Late rally falls short as White Sox lose, 7-6

Hot start: Adam Engel hit a three-run homer in today’s loss, boosting his way-too-early spring OPS to 1.140. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)


It was a nice start — but an ugly finish.

After a scoreless first inning, the White Sox jumped out to an early lead thanks to an explosive two-out rally in the second. Jaycob Brugman led off that inning with a single and advanced to third on a pair of ground outs. Some timely hitting by Austin Romine put the White Sox on the board, as his single drove Brugman home. After Romine’s two-out RBI, Luis Basabe drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Then, Adam Engel (him of all people?) launched a three-run shot to cap off a four-run inning.

Considering Engel’s performance last September (.263/.317/.461, 106 wRC+) and this spring, Rick Hahn may have had a semi-reasonable (if you really squint) excuse for manipulating Luis Robert’s service time. Too bad you gave Robert that extension, Rick, but we’re glad you did.

Mainly thanks to starter Matt Tomshaw’s two scoreless innings, the score remained 4-0 until the bottom of the fourth. That was when Carson Fulmer allowed a solo homer to Bubba Starling. Fulmer pitched two innings and allowed one run on three hits, issuing zero walks and striking out one. In the third, he pitched around back-to-back singles to open up the inning to keep the Royals scoreless.

The White Sox maintained their 4-1 lead until the sixth, when a disastrous inning turned this game around. An RBI double by Ryan McBroom trimmed the Royals deficit to two, and a walk by Bubba Starling put the tying run on base with no outs. Zach Thompson replaced José Ruiz on the mound, and it appeared Thompson would strand the Royals baserunners after retiring the first two he faced. However, the next three Thompson faced reached base safely. An RBI single by Erick Mejia made the score 4-3, and after a walk, the bases were loaded. Kyle Isbel singled to put the Royals ahead, and due to an error by Basabe, all three Royals scored. By the end of the inning, the Royals led, 6-4.

In the seventh, two notable prospects were responsible for getting one of those runs back. Unanimous top 100 prospect Nick Madrigal led off with a single, and he promptly advanced to second on an error on a pickoff attempt. Basabe made up for his error by driving in Madrigal with a single to right.

Right-hander Bryan Mitchell allowed the Royals to get that insurance run back in the bottom half of the seventh. Mitchell retired the first two he faced that inning, but a double by Starling (yep, him again) and a single by Emmanuel Rivera gave the Royals a 7-5 lead.

In the eighth, Royals reliever Kyle Greene opened the door for a potential rally, as he walked Gavin Sheets, Zack Collins, and Carlos Perez to load the bases. With one out, Laz Rivera drove in a run with a groundout, but that was the only run the White Sox mustered that inning. As a result, the White Sox entered the ninth trailing 7-6. They had a scoring threat, as a single by Ramon Torres put runners on the corners with one out. However, the White Sox could not finish the deal, as Sheets struck out, and Collins grounded out to end the game.

The loss drops the White Sox’s spring record to 2-2. The White Sox will face the Mariners tomorrow at Camelback Ranch. That matchup will start at 2:05 CST, and Ross Detwiler will take the mound against Ljay Newsome.

Hitter’s Camp Day 3: batting cages

The sights and sounds of sweet, sweet baseball: Among the players featured at Hitter’s Camp in Glendale is Seby Zavala, shown here working on his swing plane. (Chicago White Sox)


White Sox TV presents some raw looks at several young players at Hitter’s Camp, including Blake Rutherford, Luis González, Danny Mendick, Seby Zavala, Micker Adolfo, Gavin Sheets, Luis Basabe and Yermín Mercedes.

Deep Dive: Charlotte and Birmingham center fielders

No. 1 with a bullet: Luis Robert, with a 30-30 season under his belt, is arguably the most exciting player in the White Sox organization. (@KnightsBaseball) 


“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

This list includes the three of the organization’s Top 12 prospects according to MLB Pipeline. Oddly enough, they all share the first name of Luis. Should we call this group “Tres Luises?” All have plus arms, good speed and decent power, although Luis Robert is the only one to consistently shine thus far. It’ll be fun to see how these three fare in 2020.

(age as of April 1, 2020)


Charlotte Knights

Luis Robert
6´3´´
185 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Right field, Left field

Age: 22

A native Cuban, Robert was easily the most sought-after player on the international market in 2017. After all, when playing for Ciego de Avila in the Cuban League earlier that year against players typically 10 years older, Robert slashed .401/.526/.687 with 12 doubles, 12 homers, 40 RBIs, 11 stolen bases, 38 walks (16.4%) and 30 strikeouts (12.9%) in just 53 games. When the White Sox ultimately signed him to a $26 million bonus (the second-highest in baseball history behind only Yoán Moncada), it sent shock waves throughout the country that the recently-minted White Sox rebuild was going full speed ahead. Was it the recruiting by the likes of José Abreu, Moncada and Ricky Renteria that won him over, or was it simply cash that was just slightly more than what the St. Louis Cardinals were offering? Perhaps a little of both. Robert did play for the DSL Sox that year for tax reasons, and did quite well (he missed significant time due to injury) in slashing .310/.491/.536 in 28 games with eight doubles, one triple, three homers, 14 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, 22 walks and 23 strikeouts.

