South Side Hit Pen Top Prospect 66: Tyler Osik

Donning the tools? Smart: Tyler Osik’s bat got him fast-tracking in his first pro season. Now, as a catcher, he could move even faster through the system. (Phrake Photography/South Side Hit Pen)



Tyler Osik
First Baseman
5´10´´
203 pounds
Age: 23
SSHP rank among all first basemen in the system: 4

Tyler Osik, son of former Pittsburgh Pirate Keith Osik, took a circuitous route through college. After spending his freshman year with Division II Coker College, Osik spent his sophomore campaign with Chipola Junior College (Fla.). He then transferred to the University of Central Florida for his junior and senior years. Of his two seasons with the Knights, Osik enjoyed a better year during his senior campaign in 2019 as he slashed .325/.410/.542 in 52 games with 14 doubles, 10 homers, 39 RBIs, nine stolen bases, 26 walks (11.1%) and 50 strikeouts (21.3%). As a culmination of his efforts, the White Sox selected him in the 27th round of the 2019 draft.

While Osik did reasonably well with the AZL White Sox to start his professional career (.271/.346/.373 with 10 doubles in 31 games), he began hitting for power upon his promotion to Kannapolis on August 3. In 26 games totaling 97 at-bats for the Intimidators, he slashed .278/.352/.557 with 10 doubles, a triple, five homers, 19 RBIs, 10 walks (9.3%) and 30 strikeouts (27.8%).

Osik likely will return to Kannapolis to begin the 2020 season, but it’s easy to envision an early promotion to Winston-Salem if he gets off to a great start. He’s also trained all winter for a move to catcher, where defensive success paired with a potent bat could spell a fast climb. (Further reading: Dan Victor’s great Under the Radar piece on Osik.)

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Deep Dive: Winston-Salem and Kannapolis first basemen

Top notch: Andrew Vaughn is the third-ranked White Sox prospect, and 21st overall, according to MLB Pipeline. (@WSDashBaseball)


“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 article delves into the first basemen who finished the year with Winston-Salem and Kannapolis. While Andrew Vaughn is the obvious headliner, there are several interesting bats here, including Corey Zangari and Tyler Osik.

(age as of April 1, 2020)


Winston-Salem Dash

Andrew Vaughn
6´0´´
214 pounds
B/T: R/R
Age: 21

Vaughn enjoyed a spectacular three-year run with the University of California. As a freshman, all he did was slash .349/.414/.555 with 12 homers, 50 RBIs, 19 walks and 24 strikeouts. The next year saw him have arguably his best production (and a Golden Spikes Award as the NCAA’s best player), as he slashed .402/.531/.819 with 14 doubles, 23 homers, 63 RBIs, 44 walks and just 18 strikeouts in 54 games. While his junior season wasn’t quite up to his sophomore standards, it was still sensational as he slashed .374/.539/.704 in 52 games with 14 doubles, 15 homers, 50 RBIs, 60 walks and 33 strikeouts. Thus, in a total of 160 college games — equating to a full major league season, Vaughn slashed .374/.495/.688 with 35 doubles, one triple, 50 homers, 163 RBIs, 123 walks (16.5%) and 75 strikeouts (10.1%). Amazing stuff! As a result of his hitting prowess, Vaughn was selected with the third overall pick by the White Sox in this year’s MLB draft.

After obliterating the AZL in a three-game stretch to start his pro career, Vaughn finished the season with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. His numbers weren’t overly impressive for the year, but this was by far the longest season of his life and likely suffered through a bit of fatigue. In 205 at-bats with three teams, he combined to slash .278/.384/.449 with 17 doubles, six homers, 36 RBIs, 30 walks (12.2%) and 38 strikeouts (15.5%).

Vaughn currently ranks third among all White Sox prospects, and 21st overall among all prospects per MLB Pipeline. His hitting and power are both graded 60 by MLB, arm and field 50, and running at 40. According to Baseball America, “Vaughn’s advanced feel to hit, power and plate discipline should allow him to become an impact hitter in the middle of a major league lineup, while also allowing him to rise through the minors quickly.” While Vaughn advanced quickly through the system’s lower levels in 2019, expect him to only receive promotions from here on out once he’s proven he’s ready for advancement. Expect him to begin the season in Birmingham, with a likely promotion to Charlotte if all goes well.

