Deep Dive: Charlotte and Birmingham right fielders

Late blooming: Blake Rutherford, ranked eighth among White Sox prospects per MLB Pipeline, hit .307 for Birmingham after May 31.


“Deep Dive” focuses on the depth of each position in the Chicago White Sox organization. Each position is broken into a five-part series:

  1. Depth in the rookie levels (Dominican through Great Falls)
  2. Depth in A-ball (Kannapolis and Winston-Salem)
  3. Depth in the higher levels (Birmingham and Charlotte)
  4. Under the Radar-type detail on one of the White Sox players at that position
  5. Free agent options at that position

For various reasons, 2019 was a difficult season for these three outfielders. Daniel Palka scuffled after a surprisingly good rookie season in 2018, as he couldn’t slug his weight with the Sox this year and has been removed from the 40-man roster. Blake Rutherford continued to struggle in his attempt to match his top-prospect expectations, and Micker Adolfo played fewer than 40 games. All three have a lot to prove in 2020.

(age as of April 1, 2020)


Charlotte Knights

Daniel Palka
6´2´´
220 pounds
B/T: L/L
Other positions played: Left field, First base
Age: 28

After smashing 24 homers in his first two seasons with Georgia Tech, Palka enjoyed his best collegiate season as a junior in 2013. That year, he slashed .324/.436/.637 for the Yellow Jackets in 62 games with 13 doubles, three triples, 17 homers, 66 RBIs, six stolen bases, 31 walks and 60 strikeouts. Trusting in his power stroke, the Minnesota Twins selected him in the third round of the MLB draft.

Palka gradually worked his way up the Twins farm system, ultimately making it to making it to Triple-A Rochester in 2016. That year, split between Double-A Chattanooga and Rochester, he slashed an impressive .254/.327/.521 in 133 games with 24 doubles, four triples, 34 homers, 90 RBIs, nine stolen bases, 56 walks (9.9%) and 186 strikeouts (32.7%). The following year was a disappointing one for Palka, as he spent much of the season on the injured list. That year in 84 games, he slashed .274/.329/.431 in 84 games with 13 doubles, three triples, 11 homers, 42 RBIs, one stolen base, 27 walks (7.5%) and 80 strikeouts (22.1%). On November 3, the White Sox claimed Palka off waivers.

After starting the 2018 season well with Charlotte, Palka received the call to Chicago in late April and fared much better than expected. In 124 games for the White Sox, he slashed .240/.294/.484 with 15 doubles, three triples, 27 homers, 67 RBIs, two stolen bases, 30 walks (6.7%) and 153 strikeouts (34.1%).

However, he struggled out of the gate in 2019 and never truly gained traction at the major league level despite three different stints with the club. In 30 games with the White Sox, he slashed just .107/.194/.179 with two homers, four RBIs, eight walks (8.6%) and 35 strikeouts (37.6%). For what it’s worth, Palka didn’t let his struggles in the majors affect his performance at Charlotte as he slashed a respectable .263/.374/.527 in 106 games with the Knights by hitting 23 doubles, 27 homers, 72 RBIs, 74 walks (15.3%) and 109 strikeouts (23.1%). Palka was outrighted off the 40-man roster in November, and because nobody claimed him, our favorite aerospace engineer likely will begin the 2020 season on the Charlotte roster. If an injury should occur to a corner outfielder or DH next season, Palka would likely be considered as an emergency call-up.  


Birmingham Barons

Blake Rutherford
6´2´´
210 pounds
B/T: L/R
Other positions played: Left field, Center field
Age: 22

Baseball America noted that some scouts saw Blake Rutherford as a possible “power-hitting center fielder in the Jim Edmonds mold” prior to the 2016 MLB draft. At this point, the White Sox might be happy with Rutherford as a center fielder in the Jim Eisenreich mode.

Rutherford was selected in the first round (18th overall) by the Yankees. By 2017, the lefty was playing for the Yankees A-squad in Charleston when he was traded with Ian Clarkin, Tito Polo and Tyler Clippard to the White Sox for David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Todd Frazier on July 31. That year, combined with Charleston and Kannapolis, he slashed .260/.326/.348 in 101 games with 25 doubles, two triples, two homers, 35 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, 38 walks (8.6%) and 76 strikeouts (17.3%).      