The 2018 season was a difficult one for Robert. He was primarily hampered by thumb injuries during the year, and as most players can attest, it’s hard to do much damage when that’s the case. It’s not like Robert was atrocious; he just simply couldn’t hit with the power expected of him. For the year split between the AZL Sox, Kannapolis and Winston-Salem, he slashed .269/.333/.360 in 50 games with 11 doubles, three triples, no homers, 17 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, 12 walks (7.2%) and 52 strikeouts (25.0%). On an encouraging note to end the year, he played exceptionally well for Glendale in the Arizona Fall League as he slashed .324/.367/.432 in 18 games with two doubles, two homers, 10 RBIs, and five stolen bases.

To put it mildly, Robert played out of his mind in 2019. All he did in 19 games with Winston-Salem was slash .453/.512/.920 with five doubles, three triples, eight homers, 24 RBIs, eight stolen bases, four walks (4.8%) and 20 strikeouts (23.8%). After earning a promotion to Birmingham on April 30, all he did for the Barons (with half his games in one of the best pitching parks in the minors) in 56 games was slash .314/.362/.518 with 16 doubles, three triples, eight homers, 29 RBIs, 21 stolen bases, 13 walks (5.3%) and 54 strikeouts (22.1%). After laying waste to Double-A pitching Robert received a promotion to Charlotte, where he slashed .297/.341/.634 in 47 games with 10 doubles, five triples, 16 homers, 39 RBIs, seven stolen bases, 11 walks (4.9%) and 55 strikeouts (24.7%).

Combined with all three teams, Robert slashed an amazing .328/.376/.624 in 122 games with 31 doubles, 11 triples, 32 homers, 92 RBIs and 36 stolen bases while making fantastic defensive plays on the diamond. The only minor quibble is he walked only 28 times while striking out 129, but it’s hard to argue with that when his production was otherwise outstanding. This was Robert’s longest season to date and he seemed to only be getting stronger as the season waned. He was one of just two minor leaguers with 30-30 seasons (joining Houston’s Kyle Tucker). While I mentioned plate discipline before, it’s OK if he doesn’t walk too much provided he finds himself in good hitting counts. After all, he did slash .398/.545/.892 when he was ahead in the count this year.    

Needless to say, Robert deserved plenty of fanfare after such a terrific season. Baseball America, MLB Pipeline and MiLB.com all named him this year’s Minor League Player of the Year, and he was named the Double-A All-Star Game MVP earlier in the year as well. Now ranked third on MLB Pipeline’s top prospect list (behind only Tampa’s Wander Franco and L.A.’s Gavin Lux), Robert has all the tools to succeed at the next level. MLB Pipeline grades his running at 65, power and arm at 60, fielding and hitting at 55. His only weakness may be a lack of patience at the plate, which could be exploited in the majors; with that said, Robert is likely be the preseason favorite for Rookie of the Year in 2020. Of course, he may be held back for three weeks in April in order for the Sox to control him an extra year, but perhaps a preseason extension may resolve that issue.  


Birmingham Barons

Luis Basabe
6´0´´ 
160 pounds
B/T: S/R
Other positions played: Left field, Right field
Age: 23

For his 16th birthday on Aug. 26, 2012,  he (along with his twin brother Luis Alejandro) received a signing bonus from the Boston Red Sox as his gift. Basabe’s first two seasons in that organization were spent in the DSL, where the Venezuelan posted decent but unspectacular numbers. After playing in the New York-Penn League in 2015, Basabe started moving up the prospect charts in 2016 with Salem (A) and Greenville as he combined to slash .264/.328/.452 in 110 games with 26 doubles, nine triples, 12 homers, 53 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. Then in December of that year, Basabe was traded along with Moncada, Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz for ace hurler Chris Sale in a blockbuster deal.

In Basabe’s first year in the White Sox organization, he struggled with Winston-Salem at .221/.320/.320 in 107 games with 12 doubles, five triples, five homers, 36 RBIs, 17 stolen bases, 49 walks (11.3%) and 104 strikeouts (23.9%); the struggles were due in large part to a torn meniscus. At the end of the season, Basabe was added to the 40-man roster to prevent him from being snatched from another squad via the Rule 5 draft. The 2018 season was Basabe’s most successful in the White Sox system, as he combined with Winston-Salem and Birmingham to slash .258/.354/.445 in 119 games with 21 doubles, eight triples, 15 homers, 56 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, 64 walks (12.4%) and 140 strikeouts (27.2%). 

Injuries (Basabe broke the hamate bone in his left hand during spring training and lost more at-bats to a recurring quadriceps injury during the season) greatly impacted Basabe in 2019. As a result, he slashed just .246/.324/.336 in 69 games for Birmingham with 12 doubles, one triple, three homers, 30 RBIs, nine stolen bases, 29 walks (10.0%) and 85 strikeouts (29.2%).