Jameson Fisher
6´2´´
200 pounds
B/T: L/R
Other positions played: Left field
Age: 26

During Fisher’s college days with Southeastern Louisiana University, he was considered one of the premier college hitters in the country. The big question was where to play him. He was a catcher during his freshman and sophomore seasons, but he tore his labrum, which cost him the entire 2015 season. Fisher returned in 2016 to play first base and left field, but no matter where he played, his bat was his ultimate card-carrying tool. In that junior season, he slashed .424/.558/.692 in 61 games by producing 16 doubles, two triples, 11 homers, 66 RBIs, 54 walks (19.6%) and 31 strikeouts (11.2%). As a result of his efforts, the White Sox selected him in the fourth round of that year’s MLB draft.

With Great Falls in 2016, Fisher proved every bit the hitter he was expected to be as he slashed .342/.436/.487 in 50 games with 13 doubles, a triple, four homers, 25 RBIs, 27 walks (12.3%) and 43 strikeouts (19.6%). The 2017 season saw Fisher split time with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem with decent but unspectacular numbers: .245/.342/.402 in 124 games with 30 doubles, six triples, 10 homers, 68 RBIs, 58 walks (10.8%) and 114 strikeouts (21.3%). Last year saw him completely overmatched with Birmingham in 97 games as he produced a .216/.321/.321 slash line with 11 doubles, two triples, six homers, 24 RBIs, 44 walks (11.9%) and 113 strikeouts (30.5%).

Fisher was demoted to Winston-Salem for the 2019 season, and although his numbers received a bit of an uptick, they weren’t enough for him to earn a return trip to Birmingham. In 127 games for the Dash this year, he slashed .242/.343/.375 with 30 doubles, two triples, nine homers, 72 walks (13.3%) and 130 strikeouts (23.9%). Although Fisher had a respectable year defensively at first base, his value is with the bat. He will turn 26 during this offseason, and will be eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 draft. If Fisher returns, it could be simply as organizational depth at either left field or first base.


Kannapolis Intimidators

Tyler Osik
5´10´´
203 pounds
B/T: R/R
Other positions played: Left field
Age: 23

Osik, son of former Pittsburgh Pirate Keith Osik, took a circuitous route through college. After spending his freshman year with Division II Coker College, Osik spent his sophomore campaign with Chipola Junior College (Fla.). He then transferred to the University of Central Florida for his junior and senior years. Of his two seasons with the Knights, Osik enjoyed his better year during his senior campaign in 2019 as he slashed .325/.410/.542 in 52 games with 14 doubles, 10 homers, 39 RBIs, nine stolen bases, 26 walks (11.1%) and 50 strikeouts (21.3%). As a culmination of his efforts, the White Sox selected him in the 27th round of this year’s MLB draft.

While Osik did reasonably well with the AZL White Sox to start his professional career (.271/.346/.373 with 10 doubles in 31 games), he began hitting for power upon his promotion to Kannapolis on August 3. In 26 games totaling 97 at-bats for the Intimidators, he slashed .278/.352/.557 with 10 doubles, a triple, five homers, 19 RBIs, 10 walks (9.3%) and 30 strikeouts (27.8%). Osik likely will return to Kannapolis to begin the 2020 season, but it’s easy to envision an early promotion to Winston-Salem if he gets off to a great start.

Corey Zangari
6´4´´
240 pounds
B/T: R/R
Age: 22

When playing for Carl Albert H.S. in Midwest City, Oklahoma, Zangari could do it all. As a pitcher, he lit up the radar gun at 95 mph though he had difficulty throwing strikes due to not finding a consistent release point; he also caught, though it was apparent with his size that he’d be better suited as a first baseman. He also hit 19 homers during his senior season, including two in the state’s 5-A semi-final game. The White Sox coveted Zangari’s power-wielding bat and selected him in the sixth round of the 2015 draft, paying a significant over-slot bonus to pry him from his commitment with Oklahoma State University. Zangari later played for the AZL White Sox and Great Falls that year, as he combined to slash .316/.358/.481 in 54 games with 15 doubles, a triple, six homers, 41 RBIs, 14 walks (6.1%) and 52 strikeouts (22.6%).

The 2016 season was difficult for Zangari, as he began with Kannapolis but struggled terribly with a .166/.247/.314 slash line with 20 walks (8.1%) and 106 strikeouts (42.7%) in just 57 games. Though he did right the ship somewhat after a demotion to Great Falls, he finished the year with a combined .209/.287/.367 line in 110 games with 15 homers, 51 RBIs, 41 walks (8.7%) and 176 strikeouts (37.2%). Zangari then underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2017, which forced him to miss that entire season. After missing a part of the 2018 season due to injury, he literally destroyed the Pioneer League in 17 games as he slashed .262/.324/.723 with nine homers, 22 RBIs, six walks (8.1%) and just 16 strikeouts (21.6%). After earning a call-up to Kannapolis after a three-homer game with the Voyagers, Zangari got hit on the wrist on just his second at-bat and had to miss the rest of the season.

