Deep Dive: White Sox right-handed rookie league starters

No. 2 in your hearts: Matthew Thompson is ranked 14th among White Sox prospects, according to MLB Pipeline. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)

“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

While most of the top right-handed starting pitching prospects finished the season with Winston-Salem or higher, there are some intriguing arms in the rookie levels as well — especially in the AZL. The players’ ages listed below are as of April 1, 2020.

Great Falls Voyagers

Jason Morgan
175 pounds
Age: 24

Morgan had the ill fortune of missing the entire 2018 season, both collegiately and professionally, due to injury. His stats were consistent for the North Carolina Tar Heels up to that point, averaging a 4.01 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 9.7 BB% and 15.4 K%. Those relatively modest numbers, along with his injury, caused Morgan to fall to the 35th round of the 2018 draft.

Once healthy, Morgan had the unenvious task of beginning his professional career in 2019 at hitting-friendly Great Falls, but held his own despite not possessing overpowering stuff. In 14 starts totaling 75 innings, Morgan posted a 4.68 ERA and 1.37 WHIP by allowing 83 hits (.285 OBA), 20 walks (6.3%) and 33 strikeouts (10.3%). While allowing many hits and inducing few strikeouts, Morgan limited the damage against him by keeping the ball down (54.5% ground ball rate) and allowing few free passes. Baseball Draft Report in 2017 listed Morgan’s arsenal as including a low 90s fastball, good firm changeup (83-87 mph) and two average off-speed pitches — a 75-81 mph curveball and low-80s cut slider. Based on the fact that lefties hit him far better (.327) than had righties (.262), Morgan’s changeup may need more work.

So Morgan didn’t have a bad initial campaign, especially considering he hadn’t pitched in 2018. However, he will need to find a way to miss more bats in order to succeed in the full-season leagues.

Chase Solesky
201 pounds
Age: 22

Solesky struggled in his sophomore season at Tulane, as he tried to rush back from Grade 1 spinal spondylolisthesis — a slipping of vertebra that occurs most commonly at the base of the spine. As a result, Solesky’s results tanked. While Solesky enjoyed a better junior season, it still wasn’t as good as he had hoped because he was trying to alter his delivery. But a 5.05 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, to go along with 66 strikeouts in his 67 2/3 innings in the Green Waves rotation, was enough to convince the White Sox to select him in the 21st round of the 2019 draft.

A first look at Solesky’s numbers with Great Falls (6.17 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) would tell you there’s not much to get excited about. However, when looking at his strikeout and walk totals, there may be something there after all. With 45 strikeouts (24.6%) and just 12 walks (6.6%) over just 42 1/3 innings, Solesky managed a nifty 3.75 K/BB ratio. He’s clearly got the stuff and control, but he obviously needs the command to limit damage. It may also help to have a little good luck as well, as Solesky vastly underperformed his 4.77 FIP.

With more repetition using his new delivery, Solesky should attain far better results in 2020. Solesky was about five months younger than the average Pioneer League player this year, so a return to Great Falls for next year wouldn’t be out of the question. With that said, expect to see him pitch for Kannapolis before 2020’s end.

Sean Thompson
190 pounds
Age: 24

Despite having solid and consistent numbers (each season saw his ERA in the low threes) for all four years, Sean Thompson was undrafted as a senior from Virginia Commonwealth. The White Sox signed him as an undrafted free agent (UDFA), and he performed well in 2018 for the AZL Sox (3.68 ERA and 1.34 WHIP) despite peripherals showing a much bleaker picture.

Though many of Thompson’s peripherals were eerily similar to last year’s, his 2019 results have been far less pleasing. In 14 starts spanning 80 innings, Thompson posted a 6.08 ERA and 1.45 WHIP while surrendering 101 hits (.301 OBA) and 15 walks (4.2%) as opposed to 66 strikeouts (18.6%). Thompson’s FIP was just 4.51, so he likely pitched in bad luck (the Great Falls defense this year was atrocious). Thompson’s repertoire features an upper-80s fastball and a power curveball with a 12-6 break according to Baseball Draft Report. To succeed in the future, Thompson will need to find a way to neutralize lefties as they hit him at a .321 clip.

He was 17 months older than league average this year, so it’s difficult to imagine Thompson returning to Great Falls for 2020. The best he could hope for would be a promotion to Kannapolis 2020, with a likely switch to a long-relief role.

Carter Love
225 pounds
Age: 24

Like the aforementioned Thompson, Love was also an UDFA last year — in Love’s case, a graduate of the College of Charleston. This was a bit surprising, since as a senior in 2018, Love posted an incredible 1.38 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 71 2/3 innings of relief as he surrendered just 54 hits and nine walks while fanning 57. More than likely, the reason was that Love’s fastball rarely exceeded 92 mph although it was complemented with an above-average changeup and curveball. Love enjoyed a terrific year (primarily with the AZL Sox) in 2018, surrendering 51 hits (.254 OBA) and just five walks (2.4%) while fanning 62 (29.8%) as he compiled a superb 2.66 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over 50 2/3 innings.