Basabe is still ranked eighth among all White Sox prospects by MLB Pipeline, based more on talent than production levels at this point. If healthy, he certainly has significant tools as his running and arm are both graded 60, fielding 55, power 50 and hitting 45. Despite his low homer output (likely due to that hamate injury), Basabe does indeed have 20-homer power as evidenced by his blast off a 102-mph fastball from Cincinnati’s Hunter Greene in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. The biggest concern is Basabe’s bat, as like earlier versions of  Moncada, he strikes out far too often after taking way too many called third strikes. Like fellow Barons outfielder Micker Adolfo, Basabe is now down to one option remaining, which means the Sox would like to see what he can do. Expect him to begin the season with Birmingham, though because of his few options left, Basabe could begin with Charlotte instead. Even if Robert is the long-term future at center, Basabe definitely has the sufficient arm to play right field. 

Luis González
6´1´´
195 pounds
B/T: L/L
Other positions played: Right field, Left field
Age: 24

Born in Mexico, González payed high school ball in Arizona before playing collegiately with the University of New Mexico. He was a solid and consistent performer for the Lobos during his three years, and enjoyed arguably his best year as a junior by slashing .361/.500/.589 in 55 games with 22 doubles, two triples, eight homers, 42 RBIs, 14 stolen bases, 58 walks (20.0%) and 32 strikeouts (11.0%). Due to his consistency and the fact that he did a lot of things well, González was selected in the third round of the 2017 draft by the White Sox. Combined with Great Falls and Kannapolis, he slashed .236/.351/.348 in 63 games with 14 doubles, four triples, two homers, 15 RBIs, two stolen bases, 42 walks (14.0%) and 53 strikeouts (17.7%).

González enjoyed an outstanding 2018 split evenly between Kannapolis and Winston-Salem, as he combined to slash .307/.367/.498 in 117 games with 40 doubles, five triples, 14 homers, 71 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, 48 walks (8.9%) and 103 strikeouts (19.0%). However, like many of the other highly-rated outfielders on the Birmingham roster to begin 2019, González struggled badly out of the gate. Prior to the All-Star break, he slashed just .230/.288/.324; he did improve a bit during the second half by slashing a more respectable .266/.345/.397. For the year, González slashed .247/.316/.359 in 126 games with Birmingham with 18 doubles, four triples, nine homers, 59 RBIs, 17 stolen bases, 47 walks (9.9%) and 89 strikeouts (18.8%). Likely nearly every hitter on the planet, González fared far better with a favorable count (.314/.479/.600) than when he was behind (.216/.220/.263). Unlike many lefties, he actually fared better against southpaws (.263/.342/.361) than versus righties (.241/.305/.359). 

Despite his struggles this year, Gonzalez still ranks 12th among the White Sox prospects by MLB Pipeline. His throwing arm (60 grade) is easily his best tool, and would work especially well in right field. González’s run, hit and field skills are all rated average while his power tool is weakest (40 grade) despite the fact he clubbed a respectable 14 homers in 2018. Like many of the Birmingham outfielders last year, González is a borderline choice to begin the season with Charlotte. Based in part because three of those outfielders (Basabe, Adolfo and Blake Rutherford) are now on the 40-man roster, that may mean González will be asked to repeat in Double-A. Regardless, he should get plenty of at-bats with Charlotte before the end of the year.  


 

2019 Birmingham Barons season recap

Two top position players in the system: One team. (@BhamBarons)


To start the year, the Birmingham Barons were the most talented team in the Chicago White Sox system. They had top prospects up and down the roster, but they all fell flat for the first month (or, for some, the entire season).

Because the Barons were underperforming for at least the first month, their record was awful, at 27-42. Once some prospects got going in May, and reinforcements came up from the lower levels, the second half was much better, at 37-30.

Like the Winston-Salem Dash, the Barons also have a managerial prospect: Omar Vizquel. From fans, he seems to be the favorite in the clubhouse to takeover for Rick Renteria. Vizquel was one of the many interviewees for the Angels’ opening for manager that eventually went to Brad Ausmus. Though he did not get the gig, Vizquel seemed to enjoy being considered — but there was some cause for Sox fans to be concerned. He stated on the Talk Beisbol podcast that MLB.com transcribed, “I was surprised by a lot of the questions they asked me. There were a lot of sabermetrics involved in all of their questions. They’re apparently going far beyond what it means to be responsible and wise about the moves that you can make. They want someone who is very interested in the numbers and can weigh the percentages.” This apparent old-school approach is not a glowing look for Vizquel, but hopefully he took this as a learning experience to put to use with the Barons.

But it’s player time, and there are a lot of good ones who came through Birmingham.

Once Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal got to Birmingham, it was the talk of the White Sox prospect world because of how well both did. Robert was not as good as his High-A stint — it was almost impossible to be that good — but he still clobbered Double-A pitching. Robert slashed .314/.362/.518, for a 155 wRC+. He of course showed off a lot of power but also flashed speed, stealing 21 bases in 27 chances in Birmingham.

For Madrigal, his Double-A stint was what got some detractors to switch sides and support him as the South Side’s future second baseman. He hit .341, leading the team, and reached base in 40% of his plate appearances. Madrigal’s K-rate didn’t even increase, so his bat-to-ball skills are out of this world.

There were a couple other promotions for hitters, one good and one bad. Yermín Mercedes was the good one. He crushed in Birmingham, with a 157 wRC+, and fans started to clamor for a more fast-paced promotion schedule (didn’t happen). There was also no improvement on his defensive side, so Mercedes is kind of on the outside looking in as a prospect.