Zangari, in part due to missing so much playing time during the past couple years, struggled in his year-long stint with Kannapolis in 2019. In 85 games totaling 290 at-bats with the Intimidators, he slashed just .203/.314/.428 with 18 doubles, one triple, 15 homers, 38 RBIs, 44 walks (12.8%) and 115 strikeouts (33.4%). The power’s still there, but he won’t be able to tap into it fully unless he can can consistently get that strikeout rate below 30%. Zangari was just a tad older than league competition this year, so a promotion to a more favorable hitting park like Winston-Salem’s certainly isn’t out of the question for 2020. Though he will be eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 draft, it’s unlikely he’ll be selected.


Under the Radar: Tyler Osik

Killer finishing kick: Osik came on strong at the end of his first professional season. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)


Part of the pleasure of covering minor league baseball is being able to share with the members of White Sox Nation, information about “who’s next” in the pipeline of talent between the Arizona Rookie League and Guaranteed Rate Field. There are players whose names are well-known throughout the fan base long before they make their debut on West 35th Street, and others who emerge seemingly out of nowhere.

One of these under-the-radar prospects who is likely to receive far more attention in 2020 is Kannapolis Intimidators outfielder Tyler Osik.

Although he is a young man at 22 years old, it has been a long path for Osik to traverse into the minor league ranks. He began his college baseball career at D-2 Coker College in 2015 before transferring to JUCO baseball powerhouse Chipola (Fla.) for his sophomore season in 2016. He missed all of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery before redshirting his junior year at his third school, the D-1 University of Central Florida.

Osik was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 40th round of the 2018 draft, but instead opted to return to school as a fifth-year senior before being taken by the White Sox. (Osik to the White Sox may have been meant to be, according to Osik: “The day before the draft my girlfriend Emily was wearing all black and white and jokingly said that it was a sign and I was going to be with the White Sox, so it was crazy when I got drafted by them.”)

Drafted in the 27th round of the 2019 draft, Tyler is the son of 10-year major league veteran Keith Osik. As a typical senior signee with no negotiating leverage, he was inked to a modest $2,500 signing bonus. He quickly reported to the AZL White Sox, where he received his introduction to minor league life before finishing the season with the Low-A Kannapolis Intimidators.

Although many players wear down in their first exposure to professional baseball due to the culture shock of the schedule, travel, and dog day weather, Osik finished his season firing on all cylinders. As others were hitting the proverbial “rookie wall,” Tyler was hitting home runs (five in his last 12 games after hitting none in his first 45 games).

Osik recognized the impact of the Intimidators hitting coach and shared with South Side Hit Pen, “Cole Armstrong taught me a couple of cues to practice with my swing every day that helped me get to where I needed to be for games.”

Armstrong’s advice coupled with Osik getting comfortable in his new environs seemed to be the magic elixir, as the right-handed hitting outfielder appeared to have enabled cheat codes for his last 22 games in slashing an impressive .321/.380/1.020 OPS over that span.

Although it’s far too early in the young outfielder’s development to discuss platoon options, it is worth noting the way he laid waste to left-handed pitching. In a small sample size of 54 at-bats, Osik hit .370, with all five of his home runs coming against southpaws. Of the tools baseball scouts look for, Osik stands out in his potential to hit for both average and power. It’s also noteworthy that along with his statistical prowess during the season’s last 22 games even his outs were generally of the “loud” variety; he hit numerous balls to the warning track while also displaying a penchant for generating exceptional exit velocities.

Osik notes that one of the biggest differences between the college and pro game is the “consistent velocity you see in minor league baseball,” adding that he prepares for this aspect of the game by taking batting practice against an 85 mph pitching machine from 45 feet. (To put that in perspective, the equivalent speed from a major league 60´6´´ pitcher’s mound would be an Aroldis Chapman-like 105 mph.)

Some of baseball’s biggest brightest stars and prospects are the progeny of former professional players; Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Bo Bichette, Vlad Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatís Jr. and Bobby Witt Jr. are some of the names that quickly come to mind. Of course, possessing big league DNA often comes coupled with great expectations.

“Growing up with my dad playing was a blessing,” he says. “I have a lot of great memories being around the ballpark with him. I had the opportunity to take ground balls with Pokey Reese and hit in the cages with guys like Scott Podsednik, Jason Kendall and Brian Giles.” Osik also fondly shared a childhood memory of running in the sausage race at Miller Park while his dad was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers (side note: he didn’t win).

Rather than grumble about the pressure of being the son of a major leaguer, Osik praises his father for helping him become the player he is. “Having a dad who played has helped me so much,” he says. “He has put in countless hours helping me improve my swing since I was a little kid, and still to this day.”