This year was a different story, though, as Love posted a sky-high 7.92 ERA and 1.76 WHIP in just four starts at Great Falls totaling 13 2/3 innings. In those innings, he ceded 22 hits (.361 OBA) and two walks (3.1%) while striking out 13 (20.3%). His last outing was on July 3, and since Love finished the year on the active roster, it’s assumed he was injured for the last two months of the season. (Players in the rookie leagues don’t get placed on the injured list because they have have expanded rosters that could easily absorb the loss.)

Anyway, an injury would explain Love’s struggles this year. With his age and ability to throw strikes, Love could have the future of an organizational swingman or long reliever going forward — provided he remains healthy.

AZL White Sox

Matthew Thompson
195 pounds
Age: 19

Thompson, a graduate of Cypress Ranch High School in Houston, certainly dominated in his senior year. Dominated, you say? Try this: He was 13-0 in 15 starts with a 0.87 ERA and 0.88 WHIP over 72 2/3 innings, allowing just 23 hits (.095 OBA) while fanning 124 (42.6%). The only real blemish against Thompson this year was his high walk total of 41 (14.1%). To sign an over-slot bonus with the White Sox after being selected in the second round, Thompson eschewed his verbal commitment to Texas A&M.

The White Sox are treading carefully with this young arm, and have thereby limited his work on the professional level. In two starts totaling just two innings, Thompson relinquished two hits and no walks while fanning two — not much to go on. It’s likely that he’ll be given extended spring training before earning a call-up to Kannapolis by either May or June next year, in order to limit his innings. With the high elevation at Great Falls, it’s unlikely Thompson will be sent there and suffer through unnecessary lumps.

Thompson’s fastball currently tops out at 96 mph according to MLB Pipeline, but typically runs in the low-to-mid 90s. There’s not much movement to it, however, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Thompson develop a two-seam fastball to complement it. He possesses an easy, fluid delivery, throws from a high three-quarter slot with electric arm speed that provides a bit of deception to an otherwise straight fastball, and shows great feel to spin the baseball.

Thompson throws a low-80s slider that has hard, late break and two-plane action that routinely draws whiffs and causes batters to expand the zone. He also showed some feel for a solid, 76-79 mph curveball with 11-to-5 break, according to Baseball America. Many scouts consider the curveball Thompson’s best pitch thanks to its tight spin, good power and depth, and his ability to throw it for strikes. The curveball is a knee-buckler and is especially devastating to right-handed batters. MLB Pipeline grades Thompson’s fastball at 60, curveball at 55 and changeup at 50. His changeup is still in the rudimentary stage, as he really hasn’t had to throw it much against his lesser prep competition.

Despite his high walk total in high school, Thompson has solid command for his age — graded 50 by MLB Pipeline. Speaking of MLB Pipeline, Thompson is currently ranked 14th among its Top 30 White Sox prospects.

Andrew Dalquist
175 pounds
Age: 19

Dalquist’s 2019 prep stats for Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, Calif. are difficult to come by. His junior stats were nice (1.55 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 25.8 K%), but that was when he possessed a slightly above-average fastball. It’s likely those numbers improved greatly during his senior season, however, not just because Dalquist was another year older but because his fastball velocity jumped to 91-95 mph during offseason tournaments and varsity competition. Dalquist was verbally committed to the University of Arizona, but reneged on it to sign an extremely over-slot deal with the White Sox as the team’s third-round selection in this year’s MLB draft.

Like the aforementioned Thompson, Dalquist was handled delicately by the Sox organization. In three starts totaling the same number of innings for the AZL squad, Dalquist allowed nary an earned run as he surrendered just two hits and two walks while striking out two. He likely will begin next season with Kannapolis, but probably won’t begin work there until May or June in order to protect his arm.

Dalquist’s repertoire features both the four-seam and two-seam fastballs, and while his fastball doesn’t have elite velocity at this time, the extension on his delivery is deceptive enough to seemingly add a bit more oomph on the fastball. His mid-70s curveball, like his fastball, is graded at 55 by MLB Pipeline thanks to its depth. He also features a 50-grade changeup and slider, which should only get better with increased usage at the professional level. Like Thompson, Dalquist’s command also grades at 50, which isn’t a surprise due to his youth.

Nevertheless, it seems Dalquist has an above-average arsenal from which to work on. He just needs the experience to harness his repertoire effectively. MLB Pipeline currently ranks him 15th among White Sox prospects.

Jeremiah Burke
195 pounds
Age: 21

As a freshman at Georgetown, Burke struggled mightily out of the bullpen with a 10.12 ERA and 2.53 WHIP. However, he elevated his game as a swingman during his sophomore campaign and enjoyed a solid junior season for the Hoyas in 2019 with a 4.66 ERA and 1.27 WHIP as he relinquished 83 hits and 25 walks while fanning 86 during his 85 innings. This earned him the notice of the White Sox, who selected him in the 17th round of this year’s MLB draft.

