With September right around the corner and the final week of the minor league regular season ahead, a few White Sox affiliates are making a playoff push. Birmingham is already in via a first half division title while Winston-Salem is in first place and Kannapolis and Great Falls are a game out entering Tuesday's action. Bristol, whose season ends tonight, and Charlotte are out of the race.
Hot Hitter: Kevan Smith, C, Rookie Great Falls
Stats: .480/.519/1.000 with 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 1 BB and 1 K in 25 AB
Smith didn't fare well upon arriving in Montana, but has turned it around in a hurry. He had a 1.314 OPS last week to go with this week's 1.519 OPS. That has his overall Voyagers' numbers at .298/.374/.511. Given the small difference between the leagues and the favorable hitting conditions in the Pioneer League, it didn't make sense for Smith to struggle like he did. He's looking like a good find in the seventh round. Honorable mentions: Jose Martinez (.483/.500/.724), Kyle Robinson (.421/.542/.632), Kyle Colligan (.333/.455/.600) and Mike Blanke (.400/.423/.600).
Cold Hitter: Jared Mitchell, OF, High-A
Stats: .059/.158/.059 with 2 BB and 11 K in 17 AB
Mitchell showed signs of a turnaround in July with a .943 OPS (despite a still high strikeout rate). Unfortunately, August has been his worst month as a pro. He's hitting .130 with just two extra base hits this month, prompting him to move down in the Dash's order this week. So far the move hasn't helped, but it's frustrating to see Mitchell have such a lost season. The injury excuse can only work for so long. Next year will likely be make or break for Mitchell's prospect status. "Honorable" mentions: Bradley Salgado (.143/.174/.143), Josh Phegley (.154/.154/.192), Ross Wilson (.185/.179/.185) and Brandon Short (.100/.200/.167).
Hot Pitcher: Todd Kibby, SP, Rookie Bristol
Stats: 12 IP, 0.75 ERA, 14 K, 1 BB, 9 H
Kibby is shaping up to be a potential sleeper prospect. His junior college numbers showed a lack of control (55 in 69 IP), but that has been corrected in pro ball. He has a nice 36 to 12 K:BB ratio on the year in 37.1 innings. The 37th round pick has been moved into the rotation the last couple weeks and shown good results obviously. A 6-4 lefty, Kibby could project well if the Sox saw and corrected something in his delivery. Honorable mentions: Terry Doyle (7 IP, 0 R, 12 K, 2 BB, 4 H), Hector Santiago (13 IP, 0 R, 12 K, 5 BB, 6 H), Jacob Petricka (6 IP, 0 R, 4 K, 3 BB, 4 H), Joe Serafin (12 IP, 1.50 ERA, 11 K, 3 BB, 12 H) and Ryan Buch (5 IP, 0 R, 6 K, 0 BB, 1 H).
Cold Pitcher: Jean Duque, SP, Rookie Bristol
Stats: 10 IP, 9 ERA, 8 K, 6 BB, 12 H
Duque's strong strikeout numbers from the Dominican Summer League haven't translated to rookie ball. The 22-year-old has 55 strikeouts in 68.1 innings with 32 walks. That has resulted in a 6.32 ERA. Unfortunately, many of the foreign players that made their US debuts this year have really struggled, with Kannapolis infielder Carlos Sanchez being the exception. "Honorable" mentions: Phil Negus (8.1 IP, 5.40 ERA, 11 R, 7 K, 5 BB, 13 H), Justin Collop (0.1 IP, 108.11 ERA, 0 K, 1 BB, 5 H) and Ethan Icard (10 IP, 11.7 ERA, 8 K, 6 BB, 17 H).