Sánchez: 3-for-5, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K (.306 BA, .839 OPS) **MVP**
Carlos Mola: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K (5.31 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)

It was not a great game for the DSL Sox today, though, there were two notable performances. Yolbert Sánchez took the MVP in this game, leading the way with three hits. Two of those hits were doubles, as his hot streak continues. He is even hitting better than .300 now. Carlos Mola, who started today’s game, was almost as good from the pitching side. He went five very good innings, with no walks and nine strikeouts. It was one of his better outings of the year and probably his last of the season. Obviously, after Mola left the game things got out of hand. The bullpen quickly coughed up five runs the next two innings and couldn’t put anything together.

White Sox Minor League Update: August 16, 2019

Bone crusher: Yeah, Zack Collins hit another homer run. (Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights)

Trio of doubles powers Dash to victory; everyone else loses bye

Columbus Clippers 5, Charlotte Knights 4

Odrisamer Despaigne: 6 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 9 K (L, 6-5)
Zach Thompson: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
Nick Madrigal (2B): 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Yoán Moncada (DH): 1-for-5
Luis Robert (CF): 0-for-5, 4 K
Yermín Mercedes (3B): 2-for-4, 2 R
Zack Collins (1B): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI **MVP**
Seby Zavala (C): 1-for-4, 1 K, 1 PO

The math was against the Knights, who gave up five runs but only scored four themselves. Odrisamer Despaigne, who has proven himself to be pretty good at Triple-A ball, allowed all five. Zach Thompson keeps alternating between good and bad outings, adding two scoreless innings today. Thyago Vieira struck out two but allowed two hits in his scoreless ninth inning.

The future top of the order (including a rehabbing Yoán Moncada) went a combined 2-for-15, but the future third baseman went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. That’s right, Yermín Mercedes got his second start at the hot corner on Friday, and handled a flawless nine innings, just as perfect as the first nine. This is obviously the main takeaway from today’s game, not Nick Madrigal hitting an inside-the-park home run in the first Charlotte at-bat of the ballgame (his first at the level!), and not Zack Collins’ 16th dong to score two runs in the eighth. Also, Luis Robert went hitless and struck out four times, so how good can he really be, anyway?


Mississippi Braves 2, Birmingham Barons 0

Blake Battenfield: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (L, 5-5) **MVP**
Tyler Johnson: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
Vince Arobio: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K
Luis González (CF): 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K
Luis Alexander Basabe (LF): 0-for-3, 1 K
Blake Rutherford (DH): 0-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K
Gavin Sheets (1B): 0-for-4, 1 K
Ti’Quan Forbes (3B): 1-for-4, 1 K
Joel Booker (RF): 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 K

Both teams only scrounged up four hits apiece, but the Braves were also able to find two runs while the Barons came up empty-handed, meaning Math Strikes Again and a Sox farm team loses. Starter Blake Battenfield was battenfielded around in his first few starts with the Barons, but with the exception of a six-run event in early August, his second half has been strong (21 earned runs allowed in 49 ⅓ innings for a 3.83 ERA, 13 walks, 30 strikeouts, compared to a 4.88 ERA over 31 ⅓ pre-All-Star innings, 10 walks, 31 strikeouts). More of a contact guy than a strikeout guy, Battenfield is at his best when he’s not allowing two-run home runs, which is what happened here. Of course, two runs in six innings, both of those coming on one pitch, isn’t normally damning, especially when there are only two other baserunners allowed total, but Barons bats have been struggling more than usual lately and they weren’t able to get on the board.

Luis González and Joel Booker both doubled, and Ti’Quan Forbes and Alfredo González both singled. L. González and Blake Rutherford drew walks, and all six baserunners were stranded.


Winston-Salem Dash 5, Potomac Nationals 2

Jonathan Stiever: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (W, 6-3)
Caleb Frare: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K
Steele Walker (CF): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B
Tyler Frost (DH): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K **MVP**
Andrew Vaughn (1B): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Jameson Fisher (LF): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K
Mitch Roman (3B): 3-for-4, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 SB

It was Stiever Day in Winston-Salem, and he did not disappoint. There were two early wobbles, both solo home runs in the first and second inning, respectively, and then he settled in. This is the first time he’s struck out fewer than six batters in any start in which he’s gone five or more innings, and for the fourth time in 10 starts, he did not walk a batter. He scattered baserunners the rest of the game, aided by his defense and a timely lineout double play, and the two dingers remained the only blemishes on his line. José Nin, Caleb Frare, and Wyatt Burns each pitched a scoreless inning.