Rutherford enjoyed his best season to date in the Sox organization in 2018 with Winston-Salem, as he slashed a respectable .293/.345/.436 in 115 games with 25 doubles, nine triples, seven homers, 78 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, 34 walks (7.0%) and 90 strikeouts (18.5%). However, in a far less favorable hitting environment in Birmingham in 2019, he slashed just .265/.319/.365 in 118 games with 17 doubles, three triples, seven homers, 49 RBIs, nine stolen bases, 37 walks (7.7%) and 118 strikeouts (24.6%). While those numbers admittedly weren’t all that good, it could’ve been much worse. Through the end of the May, he was slashing just .185/.228/.291. From June 1 on, something clicked and he hit a much more respectable .307/.370/.401. He did struggle versus strong competition in the Arizona Fall League this year, as he slashed .179/.281/.385 with four doubles, three triples and two homers in 21 games.

In order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, the White Sox added Rutherford to the 40-man roster in December. One thing to watch for in 2020 will be his splits, as he slashed .286/.337/.398 versus righties as opposed to just .216/.276/.291 against southpaws. He currently ranks eighth among White Sox prospects, and third among outfielders (behind only Luis Robert and Luis Basabe) per MLB Pipeline. That site gives him 50 grades in all tool categories (run, hit, fielding and arm) except power (45). In actuality, Rutherford has plenty of power; he just hits way too many balls on the ground. This year alone, he hit grounders 50.2% of the time, while hitting fly balls (30.3%) and line drives (19.6%) at much lower clips.

Rutherford will likely begin the 2020 season at Charlotte, and if he gets off to a great start, he could be considered for promotion due to his status on the 40-man roster if an outfield injury at the major league level should arise. He’s good enough defensively to play all three outfield positions. 

Micker Adolfo
6´4´´

255 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: None
Age: 23

Thanks in large part to his power bat and arm, Dominican native Adolfo received what was then the highest international signing bonus in White Sox history at $1.6 million on July 2, 2013. However, his professional career has had trouble gaining traction primarily due to his inability to stay on the field. As a result, Adolfo found himself playing for the team’s AZL squad for all of 2014 and 2015, finally earning a promotion to full-season Kannapolis in 2016. Of course, he missed significant time that year as he slashed just .219/.269/.340 in 65 games with 13 doubles, one triple, five homers, 21 RBIs, 14 walks (5.3%)and 88 strikeouts (33.2%). Adolfo played his most complete season to date (112 games) with Kannapolis in 2017 as he slashed .264/.331/.453 in 112 games with 28 doubles, two triples, 16 homers, 68 RBIs, 31 walks (6.6%) and 149 strikeouts (31.5%). To avoid the risk of losing him in the upcoming Rule 5 draft that year, the White Sox added him to the 40-man roster.

Due to elbow pain, Adolfo missed the first half of the 2018 season with Winston-Salem, and when he returned he was limited to DH duties. Despite his injury, he still posted a career-high .833 OPS by slashing .282/.369/.464 in 79 games with 18 doubles, one triple, 11 homers, 50 RBIs, 34 walks (10.1%) and 92 strikeouts (27.4%). After undergoing arthroscopic injury during the offseason, he was limited to just 36 combined games with Birmingham and AZL (rehab assignment) and produced subpar results as he tried to shake off the rust. Despite hitting four homers in 15 games in the Arizona Fall League this year, his results were still lacking as he slashed just .167/.262/.389.

Since Adolfo turned pro, he’s missed time due to injuries in each of his six seasons. Based upon his massive potential, however, he still finds himself ranked 10th among White Sox prospects per MLB Pipeline. Not including 2019 due to its small sample size, Adolfo had been gradually improving his walk and strikeout rates. It’s hard to believe, but he is still just 23. MLB Pipeline gives him an impressive 70 grade for arm, which makes him an ideal right fielder and is no doubt where he’ll play in 2020. His power is graded 55 as would be expected; his running and fielding are both graded 50, however, which is actually quite good considering his size. His weakest tool is a hit tool of 45, based in part to his large strikeout totals.

Due to only playing 23 games in Birmingham last year, Adolfo likely will begin the 2020 season there; however, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him promoted to Charlotte fairly quickly due to his 40-man roster status.


 

 

 

 


 

Hollywood couldn’t make this one up

It was a scenario not even the most outrageous huckster would try to pitch to a movie studio.

“So here’s the deal. There’s this one team, they’ve had a big recovery from a real bad season start, and now they have a chance to make the playoffs, but they have to win pretty much all the rest of their games. First scene, they’re up against a team that has been out of the race all season, got nothing to play for except to get the season over – not quite the Bad News Bears, but you get the idea.

“So this game, the team playing for the playoffs has a young pitcher going that has been mowing down everybody he’s faced for a couple of months. The loser of a team has another young guy who can be pretty good, but isn’t very often. Sounds like a head-to-head of the kids, right? Only we put in a twist and the loser team pitcher hurts his leg warming up – warming up – and they have to suddenly bring in a bunch of guys from the bullpen to try to stop the good team.

