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
6´5´´
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
6´3´´
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
6´3´´
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
6´6´´
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
6´3´´
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
6´1´´
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
6´2´´
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
5´11´´
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
6´6´´
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
6´3´´
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
6´0´´
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
6´4´´
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
6´2´´
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
6´3´´
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.

2019 AZL White Sox season recap

Young guns: It was an inspiring year for the AZL White Sox, in spite of a mediocre record. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)

The AZL is always a fun league to keep an eye on. It is filled with first-time professionals, first-timers living in the United States, and full of teenagers. So, pretty much sounds like the current federal government’s worse nightmare, but for normal folk, it is full of fun and future promise.

At 22-34, finishing 11-17 in both halves of the season, the AZL Sox were not as good a team as in 2018, but that doesn’t mean they were short on talent.

Not helping matters is that some talent started in Arizona, then left — with true promotions, not just rehab assignments. For example, Andrew Vaughn left after just a couple of games where he clobbered his first professional homer.

The other position players from the 2019 draft to get a promotion have come with much less fanfare, but it was still talent leaving Arizona for Montana. The eighth round selection, Ivan Gonzalez, left after a 1.113 OPS in 10 games. Another catcher, Jakob Goldfarb, also got a promotion, along with the a pair of draft picks from the last few rounds, Jonathan Allen and Tom Archer. Tyler Osik, the 27th round selection, received a much-deserved promotion, even skipping a level and currently still raking in Kannapolis.

On the pitching side, the big promotions were courtesy of Avery Weems and Caleb Freeman. Weems was an important promotion, because he was a sixth round selection and how well he has done in both rookie leagues. He left the AZL with a nice 0.69 ERA, and ended his rookie league season on Tuesday night with a 1.64 ERA in 49 1/3 innings.

Freeman, because of his overslot bonus, is notable. He is a reliever, which isn’t necessarily a great thing at this stage for a post-10th round selection, but the Sox paid up for him and he did well after signing. He left the AZL with a 2.63 ERA — and lowered it with Great Falls after not allowing a run in five appearances.

Other pitchers to receive promotions were Sammy Peralta (who ended the year with Great Falls); Hansen Butler (promoted twice and is still pitching in Kannapolis); Declan Cronin (still pitching in Kannapolis); and finally the catcher-turned-pitcher, Justin O’Conner, who was great in the AZL and is now with Kannapolis as he still transitions to pitching.

There were also several rehab assignments from MLB players to higher level MiLB players. There were two that finished the AZL season still on the roster in Bryce Bush and Micker Adolfo. Though they still could join another MiLB team, odds are both will be in the AFL, or their 2019 season is over.

Now, time to get to the guys that starter and ended their respective seasons with the AZL Sox.


The high-schoolers

The White Sox did a weird thing in this draft — well, weird for them. They selected quite a few high-schoolers, and gave them a whole lot of money. First, the pitchers, because they have the most draft and monetary capital. Matthew Thompson and Andrew Dalquist were selected in the second and third rounds, respectively, and didn’t play much in their first professional stints. Thompson appeared in two games and threw a couple of innings. Dalquist did just a bit more and pitched in three games, one inning apiece. There is not much to glean from them yet, but they are going to be top prospects going forward.

Already, Thompson is rated sixth on the White Sox by Baseball America, 13th by FanGraphs, and 14th by MLB Pipeline among prospects.

For Dalquist, he is rated seventh by Baseball America, 14th by FanGraphs, and 15th by MLB Pipeline.

For the hitters, there were quite a few high school draftees. DJ Gladney led the way, starting out as hot as hot one could be. Fans even started to clamor for a Bryce Bush-type promotion schedule during his opening 2018 season. However, Gladney did not end his first pro stint well, mostly because of some plate discipline issues. He struck out 37.3% of the time and didn’t walk enough to make up for it. He showed some pop with eight homers, but he will not be on the fast track anytime soon.

On the other side of value, monetary, James Beard led the way, though he was under-slot for the 110th selection. The speed is what people and scouts know about Beard — in fact, MLB Pipeline gives him an 80 grade for speed. Beard did show some speed, with nine stolen bases, but really was not successful besides that. He hit .213 and two homers in 138 plate appearances. He will probably be back in the AZL to start his 2020 season.

