Deep Dive: Winston-Salem and Kannapolis shortstops

Cannonball run: Lenyn Sosa is the second-ranked shortstop in the Sox system according to MLB Pipeline. (@KCannonballers)


“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

In A-ball, Lenyn Sosa is clearly the better of the two prospects, as he’s four years younger than Johan Cruz; he’s also the second-ranked shortstop prospect in the organization (behind only Yolbert Sánchez) according to MLB Pipeline.

(age as of April 1, 2020)


Winston-Salem Dash

Johan Cruz
6´2´´
188 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Third base, Second base
Age: 24

All the way back on Sept. 11, 2012, Dominican native Cruz signed with the White Sox. After a rocky start with the DSL squad in 2013, he got off to a great start upon his return to the DSL and soon found his way to the team’s AZL affiliate. The 2015 season saw Cruz move up they system’s prospect rankings (25th), as the 19-year-old slashed .312/.338/.442 for Great Falls in 65 games as he produced 17 doubles, six homers, 38 RBIs, 12 walks (4.2%) and 61 strikeouts (21.4%).

After a respectable if uninspiring injury-marred 2016 season in Kannapolis in which he slashed .255/.323/.371 in 65 games, Cruz struggled with his promotion to Winston-Salem in 2017 as he slashed just .218/.256/.350 with six homers in 75 games. Demoted in 2018 to Kannapolis, he continued his struggles at the dish as he slashed .227/.297/.286 with one homer in a career-high 91 games.

This year was a much better one offensively for Cruz. Beginning the season with Winston-Salem but ultimately demoted again to Kannapolis, he caught fire with the Intimidators, earning him yet another opportunity with the Dash. Combined with both teams, Cruz slashed .270/.342/.410 in 82 games with 18 doubles, one triple, seven homers, 38 RBIs, one stolen base, 31 walks and 79 strikeouts.

Cruz is an above-average defender with a utility/organizational-depth profile due to his relatively low hit tool and lack of game-changing speed. While he may be given the opportunity to begin the 2020 season with Birmingham, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see him return to Winston-Salem instead. Cruz will be eligible for selection in the upcoming Rule 5 draft.


Kannapolis Cannonballers

Lenyn Sosa
6´0´´
180 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Second base
Age: 20

It was easy for Sosa to get lost in the shuffle, as he was one of a nine-member 2016 International Signing Day class that included Josue Guerrero, Luis Mieses and Anderson Comas. Yet so far, it’s this Venezuelan shortstop (who signed for $350,000) who has advanced further than anyone from that class.

The Sox brass liked Sosa so much that he actually skipped the DSL and instead began his career with the AZL squad. For that team, in which he was nearly three years younger than league average, he slashed .270/.330/.358 in 42 games with four doubles, two triples, two homers, 23 RBIs, three stolen bases, 14 walks (7.8%) and 24 strikeouts (13.3%). Sosa continued his progress in 2018 with Great Falls as he slashed .293/.317/.406 in 65 games with 13 doubles, three triples, four homers, 35 RBIs, two stolen bases, seven walks (2.4%) and 36 strikeouts (12.4%).

This year, Sosa took a step back but still showed promise. In 122 games with Kannapolis spanning 501 at-bats, he slashed .251/.292/.371 with 35 doubles, two triples, seven homers, 51 RBIs, six stolen bases, 27 walks (5.0%) and 102 strikeouts (19.0%). He began turning on the ball in a tough ballpark for hitters, and while he still doesn’t walk a lot, provided glimpses that he could still have a future in a White Sox uniform. For example, when Sosa should have wearied at the end of the season (as he’d nearly doubled his career-high in games played), he slashed .429/.455/.714 over his last 10 games. Sosa did commit 14 errors at shortstop, which actually is quite good for such a young player — competing this year about 2 1/2 years younger than his competition — and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him begin the 2020 season with Winston-Salem. Sosa currently ranks 30th among all White Sox prospects, and second among the system’s shortstops behind only Yolbert Sánchez, according to MLB Pipeline.


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 31, 2019

Much-needed win: Odrisamer Despaigne pitched seven quality innings for the Knights, who now take a one-game lead over the Durham Bulls with two games remaining. (Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights)

Charlotte Knights 5, Norfolk Tides 2

Odrisamer Despaigne (SP) W (8-6), QS, 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, HR (3.47 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)
Jose Ruiz (RP) SV (7), 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (0.69 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Luis Robert (CF) 2-for-5, R, CS (3) (.302 BA, .977 OPS)
Nick Madrigal (2B) 2-for-3, 2 R, BB (.303 BA, .783 OPS)
Yermin Mercedes (DH) 2-for-4, R, 2B (10), HR (16), 3 RBI (58) (.300 BA, 1.001 OPS) **MVP**
Zack Collins (C) 0-for-2, RBI (74), BB, E (7) (.289 BA, .969 OPS)
Danny Mendick (SS) 2-for-4, 2B (25), RBI (64), K (.281 BA, .819 OPS)
Seby Zavala (1B) 0-for-4, K (.222 BA, .774 OPS)
Charlie Tilson (RF) 1-for-4 (.289 BA, .752 OPS)
Trey Michalczewski (3B) 0-for-2, BB, K (.232 BA, .715 OPS)
Ramon Torres (PR-SS) 0-for-1, R (.355 BA, 1.009 OPS)