“Sure, you think it could work with a good bullpen, only the best three relievers this team has pitched the night before and they’re not available. It’s up to the riffraffy types to try to save the day. And they do! They’re incredible! One after another, the whole bunch – let’s say five of them – lights out! Shutout game!

“But that’s not all. Team’s gotta score to win, right? So we let them go without a hit for a bunch of innings – let’s say until the fourth – and then, WHAM! Guy gets a hit, guy gets a walk – extra angle here, because this team has no idea how to take a walk usually – next guy, make him the catcher, boom! Three run homer! Next guy up is the worst hitter in baseball – horrible, horrible. Hasn’t hit a homer since the Carter administration, barely has a hit all year, and double wham – 113.8 miles per hour and gone!

“Next inning, guy leading the league in hitting gets a hit, guy leading the league in runs batted in drives him in, the score keeps mounting. While later the guy who hadn’t hit a homer in half a century does it again – 439 feet! Eight to zilch. Heck, just to put in another twist, the loser of a team, which usually strikes all the time and like I said never walks, gets six walks an only eight whiffs. Keen, huh?

“Time for the good team to come back, right? Only here’s the big twist – they don’t. Everybody in the audience expects the big heroic comeback, but they roll over like a tumbleweed in a twister, they fold like a napkin on a cruise ship. It finishes ocho-nada. Pretty good, huh?”

Studio head response: “Get him out of my office. Now!”

If you didn’t see it, chances aren’t you don’t believe, either, especially after Dylan Cease strained a hamstring in the bullpen warming up, and Jose Ruiz had to start the game. But here’s a James McCann three-run blast, followed by a little Palka poke:

Don’t believe Palka did it? How about twice?

The Sox even played some nifty D. Yoan Moncada had an error, but also a great grab. Yolmer Sanchez was all over the place making plays, and Tim Anderson got the Best Vertical Award.

But for all that, this game belonged to the bullpen. Ruiz got out of a bases-loaded jam and went 1 2/3 scoreless. Josh Osich pitched the longest – and arguably best – stint of his career, 3 1/3 perfect innings with 3 K’s. Jimmy Cordero went two perfect, Jace Fry an inning with one hit and two K’s, and even Hector Santiago chipped in, striking out the side in the ninth.

Isn’t playing spoiler fun? Not as much fun as being in a position to be the spoilee, maybe, but a fun nonetheless. The Indians aren’t completely eliminated from the possibility of a wild card, but you aren’t completely eliminated from the possibility of winning the Powerball, either.

Next up for the Sox is a venture into the depths horribleness, hopefully just for the other guys, as they face the Tigers for the final four games of the season. That fiasco begins with a doubleheader tomorrow, with game time of the opener moved up to 3:10 CDT to try to beat anticipated thunderstorms.

Hit Parade: White Sox clobber Cleveland, 8-3

Today’s lesson: We learned that Tim Anderson, José Abreu, Daniel Palka, and Welington Castillo, are in fact, NOT Beliebers.

Did I ever give you any indication that Tim Anderson is chasing a batting title?

No? Well, let me tell you about it. Tonight, after a spectacular 4-for-5 performance, Anderson’s batting average sits at a lofty .339, 11 points ahead of Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu. Anderson’s four hits contributed to a 14-hit game for the Chicago White Sox, as they go up against all odds to get at Shane Bieber early, defeating the Cleveland Indians, 8-3.

The hit parade began nearly immediately when Leury García crushed a Bieber fastball to left field, on the second pitch.

Legends hit dingers — 380 ft. dingers, to be precise.

As if you thought the top of the lineup was finished; Anderson and José Abreu hit flashy back to back singles.

Bieber fell behind to Yoán Moncada almost immediately, and I know I talk a lot about how Moncada has Bieber’s number, but it’s important to point out that touting a 3-0 count after giving up three consecutive hits is a tell-tale sign … Bieber probably won’t have his best stuff tonight.

What do you mean? (These will be the only Justin Bieber references you’ll read tonight. Sorry.) Moncada grounded out, which advanced Anderson and Abreu. Zack Collins reached on a fielder’s choice, and WHEW, this error by Carlos Santana, lemme tell you –

“Santana threw it to Elk Grove Village!” – Jason Benetti

Timmy and José scored on the error – Sox strike in the first, and they struck hard, 3-0.

Ross Detwiler threw a few innings of solid ball. His control decided to show up tonight – and that’s evident with the 0 walks under his belt. Detwiler, in fact, didn’t let Cleveland score until the third inning; a leadoff single by apparent karaoke star Franmil Reyes is bookmarked by an incredible defensive play by Moncada.

oof, that cross into foul territory! fistbite dot gif.