Joel Booker was the second promotion. For about a month, Booker hit .351 for the Barons and was looking like he could make it to Chicago. However, he was very bad with the Charlotte Knights, with just a 49 wRC+, and even lost playing time. Booker was eventually demoted back to Birmingham, but he was unable to save his season.

On the pitching side, there was not much movement, but a few arms of note did get a quick taste of Double-A before going to Charlotte. Three of those were relievers in Zach Thompson, Matt Foster, and Hunter Schryver. All three were great in Double-A, with Foster not even allowing a run in his six games and Thompson only allowing one in four games. Schyver was in Alabama a bit longer (30 appearances) and left a 2.77 ERA.

Kyle Kubat is the lone starter who got to Birmingham, after a promotion from High-A. He only needed eight starts to show he should be in Charlotte with his very good command/limited strikeout ability. As you will see in the Charlotte recap, the new ball took a toll on all of Birmingham’s arms when they reached the Knights. Now, on to the guys that finished with the Barons, and there were a lot.


Barons Bats

Because it took so long for Barons bats to get going, this one is a little different. First we take a look at Gavin Sheets, the only batter to end the year with the Barons and have a wRC+ of more than 100.

Sheets had a horrible April, but was able to come back enough to salvage his season; he also seemed to get quite motivated after the White Sox selected fellow first baseman Andrew Vaughn in the draft. Sheets ended the year with a 122 wRC+, and though his batting average was lower than last season, his power was better. Sheets hit 16 home runs, and 19 more extra-base hits. Those doubles he had last season basically turned to homers in 2019. He still doesn’t hit enough fly balls, but Sheets’ approach at the plate hasn’t changed. He still uses all fields and has a walk rate at 10%, with a better than average K-rate. Once Sheets gets a hold of the MLB ball, his power should skyrocket.

Second, here are the players that started out so bad that even much better play later in the year couldn’t eight their seasons. We start with Blake Rutherford.

Rutherford was awful for the first two months of the season, but his bat-to-ball skills helped lead him to a good finish. From June until the end of the season, Rutherford slashed .307/.364/.404 for a 122 WRC+. He really relied on a lot of singles, as his ISO was just .098, but Rutherford still got hits and got on base. The walk rate was decent (9%) over that stretch, but a 24% K-rate in Double-A when you’re hot is concerning. Rutherford will be in the AFL this season, to hopefully back up his good play in the last few months at Birmingham.

Luis González was also not looking the way he was supposed to for the first month. He did recover some, but it was an overall uninspiring year for the outfielder. Again, his best stretch started in June, but his success was not as good as Rutherford’s. González only had a 109 wRC+ from June until the end of the season … but there are some things that look better compared to Rutherford. González walked at about the same rate but he struck out far less, which is a good sign. González also did show some more power.

Luis Basabe had a tough year on the field and with his health. He only played in 74 games this season between rehab games and with the Barons. His power was down, plate discipline was worse and he only hit .246. Whenever Basabe looked like he was figuring it all out again, he would get hurt or slump. He finished the year with a 95 wRC+, which is not bad, but it was not the step fans and the organization wanted. Maybe it was because of the injuries, but 74 games is still a solid sample size to show something. This was Basabe’s second stint in Double-A, and a drop in production is concerning.

Then there was the outright poor seasons as Laz Rivera and Joel Booker floundered at a time to tell if they were real prospects or not. Booker actually started out very well as he hit .351 before being promoted to Triple-A. However, that was the high point, as Booker’s season tanked from there. He ended up losing his starting job in Charlotte and was eventually demoted. Unfortunately, Booker’s woes continued, and he could not get out of his rut.

Rivera was in Double-A the entire year, and was not inspiring. After hitting very well last season in both Single-A leagues, Southern League pitching seemed too good for the middle infielder. The power and batting average went down, and Rivera’s defense was not spectacular (14 errors in 102 games at shortstop).


Barons Pitching

Let’s just get the real bad out of the way here, the serious injuries! Dane Dunning was slated to be with the Barons but he had Tommy John surgery in the spring. Jimmy Lambert did actually pitch during the season before he too went under the knife for Tommy John. He was not all that great, but that could also be his injury talking. Zack Burdi was going through his TJS rehab process, but needed surgery again when he arrived with the Barons. This time the injury was not directly related to the arm; it was a torn tendon in his knee. Burdi was not very good before that, though, coming off time last season where his fastball velocity was way down. Burdi finished with a 6.75 ERA in 2019.

To the better news, kind of. Bernardo Flores did finish the season pitching, but he missed a huge chunk of it because of injury. That missed time probably prohibited him from reaching Triple-A to find out what he can do with a juiced ball. In 78 1/3 innings, Flores had his typical good ERA at 3.33. The strikeouts were up compared to last season (about a 7% rise) while the walks stayed near 4.5%. So it was a more impressive a season than 2018, but the injury really bit Flores and his development arc.

Lincoln Henzman had a down year compared to last season, but he also had injury troubles, though not as severe. He missed a few starts in April that set him back, and it took awhile for him to reach his 2018 level in High-A. Henzman’s last three starts at W-S were superb, but once he was promoted to Birmingham, those struggles resurfaced. Henzman will always have a low K and BB rate, so he will heavily rely on BABIP, and it was not kind in 2019. He had a .331 BABIP in Double-A, and that basically doomed him because Henzman does not have an out pitch. FIP and xFIP like him more because he has low home run, walk, and fly ball rates. However, in this case, ERA is more important, and Henzman’s was 5.56 to end the year.