In the offseason, Osik’s daily hitting routine consists of tee work, front toss and batting practice. During the season, the Osiks speak on a daily basis, with Tyler discussing his games and minor league life in general while seeking advice from his father about how to continuously improve.

During the White Sox recent instructs, the team began experimenting with Tyler at catcher, the position his father manned for a decade in the big leagues. “I have been learning to catch, so having a former catcher as a dad is a blessing,” Osik says. “He is always helping me by showing me drills and getting me where I need to be. He has been a great role model, not only in baseball, but also as the type of man and father I aspire to be in the future. He always tells me to push myself and to work my hardest on and off the field, as well as to be a good teammate.”

Tyler’s father seems to embrace the catching experiment and offers, “Tyler has always hit. If he can get the catching down, the sky is the limit. I can see him catching and driving in runs at the big-league level.”

As a hitter, Osik says that he isn’t really into the analytics of launch angle or swing path. Instead, he takes his cues from watching video of the best hitters in the game. He utilizes small-bat drills such as top hand/bottom hand to ingrain a tight, connected swing while maximizing the amount of time he keeps the barrel in the hitting zone. One of the adjustments he has made is to look to do damage with every swing he takes and avoid being passive when he’s in a favorable count. Osik expounds: “The defense will continue to get better as you move up levels, so it is important to not get cheated when I’m in a hitter’s count.”

With the current state of the White Sox system there appears to be a glut of outfield talent, with Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert likely to be stalwarts at the major league level for the foreseeable future and several high-profile prospects waiting on the periphery. The White Sox catching situation is similar, with the system’s top three catching prospects all spending significant time at Triple-A Charlotte in 2019. Having the positional versatility of being able to catch, play first base or man a corner outfield spot can only enhance Osik’s development, as it will afford his manager options to keep his potent bat in the lineup.

Another intangible in Osik’s skill set that may not be getting the credit it warrants is his even demeanor, as he seems to possess the innate ability to avoid getting caught up in the gravity of any particular situation. Having grown up around pro ball players might be some of the reason that Osik seemingly can rise to the occasion without being affected by the pressure.

In 2018, Osik’s UCF baseball team knocked off the Florida Gators, who were ranked #1 in the nation. In front of a sold-out home crowd, Tyler went 4-for-5 with four RBIs, leading the Knights to a 9-7 win.

He also displayed this trait late in the Intimidators season when facing off against one of the Washington Nationals top prospects, 2019 first round pick Jackson Rutledge. Rutledge, a 6´8´´ righthander, has the stuff to be a top-of-the-rotation ace and displays a very impressive, three-pitch arsenal (fastball, slider, curveball), with a fastball that sits comfortably in the 94-96 mph range and touches 99. When facing Rutledge, Osik showed absolutely no problem handling the fireballer’s exceptional velocity as he was able to square up a two-strike, 95-mph offering and send it deep to his pull side warning track. It was an out, but only because it was struck with too much launch angle; the hang time on this fly ball was awe-inspiring and would have made Oakland Raiders Hall of Fame punter Ray Guy envious. Later in the same game, Osik broke a 1-1 tie by launching relief pitcher Alex Troop’s offering for a two-run homer, as the hometown Intimidators went on to win, 3-1.

In the field, the 5´10´´, 203-pound, well-muscled Osik is not a burner, so he tries to maximize his defensive ability by getting good reads on fly balls and taking efficient routes when tracking them down. He spent the 2019 season alternating between designated hitter, first base, and left field.

During this offseason Osik plans to continue to work in the weight room to get stronger and faster. After the lengthy combined college and professional season, he understands the importance of his conditioning in maintaining both health and stamina. He has always been a hard worker in the weight room, but credits his friends (fellow minor leaguers Bowden Francis and Junior Harding) for helping him take his training to the next level when they played together at Chipola College.

When asked about his goals for 2020 Osik succinctly states, “I don’t make statistical goals or focus on promotions. I genuinely love playing baseball so I just try and work my hardest and be a good teammate. When I step in between the white lines I just compete as hard as I can and let whatever happens happen.”

Although 27th round draft picks signed to happy meal budget bonuses aren’t the kind of players who typically make it to the show, White Sox fans have multiple reasons to be excited about Osik. He possesses a special bat, high motor, positional flexibility and major league genetics. After all, as a similarly-drafted 24th rounder, Tyler’s father Keith was able to grind his way into a 10-year big league career.

The early results suggest this apple didn’t fall far from the tree.