Burke’s overall numbers were decent but unexceptional. In his 12 games for the AZL Sox (eight starts), he posted a 4.33 ERA and 1.50 WHIP by ceding 63 hits (.288 OBA) and 18 walks (7.5%) while striking out 42 (17.4%). The numbers can be taken with a grain of salt, however, as Burke’s 139 combined collegiate and professional innings nearly tripled his combined totals of his freshman and sophomore years. With that said, his best monthly numbers came in August, when he posted a 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 18 strikeouts during his 20 innings.

Lefties hit him especially hard (.311), while righties held their own against him, at 2.76. His starting stats (3.31 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) easily bested his relief work (6.27 ERA, 1.55 WHIP) for the AZL squad, which essentially echoes his work at Georgetown. Burke, with his strong finish, should be a strong candidate to begin next season with Kannapolis.

Cooper Bradford
180 pounds
Age: 21

Bradford had some of the most underwhelming college stats in this year’s White Sox draft class. While his freshman year with North Florida was actually quite respectable (2.79 ERA, 1.51 WHIP), Bradford slipped badly in his sophomore season to a 6.41 ERA and 1.78 WHIP as he allowed 48 hits and 25 walks while fanning 35 over his 39 innings.

Bradford transferred to Florida Southern for his junior season, where his numbers again disappointed despite healthy strikeout totals: 5.58 ERA and 1.67 WHIP over 80 2/3 innings while relinquishing 78 hits and 57 walks in striking out 89. Sox scouts saw enough in Bradford, however, to select him in the 13th round of this year’s draft.

For the AZL Sox, Bradford actually outperformed his college stats — especially with his control. In eight starts totaling 30 innings, Bradford posted a 4.80 ERA and 1.53 WHIP by surrendering 37 hits (.303 OBA) and just nine walks (6.8%) as opposed to 35 strikeouts (26.5%). His control certainly improved as evidenced by his reduced walk total, although command still needs work as shown by his high OBA. In looking closer at Bradford’s numbers, his OBA and WHIP were actually quite good with nobody on (.253 and 1.18 respectively). However, with runners on base, his OBA and WHIP soared to .383 and 2.00. Thus, in order to improve his future results, Bradford will need to focus on perhaps improving his mechanics while in the stretch. This also means he’s best suited as a starter for the time being. Expect him to begin next season with Great Falls, although a return trip to the AZL Sox certainly wouldn’t be out of the question.

Luis Rodriguez
220 pounds
Age: 19

Rodriguez, a native Venezuelan, signed an international contract with the White Sox on June 1, 2018 and promptly found his way to that year’s DSL squad. Unsurprisingly, for someone of his combination of youth and size, Rodriguez struggled with his control in his first professional season. In 16 games (10 starts) encompassing 50 innings, he relinquished just 44 hits (.238 OBA) but walked 38 (16.5%) while fanning 48 (20.9%).

In seven outings this year for the DSL squad spanning 30 innings, Rodriguez’s numbers improved greatly, to the tune of a 4.34 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, as he allowed 30 hits (.256 OBA) and just nine walks (7.0%) while striking out 29 (22.5%). He earned a promotion to the AZL Sox on July 8, but struggled with a 6.54 ERA and 1.83 WHIP over 31 2/3 innings. In those AZL innings, Rodriguez surrendered 39 hits (.300 OBA) and 19 walks (12.5%) while striking out 24 (15.8%). Rodriguez actually held his own against lefties (.250 OBA), but struggled immensely against righties (.322 OBA).

It’s difficult to learn a new culture and language at midseason, and it’s possible that impacted Rodriguez’s results somewhat. Based on the numbers, he’s got good stuff but it’ll be his ability to command that stuff will impact what he can achieve. Rodriguez likely will return to the AZL Sox for 2020.

Honorable Mentions:
Isaiah Carranza did not pitch in 2019 due to injury, which is the second year he’s missed since being selected in the 12th round of the 2018 draft.

DSL White Sox

Ray Castro
165 pounds
Age: 22

Since signing a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers prior to the 2016 season, Venezuela native Castro has done nothing but excel in the Dominican League in both relief and starting roles. After enjoying a sensational 1.25 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 43 1/3 innings for the DSL Rangers in 2016, he began the 2018 season with the AZL Rangers. After a rocky three outings, he returned to their DSL squad where he continued to excel with an ERA hovering around 2.02. Then, on July 31, Castro was traded to the White Sox along with Joseph Jarneski for veteran reliever Nate Jones.

In three outings for the DSL White Sox, of which two were starts, Castro dazzled with a 2.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, allowing just seven hits and two walks while fanning 13 in nine innings. His combined stats with the DSL Rangers and White Sox were a 2.01 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over 12 games spanning 44 2/3 innings, allowing just 30 hits (.183 OBA) and 17 walks (9.2%) while striking out 45 (24.5%). Castro really hasn’t pitched many innings in his career, which may speak more to the depth of the Rangers DSL squad than anything else. That depth may explain why Castro was given so little leash in 2018, when he got off to a sluggish three-game start.