Moncada robbed Roberto Perez of what could have been an extra base hit, but Michael Freeman singled after that play, scoring Reyes. Cleveland’s on the board now, but the Good Guys still lead, 3-1.

The Sox half of the third saw Tim Anderson with another gustatory leadoff single; José Abreu slapped a single to center field to follow. Yolmer Sánchez joins the hit party with another single, scoring Timmy, driving in Yolmer’s 42nd RBI. How about that? It’s 4-1, Sox.

While Big Boss Ross has a pretty tight lid on this Cleveland lineup, the Sox offense continued to produce. Daniel Palka – yes, that’s right, Daniel Palka – singled off Bieber. A single to center field by Tim Anderson advanced Palka to 2nd. (And for those of you keeping score at home, that’s TA’s third hit of the night.)

And I can tell you right now that if your number two and three hitters are both having multi-hit games – things are probably looking pretty swell. Abreu singled, scoring Palka, for Abreu’s American League-leading 122nd RBI of the season. 5-1, Sox.

In the fifth inning, Cleveland’s offense began to show finally show some fight. José Ramirez took Detwiler deep, and how.

Third homer in two days? I suppose that’s impressive.

Franmil Reyes must have been eager to fill out a song request slip, because he singled next. Roberto Perez singled too, moving Reyes to third. Freeman stopped the momentum by grounding out into a double play, but it scores Reyes anyway. 5-3, Sox.

Is it getting a little warm in here, or is it the karaoke fog machine?

The sixth inning brought Tim Anderson’s fourth hit of the night. Can we take a moment to appreciate the greatness, thanks to this montage put together by our friends over at baseball.theater?

We stan.

Moncada doubled, and Sanchez slapped a ground ball single.

But the White Sox are still hungry. And what do you do when you’re hungry?

Order the beef, of course.

Welington Castillo’s three run bomb put the Sox up, 8-3. You love to see it.

Some other tidbits from this game: Aaron Bummer got out of a jam in the seventh by making Francisco Lindor chase a naaaasty pitch.

I miss Lindor’s blue hair, to be quite honest, but I understand the maintenance is hard.

Lindor also falls victim in the ninth inning, when Alex Colome works out of a bases-loaded jam, notching the save:

Cleveland’s loss tonight further dims their playoff chances. with the Tampa Bay Rays beating the Yankees tonight, Cleveland’s now a game and a half back in their push for the AL Wild Card. Their elimination number is now at three.

We saw a solid start from Ross Detwiler. He threw five innings of ball, giving up three runs, all earned, off five hits. He walked none and struck out one. Big Boss Ross improves to 3-5.

Cleveland really needed Shane Bieber to show up tonight. I … almost feel bad. Bieber went 5 2/3rds, giving up five runs, three of them earned. He gave up 10 hits, which is a LOT for him. He struck out seven, as he is a strikeout pitcher, and walked one. His record falls to a still-respectable 15-8.

Other tidbits: Leury Garcia left the game in the fifth, due to an injured shoulder. Matt Skole also left today’s game with right abdominal tightness. Both are day-to-day, according to the White Sox Twitter account.

Also, the Minnesota Twins have clinched the AL Central. Good for them, or whatever.

The Milwaukee Brewers also punched their ticket to the postseason, and I might have had to re-watch a good portion of this game so I could celebrate my Yelich-less National League team appropriately. Both Steve Stone and Jason Benetti had cordial things to say about the Brew Crew’s September resurgence.

Tomorrow’s 7:10 CST game finds Dylan Cease (4-7, 5.79) taking the hill opposite Aaron Civale (3-3, 1.82). Catch this game televised on NBC Sports Chicago; the radio’s got you at WGN 720. For your SSHP coverage, Leigh Allan has your back.

If there’s one last thing to make you smile tonight, let it be this.

Rotten Royals rob Giolito of 15th win

All arm, no W: Sorry Lucas, you deserved the W today. (@WhiteSox)


I admit I am not as gifted with the snappy alliterative titles as our Baller Librarian but I feel that my skills are at least 40-man roster worthy. For those playing along at home, our 40-man roster includes Daniel Palka, Dylan Covey and Welington Castillo, so I’d say the bar is rather low.

Anyway, it’s been nearly a month since Lucas Giolito earned a win, and I’m starting to think he might never reach 15. Here’s a look at what went right and what went wrong today: Since this game was a mix of unfortunate and unlucky, yet still enjoyable, I bring you a mishmash of styles and formats, which is almost certainly going to drive my editor up the wall (Hi, Brett!).

First inning: Giolito Strikeout Count: Two (Whit Merrifield, Hunter Dozier). Jorge Soler continued to slaughter White Sox starters, launching a solo shot supposedly into the stands but if you told me it landed on the moon I’d believe you.