Hot Seat Questions

Favorite baseball movie The Sandlot

Are you a gamer? “I’m a big Call of Duty player, the new one is coming out this month so I’m pumped up for that.”

What are you watching on Netflix these days? Dave Chappelle standup specials.

If the Intimidators locker room turns into a dance battle, who wins? Ramon Beltre or Lenyn Sosa.

If you could have a superpower what would it be? Teleportation, so I could go wherever I want, whenever I want.

You grew up a son of a pro ballplayer, so do you have any cool baseball memorabilia? I have some signed balls from guys like Jim Thome, Pudge [Ivan Rodriguez], [Albert] Pujols, and a signed jersey from Pedro Martinez.

Who are the guys you played with that White Sox fans should be excited about? In the AZL, two guys who stood out were DJ Gladney and Jose Rodriguez. I really like the way they swing the bat with power, as well as how they are super athletic. Once I got to Kannapolis, Alex Destino, Ian Dawkins and Lenyn Sosa really stood out to me. They are great all-around players. They hit, field and play the game hard every day.

What song is the guilty pleasure on your playlist? “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith.

Best part of being a minor league player Getting to travel the country and do what I love every day.

Worst part of being a minor league player Being away from my family and loved ones for several months of the year, which can seem like forever.

Toughest pitcher you faced: Grayson Rodriguez, he had some electric stuff with good command as well.

2019 Kannapolis Intimidators season recap

Tough year: But Kannapolis ended on a pretty good note. (Tiffany Wintz/South Side Hit Pen)


The Kannapolis Intimidators finished the year at 64-74, after an abysmal first half and a decent second thanks to the addition of 2019 draft picks. However, they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2016 because the reinforcements did not come quick enough — or in Andrew Vaughn‘s case, left too quickly.

Low-A baseball is a big step for players. Maybe there is not a big talent gap between advanced rookie leagues, but Low-A is the first stop in playing a full professional season. The leagues start in April and players travel to different states, though not as frequently as a Triple-A or MLB team. It is the first taste of what a grind a baseball season is, and as such it weeds out some of the younger players.

But some players definitely rose above the rest in Kannapolis this season. Though it is best to note, as in rookie league evaluation, age and previous Low-A experience is an important factor in assessing Low-A players.

First off, the promotions and other cameo appearances (like Vaughn, who played 23 games for the I’s). Steele Walker started the year with the I’s before earning a promotion after a great 20 games, in which he had a 189 wRC+. Johan Cruz started with the I’s as well and was more of a peripheral player to start, but because of his hot bat finally earned a promotion to the Dash. Cruz left the I’s with a .296 batting average, and some surprising pop. Evan Skoug rounds out the list of player promotions, but it seems like his was more out of necessity to get another catcher to Winston-Salem than talent. Though with Skoug’s eye and power, maybe a swing change could unlock that potential.

The pitching side is a bit more fun with some much bigger names. Konnor Pilkington, Jonathan Stiever, and Kade McClure each started the year with the I’s. Pilkington had the best year of the bunch, and earned his promotion more quickly as he left with a 1.62 ERA.

Next up was McClure with a 3.09 ERA and finally, Stiever. Stiever’s ERA did not look good in Low-A, but his peripherals showed a more advanced and much improved pitcher (as you will see in the Dash recap, Stiever was, simply, awesome). Taylor Varnell became sort of a prospect-buff favorite with multiple fantastic starts in Low-A, and the 24 year-old finally got a much deserved promotion later in the year.

A few notable relievers jumped to High-A baseball as well. Vince Arobio started his season with the I’s before eventually ending the season in Birmingham. Andrew Perez and Bennett Sousa were promoted at the same time after a dominant half-season in the Kannapolis bullpen. Perez left with a 2.25 ERA, Sousa with a 2.51.

That is a lot of players on the move, but some of note stayed the entire year, or ended their seasons with the I’s and helped them to a much better second-half record.


The Hitters

Two hitters that played well and stayed the entire season shared the outfield together, Ian Dawkins and Alex Destino. They ended the season with the same batting average (.298), but got there in very different ways. Dawkins is more of a slappy hitter, with speed and not much power. He had a fantastic first half of the season, but slowed down in the second. Dawkins finished with a 124 wRC+ and 23 stolen bases in 31 attempts. He has a fine walk rate at 6.3%, and the reason it is fine is because Dawkins hit almost .300, and he also has a below-average K-rate. Destino has the bigger bat, with 17 homers and 39 total extra-base hits. He walks more than 10% of the time, but also strikes out out at a decently high rate, so he is just a typical hitter who has some power. The downside is that both guys are older. Destino is about to turn 24, and Dawkins already is 24. In Dawkins’ case, he had 37 games in Low-A in 2018, so it was familiar territory. They are outfielders to keep an eye on, but both will need to show something more with the Dash.