Due to his age, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Castro begin the 2020 season in Kannapolis as a reliever. He’d be way too old to begin next year with the AZL Sox, and Great Falls wouldn’t be beneficial to a pitcher whose ground out rate was less than 30% last year. Since he’s pitched less than 111 combined innings over his four-year professional career, it’d make the most sense to have Castro begin next year in a relief role.

Homer Cruz
175 pounds
Age: 20

Cruz, a native of the Dominican Republic, signed with the White Sox in October 2018. Cruz acquitted himself relatively well this year in his first season of professional ball, as he posted a respectable 3.86 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in his 63 innings. During that span, he allowed just 57 hits (.237 OBA) and 25 walks (9.3%) while striking out 65 (24.1%). Lefties were his bugaboo as they hit .278 against Cruz’s offerings; righties, however, hit just .208 against him. While his control wasn’t great, it was decent enough for his first year. At 53.6%, Cruz’s ground out rate was particularly impressive. Cruz should begin next season with the AZL White Sox.

Dionicio Jimenez
190 pounds
Age: 19

Jimenez didn’t have an especially great year, but he improved in nearly all areas from his difficult initial 2018 campaign. That year, Jimenez posted a 6.81 ERA and 2.12 WHIP over 39 2/3 innings as he relinquished 35 hits (.235 OBA) and a whopping 49 walks (23.7%) while fanning 46 (22.2%). This year, Jimenez improved to a 4.82 ERA and 1.45 WHIP as he surrendered 39 hits (.273 OBA) and 15 walks (9.2%) while striking out 30 (18.4%). Also, his ground out rate improved from 45.0% to 51.9% this year. By sacrificing a few more hits and fewer strikeouts, Jimenez improved his game by simply throwing the ball over the plate. It’s likely he’ll return to the DSL White Sox for 2020, but he could earn a promotion to the AZL White Sox later in the season if he continues to progress.

Francisco Benitez
187 pounds
Age: 19

While the aforementioned Jimenez improved from a difficult rookie campaign of 2018, the same cannot be said of Benitez. Last year, Benitez attained a 6.10 ERA and 1.80 WHIP over 38 1/3 innings by ceding 26 hits (.200 OBA) and 43 walks (22.9%) while striking out 43 as well (22.9%). For 2019, Benitez suffered through an even worse 8.06 ERA and 1.79 WHIP over 22 1/3 innings by allowing 19 hits (.238 OBA) and 21 walks (19.3%) while fanning just 14 (12.8%). What’s more, his ground out rate worsened from an already low 46.3% to an abysmal 26.7%. Benitez finished the season on the restricted list for undisclosed reasons, and if he returns to the organization in 2020, it’d likely be with the DSL White Sox for a third year.

Cristian Mena
180 pounds
Age: 17

Mena, who won’t turn 17 until December, could be next year’s right-handed version of Ronaldo Guzman for the DSL White Sox. Mena didn’t pitch for the DSL Sox this year, but should join the rotation in 2020. He struck out six of the 11 batters he faced at the Mejia Top 10 Showcase in Las Vegas, and threw 86-88 mph at the event with a devastating curveball, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America.

Honorable Mentions:
Erick Bello like Mena, signed with the White Sox in International Signing Day on July 1, 2019 and didn’t pitch for the organization. Little information is availabe about the 5´11´´, 170-pound Dominican native.

White Sox Minor League Weekly Update: Week 20

Wetting the beak: Andrew Dahlquist made his pro debut with a solid AZL outing. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)

Charlotte Knights — 2 GA in Wild Card, 1 1/2 GB in IL South Division

Yermín Mercedes: .346 BA, 3 HR, 8 R, 10 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K
Nick Madrigal: .333 BA, 1 HR, 6 R, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 SB
Luis Robert: .357 BA, 3 HR, 9 R, 8 RBI, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 SB
Danny Mendick: .400 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
Zack Collins: .528 BA, 4 HR, 8 R, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K **MVP of the Week**
Seby Zavala: .294 BA, 2 HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K
Matt Foster: 3 IP, 2.61 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9

Sheesh, what a week for the top prospects in Charlotte, as it seems quite a few of them are tired of being in the minors. The lowest batting average came from Seby Zavala (.294) and every single one of them hit a homer. Even Matt Foster, the hard-throwing righty reliever, did work in his three innings without allowing a run. Zack Collins took the cake, though, with his monster week at the plate. He batted better than .500 and clobbered four home runs. Seems like the catching trio in Charlotte is, well, too good for Charlotte.