Baseball Theater, thank you as always. I used the Royals broadcast to remind us how fortunate we are to have Jason calling home runs for the Good Guys.

In our half of the first, Yoán Moncada poked a single into right; I’m not sure how I feel about seeing him in the leadoff spot. Abreu drew a walk only to have Eloy Jiménez ground into a double play for the ninth time this season. Fun fact: Million Dollar Manny Machado leads the league in this category with 23.

Second inning: The Royals struck again, as rookie Ryan McBroom, a September call-up singled, advanced to third on a Meibrys Viloria double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Erick Mejia, owner of three career at-bats and a .000 batting average. It was Mejia’s first career RBI, so I feel a duty to let him enjoy his moment:

(Baseball Theater)

Eventually I’ll have some White Sox highlights for you, I hope.

Giolito Strikeout Count remains at two.

Bottom of the second: PALKA HIT WATCH. WE HAVE MADE CONTACT! And we have no joy, thanks a lot, Mejia. You could have let that ball drop. Palka can’t seem to catch a break (new game, drink whenever somebody says, thinks, writes or tweets that sentence).

Yolmer got drilled on the top of his foot by a pitch, which then nicked Viloria in the … let’s just say he’s singing Soprano now.  ꓘollins ended the inning with a ꓘ.

Third Inning: Giolito Strikeout Count: Three more on 13 pitches (Merrifield, Soler, Dozier), for a total of four. Gio’s curve and slider were cruising in at a cool 80 mph while the four-seam fastball averaged about 95. Lucas had some stuff today!

In the bottom of the third, Moncada hit a ball between first and second, Merrifield couldn’t get a grip on it, and YoYo reached first base for the second time in as many attempts. López had his knuckle curve working for him today, and Tim Anderson went down swinging. José launched a ball into center field, and so began the two-out rally! Eloy blasted a ball into center, Moncada scored, Abreu must not have known that it didn’t make it past Merrifield and was thrown out at home. A one-run rally cut our deficit in half, so we’ll take what we can get. I found it interesting that the White Sox announcers blamed José for running through the sign, while KC’s announcers touted Merrifield’s “run-saving heroics.” Both versions are courtesy of Baseball Theater:

The Kansas City version also features my nemesis: the strike zone box. Ban the box! (Do we need to make a shirt for this?)

Top of the Fourth: Giolito Strikeout Count (can we just call it the GSC?): three more (O’Hearn, McBroom, Phillips) so the total is now eight, including a streak of six in a row. This is the Lucas GioELITEo we’ve come to know and love, we just won’t have him pitch against the Cubs next season.

Bottom of the fourth: PALKA HIT WATCH: Palka hit into the shift on the first pitch.

On to happier times, the top of the fifth: GSC: Giolito struck out his ninth and 10th batters, and seventh and eighth in a row (Viloria and Mejia). Lucas’s streak of consecutive strikeouts would end at eight, as Nicky Lopez grounded out. With those eight consecutive strikeouts, Giolito set a new White Sox record! One of my favorite Twitter accounts, Pitching Ninja, has combined all eight for your viewing pleasure:

Engel led off the bottom of the inning, beating the throw on an infield single by an eyelash, followed by Moncada sending another base hit into right field. Anderson popped out to short center, putting him at nada for three so far. Has he forgotten he’s trying to win a batting title? Abreu drove in Engel on a sacrifice fly to the warning track, and brought us to 2-2. I brought my profound thoughts to Twitter:

By now I have fully abandoned the bold inning indicators.  Brett’s head is spinning. (In case you were wondering what the A. stands for in my initials, I wouldn’t rule out Agitator).

Lucas gave up his first walk of the day to lead off the sixth, Soler singled, and then of course Dozier hit a home run to put the Royals up, 5-2. Not all was lost, however, as the GSC tacked on another pair of strikeouts to O’Hearn and McBroom, putting what would be his final tally at 12.

My man James McHotDamn led off the sixth with a sizzling double that bounced off the center field fence. PALKA HIT WATCH: WE HAVE MADE CONTACT! But alas, tis foul. And now we’re behind in the count. On the next pitch, Palka beat out an infield single (of sorts, as it was fielded in short left) and based on the noise in the ballpark, you would think we just clinched the division. Relive the glory here:

🎶 Let’s give them something to Palka ’bout (Baseball Theater)

Yolmer hit a sacrifice fly to score McCann, and that was all she wrote for Jorge López. Left-handed sidearmer Tim Hill entered the game, as did Danny Mendick. Hill’s sweeping sideways pitching motion and horizontal ball movement made quick work of Mendick and Engel, who both went down on strikes.