A few other hitters deserve attention, but for different reasons, first off, the underperformers: Gunnar Troutwine, Corey Zangari, Ramon Beltre, Bryce Bush, and Lenyn Sosa. Troutwine probably had the best season among them, but might also be less of a prospect than the other four. He had a 106 wRC+, so a fine season, but he struck out more than 30% of the time and didn’t show improved bat-to-ball skills or extra power in his first full season. His defense was also, in a word, atrocious. Zangari was finally healthy, kind of, but fell flat. He hit only .204, but showed fantastic power with a .224 ISO. He also struck out more than 30% of the time, and a big reason why his season was salvageable was his very good walk rate. Beltre played the most, but probably had the worst season of this group and was even worse in his second Low-A stint.

Finally, Bryce Bush and Lenyn Sosa, the teenagers. Bush finished the year in the AZL but will definitely be back in Kannapolis in 2020. He barely hit above the Mendoza line and showed a concerning K-rate of 31.9%. Though he is definitely the best hitting prospect of this group, is still just 19, and had an injury-riddled year. Still, he looked impressive at times:

Sosa is a smidge younger than Bush, by about a month, and did have a better year in terms of play and health, though I’m sure the organization expected better. The international signee had his first full season this year and finished with a 93 wRC+. Instead of struggling down the stretch, which would have been understandable given a personal record amount of games played, Sosa was much better after the All-Star break. His batting average rose by almost 50 points and OPS went up over 100 points. Hopefully that translates over to next season, and Sosa gets a quick promotion to Winston-Salem.

Two non-Vaughn 2019 draft picks did make their way onto the I’s roster as well. Tyler Osik, a 27th round pick, ended with a 160 wRC+ in 108 plate appearance for the I’s. Osik showed a lot of power, probably unsustainable power at a .278 ISO, but the walk and strikeout rates stayed relatively the same from his rookie league statistics. Cameron Simmons, a 20th round pick, crushed it in Great Falls and earned a promotion. He didn’t do as well in Kannapolis but was right at average production. He did seem a little overmatched, as his K-rate went up a good amount, and the walks fell.


The Pitchers

After Pilkington, McClure, and Stiever left, there was obviously huge holes to fill in the rotation, and it was mostly filled by pitchers who were relievers earlier. Jason Bilous was the most fit for the role, but Johan Dominguez and Sam Long took over and did well. Bilous was much better as a reliever than starter, with a 2.86 ERA as a reliever and 4.01 ERA as a starter. However, a lot of Bilous’ struggles came late in the season, just like his struggles after being drafted in 2018. It is tough to say whether he will stay in a starting role, but hopefully Bilous can continue his progress and be better late in seasons. Dominguez and Long are older and probably aren’t players who will make it to the bigs, but they had good seasons as a reliever and as a starter. Dominguez ended the year with a 2.98 ERA, Long with a 3.06 ERA.

One starter who stayed with the I’s all season and didn’t miss a start was Davis Martin. Martin had an abysmal April and May, with an ERA of more than 7.00. He was able to figure himself out later in the year and had a 3.87 ERA in the second half. The peripherals like him a lot more because of his above average K-rate and pretty low walk rate. Martin ended with a 3.90 FIP, which is much better than his 5.04 ERA, so 2020 will be a big year to see who he truly is.

After Perez and Sousa left on the reliever side, again there were holes to fill, but the Kannapolis bullpen was already the strongest part of the team, and they continued to be successful thanks to three outstanding performances. There isn’t much fanfare with these players because they don’t carry any prospect expectations, but as relievers in Low-A all they need to do is throw hard.

Up first is Lane Ramsey, who SSHP’s Dan Victor likes quite a bit.

Ramsey had a 2.75 ERA this season, but his K numbers are low; he probably does not have a very good or developed breaking/off-speed pitch. If he is able to get an out pitch to use with his high-90s fastball, Ramsey could be a guy to watch going forward, maybe driveline isn’t a bad idea for the kid. Wilber Perez was a bit of a surprise to land in the Kannapolis bullpen after being in the DSL in 2018. Perez fit in well, and was terrific down the stretch. He had a 2.83 ERA and was mostly used in multiple-inning scenarios. Perez did show good strikeout numbers, but he has a significant control problem. Austin Conway rounds out the bunch, and he had the best season of all. He had 13 saves to go with his 1.59 ERA and even earned a cameo showing with the Dash, but was eventually sent back down. Conway already is 24, so take his success with caution, but he was fantastic.