After a one-out single by future White Sox second sacker Nick Madrigal, Yermín Mercedes ripped a double down the left-field line, giving the Knights a 1-0 lead in the first inning of this pivotal International League contest. Austin Hays of the Tides tied the game with a solo shot off Odrisamer Despaigne in the second. The game wouldn’t stay tied for long, however, as Mercedes hit a clothesline just over the left-field fence with Madrigal aboard to give the Knights a much-needed 3-1 cushion.

After a Jack Reinhemer sac fly tightened the score to 3-2, both starters knuckled down as the Knights maintained their slim, one-run margin until the top of the seventh. With Trey Michalczewski and Luis Robert leading off the inning with a walk and single respectively, Madrigal did the Sox-ish thing by sacrificing them over to scoring position. After the Tides walked the scalding-hot Mercedes to load the bases, Zack Collins grounded into an run-scoring fielder’s choice at second to give the Knights an important insurance run. Danny Mendick supplied yet another insurance run to give the Knights a 6-3 cushion, although Collins was gunned down at the plate trying to add a seventh run. Despaigne left the game after this seventh frame, but not without providing the Knights with a much-needed quality start and three-run lead.

José Ruiz pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and began the final frame by getting the first two hitters out — including former White Sox José Rondón. However, Ruiz loaded the bases by allowing the next three hitters to get on via two singles and a walk. Ruiz was able to induce Mason Williams to fly out to Robert, securing his seventh Knight save, and a tense one at that!

With a Knights victory and an extra-inning loss by the Durham Bulls, the Knights take a one-game lead in the International League standings with two games remaining. Several players came up huge in this game: Despaigne with his seven clutch innings, Madrigal getting on base three times via two singles and a walk (not to mention a pivotal sac bunt), Robert with two hits and a run scored and Ruiz. Mercedes merits the MVP for this game, however, thanks to his two extra-base hits and three RBIs which set the tone for this game. As an interesting side note, Mercedes now has 58 RBIs in just 51 games for Charlotte this season. The Knights stemmed the Tides by snapping their six-game losing streak, improving to 75-62. Norfolk dipped to 58-79 with their defeat.


Birmingham Barons 6, Biloxi Shuckers 5 (12 innings)

Blake Battenfield (SP) 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR (4.52 ERA, 1.37 WHIP)
Alec Hansen (RP) 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K (5.45 ERA, 2.02 WHIP)
Mauricio Cabrera (RP) 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (4.60 ERA, 2.04 WHIP)
Codi Heuer (RP) 2 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (1.84 ERA, 1.09 WHIP)
Luis Martinez (RP) W (5-2) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (4.26 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
Luis Gonzalez (CF) 0-for-3 (.251 BA, .682 OPS)
Luis Basabe (LF) 2-for-5, R, RBI (29), BB, 2 K (.247 BA, .667 OPS)
Blake Rutherford (DH) 2-for-4, R, 2 BB, 2 K (.265 BA, .682 OPS)
Gavin Sheets (1B) 0-for-4, RBI (83), BB, K (.268 BA, .760 OPS)
Joel Booker (RF) 1-for-5, R (.254 BA, .642 OPS)
Laz Rivera (2B) 3-for-5, 2B (22), 2 RBI (39), K (.252 BA, .615 OPS) **MVP**
Zach Remillard (3B) 1-for-5, R, 2B (2), 2 K (.227 BA, .635 OPS)
Alfredo Gonzalez (C) 1-for-5, R, K (.238 BA, .636 OPS)
Luis Valenzuela (SS) 1-for-5, R (.199 BA, .511 OPS)

This game started out as a pitching duel between Blake Battenfield and Brewer prospect Dylan File. That is until the third, when Luis Basabe pulled a single to right, scoring Alfredo Gonzalez with the first run of the game.

After the teams swapped runs in the fourth inning and went scoreless in the fifth, the Shuckers ended Battenfield’s evening with a triple and double to initiate the sixth frame. Control-challenged Alec Hansen entered the game tied 2-2 and promptly loaded the bases with a couple of walks. With the bases loaded and nobody out, things certainly didn’t look good for the home team. Hansen looked like he’d pull a Houdini act by fanning the next two batters, but his inability to find the plate cost him on a bases-loaded walk. An Alfredo Gonzalez passed ball proceeded to give Biloxi a 4-2 lead.