The other high school draftees received around the same bonus but obviously, some are known or more highly regarded than the other. Logan Glass and Chase Krogman are among the more well known, but they also did not play that often. Glass, who was the best hitter among the high-schoolers, only had 73 plate appearances while Krogman had 22. Catcher Victor Torres and another outfielder, Misael Gonzalez, round out the high school bats, and expect all four of these batters to be back in the AZL in 2020.

International free agents

The pitching end for the AZL Sox from the international pool is none other than a DSL recap highlight, Luis Rodriguez. As already stated, he deserved the promotion but did not do well in his first stint in the U.S. On the hitting side though, a couple players did very well, including Jose Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is around the same age as the high school draftees, so he is age appropriate for the AZL, and it was sort of a breakout campaign. He slashed .293/.328/.505. The average and walk rate was fairly similar to his time in the DSL last season, but Rodriguez’s power came out. He hit nine home runs and 19 total extra-base hits for a .213 ISO. Not only was this power breakout unexpected this season, it was not really ever expected from a middle infielder who stands 5´11´´ and 175 pounds. At the very least, he should be in the Pioneer League next season and hopefully he appears in full-season ball by the end of theyear. He still has a lot to prove, mostly in terms of showing that power again in 2020.

Bryan Ramos was the youngest player on the AZL roster, and even skipped time in the DSL in favor of Arizona. He was one of the better hitters on the AZL roster this season, and showed good bat-to-ball skills with a .277 batting average. He showed an advanced batter’s eye for his age (a shade younger than 17.5 years old). He had an 8.7% BB-rate and a not too terrible K-rate. He primarily played third base this season with a few games at first, but at this time it is impossible to tell what Ramos could be in the future. All said, his first pro-ball experience was a positive one.

Just one more rookie league to look back on, but the Great Falls Voyagers are the last MiLB team to finish up their regular season. So a bit more known and definitely older players will soon have their years dissected. Also, a special thanks to our Sean Williams for all the pictures and video.

White Sox Minor League Update: August 22, 2019

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

Charlotte Knights 4, Durham Bulls 2

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

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


Birmingham Barons 6, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 0

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

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


Winston-Salem 9, Lynchburg Hillcats 4

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

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


Rome Braves 14, Kannapolis Intimidators 4

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

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


Great Falls Voyagers 7, Missoula Osprey 6 (10)

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

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


AZL White Sox 16, AZL Brewers 15

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

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


DSL Dbacks 6, DSL White Sox 2

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

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

White Sox Minor League Update: August 17, 2019

Money in the bank: Tanner Banks held down the Mississippi Braves led the Barons to a one-hit shutout. Hannah Stone | @Bham Barons

Charlotte Knights 7, Columbus Clippers 6, Game 1

Dylan Covey (SP) W (1-1) 5 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR (3.51 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)
Hunter Schryver (RP) 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (9.64 ERA, 1.93 WHIP)
Jose Ruiz (RP) SV (4) 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (1.17 ERA, 0.91 WHIP)
Nick Madrigal (2B) 1-for-4, RBI (8) (.279 BA, .692 OPS)
Yoán Moncada (3B) 2-for-4, RBI (1) (.333 BA, .666 OPS)
Luis Robert (CF) 0-for-4 (.303 BA, .963 OPS)
Daniel Palka (RF) 1-4, 2 R, HR (25), RBI (66), K (.273 BA, .935 OPS)
Zack Collins (C) 2-3, 2 R, 2B (18), BB (.294 BA, .968 OPS)
Yermín Mercedes (DH) 1-2, R, HR (13), 3 RBI (49), BB (.317 BA, 1.049 OPS) **MVP**
Charlie Tilson (LF) 1-for-3, R, 2B (10), CS (3) (.310 BA, .787 OPS)
A.J. Reed (1B) 1-for-3, R, RBI (2), K (.158 BA, .589 OPS)
Danny Mendick (SS) 1-for-3, K (.279 BA, .814 OPS)

It was a scoreless game until the bottom of the second, thanks in part due to the outstanding 6-4-3 double play seen below.

Daniel Palka decided he had enough of this scoreless game, and took it out on old friend Jordan Stephens to give his team an early 1-0 lead.

