With the trade deadline looming, this time of year is usually exciting for baseball fans. The White Sox already have one trade in the books and there might be more. For now that hasn't had a major impact on the minor league system (Zach Stewart hasn't played since the trade), but we could see some names leave. In the meantime, a plethora of Sox hitters, many notable prospects, crushed the ball in the minors this week, making for an encouraging if not exciting week.
Hot Hitter: Andy Wilkins, 1B, High-A
Stats: .444/.516/.889 with 3 HR, 4 BB and 6 K in 27 AB
The former Arkansas Razorback was assigned to the Dash for his first full professional season, skipping Low-A Kannapolis, and has adapted to the level well. He has been steady with the homers, hitting at least four each month. His 17 bombs place him second in the Carolina League to teammate Ian Gac. Wilkins has maintained good walk and strikeout rates and the batting average is finally catching up. He is hitting .323 in July to bring his season average up to .262. However, it is worth mentioning that his OPS at BB&T Ballpark is more than 100 points higher than on the road. Still, Wilkins' production this week stood out against six other hitters that posted OPS's over 1.100. Honorable mentions: Rangel Ravelo (.500/.500/.615), Jared Mitchell (.423/.484/.654), Jordan Danks (.333/.448/.667), Trayce Thompson (.316/.519/.684), Joe De Pinto (.375/.531/.667) and Jimmy Jacquot (.353/.421/.824).
Cold Hitter: Jose Martinez, OF, AA
Stats: .125/.267/.125 with 1 BB and 4 K in 24 AB
Martinez got a few people excited by leading the Carolina League in batting average before his promotion to AA. Unfortunately, he hasn't handled the jump well. The just-turned-23-year-old is hitting .232 for the Barons and has only two extra base hits in 82 at-bats. On the upside, he has only struck out eight times so it's reasonable to think the average will bounce back. As a corner outfielder he will need to show some more power to be more than a fourth outfielder. "Honorable" mentions: Jordan Keegan (.125/.263/.125), Gookie Dawkins (.087/.087/.130) and Kyle Robinson (.056/.105/.222).
Hot Pitcher: Phil Negus, SP, Low-A
Stats: 10.1 IP, 1.74 ERA, 10 K, 1 BB, 6 H
Negus, the White Sox 19th round pick in 2009, has been used mostly as a reliever for the Intimidators, but Paul Burnside's injury has given him some starts. The former Wake Forest pitcher has taken advantage. He has allowed just one earned run in each of his last three starts, including taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning last night. The 23-year-old isn't much of a prospect, but he has been valuable to the Kannapolis pitching staff with a 2.52 ERA in 60.2 innings. Honorable mentions: Dylan Axelrod (8 IP, 0 R, 4 K, 1 BB, 2 H), Jacob Petricka (12 IP, 1.50 ERA, 6 K, 5 BB, 9 H) and Addison Reed (4 IP, 2.25 ERA, 7 K, 0 BB, 1 H).
Cold Pitcher: Nevin Griffith, SP, AA
Stats: 5 IP, 16.20 ERA, 2 K, 13 BB, 9 H
When you see the numbers above, it's hard not to think something is wrong. Well, Griffith got placed on the disabled list after his eight walk start July 26. Griffith, once a well thought of high school arm that the Sox drafted in the second round in 2007, has had a number of injuries throughout his career. The 95 innings he's thrown this year is a career high so maybe he just hit a wall. At this point, the bullpen could be a likely destination for the right-hander. "Honorable" mentions: Dexter Carter (4.2 IP, 13.50 ERA, 1 K, 5 BB, 7 H), Darwin Matos (7.1 IP, 11.05 ERA, 7 K, 5 BB, 9 H) and Joe Serafin (11.1 IP, 7.94 ERA, 2 K, 8 BB, 15 H).