Blake Battenfield and John Parke are the other starters to keep an eye on, though they do not have the prospect hype of Flores. Battenfield and Parke both started in High-A and earned their way to Birmingham. Parke was much better than Battenfield. He had a 2.59 ERA compared to Battenfield’s 4.52. Both will be in their age 25 seasons next year, so that is cause for concern because they are going up against younger talent. I cannot really make any sort of judgement on either player without them using the MLB ball. So next season in Triple-A will be big. Hopefully these older arms perform much better than, say, a Jordan Stephens.

The Barons actually had quite the interesting set of relief pitchers. Again, let’s get the bad out of the way first. Alec Hansen continued his struggles in Double-A, as his prospect capital just keep falling. He had a 5.45 ERA, with an 8.39 BB/9 — better than last season, but still awful.

Tyler Johnson did not have a bad season; he was just out for most of it because of a lat injury. He very well could have been in MLB at this point without the injury, but alas, he will settle for the AFL. Johnson finished his season with just 31 1/3 innings pitched for a 2.59 ERA (with the Barons, it was just 18 1/3 innings for a 3.44 ERA). Vince Arobio had a fantastic season, up until his final promotion to the Barons. Arobio had a 6.11 ERA in 28 Double-A innings after what was a breakout iILB season.

Now, to the much better and healthier years.

Codi Heuer, Bennett Sousa, and Kodi Mederios did their jobs, even if it came in a roundabout way in Double-A. Heuer was the most conventional. After his promotion to the Barons, he more or less served as Birmingham’s closer. He had a 1.84 ERA with nine saves in 13 chances. He has really risen up the iILB ranks quickly, after he was selected just last season in the sixth round. He has good command, but his strikeouts did fall drastically between High-A and Double-A — something to keep an eye on in 2020.

Sousa only pitched two games with the Barons, and didn’t allow a run. He will probably start 2020 in Birmingham, though he could be fast-tracked to the Sox if they do not have confidence in their other lefty relief options.

Finally, Medeiros. He started out the year in the rotation, and that did not work out at all. In 40 2/3 innings as a starter, Medeiros had a 7.75 ERA, with a whopping .333 batting average against. When he was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers last season, some theorized Medeiros will end up in the pen eventually, and he did this season to great success. In 42 1/3 innings in relief, Medeiros had a 2.55 ERA and a much better .164 batting average against, in fact, that is a fantastic number. On a more progressive team than the White Sox, Medeiros could easily be an opener option. With the three-batter minimum coming, a lefty that can go longer like Medeiros could be a welcome sight.


The Barons unfortunately will have a lot more retreads from their 2019 team for 2020. For some, 2020 might be a last gasp to capitalize on what prospect hype they have left, but the Barons should be a team everyone will be watching again. Hopefully it will not be with horror ,like it was for much of this season.

White Sox Minor League Update: August 30, 2019

Timely hitting: Luis Basabe got three hits and drove in a pair to help the Barons squeeze out a tight victory. (Michael Wade/Birmingham Barons)


Norfolk Tides 2, Charlotte Knights 0

Matt Tomshaw (SP): 4 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K (3.93 ERA) *MVP*
Danny Mendick (3B): 0-for-3 (.280 BA, .815 OPS)
Luis Robert (CF): 1-for-4 (.299 BA, .982 OPS)
Nick Madrigal (2B): 0-for-4, (.292 BA, .763 OPS)
Zack Collins (C): 0-for-2, 2 BB (.291 BA, .972 OPS)
Daniel Palka (DH): 0-for-3, BB (.265 BA, .912 OPS)

There was very little offense to be found in this game. Only Luis Robert, Damek Tomscha, and Ramon Torres got hits for the Knights, and all of them were singles. The Knights reached base a few more times via walk (one by Daniel Palka, one by Yermín Mercedes, and two by Zack Collins). But, the Knights finished 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, as they failed to cash in on any of the few scoring opportunities they had.

Knights starter Matt Tomshaw was the losing pitcher, but he pitched well enough to earn MVP. Tomshaw put the Knights in a good position to win, as he induced a lot of weak contact in his four innings of work, and he only issued one walk. However, his start went to waste, as the bats could not provide run support. One of the few highlights was this great catch by Danny Mendick in short left field.

Charlotte’s four-game lead in the wild-card race just … four days ago … has evaporated, and with three games left in the season the Knights have fallen back into a tie with the Durham Bulls.