Jace Fry came out for the Sox in the seventh, struck out Viloria and induced a pair of infield ground outs to Anderson to easily retire the side, but the elusive 15th win evaded Lucas once again.

In our half of the seventh, Anderson finally got a hit! Eloy walked on four pitches and James McDamn hit a ball into left, and Anderson tripped rounding third and had to scramble* back to the base. A pitching change brought Leury García in as a pinch-hitter for Palka, ending the Palka Hit Watch with a final count of one. Leury struck out and into the eighth we went, still losing. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a video of Timmy’s baserunning miscue so you’ll just have to trust me, it was ugly.

* I would not call what Tim did to return to the base “scrambling,” it was more of a lazy stroll.  This makes me see red, and I angered White Sox Twitter saying so. We’ll return to this topic shortly.

My man Jimmy Biceps Cordero came in to pitch the eighth. Some of you might be aware of my adoration for the flame throwing, sleeve-fighting righty, and new SSHP free agent signing Sean made a good case for keeping him around next season. Jimmy is a multi-talented guy, look, he can bunt!

His sleeve-rolling angered our opponent’s fans, which reflects quite favorably in my book.

Betsy, there is so much about the White Sox that should bother you more than a rolled-up sleeve.

Alex Colomé came out to pitch the ninth, and walked the first man he saw.  Next up, Brett Phillips hit a sacrifice bunt and Colomé threw the ball to center field. Allow me to digress, this is why I get so upset about players not running out routine fly/ground balls (or get back to a base after tripping, Tim). Pitchers botch throws all the time and if you turn and walk back to the dugout while you’re losing a game and you’re in a pennant race then you deserve to lose the World Series (to the Cubs of all teams, thanks for nothing, Cleveland).

Anyway, that error, followed by a wild pitch would allow another run to score, putting the final nail in the coffin for this game.

(Baseball Theater)

The White Sox made it exciting, and as billed, Ricky’s boys didn’t quit, but after Anderson collected his second hit, Eloy walked, McCann walked, Leury struck out with the bases loaded, and that was that.

Now for my game rankings, inspired by whoever buried Justified’s Mitchell Report:

Win: Giolito, striking out eight in a row for a total of 12 and earning himself the distinguished title of White Sox franchise record holder for most consecutive strikeouts. It’s just a shame that when he gives up a hit, it’s often a home run.

Place: McCann picked up two hits, scored a run and didn’t strike out at all.  McCann has shown he’s reliable in clutch situations, and got himself on base, but with you-know-who batting after him, the odds of a rally weren’t great.

Show: Palka, congratulations on ending your 148-day major league hitting drought and collecting your second base hit of 2019!

Also-Ran: Abreu had a hit and an RBI, but a bonehead trotting error (sorry, I would not call his craft “running,” per se) allowed the Royals to mow him down out at home. Add that to two strikeouts and it leaves Pito out of the winner’s circle today.

Glue Factory: Leury struck out with the bases loaded … twice.  He’s been one of the most versatile players on the team all season, but today he’s drawn my ire.

As I hinted in the gamethread, we have a brand-new shirt coming out sometime in the next few days. After bitching on Twitter for the better part of two months that someone should make this shirt and sell one to me, I decided to take things into my own hands.  Since we now have our own store, I spent more hours than I wish to admit planning and conceiving this work of art, and searching for the perfect person to design it for me so we could bring it to you! We’ve largely kept it under wraps so nobody tries to knock off our design with an inferior model, but here’s a little taste of what’s coming:

What could it be? Patience- you’ll find out soon!

We’ve got some more ideas in the works, but we want to hear from you! Do you want a Jimmy Biceps shirt featuring our one-sleeved bullpen hero? What about McCann? Moncada? What are some nicknames or catch phrases you’d love to have on a tee? Let us know what types of shirts you’d like to see, either in the comments or email them to me.

Joe has the Mariners game for you tomorrow, and stay tuned for the release of what I know will be your new favorite White Sox design!

Gamethread: Royals at White Sox

Stuck in a slump: Even MLB.com has noticed Palka’s struggles.

Happy Free T-shirt Thursday! If you can’t make it to the park, fear not! As you might have noticed, we now have a shop link on our site! We are really excited to be releasing our first original commissioned design, and I’ll give a little sneak peek of it in my recap after the game. We’ve had our site up for a touch under a month now, and we’re trying to keep it ad-free so we can focus on baseball, the White Sox, and our amazing team of talented writers. We all take time away from our families/pets/friends/food (I can’t speak for everyone but when I recap West Coast games I typically trade food for a large volume of coffee) to bring you comprehensive coverage of all things Sox, and we do it because we love it.  Yours truly, resident rookie LWilz has taken the role of Maestro of Merch so that we can reward our staff with a little something, while bringing you AWESOME LOOT instead of forcing you to scroll through annoying ads to get to the good stuff in our stories. All proceeds from sales go to our writers and keeping the site running, and since we’re unable to sign all of our contributors’ friends and brothers-in-law to try to keep them around long term, we really value everyone’s help and contributions to our Patreon and merch shop.  Knowing that you appreciate us motivates us to bring you unique stories, such as Lenny G’s interview with former White Sox first round draft pick Keon Barnum.  Read it over here while you await the first pitch of today’s game!