The game remained 4-2 until the bottom of the eighth, when Basabe scored on a wild pitch to slice the deficit in half. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Zach Remillard (who opened the inning with a leadoff double) eventually scored a run thanks to a botched grounder hit by Luis Valenzuela. Thanks to those two gifts by the Shuckers (along with solid bullpen work by Hansen and Mauricio Cabrera in the seventh and eighth), the game went into extras.

After a scoreless 10th frame, Codi Heuer allowed a run without courtesy of a hit in the 11th.: The opening runner on second advanced to third on a ground out, and subsequently scored on a meek RBI ground out to Ti’Quan Forbes, giving Biloxi the 5-4 advantage.

Would this be the end for the Barons on this night? Not if Omar Vizquel’s squad had anything to say about it! Laz Rivera promptly scored designated runner Joel Booker with a double to begin the inning, tying the game 5-5. The Barons were unable to tack on the winning run that inning, however, so the game remained 5-5 after 11.

After a stellar 1-2-3 12th inning by Luis Martinez to keep the game deadlocked, Gavin Sheets came up with the bases loaded and one out, and came through with a clutch, game-winning sac fly to finally conclude this marathon with a 6-5 victory!

As is typical for a comeback win, this was certainly a team effort. The bullpen pitched a whopping seven innings allowing nary an earned run, but their work was so evenly split it was difficult to come up with a decisive winner. Thus the winner would have to come from the offensive side in the name of Rivera, who collected three hits and knocked in two runs —including the game-tying double in the 11th. The Barons improved to 63-71, while the Shuckers slipped to an impressive 81-56.


Lynchburg Hillcats 6, Winston-Salem Dash 1

Zach Lewis (SP) L (6-8) 6 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (5.83 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)
Jake Elliott (RP) 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (4.83 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)
Steele Walker (CF) 0-for-4, R (.269 BA, .768 OPS)
Mitch Roman (SS) 0-for-4, E (11) (.275 BA, .670 OPS)
Andrew Vaughn (1B) 0-for-3, BB, K (.240 BA, .733 OPS)
Craig Dedelow (RF) 1-for-3, 3B (10), RBI (63), BB, K (.246 BA, .755 OPS) **MVP**
Carlos Perez (DH) 1-for-4, K (.260 BA, .633 OPS)
Jameson Fisher (LF) 0-for-4, E (.238 BA, .711 OPS)

The Dash drew first blood in this game, as extra-base machine Craig Dedelow slugged an RBI triple, plating Steele Walker in the top of the first. Not only does Dedelow lead the Carolina League in triples this year with 10, he’s also clubbed 21 doubles and 18 homers. The Dash retained their tenuous 1-0 lead until the bottom of the third, when the Cleveland affiliate mounted a two-out run rally to give them a 2-1 lead off Dash starter Zach Lewis.

The bottom of the fourth started ominously for Lewis, as the first three hitters got on base via a single, double and hit-by-pitch. It didn’t finish well for Lewis, either, as the Hillcats tacked on three runs that inning which extended the Dash deficit to 5-1. Aside from an unearned run allowed by Jake Elliott in the eighth, there was very little offense in the last five frames. This was especially true of the Dash, as a Carlos Perez single was the only hit aside from Dedelow’s first-inning triple in this game. It’s never a good thing to have as many errors as hits.

Nobody really stood out in this game for the Dash, so Dedelow wins the MVP of this game for the Dash with his RBI triple and walk. The Dash fell to 70-61 with the defeat, while the Hillcats improved their record to 62-71.


Delmarva Shorebirds 4, Kannapolis Intimidators 3

Jason Bilous (SP) L (6-10) 2.2 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 4 K (3.70 ERA, 1.39 WHIP)
Declan Cronin (RP) 3.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (3.70 ERA, 1.03 WHIP)
J.B. Olson (RP) 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (5.83 ERA, 1.58 WHIP)
Ian Dawkins (CF) 2-for-5, R, K (.299 BA, .756 OPS)
Lenyn Sosa (SS) 2-for-4, 2 R, HR (6), RBI (49), 2 K (.252 BA, .662 OPS) **MVP**
Alex Destino (RF) 1-for-4, RBI (61), 2 K (.294 BA, .840 OPS)
Tyler Osik (DH) 1-for-3, 2B (10), RBI (18), BB, K (.273 BA, .899 OPS)
Amado Nuñez (2B) 0-for-3, BB, K (.205 BA, .579 OPS)
Gunnar Troutwine (C) 1-for-3, BB, K (.244 BA, .692 OPS)

With one out and nobody on in the first, Lenyn Sosa hammered his sixth homer of the season, giving the Intimidators an early 1-0 lead. Sosa’s enjoyed an above-average ending to his 2019 season, as his slash line was .307/.357/.421 prior to this game since the calendar flipped to August. Jason Bilous’ control evaporated in the bottom of the third, as four walks and a single among the first six batters is always a foreboding sign. Alas, a fifth walk in the inning plated the third Shorebirds run of the frame and presented the opportunity for Bilous to take an early shower. Somehow, throwing just 24-of-59 pitches for strikes doesn’t often get the job done. Fortunately, 36th-round pick Declan Cronin extinguished the fire and kept the score at a manageable 3-1.