The Clippers scored a run in the top half of the third off Dylan Covey to even the score, 1-1. Covey had difficulties the second time through the lineup (where have we heard this before?), as a Bobby Bradley solo bomb (his 30th), RBI double by Daniel Johnson and RBI single by Eric Stamets gave Columbus a 4-1 lead in the fourth. The Knights answered back in the bottom of the fourth with RBI singles by A.J. Reed, Nick Madrigal and the rehabbing Yoán Moncada to even the game 4-4. Gotta love those fours!

Alas, a solo shot by Ka’ai Tom in the top of the fifth returned the lead to Columbus. Needless to say on this night, leads didn’t last long. After Palka grounded into an error by Bradley to lead off the bottom half of the fifth followed by a patented Zack Collins walk, Yermín Mercedes did this, as is his wont, to give the Knights a 7-5 lead:

Unfortunately for Stephens, his start tonight finished about the same as his other starts had this year at BB&T Ballpark. Now the question of the day: Will Charlottes small lead hold up? The Clippers added a run in the top of the sixth off of struggling southpaw Hunter Schryver to narrow the gap to 7-6, and the Knights were scoreless in the bottom half.

With the Knights playing a doubleheader, both games are seven innings. Recently-demoted José Ruiz came in to shut the door against the heart of the Clippers lineup — including three of Cleveland’s Top 30 prospects per MLB Pipeline (No. 7 Bradley, No. 11 Yu Chang and No. 16 Johnson). Ruiz fanned the first two batters, and after surrendering a Johnson single, induced the next hitter to earn a well-deserved save.

Covey didn’t pitch well tonight, but earned the win in part because he didn’t allow any free passes. Credit for the victory, aside from Ruiz’s effort, was Charlotte’s offense. While all but Luis Robert contributed to the result offensively, the star of the game was Mercedes, who gave them the lead they wouldn’t relinquish.


Columbus Clippers 3, Charlotte Knights 2, Game 2

Colton Turner (SP) 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (5.63 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) **MVP**
Connor Walsh (RP) 2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K (4.43 ERA, 1.43 WHIP)
Juan Minaya (RP) L (4-2) 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (3.68 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
Danny Mendick (2B) 1-for-2, BB (.280 BA, .816 OPS)
Yoán Moncada (DH) 1-for-3, R, HR (1), RBI (2), 2 K (.333 BA, .916 OPS)
Seby Zavala (1B) 0-for-1, R, BB (.224 BA, .790 OPS)
Nick Madrigal (PR) 0-0, CS (2) (.279 BA, .692 OPS)
Trey Michalczewski (3B) 1-for-3, 2B (3), K, E (4) (.246 BA, .745 OPS)
Paulo Orlando (LF) 0-for-2, E (4) (.242 BA, .725 OPS)
Zack Collins (PH) 0-for-1, K (.293 BA, .965 OPS)
Ramon Torres (SS) 0-for-2, RBI (13) (.500 BA, 1.455 OPS)

This game was a makeup for a rainout in Columbus earlier this year, and as such, the Knights were considered the road team despite playing the game in the beautiful confines of Charlotte. In what’s essentially a bullpen game, Colton Turner pitched the first three innings and was splendid — allowing just two runners while striking out two. He left the game with a 1-0 lead, thanks to a solo shot by Yoán Moncada.

Unfortunately for the Knights, Connor Walsh gave up solo tallies in the fourth and fifth by relinquishing a total of five hits in his two innings. He limited the damage, however, thanks to his four strikeouts and allowing no walks. Aside from the Moncada homer and a sixth-inning RBI groundout by Ramon Torres, there was very little offense for the Knights in this game as three of their biggest bats (Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal, Zack Collins) didn’t get the start in this one.

Columbus scored what turned out to be the winning run in the bottom of the sixth, with a Yu Chang single followed by an RBI double from Daniel Johnson to give the Clippers a 4-3 lead. The Knights tried to mount a rally in the seventh, but with one out, pinch-running Madrigal was thrown out trying to steal second. Collins, pinch-hitting for Paulo Orlando, struck out to end the game.

It’d be easy to give Moncada the MVP with his solo bomb, but Colton Turner did everything he could to help the Knights sweep the Clippers. Because he left the game with the lead and allowed just two baserunners in his three innings, he barely wins out over Moncada for that most coveted of awards. The Knights dropped to 68-56 with the loss, while the Clippers improved to 71-53.