In what I can only imagine was a decision based on too many/lack of pain meds post rotator-cuff surgery, Ricky Renteria has decided to start Daniel Palka in right field today.  South Side Hit Pen’s unofficial mascot, Angie is on the IL, and won’t be shredding any Royals hats for you after today’s game, as she cut her paw and has a couple stitches, so we wish them both a speedy recovery and hope their paws heal soon. 

Realistic dramatization of Ricky’s mental state when he set today’s lineup. (Photo credit @StacheESQ)

Now, down to business:

Your White Sox lineup for today is:

The Royals’ lineup:

Lucas Giolito looks to bounce back from a no-decision after pitching seven innings of three hit, two run ball only to see the game end via a rare blown save by Álex Colomé. Jorge López pitched six innings of three hit shutout ball against the Marlins his last time around, so let’s hope we can get to the Royals’ bullpen early and get Lucas a win!

The game will be on WGN TV and AM 720. First pitch is at 1:10!

White Sox Minor League Update: August 20, 2019

Monster effort: Luis Robert, barely able to raise his arms for high-fives in the dugout after hitting his 13th homer this week, is gonna go full Rumpelstiltskin “any day now.” (Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights)


Charlotte Knights 9, Durham Bulls 3

Luis Robert (CF): 2-for-4, HR (13), 1 RBI (32), 3 R, 1 BB (.310 BA, 1.025 OPS)
Nick Madrigal (2B): 3-for-5, 2B (3), 2 R, 0 K (.311 BA, .733 OPS)
Yoán Moncada (3B): 3-for-5, 2B (1), 1 RBI (6), 3 R, 0 K (.409 BA, 1.136 OPS)
Daniel Palka (RF): 1-for-2, HR (26), 3 RBI (69, nice), 3 BB, 0 K (.274 BA, .942 OPS) *MVP*
Justin Nicolino (SP): 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (W, 8-6)

In a shocking turn of events, fatigued center fielder Luis Robert was able to overcome the need of a fainting couch and hit another danged homer over that sweet LED Monster in Left Field out in Durham. The top three hitters of Madrigal, Moncada, and Pantera (aka the first-inning batting order of the next White Sox championship team) combined to go 8-for-14 with 2 2B, 2 HR (YoYo is ret-to-go), and eight runs scored. It’s a damn shame the weary burdens of dominating Triple-A weigh heavy on the bodies and minds of our prospects, cheating Sox fans of … hmm … I feel I’ve lost track of the narrative.

Oh, yes! MVP honors go to Palkamania because he mashed a tasty three-run tater and reached base three times via the free pass. Also, because the poor guy needs it, dammit. The Knights are 71-56, control their destiny in the IL wild card chase, and at this point are a slight underdog in a straight-up matchup with Ricky’s Boys.

(South Side Hit Pen has confirmed where Luis Robert’s Home Run from Monday landed, seen here in this undoctored photo. Can you imagine if Robert wasn’t so fatigued!)


Birmingham Barons 9, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 3

Laz Rivera (2B): 3-for-4, 2 HR (2), 4 RBI (36), 3 R, 1 SB (9) (.259 BA, .605 OPS) *MVP*
Blake Rutherford (DH): 2-for-4, 2B (13), 2 R (.263 BA, .669 OPS)
Damek Tomscha (LF): 3-for-4, 2B (5), 1 RBI (24) (.287 BA, .767 OPS)
John Parke (SP): 5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (2.55 ERA)

Just like their Triple-A compadres, the Barons defeated their opponent 9-3, sautéing the Jumbo Shrimp in butter, lemon juice, and some parsley. That’s about all the interesting bits, but MVP honors go to Laz Rivera, who is no longer listed as missing on the side of a milk carton, with two dingers and four ribbies tonight. 57-67 is the Barons record and [Forrest Gump voice] that’s all I have to say about that.