Birmingham Barons 6, Biloxi Shuckers 5

John Parke (SP): 1 IP, 5 H, 5 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 K (2.70 ERA)
Luis Basabe (CF): 3-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 1 SB, 0 CS (.244 BA, .663 OPS) *MVP*
Blake Rutherford (RF): 1-for-3, 2 BB, RBI, (.262 BA, .676 OPS)
Luis González (DH): 2-for-3, 2B, 2 BB, 2 SB, 0 CS (.253 BA, .686 OPS)
Gavin Sheets (1B): 0-for-4, HBP (.271 BA, .765 OPS)
Joel Booker (LF): 2-for-3, BB, RBI, 1 SB, 0 CS (.255 BA, .646 OPS)

The first inning was quite chaotic, with both teams putting up a big, crooked number. In the top half, after the Shuckers had a runner on first (due to a fielding error by Laz Rivera) and two outs, the floodgates opened. The next six Shuckers reached base safely, as they scored five runs to take a big lead early on. However, the Barons answered in the bottom half. The Barons got three runs after two hits, a hit by pitch, and three walks. Two of those walks occurred with the bases loaded and two outs, and Joel Booker and Alfredo González drew those walks.

After his RBI double put the Barons on the board in the first, Luis Basabe had an RBI single in the fourth to reduce the Barons’ deficit to one. The following inning, Alfredo González tied it with a sacrifice fly to drive in Zach Remillard. In the sixth, an RBI groundout by Gavin Sheets put the Barons in front, 6-5. Despite finishing the night 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position, the Barons escaped with a close victory. The bullpen allowed zero hits and issued only one walk in eight innings of work. Hats off to relievers Kodi Medeiros, Tyler Johnson, and Danny Dopico, who did their jobs and then some.


Winston-Salem Dash 5, Lynchburg Hillcats 1

Taylor Varnell (SP): 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 5 K (3.38 ERA)
Craig Dedelow (LF): 1-for-4, HR (.246 BA, .749 OPS)
Steele Walker (CF): 1-for-4, (.272 BA, .777 OPS)
Jameson Fisher (1B): 1-for-4, HR (.241 BA, .716 OPS)
Johan Cruz (SS): 2-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI (.242 BA, .632 OPS) *MVP*
Mitch Roman (LF): 2-for-4, 2 SB, 0 CS (.280 BA, .681 OPS)

This game got off to a fast start, as Craig Dedelow hit an inside-the-park home run in the top of the first to give the Dash a 1-0 lead. The home run was Dedelow’s 18th of the year, all with the Dash. It also gave the Dash a lead that would remain until the bottom of the sixth.

In the sixth, the Hillcats got back-to-back hits to open their half of the inning, and a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Gavin Collins drove in the tying run. Fortunately, that was the only run the Hillcats scored against starter Taylor Varnell, or any Dash pitcher, for that matter.

The Dash took the lead for good in the top of the eighth. With the bases loaded, shortstop Johan Cruz sliced a double to right field that cleared the bases and put the Dash up, 4-1. The Dash would tack on one more in the ninth on a solo home run by Jameson Fisher. That was Fisher’s ninth home run of the season, all with the Dash.


Kannapolis Intimidators 4, Delmarva Shorebirds 3

Davis Martin (SP): 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 6 K (5.04 ERA)
Michael Hickman (C): 2-for-4, 2B (.208 BA, .620 OPS)
Ian Dawkins (CF): 0-for-4, BB (.298 BA, .756 OPS)
Alex Destino (RF): 1-for-5, (.295 BA, .843 OPS)
Cameron Simmons (LF): 2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI (.253 BA, .726 OPS) *MVP*
Tyler Osik (DH): 1-for-4, 2B (.271 BA, .888 OPS)

The Shorebirds put a big, crooked number on the board in the fourth to break a scoreless tie. In that innings, Intimidators starter gave up four hits (three singles and a triple), as the Shorebirds took a 3-0 lead. During the earlier part of this game, the Intimidators squandered a few scoring opportunities, and it appeared to be one of those games. However, things changed in a big way in the sixth inning.

After hits by Lenyn Sosa and Tyler Osik, Corey Zangari drew a walk to load the bases with two outs. That brought Cameron Simmons to the plate in a high-leverage situation, and Simmons delivered in a huge way. He launched a grand slam to put the Intimidators in front by a score of 4-3, and the score remained that way for the rest of the game. Relievers Lane Ramsey and Austin Conway pitched very well to shut things down in the latter part of this game.


Great Falls Voyagers 6, Billings Mustangs 4

Jason Morgan (SP): 8 1/3 IP, 4 H, 4 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 3 K (4.58 ERA)
Lency Delgado (3B): 1-for-5, RBI (.277 BA, .723 OPS)
Caberea Weaver (CF): 0-for-3, BB (.252 BA, .689 OPS)
Kelvin Maldonado (SS): 0-for-4, 3 K, 2 E (.260 BA, .611 OPS)
Sam Abbott (1B): 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI (.230 BA, .809 OPS) *MVP*

Both teams’ starting pitchers got off to very strong starts, as there was a scoreless tie entering the bottom of the fourth. That ended when Sam Abbott launched a two-run homer to break the ice. The home run was Abbott’s ninth of the season, and all nine have been with the Voyagers. Abbott had the only multi-RBI performance for the Voyagers in this close victory. This is also Abbott’s second straight MVP award from SSHP.

With the game tied at two in the sixth, the Voyagers put together a huge, four-run inning to take the lead for good. They used three hits, a hit by pitch, and an error to put themselves up, 6-2.