Three big doubles won this game for the Dash, all coming back-to-back-to-back in the fifth inning. The first was Steele Walker’s, his 32nd of the season, first hitting the outfield grass, then bouncing over the Dash’s absurdly short right field fence for the ground-rule hit. Tyler Frost, 7-for-13 since his return from the Injured List, followed up with his 24th of the year, scoring Walker and Skoug (leadoff walk) to break the tie and put Dash up 4-2. Andrew Vaughn followed it up with his seventh double, scoring Frost and raising his Dash slash to .283/.385/.472 in 15 games played. He has walked nine times and struck out eight.

The other offense in this game was generated by Jameson Fisher, who hit his eighth home run in the second inning, and JJ Muno, who grounded into a force out that scored Vaughn in the fourth inning.


Lexington Legends 2, Kannapolis Intimidators 1 — 10 innings

Johan Dominguez: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
Devon Perez: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
Austin Conway: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (L, 1-1)
Ian Dawkins (CF): 2-for-4, 1 SB
Romy González (2B): 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
Tyler Osik (DH): 1-for-4, 3 K
Corey Zangari (1B): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB **MVP**
Gunnar Troutwine (C): 1-for-4, 2 K

The Intimidators went pretty quietly on Friday, managing only six hits over 10 innings of play, their lone run coming on a Zanger off the bat of Corey Zangari, his 12th dinger of the year. Zangari, who has quite a line of .197/.299/.414 (that’s an OPS of .713 for those interested), did a little bit of everything, walking, stealing a base, and striking out. The I’s actually ran fairly wild on the basepaths, young and free, and ended up with four stolen bases total. They turned two double plays, caught a runner stealing, and Ian Dawkins threw a whole guy out at the plate (with some help from Lenyn Sosa). They also made an error, but let’s focus on the other, more positive intangibles. 

Johan Dominguez has returned to the starter role that won him a spot on the South Atlantic League All-Star team, and all he did was allow two hits over five innings, striking out seven and walking two. Devon Perez, who I just found out at this exact moment is from my hometown in Virginia and went to my high school the year after I graduated, pitched three scoreless. Austin Conway, who walks a lot of dudes but generally doesn’t allow them to score, walked two dudes and allowed neither of them to score. He did, however, allow a single that drove in the Auto-Runner from second base in the 10th inning for the losing run.


Great Falls Voyagers/Missoula Osprey – Postponed (field conditions)


DSL Padres 17, DSL White Sox 4

Ray Castro: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (L, 5-1)
Yolbert Sánchez (SS): 1-for-2, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 BB, 1 E
Benyamin Bailey (LF): 0-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Johnabiell Laureano (CF): 0-for-2
Roberth Gutierrez (CF): 1-for-2, 1 2B
Ruben Benavides (C): 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 SB **MVP**
Juan Mercedes (RF): 1-for-4, 1 2B, 3 K
Alberto Bernal (DH): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Cesar Jiménez (2B): 0-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K

Yes, the DSL Sox lost by 13 runs, and yes, they walked 16 batters, and yes, they only got six hits of their own, but they also went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Of the 10 walks issued by Sox pitching in the fourth inning alone, four were of the bases-loaded variety. Another three came in the eighth. Despite scoring 17 runs, the DSL Padres only collected eight hits. Of those runs, 10 came on non-hit plays, including walks, but also including a double play, a wild pitch, and an error. All six Sox pitchers gave up at least one earned run (the average pitcher allowed 2.83 runs to score in their appearance). Matthew Mercedes, catcher, pitched the eighth, getting two quick outs, then hitting a batter, walking four straight, and allowing a two-run single.

Rarely, though, are things all bad (unless you’re the White Sox, to be fair!), and there was some good today. Yolbert Sánchez tripled, and Benyamin Bailey’s sacrifice fly brought him in! Catcher Ruben Benavides stole third base and then scored on an error! Bailey reached on an error in the ninth that drove in two runs! Baseball is a magical game, and the DSL is a magical league, and one day, if we’re lucky, there will be video available of all of this.