Winston-Salem Dash 5, Lynchburg Hillcats 2

Steele Walker (DH): 1-for-4, 2B (24), 1 BB (.284 BA, .802 OPS)
Andrew Vaughn (1B): 0-for-5, 1 RBI (15) (.250 BA, .765 OPS)
Zach Lewis (SP): 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (W, 6-6, 5.85 ERA) *MVP*

The Dash didn’t have to do much offensively (see: five hits) to maximize their run efficiency, with five runs in their victory over the Hillcats. A big thank-you to Hillcat Jodd Carter (yes, that’s his name, no matter how hard autocorrect wants to make it Jody) for the throwing error leading to the rare two-run sac fly, giving the Dash a 2-1 lead. A lead that Zach Lewis would hold up, only getting touched for two unearned runs in six innings, with six Ks. The Dash are 66-54.


Rome Braves 14, Kannapolis Intimidators 4

Ramon Beltre (3B,P[!]): 2-for-4, 2 RBI (33) (.218 BA, .577 OPS); .1 IP, 1 H (0.00 ERA) *MVP*
Alex Destino (RF): 2-for-4, 1 BB, 1 K (.302 BA, .861 OPS)
Davis Martin (SP): 4 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (L, 7-9, 5.26 ERA)

Not much slugging from the Intimidators bats tonight, as 12 hits equaled just 13 total bases. Starter Davis Martin (already worthy of a wary eye as a Two Last Names guy) didn’t have it, nor received much help, with two errors behind him. Ramon Beltre gets begrudging MVP honors for knocking in 50% of Kanny’s four runs and committing 50% of its four errors, while also pitching (!) one out of the game. The Intimidators record slip-slides down to 55-70.


Billings Mustangs 10, Great Falls Voyagers 6

Caberea Weaver (CF): 2-for-5, HR (2), 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K (.260 BA, .707 OPS)
Joshua Rivera (2B): 1-for-4, HR (2), 3 RBI (3), 1 R (.200 BA, .603 OPS)
Dan Metzdorf (SP): 3 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 K (3.38 ERA) *MVP*

Things started off swimmingly for the Voyagers, as they scored five runs in the second inning, highlighted by a three-run homer by Joshua Rivera! Ramon Pineda pitched the fourth inning with a 5-0 cushion and boy howdy, did those wheels came off in a hurry.

A leadoff error by SS Lency Delgado set an ominous tone for the rest of Pineda’s outing, as he loaded the bases on walks and a HBP. A sac fly cut the lead to 4-1, and Pineda would have gotten away with minimal damage if it weren’t for that meddling Connor Reich who, coming in after Pineda left with the bases loaded, promptly unloaded three more runs on his bill by giving up a first-pitch grand slam to Renal Ozuna. A five-run lead suddenly became a brand-new ballgame.

Caberea Weaver gave the Voyagers a brief reclaiming of the lead in the fifth inning with a solo homer, but Great Falls’ bullpen would continue the leakage by giving up five more runs, and the Voyagers record fell to 23-33.


AZL White Sox 8, AZL Brewers (Gold) 7

Micker Adolfo (DH): 2-for-5, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K (.306 BA, 1.016 OPS)
Logan Glass (CF): 3-for-4, 2B (4), 1 RBI, 1 R (.226 BA, .583 OPS)
Mac Welsh (P): 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 K (SV 3, 0.00 ERA) *MVP*

Down 7-1 after four innings of ungood pitching from starter Luis Rodriguez, the AZL Sox chipped away at the deficit until busting thru in the sixth inning with five straight two-out hits. That added up to four runs and a 8-7 lead, a lead that held up thanks to four scoreless innings from the Sox bullpen (one hit, five Ks). I’m giving MVP honors to Mac for getting 2 Ks in the ninth with the tying run on for the save! Bless those baby Chisox hearts, as the win shoots their record up to a scintillating 14-37.


DSL White Sox 8, DSL Orioles 3

Yolbert Sánchez (SS) *Co-MVP* – 5-for-5, 2B (13), 1 RBI, 1 R (.283 BA, .766 OPS)
Richard García (C) – 2-for-2, 2 RBI (11) (.286 BA, .724 OPS)
Elijah Tatís (SS): 2-for-4, 2 R (.203 BA, .545 OPS)
Homer Cruz (SP): 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K (W, 5-4, 3.86 ERA) *Co-MVP*

The DSL Sox jumped out to a first-inning, three-run lead over the Orioles in a way that would make the 1906 “Hitless Wonders” White Sox blush with pride, scoring three runs without the benefit of a batter striking a ball with his bat so that it lands in fair territory that is not the result of an error or fielder’s choice … otherwise known as a hit!  OK, Yolbert got a single, but the runs came in the forms of an RBI groundout, throwing error on a stolen base attempt, and some #wildpitchoffense!

Starter Homer Cruz was dominant, with six strikeouts in five innings of shutout ball. He certainly did not live up to his first namesake down in the DSL today.