Aside from a run in the fourth, Cronin did a yeoman’s job in keeping the Intimidators in the game. Unfortunately, his offense was nonexistent, as it couldn’t even tally a run in the seventh when the Shorebirds graciously handed them three free passes.

After a scoreless eighth inning thrown by J.B. Olson, the Intimidators went to work in the bottom half. Three singles and a double to begin the inning reduced the deficit to 4-3, with runners on scoring position and nobody out. However, strikeouts to Corey Zangari, Cameron Simmons and Amado Nuñez ignominiously ended the inning without any further damage.

Olson returned for the eighth, and held Delmarva scoreless with another solid inning of work. Each of the three hitters fanned in the ninth, however, as the Intimidators lost a tough one at 4-3, their hitters finishing the game with six strikeouts. Bilous’ wildness in the third inning, along with the inability to get the clutch hits in the seventh and eighth frames, provided the demise of Kannapolis in this contest. Cronin and Olson were excellent out of the bullpen this evening, but Sosa was the MVP of this one with his two hits (including his sixth homer of the year). The Shorebirds soared to an incredible 89-47 record, while the Intimidators fell to 10 games under at 63-73.


Great Falls Voyagers 8, Billings Mustangs 7

Dan Metzdorf (SP) 2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (3.55 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
Kaleb Roper (RP) 3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (2.81 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Nate Pawelczyk (RP) 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (3.96 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)
Karan Patel (RP) 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (4.02 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)
Sammy Peralta (RP) 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (2.63 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)
Caberea Weaver (CF) 0-for-4, R, K (.248 BA, .680 OPS)
Luis Curbelo (DH) 4-for-5, 4 R (.259 BA, .741 OPS) **MVP**
Luis Mieses (RF) 0-for-5, 2 R, K (.238 BA, .617 OPS)
Lency Delgado (3B) 2-for-4, R, 3 RBI (31), K, E (15) (.282 BA, .731 OPS)
Sam Abbott (1B) 1-for-4, 2 RBI (27), BB, K, E (6) (.231 BA, .806 OPS)
Ivan Gonzalez (C) 1-for-3, 2 RBI (3), K, E (3) (.233 BA, .559 OPS)
Anderson Comas (LF) 2-for-4, RBI (33), 2 K (.240 BA, .651 OPS)

The normally reliable Dan Metzdorf got off to a rocky start in this one, as he relinquished three runs in the opening frame thanks to a single, three doubles and a walk. The Voyagers, however, got back two of those runs courtesy of a two-run single by Lency Delgado. Metdorf was unable to stifle the Mustangs in the second, however, as a two-out single increased the Billings lead to 4-2. Billings added an insurance in the fourth off Kaleb Roper, increasing their lead to three runs. The Voyagers narrowed the deficit to 5-4, however, as Ivan Gonzalez clubbed a two-run single in the bottom of that frame.

Kaleb Roper relinquished a run in the fourth, but it wasn’t entirely his fault as Gonzalez committed a throwing error trying to gun down a runner at third on a stolen base attempt. Aside from that minor blemish, Roper did a terrific job keeping the Voyagers within fighting distance. In the meantime, Great Falls evened the score at 6-6 during the bottom half of the fifth thanks to an RBI ground out and an RBI single by Anderson Comas.

Billings, seemingly offended by Great Falls tying the game up, immediately scored a run in the sixth off Nate Pawelczyk to regain the advantage. Thanks to some solid bullpen work by both teams, the game remained that way until two outs in the ninth inning, when Lency Delgado blooped a clutch RBI single to plate Caberea Weaver with the game-tying run. Not to be outdone, Sam Abbott pulled a single to right, which scored Luis Curbelo with the game-winner!

What an exciting win for a team that’s had more ups than downs this season. As mentioned in the Birmingham game, it’s usually a team effort when a team achieves a come-from-behind victory like this one. The bullpen (all selected in this year’s MLB draft) certainly deserves kudos for keeping the team in the game, while Delgado and Abbott contributed clutch hits in the final frame. The true MVP of this game is Curbelo, however, with four hits and an equal number of runs scored, including the game-winner. He’s certainly had a difficult 2019, but here’s hoping that a great finish this year could lead to a resurgent 2020 for the young man. Honorable mention goes to Delgado with two hits and 3 RBI., including the game-tying run in the ninth.

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.