Birmingham Barons 3, Mississippi Braves 0

Tanner Banks W (2-7) 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (4.80 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) **MVP**
Luis Martinez SV (4) 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (4.77 ERA, 1.34 WHIP
Luis González 1-for-3, BB, K, SB (13) (.248 BA, .675 OPS)
Joel Booker 1-for-4 (.253 BA, .636 OPS)
Damek Tomscha 1-for-4, R, RBI (22) (.277 BA, .752 OPS)
Gavin Sheets 1-for-3, RBI (73), BB, 2 K (.272 BA, .762 OPS)
Ti’Quan Forbes 1-for-4, RBI (37), 2 K (.249 BA, .676 OPS)
Luis Basabe 0-for-3, BB, 2 K (.238 BA, .639 OPS)
Nate Nolan 1-for-4, R, 3 K (.156 BA, .518 OPS)
Luis Valenzuela 1-for-3, R, BB, 2 SB (2) (.191 BA, .499 OPS)

The game was scoreless until the top of the third, when Nate Nolan and Luis Valenzuela singled to begin the inning. After Luis González struck out and Joel Booker popped out, it appeared the rally would come to an end. But wait! Three straight clutch RBI singles by Damek Tomscha, Gavin Sheets and Ti’Quan Forbes gave the Barons a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 lead.

Tanner Banks was exemplary in protecting that 3-0 lead. He possibly could’ve gone longer, as it took only 82 pitches for him to complete his seven innings. It certainly helped his cause that 62 of those pitches were strikes, and it was especially good to see him rebound after a string of disappointing outings.

The Barons couldn’t mount any serious damage after the third inning, but it didn’t really matter, due to the stellar pitching of Banks and reliever Luis Martinez, who pitched two innings of hitless relief. With the win, the Barons improved to 55-66 while the Braves fell to 58-65. With seven innings allowing just a hit and a walk while fanning five, Banks is the no-brainer MVP choice for this game.


Potomac Nationals 4, Winston-Salem Dash 3

Manny Bañuelos (SP) 4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, HR (3.86 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
Jake Elliott (RP) 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (4.87 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)
Bennett Sousa (RP) L (1-3) 2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Steele Walker (CF) 2-for-5, 2B (23), RBI (45) (.285 BA, .800 OPS)
Tyler Frost (RF) 1-for-5 (.259 BA, .768 OPS)
Andrew Vaughn (DH) 0-for-3, BB (.268 BA, .823 OPS)
Craig Dedelow (LF) 1-for-4, 2 K, CS (5) (.243 BA, .737 OPS)
Carlos Perez (C) 1-for-4 (.257 BA, .632 OPS)
Jameson Fisher (1B) 0-for-3, BB, K (.242 BA, .717 OPS)
Mitch Roman (3B) 4-for-4, R, RBI (16), E (8) (.285 BA, .691 OPS) **MVP**
Johan Cruz (SS) 1-for-4 (.205 BA, .590 OPS)
Tate Blackman (2B) 1-for-4, R, RBI (25), 2 K (.192 BA, .592 OPS)

Potomac was the first to tally a run, doing so in the top of the second courtesy of a solo homer by catcher Alex Dunlap. Despite the Dash not doing much damage offensively, Manny Bañuelos did manage to keep his team in the game through three innings.

The fourth inning, however, caused problems for Bañuelos and the Dash as the Nationals plated an additional run and had runners on the corners with nobody out. However, Bañuelos prevented further damage thanks to a ground out and two punch outs. The Dash managed to tie the game 2-2 in the bottom half of the fifth with two outs, thanks to an RBI single by Tate Blackman (who’s slowly working his way to the Mendoza Line) and an RBI double by the sizzling-hot Steele Walker.

The Nationals re-took the lead via a sac fly in the seventh, and the lead held until the bottom of the eighth, when Mitch Roman hit an opposite-field single to right to tie the game at three. Unfortunately, the Nationals took the lead right back, this time for good, with a two-out single to make it 4-3. The Dash did make it exciting until the very end, as Walker was gunned down at the plate while trying to score via a Tyler Frost single. Oh well, that’s baseball.