Kannapolis was not the most talented team in terms of prospect hype, like it had been in previous seasons, but it did have appearances and performances from good players. Most of the above players will go to Winston-Salem in 2020, but the 2019 draft and a few 2020 draft prospects will be heading to Kannapolis’ new ballpark to replace them in the spring.

White Sox Minor League Update: August 29, 2019

Future shock: After Thursday, Jonathan Stiever has 10 quality starts in 12 High-A outings. (Winston-Salem Dash)


Biloxi Shuckers 5, Birmingham Barons 3 (11)

Luis Gonzalez: 0-for-6, 0 BB, 4 K (.250 BA, .678 OPS)
Blake Rutherford: 2-for-3, 2 BB, 0 K (.262 BA, .673 OPS)
Gavin Sheets: 0-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K (.273 BA, .771 OPS)
Bernardo Flores: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K (3.33 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) *MVP*

The Barons tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, but they ended up losing after a two-run 11th by the Shuckers. Bernardo Flores started the game, in what should be his final game action until the AFL. He showed a pretty good out pitch, with 10 strikeouts over six innings. He left with another quality start, and a much better performance than his last start. The bullpen was great behind him, too combining for five innings and just two runs. They also added eight more strikeouts, so Birmingham pitchers had 18 on the day.

The hitting started slow, but finally got going, with a little luck, when it mattered the most. For eight innings, the Dash only scored one run, off of a Nate Nolan double. In the ninth, Zach Remillard singled to drive in two runs to send the game into extras. Unfortunately, it was the Shuckers who scored runs in extras, as the Barons fell 5-3.


Salem Red Sox 1, Winston-Salem Dash 0

Steele Walker: 0-for-4, 0 BB, 1 K (.272 BA, .779 OPS)
Andrew Vaughn: 2-for-4, 0 BB, 0 K (.247 BA, .748 OPS)
Jonathan Stiever: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (2.15 ERA, 0.97 WHIP) **MVP**

Winston-Salem pitchers did all they could to win; it was just one little mistake from Jonathan Stiever that was the difference in this 1-0 loss. Stiever allowed a solo homer in the third inning, and it was the game’s lone run. He was fantastic besides that one big hit allowed, lowering his High-A ERA to 2.15 in what has been a breakout year. Unless the Dash make the playoffs, this might have been Stiever’s last game of the season, and he should be the minor league pitcher of the year for the White Sox. Obviously the hitters didn’t do anything, but at least Andrew Vaughn had two hits.


Kannapolis Initmidators 5, Hagerstown Suns 4

Ian Dawkins: 0-for-4, 1 BB, 1 K (.298 BA, .756 OPS)
Lenyn Sosa: 3-for-5, 2 R, 0 BB, 1 K (.248 BA, .649 OPS)
Tyler Osik: 3-for-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K (.272 BA, .895 OPS) **MVP**
Devon Perez: 4 1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (3.20 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)

Some scoring in the first half of the game led to a close 5-4 win by the end o the night. In the first five innings, the I’s scored all of their runs. Tyler Osik hit his fourth homer since his promotion, and added another RBI later. Corey Zangari accounted for an RBI as well, but it was on a bases-loaded walk, so it was more of a bad pitching thing. Cameron Simmons added the final two runs in the fifth inning: He drove in Lenyn Sosa, who had three hits on the night, as well as Osik on a double. This is was Devon Perez’s second start of the season, and he was just fine. The later bullpen arms of Caleb Freeman, in his Low-A debut, and Justin O’Conner kept the lead intact.


Great Falls Voyagers 9, Idaho Falls Chukars 6

Caberea Weaver: 0-for-4, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K (.256 BA, .695 OPS)
Harvin Mendoza: 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K (.292 Ba, .866 OPS)
Lency Delgado: 1-for-5, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K (.273 BA, .712 OPS)
Sam Abbott: 1-for-2, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K (.230 BA, .798 OPS) **MVP**
Chase Solesky: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (6.75 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)

A big win for the Voyagers came after a big eighth inning put them on top for good. The first two arms out of the bullpen for Great Falls were not all that great. Solesky and then Rigo Fernandez allowed five runs in their six innings pitched. The offense was fine during that span with three runs, but they were down for the majority of the game. In the eighth inning, GFV put up six runs to take a commanding lead, but they were not conventional runs at all. Caberea Weaver opened up the scoring with a sacrifice fly, and Joshua Rivera scored on an error with the next batter. Luis Curbelo came home on a wild pitch, and then the Chuckars loaded the bases. Their pitcher proceeded to walk three straight batters for the final three runs of the inning. The new four-run lead quickly slimmed to three, but it was still enough to get the Voyagers the win.