White Sox Minor League Update: August 15, 2019

Almost perfect: John Parke had a magical game for Birmingham on Thursday. (Hannah Stone/Birmingham Barons)

Charlotte Knights 7, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 5

Nick Madrigal: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 0 K (.288 BA, .675 OPS)
Luis Robert: 2-for-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K (.323 BA, 1.025 OPS) **MVP**
Zack Collins: 1-for-4, 1 HR, 0 BB, 1 K (.282 BA, .938 OPS)
Seby Zavala: 1-for-3, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 K (.224 BA, .792 OPS)
Justin Nicolino: 6 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (6.05 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)
Matt Foster: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (3.51 ERA, 1.09 WHIP)

A power barrage gave the Knights enough run support to withstand the late-inning RailRiders rally to win, 7-5. The Knights hit four home runs tonight, including three that helped them get out to a 6-1 lead. Seby Zavala started the power surge with a solo homer in the second. Luis Robert, who had been slumping (for him) at the plate, crushed a solo homer in the third. Zack Collins hit another bomb in the sixth that finally pushed the Knights that 6-1 lead. Meanwhile, the pitching obviously had to be pretty good. Justin Nicolino cruised through six innings with just one earned run and four hits allowed. The seventh inning give him some trouble, as Nicolino allowed three runs in the inning off of two home runs — yeah, it was a home run kind of night. Thanks to Matt Foster, who earned the save in the ninth, and Daniel Palka, who added the last run for the Knights via a homer, the win was sealed.


Birmingham Barons 2, Mississippi Braves 1

Luis Basabe: 2-for-4, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K (.245 BA, .653 OPS)
Blake Rutherford: 0-for-4, 0 BB, 1 K (.260 BA, .665 OPS)
Gavin Sheets: 3-for-4, 0 BB, 0 K (.274 BA, .769 OPS)
John Parke: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (2.47 ERA, 0.95 WHIP) **MVP**
Codi Heuer: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (1.96 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)

A long pitchers’ duel finally fell Birmingham’s way in a late, 2-1 win. John Parke was outstanding, throwing seven shutout innings and took a perfect game into the seventh inning. Parke allowed one hit, but the most amazing part of his performance was the fact he only had two punch outs. Instead, he relied on 18 outs in play — and when that many balls go into play, there will probably be a few errors. The Barons had two errors during the game, one that was costly.

Birmingham had nine hits, including three extra-base hits. They just weren’t able to string any together until the eighth, when Laz Rivera drove in Luis Basabe for the first run of the game. Codi Heuer took over for Parke after one batter faced (reaching on an error by Ti’Quan Forbes). Now, that error came around to score, but since it was an error, the run was unearned. On top of that, since Heuer was on the mound when the run scored, he was credited with a blown save without any run being tied to him, or that run even being earned. Baseball has some weird scoring. In the ninth, Forbes made up for that error when he drove in the game-winning run with a double ,and this time, Heuer didn’t let anyone get home, earning the win.


Winston-Salem Dash 6, Carolina Mudcats 4

Steele Walker: 2-for-5, 0 BB, 0 K (.283 BA, .798 OPS)
Tyler Frost: 3-for-5, 1 HR, 3 R, 0 BB, 1 K (.260 BA, .773 OPS) **MVP**
Andrew Vaughn: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 0 K (.265 BA, .826 OPS)
Konnor Pilkington: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (5.54 ERA, 1.53 WHIP)
Andrew Perez: 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (1.44 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)
Jacob Lindgren: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (0.79 ERA, 0.88 WHIP)

Another close win for the Sox organization! This time, it was the Dash coming back late to take and hold the lead. Konnor Pilkington started the game and threw a lot of pitches. After getting just 12 outs, he already had 88 pitches and was pulled. I mean, it’s the end of the season, there’s no reason to push it, but Pilkington was doing all that bad. In four innings he only allowed one run, and had five strikeouts. However, by the end of the fifth, the Dash were down by one. Then a four-run sixth gave the Dash a lead they held until the end. Mitch Roman drove in the tying run to score Tyler Frost (who homered earlier in the game). Johan Cruz cleared the bases later, giving the dash a 5-2 lead. Though it got a little too close in the sixth, the bullpen was able to hold on for the last three innings thanks to Jacob Lindgren and Will Kincanon.