It was great to see Bañuelos pitch well, but it was even better to see Walker continue to rip the ball. As good a day as those two guys enjoyed, it’s hard to beat Roman’s day, as he went 4-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. With the defeat, the Dash fell to 64-54 while the Nationals improved to 59-63.


Lexington Legends 4, Kannapolis Intimidators 3

Kevin Folman (SP) 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (5.53 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)
Declan Cronin (RP) L (0-2) 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (4.60 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)
Ian Dawkins (CF) 1-for-3, 2 BB (.309 BA, .780 OPS)
Ramon Beltre (2B) 2-for-5, R, 2B (21), HR (4), RBI (31), K (.214 BA, .572 OPS)
Lenyn Sosa (SS) 0-for-5 (.238 BA, .628 OPS)
Tyler Osik (LF) 1-for-4, R, BB, 2 K (.256 BA, .755 OPS)
Corey Zangari (DH) 2-for-3, R, 2B (16), 2 BB, K (.202 BA, .729 OPS) **MVP**
Amado Nuñez (1B) 1-for-4, BB, K (.220 BA, .619 OPS)
Michael Hickman (C) 2-for-4, RBI (22), BB, 2 K (.204 BA, .625 OPS)
Camilo Quinteiro (3B) 1-for-5, 3 K (.171 BA, .527 OPS)

The Legends didn’t take long to score in this one, as a single-triple-sac fly combo in the game’s first three batters immediately pitted Lexington with a 2-0 lead. Aside from the third inning, which saw three Lexington singles translate into one run, starter Kevin Folman pitched well enough to earn himself a quality start.

The Intimidators finally dented the scoreboard in the fourth inning, as Michael Hickman plated Corey Zangari (who had doubled earlier in the inning) with two outs to tighten the score to 3-1. The game remained that way until the bottom of the seventh, when Ramon Beltre hit a leadoff homer to make it 3-2. Then, with two outs and runners in scoring position, Michael Hickman struck out; however, it was on a wild pitch that enabled Tyler Osik to score the game-tying run!

Lexington re-took the lead in the top of the eighth, thanks to a two-out Reed Rohlman double off Declan Cronin. Aside from that play, Cronin was a standout in relief, as he allowed just that one run in his three innings. Kannapolis loaded the bases with one out thanks to a hit and two walks, but Camilo Quinteiro and Cameron Simmons struck out to finish the game. It was a hard-fought game, but the Legends got just enough hits at the right times to win.

While the pitching staff pitched well enough to win the game and Beltre did his part with a 2-for-5 game with a homer, the MVP of this game was Zangari, who was 2-for-3 with two walks, a double and a run scored — it seems he’s finally coming out of his slump. With the defeat, Kannapolis fell to 54-69 while Lexington rose to 61-63.


Great Falls Voyagers vs. Missoula Osprey postponed


AZL Reds 8, AZL White Sox 1

Matthew Thompson (SP) 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Justin Friedman (RP) L (3-4) 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (5.14 ERA, 1.43 WHIP)
Tyson Messer (RP) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (13.50 ERA, 2.50 WHIP) **MVP**
Nick Silva (RP) 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (5.03 ERA, 1.93 WHIP)
James Beard (CF) 0-for-3, K (.187 BA, .512 OPS)
Bryan Ramos (3B) 0-for-4, E (4) (.250 BA, .720 OPS)
Micker Adolfo (DH) 1-for-4, R, 2B (3), 2 K (.217 BA, .835 OPS)
D.J. Gladney (1B) 1-for-3, RBI (22), K, E (11) (.262 BA, .746 OPS)
Anthony Coronado (RF) 1-for-3, 2B (5), K (.308 BA, .872 OPS)
Josue Guerrero (LF) 0-for-2, 2 K, E (4) (.220 BA, .640 OPS)
Victor Torres (C) 0-for-3, 2 PB (13) (.209 BA, .466 OPS)

In his first professional game, 2019 second-rounder Matthew Thompson acquitted himself quite nicely in his one inning of work. He certainly wasn’t aided by his defense, however, as a fielding error by Bryan Ramos eventually scored on a passed ball by Victor Torres. The White Sox tied the game in the top of the second, thanks to an RBI single by D.J. Gladney that plated Micker Adolfo. It could’ve been an even more productive inning, if with runners on first and second and two outs, light-hitting Sidney Pimentel hadn’t gotten picked off of first by the catcher.