Birmingham Barons — 7 1/2 GB in Southern League

Gavin Sheets: .333 BA, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K
Luis González: .211 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 SB
Luis Basabe: .143 BA, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K
Blake Rutherford: .278 BA, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K
Alec Hansen: 2 1/3 IP, 2.40 FIP, 3.86 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Tyler Johnson: 1 IP, 1.26 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Codi Heuer: 2 IP, -0.74 FIP, 18.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Kodi Medeiros: 1 IP, 1.26 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Blake Battenfield: 6 IP, 3.76 FIP, 7.5 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Lincoln Henzman: 12 1/3 IP, 2.85 FIP, 5.11 K/9, 1.46 BB/9 **MVP of the Week**
Bernardo Flores: 5 IP, 3.46 FIP, 10.8 K/9, 0.0 BB/9

It was not a great week for the Birmingham offense aside from Gavin Sheets, but the pitching though, they were good. Nobody in the top prospect realm, from starters to relievers, disappointed. Even Alec Hansen has had a good two-week scoreless stretch, and though his strikeouts are down, he’s not walking batters. The Barons also now have a trio of soft tossers all working well in the rotation. Lincoln Henzman had the best week of the three (Blake Battenfield and Bernardo Flores being the other two) with two quality starts, quite an improvement for him.

Winston-Salem Dash — 2 1/2 GB in the “Wild Card”

Steele Walker: .333 BA, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K
Andrew Vaughn: .318 BA, 4 R, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 2 K
Andrew Perez: 1 2/3 IP, 2.80 FIP, 10.8 K/9, 5.4 BB/9
Jacob Lindgren: 2 1/3 IP, 2.12 FIP, 11.57 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Bennett Sousa: 3 IP, 1.07 FIP, 15.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
Will Kincanon: 4 IP, 1.40 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9 **MVP of the Week**
Jonathan Stiever: 6 IP, 6.73 FIP, 4.5 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Konnor Pilkington: 4 IP, 2.40 FIP, 11.25 K/9, 4.5 BB/9

The top prospects just keep on doing well, no matter what level right now. Steele Walker and Andrew Vaughn might not have brought a ton of power this past week, but they got on base at a good clip and kept the strikeouts down. The pitching, especially from the bullpen, was otherworldly. Will Kincanon stood out among the rest with three scoreless appearances this week, two of which were for saves. He currently has a 1.70 ERA in Winston-Salem; why he hasn’t been promoted is a mystery to me, as he clearly should be.

Kannapolis Intimidators — 9 1/2 GB in SALLY Northern Division

Ian Dawkins: .261 BA, 4 R, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 SB
Lenyn Sosa: .167 BA, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K
Davis Martin: 5 IP, 3.28 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 5.4 BB/9
Jason Bilous: 3 IP, 9.48 FIP, 6.0 K/9, 6.0 BB/9
Sam Long: 11 IP, 2.39 FIP, 9.82 K/9, 2.45 BB/9 **MVP of the Week**

It seems like yesterday that the I’s had a plethora or top prospects, but alas, the old wave has crashed onto greener pastures and the high school draft picks from the past couple of seasons are not there yet. Ian Dawkins and Lenyn Sosa had subpar weeks at the plate, as did Jason Bilous from the mound. Davis Martin, who is interesting from a stuff and pedigree standpoint but has been up-and-down this season, had a good start this week. Sam Long was the clear best of the best. He had two great starts, including a six-inning scoreless outing. Since becoming a starter in June, Long has a 3.54 ERA with a K-rate near 30%, not too shabby.

Great Falls Voyagers — 6 1/2 GB in Pioneer League North Division

Harvin Mendoza: .357 BA, 1 HR, 2 BB, 2 K
Caberea Weaver: .455 BA, 3 R, 0 BB, 3 K **MVP of the Week**
Luis Mieses: .000 BA, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Karan Patel: 2 IP, 3.05 FIP, 4.5 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Caleb Freeman: 3 IP, -0.62 FIP, 21.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9

Once a few of these guys get promotions, the I’s will be a team to watch again. Harvin Mendoza and Caberea Weaver are guys who could and should make the jump to full-season baseball in 2020. Both had very good weeks (though abbreviated due to postponed games). Mendoza keeps showing his power stroke, as, don’t look now, first base has oddly become a position of strength in the Sox minor league system. Weaver is not having the year everybody expected, but he has started to put it together in recent weeks and it earns him the GFV MVP. Mieses, though his hitting has improved, will probably need more seasoning in the rookie leagues, unless something drastic happens in the last couple weeks. Freeman was promoted after dominating the AZL, and is now just as dominant in the Pioneer League — another young bullpen arm to keep an eye on.