After an excellent performance through eight innings, Voyagers starter Jason Morgan ran into some trouble in the ninth, though his defense did him no favors. Two unearned runs crossed the plate, and Morgan missed out on a complete game, but he got the victory. Reliever Allan Beer came on in relief and shut the door, as he struck out Mustangs second baseman Jonathan Willems to end the game.

White Sox Minor League Update: August 23, 2019

Dirty Dedelow: Craig Dedelow went 4-for-5 with a home run to earn MVP honors in Winston-Salem’s 9-4 victory. | Winston-Salem Dash

High-octane offenses from upper-class affiliates highlight a 3-3 day

Charlotte Knights

The Knights’ game against the Norfolk Tides was postponed due to inclement weather. The game will be made up tomorrow after the originally scheduled game, which is now the first half of a doubleheader. That game will begin at 4:05 p.m. CST.


Birmingham Barons 9, Tennessee Smokies 3

Lincoln Henzman (SP): 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 5.56 ERA
Luis González (RF): 1-for-4, 2 RBI, BB, CS (15-for-24), .256 AVG, .691 OPS
Luis Basabe (CF): 2-for-4, HR, BB, RBI, .235 AVG, .642 OPS *MVP*
Alfredo González (C): 3-for-5, RBI, .245 AVG, .664 OPS
Joel Booker (LF): 1-for-3, 2 RBI, BB, SB (15-for-17), .249 AVG, .622 OPS
Zach Remillard (SS): 3-for-5, 2B, .215 AVG, .605 OPS
Blake Rutherford (DH): 0-for-3, BB, .261 AVG, .668 OPS

The Barons came out firing, as they raced out to an early lead and never looked back. In the top of the first, Luis Basabe hit a solo home run to put the first run on the board for either side.

Things only got better in the second inning, when the Barons hit five singles en route to scoring three runs and expanding their lead to four. In the third, the Barons blew the game open after taking advantage of a pair of defensive miscues. After back-to-back errors by the Smokies shortstop, the Barons scored three more on a double, single, and sacrifice fly. After three, the Barons had a commanding lead of 7-0.

On the other side of the ball, starter Lincoln Henzman pitched well in his three innings of work. He only allowed two baserunners, and both of those Smokies reached on singles.

The relievers were spotted a big lead, and they kept this game drama-free with a solid performance. Kodi Medeiros, Tyler Johnson, and Mauricio Cabrera combined for six innings and only allowed two earned runs (three runs total). Medeiros only allowed one run in his three innings of work, though he had to work around four walks. Control was an issue for him, as only 27 of his 57 pitches (47%) were strikes.

The Barons will face Tennessee again tomorrow, and that game will start at 6:00 p.m. CST.


Winston-Salem Dash 9, Potomac Nationals 4 (10)

Konnor Pilkington (SP): 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 8 K, 5.36 ERA 
Andrew Vaughn (DH):  1-for-5, RBI, .247 AVG, .764 OPS
Johan Cruz (SS): 3-for-5, RBI, .248 AVG, .659 OPS
Jameson Fisher (1B): 0-for-3, 2 BB, .241 AVG, .716 OPS
Craig Dedelow (LF): 4-for-5, HR, 2 2B, 3 RBI, .247 AVG, .747 OPS *MVP*
Carlos Perez (PH): 1-for-1, 2B, .267 AVG, .655 OPS

Despite a rough start, the Dash were able to finish strong in a thrilling win in extra innings. Starter Konnor Pilkington ran into trouble in the first, allowing a two-out, two-run double to fall into an early hole. Though it took some time, the Dash answered.

In the fifth, former Indiana University player Craig Dedelow, who ended up with four hits, launched his 15th home run of the season to cut the deficit in half. The following inning, the Dash took advantage of an error to score three runs to take a 4-2 lead. Andrew Vaughn drove in the tying run when he reached on an error, and Dedelow put the Dash ahead with a single.

Leading 4-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Dash brought in Will Kincanon on in a save situation, but he could not quite deliver. With a runner on first and two outs, the Nationals got back-to-back singles, and a walk with the bases loaded tied the game. Kincanon did, however, get a big strikeout to send the game into extras.

The Dash had a huge 10th inning, as they more than doubled their score by plating five runs on five hits. Johan Cruz had the decisive hit, as his single gave the Dash a lead that they would not relinquish.

The Dash will take on the Nationals again tomorrow, and the first pitch is scheduled to happen at 5:35 p.m. CST.


Kannapolis Intimidators 4, Charleston RiverDogs 2

Kevin Folman (SP): 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 5.40 ERA
Ian Dawkins (CF): 1-for-5, .304 AVG, .768 OPS
Alex Destino (LF): 1-for-5, HR, .302 AVG, .864 OPS
Corey Zangari (1B): 1-for-1, HR, 2 BB, HBP, RBI, .209 AVG, .764 OPS *MVP*
Tyler Osik (DH): 1-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI, .293 AVG, .940 OPS
Lenyn Sosa (SS):  2-for-5, 2B, .237 AVG, .622 OPS

After an early outburst from both teams, both teams’ pitching staffs settled down, and this turned into a low-scoring game. The Intimidators struck first in this one, as Tyler Osik hit a two-run triple in the third inning. His triple drove in Ian Dawkins and Lenyn Sosa, who reached on a single and double, respectively.