Lexington Legends 4, Kannapolis Intimidators 2

Ian Dawkins: 1-for-4, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K (.307 BA, .777 OPS)
Lenyn Sosa: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 0 K (.244 BA, .642 OPS)
Tyler Osik: 1-for-3, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K (.258 BA, .797 OPS) **MVP**
Jason Bilous: 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (3.55 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)

The I’s got lucky to start, but very unlucky the rest of the way. In the first inning, Kannapolis scored two runs because of a fielding error. Tyler Osik doubled home those two runs, but that was really it for the I’s in terms of offense. For the rest of the game, they only tallied two more hits and no runs. Meanwhile, Jason Bilous did not have his best outing. He looked fine through the first two frames, but the third was trouble. He allowed three runs, including a homer, and was pulled after the inning. But the damage was done. The offense couldn’t get anything going, even with stellar performances out of the I’s pen, in the 4-2 loss.


Great Falls Voyagers 1, Rocky Mountain Vibes 0

Caberea Weaver: 1-for-3, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K (.257 BA, .685 OPS)
Harvin Mendoza: 2-for-3, 1 BB, 0 K (.319 BA, .932 OPS)
Chase Solesky: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (6.46 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) **MVP**

The Voyagers win a game that only saw one run cross that plate. That lone run came in the fourth inning off of a sacrifice from Luis Curbelo that scored Caberea Weaver. That was all the GFV pitching needed. Chase Solesky started the game with four innings. Though he allowed the most hits of the Voyagers pitchers, he struck out five in what was his best outing of the year. Nate Pawelczyk and Karan Patel went the next four innings and only allowed one hit. Caleb Freeman came out for the ninth to close and struck out all three batters for his first save in the Pioneer League.


AZL Padres 3, AZL White Sox 2

José Rodriguez 0-for-4, 0 BB, 2 K (.277 ERA, .802 OPS)
Bryan Ramos: 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K (.256 BA, .736 OPS)
Chase Krogman: 1-for-3, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K (.167 BA, .334 OPS)
Yoelvin Silven: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K (2.25 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) **MVP**

The AZL Sox had the lead for much of the game, but the bullpen gave up the lead late. Yoelvin Silven had a fantastic start, which is why the Sox were in control for most of the game. He went six shutout innings and didn’t walk a single batter. He even struck out nine to lower his ERA to 2.25 in what was just his second start of the season (14th overall appearance). The offense gave Silven the lead in the first inning with a Bryan Ramos RBI single. However, once Silven left with the meager 1-0 lead, it quickly fell apart. The Padres scored a run in the last three innings of the game and took the lead twice in the process, in what was a bumpy game for the pen.


DSL Reds 7, DSL White Sox 6

Johnabiell Laureano: 3-for-4, 2 R, 0 BB, 1 K (.373 BA, 1.020 OPS)
Benyamin Bailey: 0-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K (.333 BA, .952 OPS)
Elijah Tatís: 0-for-3, 0 BB, 0 K (.145 BA, .437 OPS)
Yolbert Sánchez: 0-for-1, 0 BB, 0 K (.239 BA, .670 OPS)
Ruben Benavides: 2-for-3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K (.333 BA, .987 OPS) **MVP**
Carlos Mola: 4 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (5.63 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)

A back-and-forth game till the very end, but the DSL Sox come up with the loss. There were two big sticks for the Sox and they were Johnabiell Laureano and Ruben Benavides. Laureano had the most hits on the day with three, but Benavides brought the power. He hit his third home run of the year, a three-run shot that gave the Sox a brief lead. Alberto Bernal also added a home run of his own to tie the game, but the Sox pitching came up short. Carlos Mola started the game, and really did not do well. He allowed three runs, thanks to two home runs allowed. Though the bullpen was better overall, Edgar Navarro blew the save in the ninth as he allowed the tying and walk-off runs. For the notables, Benyamin Bailey was in the lineup but was mostly a non-factor with just one walk. Elijah Tatís had another 0-fer day today.