AZL White Sox — eliminated from playoffs

DJ Gladney: .100 BA, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 7 K
José Rodriguez: .133 BA, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K
Logan Glass: .143 BA, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K
Micker Adolfo: .125 BA, 1 R, 3 BB, 8 K
Chase Krogman: .143 BA, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K
Bryce Bush: .000 BA, 0 BB, 1 K
Matthew Thompson: 1 IP, 2.24 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Andrew Dalquist: 2 IP, 5.74 FIP, 0.0 K/9, 4.5 BB/9
Jeremiah Burke: 10 IP, 3.64 FIP, 10.8 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 **MVP of the Week**

DSL White Sox — eliminated from playoffs

Benyamin Bailey: .133 BA, 3 R, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K
Yolbert Sánchez: .143 BA, 3 R, 5 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
Elijah Tatís: .333 BA, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
Anthony Espinoza: .385 BA, 4 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 0 K **MVP of the Week**
Ronaldo Guzman: 9 IP, 3.09 FIP, 12.0 K/9, 2.0 BB/9

White Sox Minor League Update: August 18, 2019

1-2 punch: Could this tandem be coming to Chicago sooner rather than later? (Laura Wolff|Charlotte Knights)

Charlotte Knights 8, Columbus Clippers 2

Matt Tomshaw (SP) W (3-1) QS 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K (4.39 ERA, 1.46 WHIP)
Zach Thompson (RP) 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (5.21 ERA, 1.39 WHIP)
Nick Madrigal (2B) 1-for-3, R, SB (3), 2 BB (.281 BA, .709 OPS)
Luis Robert (CF) 2-for-5, 2 R, 2 HR (11), 3 RBI (28), K (.306 BA, .997 OPS) **MVP**
Daniel Palka (RF) 0-for-3, R, 2 BB, 2 K (.268 BA, .923 OPS)
Zack Collins (C) 2-for-4, 2B (19), BB, K (.296 BA, .971 OPS)
Yermín Mercedes (DH) 1-for-5, 2 R, HR (14), RBI (50) (.307 BA, 1.029 OPS)
Seby Zavala (1B) 1-for-4 (.224 BA, .785 OPS)
Charlie Tilson (LF) 1-for-3, R, HR (3), 3 RBI (30), BB, K (.305 BA, .793 OPS)
Danny Mendick (3B) 2-for-3, R, HR (15), RBI (58), SB (19), BB (.283 BA, .828 OPS)

Corey Kluber pitched the first inning against the Knights, allowing two-out walks to Daniel Palka and Zack Collins but otherwise escaping the inning unscathed. Danny Mendick, however, did in fact scathe the Clippers’ Jared Robinson for a two-out, 432-foot solo bomb in the second to give the Knights an early 1-0 lead.

After Nick Madrigal coaxed a leadoff walk in the third, his teammate Luis Robert knew exactly what to do on this 2-2 pitch:

You notice I haven’t said anything about the vaunted Clippers offense to this point? That’s because Matt Tomshaw no-hit them for the first four innings. As they say, however, all good things must come to an end. The first two batters in the fifth got hits, with the first of them scoring on an RBI ground out. Tomshaw was able to get out of the inning without any further damage, leaving the fifth with a 3-1 lead.

That was soon to change, however, as Charlie Tilson’s war against Columbus saw him hitting this three-run torpedo into the Charlotte air increasing the Knights lead to 6-1.

An opposite-field blast by Yermín Mercedes extended the lead to 7-1.

Robert, unwilling to be upstaged by Mercedes, hit his second tater of the game against former White Sox catcher Dioner Navarro, of all people, to give the Knights an 8-1 lead. Though Zach Thompson relinquished a meaningless run in the eighth, the Knights came away with a very satisfying 8-2 victory.

As the score would imply, this was an excellent team effort. Tomshaw deserves kudos, and ordinarily MVP honors, for pitching a seven-inning gem allowing just one run and three hits while fanning four. Mendick, Tilson and Mercedes contributed homers, while everyone got on base via hit or walk with the exception of Ramon Torres. With that said, Luis Robert merits the coveted MVP on this day with his two-homer, three-RBI day — here’s hoping he can start another hot streak that’ll take him straight to the South Side!

Birmingham Barons 6, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 2

Lincoln Henzman (SP) QS, 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (5.78 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) **MVP**
Danny Dopico (RP) 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (2.54 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)
Alec Hansen (RP) 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (5.56 ERA, 1.97 WHIP)
Luis González (CF) 1-for-5, R, HR (9), 2 RBI (54) (.247 BA, .679 OPS)
Joel Booker (LF) 1-for-4, K (.253 BA, .634 OPS)
Blake Rutherford (RF) 2-for-4, R, 2 K (.261 BA, .666 OPS)
Gavin Sheets (1B) 2-for-4, R, 2B (17), 3B (1), RBI (74)
Damek Tomscha (DH) 1-for-3, RBI (23), BB, K (.279 BA, .754 OPS)
Ti’Quan Forbes (2B) 0-for-3, R, BB, 3 K (.247 BA, .673 OPS)
Zach Remillard (3B) 2-for-4, R, 2 K (.184 BA, .565 OPS)
Nate Nolan (C) 2-for-4, 2 RBI (14), K (.167 BA, .532 OPS)
Laz Rivera (SS) 1-for-4, R (.245 BA, .582 OPS)

For the first 3 1/2 innings, this looked to be another old-fashioned pitchers’ duel between Kolton Mahoney and Lincoln Henzman, as both teams were scoreless up to that point. The Barons, tired of such a duel, took matters into their own bats with one out and nobody on. Three singles, a Gavin Sheets triple and a walk later, and the Barons had a 4-0 lead after four. With the way Henzman was pitching, that appeared to be enough.