Justin Friedman came in to relieve Thompson in the bottom half of the second, and that’s when the game began to unravel. The leadoff hitter for the Reds struck out, but got on base as first baseman D.J. Gladney dropped the throw from Torres on a dropped third-strike. After four subsequent singles and another passed ball, the Reds tallied four in the fifth to provide themselves a comfortable 5-1 lead. The game remained that way until the top of the sixth, when a wild pitch scored the Reds’ sixth run.

Additional runs in the seventh and eighth innings off of 2019 40th-round pick Nick Silva increased the Reds lead to 8-1, which seemed like a 50-run deficit for the offensively-challenged AZL Sox on this night. Aside from three hits in the second frame, the Sox were hitless. This would’ve been a terrible game to watch — three hits, no walks, nine strikeouts and a runner picked off on offense; three errors, two passed balls and two wild pitches on defense. The only consolation is that these young players should get better with more experience.

The Sox fell to 18-31 while the Reds improved to 22-27 on the season. While there were very few positives on this night, here are a couple: Thompson pitched well in his debut despite shoddy defense behind him, and Tyson Messer struck out the side in his one inning of work. It’s that effort by Messer than merits him the team’s MVP tonight.


DSL White Sox 9, DSL Padres 3

Ronaldo Guzman (SP) W (2-3) 5 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K (4.44 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)
Jorge Ferrer (RP) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (1.04 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)
Erick Perez (RP) 1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (1.95 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)
Wilber Sánchez (2B) 2-for-4, R, 2B (12), 2 RBI (24), SB (13) (.282 BA, .769 OPS)
Anthony Espinoza (3B) 2-for-4, R, 3B (2), RBI (32) (.267 BA, .686 OPS)
Matthew Mercedes (DH) 1-FOR-3, R, 2B (10), RBI (30), BB (.336 BA, .863 OPS)
Lazaro Leal (RF) 1-for-4, R, HR (3), RBI (23) (.221 BA, .714 OPS)
Roberth Gutierrez (CF) 1-for-3, R, K (.278 BA, .750 OPS)
Alberto Bernal (1B) 1-for-2, 2 R, 2B (5), RBI (16) (.174 BA, .663 OPS)
Elijah Tatís (SS) 3-for-3, 2 R, 2B (2), 2 RBI (10) (.185 BA, .519 OPS) **MVP**

Padres hurler Dwayne Matos and Sox southpaw Ronaldo Guzman matched each other pitch-for-pitch in a scoreless duel for the first three innings. After allowing the dreaded leadoff walk in the top half of the fourth, Guzman surrendered a two-run homer to Alex Ramirez, giving the Padres a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately for Guzman, the only runners he allowed in his five innings came around to score. However, that two-run deficit was quite short-lived. The Sox scored four runs with two out in the bottom half of the fourth courtesy of an Alberto Bernal double, a two-run single by Elijah Tatís and a wild pitch that plated yet another run. Lazaro Leal clubbed a two-out solo bomb in the fifth to extend the lead to 5-2.

The Sox weren’t done racking up more runs. In the bottom of the sixth, Wilber Sánchez doubled home Bernal and Tatís to make it 7-2. An RBI single by Anthony Espinoza and a subsequent RBI double by Matthew Mercedes completed the Sox scoring for the day. Aside from a meaningless run in the seventh, the Sox bullpen held the Padres in check.

Guzman, who’ll be turning just 17 later this month, continued to look sharp. If not for a disastrous outing on August 6, his ERA and WHIP would be looking especially nifty at 3.42 and 1.26 respectively. The kid throws hard, as evidenced by his 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings, which is absolutely amazing — he’s definitely someone to watch. While Guzman was terrific today, Tatís was even better. A perfect 3-for-3 day at the plate with a double, two runs and two RBIs earned the scuffling shortstop the MVP on this day. Hopefully, this will lead to good things for him going forward. On a separate note, on a day when stud outfielders Benyamin Bailey and Johnabiell Laureano received a well-deserved day off, it was great to see the offense step forward. With the victory, the Sox improved to 34-32 while the Padres slipped to 30-36.