The lead was short-lived, as the RiverDogs got a pair in their half of the third. A two-run single by Charleston outfielder Josh Stowers, who finished 4-for-4, tied the game.

From that point forward, runs were very hard to come by. However, the offense we did see came primarily from Alex Destino and Corey Zangari, who both hit a solo home run. Zangari, today’s MVP, reached base safely in all four of his plate appearances.

Meanwhile, the bullpen was outstanding, as the relievers combined to pitch six scoreless innings. Declan Cronin, Lane Ramsey, and Austin Conway scattered only five hits across those six innings, and none of them issued any walks. As a result, those two solo home runs gave them all the support they needed.

The Intimidators will face Charleston again tomorrow, and that game will begin at 5:05 p.m. CST.


Missoula Osprey 7, Great Falls Voyagers 2 (7 innings, Game 1)

Sammy Peralta (SP): 3 IP, 5 H, 5 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, 2.96 ERA
Caberea Weaver (CF): 0-for-4, .253 AVG, .685 OPS
Kelvin Maldonado (SS): 2-for-4, SB (2-for-5), .258 AVG, .653 OPS
Ty Greene (DH): 2-for-2, HBP, RBI, .339 AVG, .796 OPS *MVP*
Jonathan Allen (LF): 0-for-3, BB, RBI, .261 AVG, .683 OPS

This game got off to a bad start, and the Voyagers never quite recovered in a tough loss. Starter Sammy Peralta had a forgettable outing, as he allowed five runs (four earned) in just three innings. Peralta got no favors from the defense behind him, as the Voyagers made four errors. Three of those errors occurred when Peralta was on the mound.

Ty Greene gave us one of the few highlights of the game, when he put the Voyagers on the board in the fourth with an RBI single. Greene ended up with two hits, and he reached base safely in all three of his plate appearances. Kelvin Maldonado also had a multi-hit performance, but the Voyagers finished with only four hits total. None of those went for extra bases. On to game two.

Missoula Osprey 3, Great Falls Voyagers 0 (7 innings, Game 2)

Chase Solesky (SP): 2 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 4 BB, 4 K, 6.75 ERA
Rigo Fernandez (RP): 3 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K, 4.65 ERA *MVP*
Caberea Weaver (CF): 0-for-3, .249 AVG, .674 OPS
Joshua Rivera (3B): 0-for-3, .200 AVG, .613 OPS
Ty Greene (DH): 1-for-3, .339 AVG, .790 OPS
Harvin Mendoza (1B): 0-for-2, BB, .306 AVG, .899 OPS

Though the Voyagers offense only managed four hits in game one, their bats were even quieter in the second half of the doubleheader. Needless to say, that is not a good formula to win a game. Once again, Ty Greene carried the load offensively, as he had the Voyagers’ only hit (a single in the second).

On the other side of the ball, things certainly went better, but it was not enough. Starter Chase Solesky had a rough outing, but the relievers pitched quite well, especially Rigo Fernandez. In three and one-third innings, Fernandez struck out eight (!) hitters and only allowed two baserunners (a single and a walk).

The Voyagers will get another chance against Missoula tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. CST.


AZL Reds 9, AZL White Sox 8

Justin Friedman (SP): 5 IP, 8 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 8 K, 5.17 ERA
Vlad Nuñez Jr. (RP): 2 IP, 7 H, 6 R (6 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 4.97 ERA
Logan Glass (CF): 4-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, .306 AVG, .803 OPS *MVP*
Micker Adolfo (DH): 1-for-4, HBP, .300 AVG, .979 OPS
Daniel Millwee (C): 2-for-4, BB, 2 RBI, .256 AVG, .741 OPS
Anthony Coronado (RF): 2-for-5, 2B, .323 AVG, .875 OPS

The AZL White Sox’s bats raced out of the gates, but this game simply got away in heartbreaking fashion. In the top of the first, the first two AZL White Sox were retired, but they still managed to plate five runs that inning. To get those runs, the AZL White Sox got four hits (one was a home run by 18-year-old Logan Glass), they drew one walk, and they took advantage of an error by the AZL Reds’ left fielder.

The AZL White Sox put another crooked number on the board in the third, when they got four more hits (all singles) and two walks. As a result, they scored three more to extend their lead to 8-0.

Unfortunately, it was all AZL Reds from there. The AZL Reds got two of those runs back in their half of the third. AZL White Sox starter Justin Friedman had three wild pitches that inning, and the AZL Reds took advantage.

In the seventh, the AZL White Sox still led by a score of 8-3. However, the wheels came off, and the AZL Reds put up a monster rally. Reliever Vlad Nuñez Jr. allowed a base hit to the first six hitters he faced that inning. The last of those hits was a go-ahead grand slam to put the AZL Reds up, 9-8. After the meltdown, Nuñez settled down to retire the next three batters he faced, but the damage was done.

The AZL White Sox could not make a late rally, so they fell by a score of 9-8. The AZL White Sox’s next game will be against the AZL Dodgers Lasorda squad at 7:00 p.m. CST tomorrow. That will be their second-to-last game of the season.


DSL White Sox

The DSL White Sox’s game against the DSL Blue Jays was postponed due to inclement weather, and its makeup date has not been announced. The final scheduled first pitch of the DSL White Sox’s season will be tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. CST.