He did seem to tire a bit, however, in the seventh as he surrendered three hits to the first four bitters he faced, resulting in his only two runs. Although Danny Dopico came in and immediately allowed a single, he prevented the inherited run from scoring by fanning the next two hitters.

The Barons got those runs right back in the bottom of the seventh frame, courtesy of a leadoff single by Laz Rivera and a two-run blast to right by Luis González to return the four-run lead to the rightful owners.

Dopico and Alec Hansen finished the final two innings with nary a threat. It’s certainly a small sample size, but Hansen at long last may have finally found his groove. In his last four games spanning 4 1/3 innings, he’s relinquished just three hits and a walk while allowing nary a run to cross the plate. It’ll be interesting to see if the Sox decide to protect him prior to the Rule 5 draft this year.

This was a close MVP call, as there were many worthy recipients including Sheets, but Henzman earned the award this evening with his quality start and shutting out the Jacksonville lineup in his first six innings. Hopefully, this will be a harbinger for things to come for the young man. The Barons improved to 56-66 while the Jumbo Shrimp sunk to 61-64 with their loss.

Winston-Salem Dash 4, Potomac Nationals 1

Taylor Varnell (SP) W (1-1) 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (3.38 ERA, 1.41 WHIP), **MVP**
José Nin (RP) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (4.14 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)
Jacob Lindgren (RP) 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (0.73 ERA, 0.89 WHIP)
Will Kincanon (RP) S (8) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (1.70 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)
Tyler Frost (CF) 1-for-4, R, 2B (25), 2 K (.259 BA, .768 OPS)
Mitch Roman (SS) 2-for-4, R, RBI (17) (.289 BA, .696 OPS)
Andrew Vaughn (1B) 1-for-3, R, BB (.271 BA, .825 OPS)
Craig Dedelow (DH) 1-for-4, R, RBI (56) (.243 BA, .734 OPS)
Carlos Perez (C) 3-for-4, 2B (11), 2 RBI (32) (.264 BA, .647 OPS)
Jameson Fisher (LF) 1-for-3, BB, 2 K (.243 BA, .719 OPS)
Tate Blackman (2B) 1-for-4, K (.193 BA, .591 OPS)
Yeyson Yrizarri (3B) 1-for-4, 2B (17) (.220 BA, .557 OPS)

After allowing back-to-back doubles in the first inning which tallied the Nationals a run, Taylor Varnell was on top of his game.

The first rally the Dash were able to muster against 26th-ranked Washington Nationals prospect Jackson Tetrault was in the fourth, when Winston-Salem loaded the bases with two out via Andrew Vaughn and Carlos Perez singles with a Jameson Fisher walk. Unfortunately, a Tate Blackman fly out ended the inning without the Dash inflicting any damage to Potomac.

It looked like another shutout inning in the fifth, as the first two Dash batters made outs. Then, the Dash mounted a furious rally thanks to back-to-back hits by Tyler Frost and Blackman to tie the game 1-1. After a walk to Vaughn, Craig Dedelow pulled an RBI single to right to give the Dash their first lead of the game at 2-1. Not much for tight games, Perez ripped a double (his third hit of the game) to left that gave the Dash some extra insurance; the two-run double made it 4-1.

After than those back-to-back hits in the first, Varnell only allowed two baserunners in his subsequent 5 1/3 innings. What a terrific outing for the southpaw, who really should’ve been promoted to Winston-Salem much earlier than he was! Stellar work out of the bullpen by José Nin, Jacob Lindgren and Will Kincanon sealed the 4-1 victory.

There were several standouts in this game, which featured a well-deserved day off for Steele Walker. Perez was the offensive player of the day, as he went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, but the MVP honors for this game go to Varnell with his quality start. With the victory, the Dash improved to 65-54 while the Nationals fell to 59-64.

Kannapolis Intimidators 4, Lexington Legends 0

Sam Long (SP) W (7-5), QS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (3.30 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) **MVP**
Hansen Butler (RP) 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (3.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP)
Justin O’Conner (RP) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (1.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
Lenyn Sosa (SS) 0-for-4, RBI (33) (.236 BA, .622 OPS)
Ramon Beltre (CF) 1-for-4, R, 2B (22) (.215 BA, .573 OPS)
Alex Destino (RF) 0-for-3, R, BB (.299 BA, .859 OPS)
Tyler Osik (DH) 1-for-4, 2B (6), RBI (7), K (.256 BA, .755 OPS)
Corey Zangari (1B) 0-for-2, R, RBI (30) (.201 BA, .725 OPS)
Amado Nuñez (2B) 1-for-4, K, E (15) (.221 BA, .617 OPS)
Gunnar Troutwine (C) 0-for-2, R, 2 BB (.251 BA, .698 OPS)
Cameron Simmons (LF) 2-for-3, K (.220 BA, .578 OPS)