White Sox Minor League Update: August 28, 2019

AAAA for you: Dylan Covey threw a fabulous game in Charlotte’s loss, pushing his ERA to less than 3.00. (Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights)


Durham Bulls 3, Charlotte Knights 2

Nick Madrigal: 0-for-4, 0 BB, 0 K (.304 BA, .791 OPS)
Luis Robert: 1-for-4, 1 HR, 0 BB, 2 K (.301 BA, .993 OPS)
Zack Collins: 0-for-4, 0 BB, 2 K (.293 BA, .975 OPS)
Yermin Mercedes: 3-for-4, 0 BB, 1 K (.301 BA, .989 OPS)
Seby Zavala: 1-for-3, 0 BB, 1 K (.225 BA, .784 OPS)
Danny Mendick: 1-for-3, 1 HR, 0 BB, 1 K (.281 BA, .820 OPS)
Dylan Covey: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (2.84 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) **MVP**
Carson Fulmer: 1/3 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K (5.01 ERA, 1.47 WHIP)

It is not going well in Charlotte down the stretch. Their four-game lead in the wild card is down to one, due to a losing streak that continued tonight. Dylan Covey started the game and was very good. It seems like he and Daniel Palka are the most AAAA players in baseball history. Covey went six good innings and just allowed one run, and left with the lead. However, Carson Fulmer, who is on a rehab assignment, allowed two runs on just one out. So his rehab assignment is not close to over. Once Fulmer lost that lead the Knights never go it back, but they had two cool hits, though!

Danny Mendick hit a home run in the third inning, his 17th of the season. Luis Robert, of course, had a homer himself, his 15th of the season.


Winston-Salem Dash 12, Salem Red Sox 3

Steele Walker: 1-for-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K (.275 BA, .787 OPS)
Andrew Vaughn: 2-for-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K (.237 BA, .739 OPS)
Konnor Pilkington: 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (5.15 ERA, 1.46 WHIP) **MVP**

It was an all-around great performance for the Dash, especially the top guys. Both Steele Walker and Andrew Vaughn had home runs in their 12-3 win. In fact, the Dash had a lot of homers. Craig Dedelow and Yeyson Yrizarri had bombs of their own to make four total, and eight of their 12 runs came from those hits.

The pitching was also great led by Konnor Pilkington. He went seven innings in what is his second straight quality start and third straight start of allowing two runs or fewer. Pilkington has put together quite the streak for about 30 days. His ERA has fallen from 5.98 from a month ago, now to 5.05. He again looks like the third round pick, and the Dash needed that to end their losing streak and keep their playoff hopes alive.


Kannapolis Intimidators 3, Hagerstown Suns 1

Ian Dawkins: 0-for-3, 1 BB, 2 K (.301 BA, .761 OPS)
Lenyn Sosa: 1-for-3, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K (.244 BA, .639 OPS)
Tyler Osik: 1-for-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K (.250 BA, .837 OPS) **MVP**
Kevin Folman: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (5.12 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)

Though they’ve been eliminated from the playoffs, the I’s are still competing, and winning. This one was off the backs of the pitchers. Kevin Folman got the start, and threw five innings of one-run baseball. That was obviously the only run allowed of the game for the I’s. Wilber Perez took over for him and went three innings. The converted starter has averaged more than two innings an appearance, and he’s turning into an interesting arm down the road. J.B. Olson closed out the game, earning his third save of the season in the 3-1 win.

Clearly, a lot of offense was not needed, and the I’s didn’t provide much. They were just very efficient. Kannapolis had three hits, and it scored three runs. Michael Hickman drove in the first run in the second inning, and Tyler Osik gave them the lead for good with a two-run homer in the sixth. Other than that, this win was all because of the pitching.


Idaho Falls Chukars 6, Great Falls Voyagers 2

Caberea Weaver: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K (.261 BA, .709 OPS)
Lency Delgado: 3-for-3, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K (.275 BA, .720 OPS) **MVP**
Luis Mieses: 1-for-3, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K (.244 BA, .633 OPS)
Sean Thompson: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (6.66 ERA)

It was not the Voyagers’ night, as they were down and out for most of the game. Sean Thompson started out looking fine through the first two innings, but he faltered in two of his last three. He allowed two runs in the third inning, and three more in the fifth. While Thompson wasn’t doing all that well, the offense was arguably worse. Its first run didn’t come until the sixth inning, on a Luis Mieses sacrifice fly. Mieses also drove in the final run for Great Falls, with a double in the eighth. The bullpen was able to do better against the Chukars. They only allowed one run in the last three innings, as McKinley Moore (14th round pick) made his Great Falls debut after the AZL season was over.

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.