This game was another classic pitchers’ duel, as Sam Long and Jon Heasley were duking it out pitch-for-pitch in the first five innings, both teams combining for a measly three hits and no runs. That is, until the Intimidators half of the sixth. After Ramon Beltre doubled with one out and Alex Destino followed with a walk, Tyler Osik pulled an RBI double to left giving his team the long-awaited first run of the game. Corey Zangari followed with a sac fly, plating Destino with the game’s second run. Long was sent to the showers after this scoring barrage, having given Kannapolis a quality start by shutting down the Legends over six innings on just two hits and one walk while striking out seven.

Hansen Butler entered the game in the seventh inning, and was supported by runs over his two-inning appearance via an error and wild pitch, pushing the Intimidators to a 4-0 lead. Justin O’Conner, recently converted from catcher, struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth to seal the deal.

In what is the theme of the day, pitching was the name of the game for Kannapolis, as it surrendered just four hits and a walk while striking out 11 Legends on the evening. Despite stellar work from the bullpen and a two-hit performance by Cameron Simmons, Long definitely deserved the MVP with his six-inning, shutout performance. The Intimidators accelerated to 55-69 for the year while the Legends fell to 61-64.

Speaking of Long, he’s been on fire for the month of August. In four starts covering 22 1/3 innings, he’s posted a sensational 0.81 ERA and 0.76 WHIP by allowing just 12 hits and five walks while fanning 24.

Great Falls Voyagers vs. Missoula Osprey DH, postponed

AZL White Sox 5, AZL Mariners 1

Andrew Dalquist (SP) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Jeremiah Burke (RP) W (1-2) 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K (4.04 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) **MVP**
Trey Jeans (RP) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (2.45 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
McKinley Moore (RP) 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (5.82 ERA, 2.06 WHIP)
Mac Welsh (RP) SV (2) 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (0.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP)
Samil Polanco (2B) 2-for-5, R, K, CS (5) (.278 BA, .637 OPS)
Jose Rodriguez (SS) 1-for-4, R (.276 BA, .795 OPS)
Micker Adolfo (DH) 0-for-3, BB, 2 K (.192 BA, .767 OPS)
Bryan Ramos (3B) 1-for-2, R, RBI (20) (.253 BA, .724 OPS)
Anthony Coronado (RF) 2-for-4, R, RBI (11), K (.317 BA, .878 OPS)
Josue Guerrero (LF) 0-for-3, R, BB, 2 K (.214 BA, .630 OPS)
Sidney Pimental (1B) 1-for-4, RBI (3), 3 K (.143 BA, .427 OPS)
Daniel Millwee (C) 2-for-4 (.229 BA, .700 OPS)
Misael Gonzalez (CF) 1-for-4, 3 K (.197 BA, .487 OPS)

Andrew Dalquist, this year’s third-round pick, appeared in just his second outing tonight and pitched a nifty 1-2-3 inning. Though he’s done quite well in the extremely small sample size, it’s clear the Sox are treating Matthew Thompson and him quite delicately this year in order to avoid any unnecessary injuries.

The first scoring in this game came in the top half of the second, when the Sox scored the first two runs of the inning courtesy of a two-run single by Sidney Pimental, plating Anthony Coronado and Josue Guerrero. They scored the third run that inning in the strangest of ways (although perhaps not too surprising when you think of how the White Sox go about things): with runners on first and third and nobody out, Daniel Millwee bunted into a 6-4-3 double play but Guerrero actually scored from third on the play.

The Sox tacked on two more runs in the third, thanks to a sac fly by Bryan Ramos and an RBI single by Coronado. In the meantime, former Georgetown Hoya Jeremiah Burke totally shut down the Mariners offense from innings 2-6 as he relinquished just two hits and two walks while striking out eight — that’s what I call a relief performance!

The game remained 5-0 until the eighth, when McKinley Moore’s streak of wildness continue. In walking two batters tonight, which caused him to give up an earned run, he’s now walked 17 hitters in 17 innings. Fortunately, former Louisville Cardinal Mac Welsh got the inning’s last out to prevent further damage. Welsh returned for the ninth and earned his second save of the season.

While giving Burke the MVP for his yeoman’s work on the mound in relief, I want to give a special shout-out to Coronado, who’s been one of the few offensive standouts during the past couple of weeks. Since July 29, he’s slashed .406/.424/.688, which is quite impressive. With the win, the Sox improved to 19-31 while the Reds plummeted to 21-29.

In the five games played today, White Sox affiliates outscored their opponents by a combined 27-5 margin. In 45 innings today, only 25 hits and 9 walks were allowed while the pitchers fanned 45. For the record, the affiliates posted an amazing 1.20 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. Amazing stuff!