White Sox Minor League News and Notes, 4/23 to 4/29

With the White Sox already having an extra year of service time for both Charlotte P Michael Kopech and Birmingham OF Eloy Jimenez, it seems all but inevitable that both will be joining the team at some point in the season. I think it’s safe bet to say it’ll be after the Super 2 deadline sometime this June, but which player deserves and needs to be there first?

The safe money is on Kopech. Through 4 starts and 21 innings (small sample size alert), his ERA sits at 2.14, with his FIP and xFIP at 2.12 and 2.84, respectively. It’s undeniable that he’s dealing. That said, the fire-baller has the occasional off day which MLB teams can exploit.

Then there’s Eloy. Although he’s just getting started on this young season, the power is already apparent with 9 hits, 4 home runs and a double through 11 games. The .214/.255/.524 slash line is most certainly a product of returning from injury.

Both will be on the active roster by season end, but I, for one, will be counting the days until Eloy suits up on the South Side. Although #KopechDay will be mandatory viewing, the abundance of pitching talent the Sox have had in the past tempers my expectations.  It’s not to say the Southside has been spoiled, but Kopech is the latest in a line of remarkable pitching. Eloy, on the other hand, will be something not often seen on the Sox, a position player who truly rakes.

Whoever it is and whenever it is, the Sox will be better because of both of them. For now, let’s watch them dominate the minor leagues.

With that, here’s what you need to know this week.

Prospect performance highlights

OF Eloy Jimenez first two hits of the year were both homeruns, hit on April 23, complimented by OF Tito Polo going 2-4 and 2B Bryant Flete going 2-3 with a double.

Charlotte P Donny Roach went six strong innings, giving up 7 hits and 2 runs while striking out 7 and walking 2 April 23.

Kannapolis 1B Anthony Villa had a 2-3 game with a double and a walk April 23. Battery mate P Blake Battenfield was phenomenal shutting out the Delmarva Shorebirds, giving up two hits and one walk, while striking out 8.

Birmingham P Jordan Stephens threw 6 shutout innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 2 April 23.

Charlotte 1B Casey Gillaspie went 2-3 with a double, a walk and a strikeout April 24.

Birmingham C Seby Zavala went 2-3 with a homerun and 2 Ks April 24, complimented by C Zack Collins going 2-4 with 2 doubles and a walk. The third game this season Collins didn’t have a strikeout.

Kannapolis 1B Villa continued his hot streak into April 24, going 2-2 with a walk. 2B Tate Blackman went 2-3 with a double.

Charlotte P Michael Kopech was sensational April 25, turning in a memorable #KopechDay performance. His final line was 6 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks. He was supported by Charlotte OF Charlie Tilson who went 2-4 with a walk.

Winston-Salem 1B Gavin Sheets had a 3-3 game with a double and walk. OF Micker Adolfo went 1-2 with a homerun, 2 walks and a strikeout, while battery mate P Dylan Cease went 3.2 shakey innings, giving up 4 hits and 3 unearned runs while walking and striking out 6 in the first game of a double header.

In the April 25 second game, Winston-Salem OF Alex Call went 4-4 with 2 doubles, OF Luis Alexander Basabe went 2-3 with 2 doubles and walk and OF Adolfo went 2-3 with a double, a homerun and a K. P Danny Dopico threw 4 innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 runs, while striking out 7 and walking 2.

Birmingham C Collins continued to hit April 25. He went 2-4 with a double and a walk.

In his Birmingham debut P Dane Dunning went 6 innings, giving up 5 hits and 3 runs, while striking out 4 and walking 2 April 26. Birmingham 1B Matt Rose had a 3-4 game with 2 home runs and a K.

Kannapolis 2B Blackman’s hot bat made an appearance April 27. He went 4-5 with a double, a walk and a K April 27.

Birmingham P Jordan Stephens threw 5 innings April 28. He gave up 3 hits and 2 unearned runs, walking 3 and striking out 7. OF Polo had a 2-4 game with a triple.

Charlotte 2B Jake Elmore was 2-3 with a double and a walk April 29.

Kannapolis P John Parke threw 7 innings April 29. He gave up 2 hits and a run, striking out 3 and walking 2.

Although striking out twice April 29, C Collins continued to hit going 2-5.

Injuries

  • Charlotte C Brett Austin was placed on the 7-day disabled list April 23
  • Charlotte P Ricardo Pinto was placed on the DL, retroactive to April 26
  • Birmingham 2B Bryant Flete was placed on the 7-day disabled list April 28
  • Birmingham P Jake Johansen and OF Mason Robbins were activated from the 7-day disabled list
  • Kannapolis P Aron McRee was placed on the 7-day DL April 27

Transactions

Recalled

Selected

  • The White Sox selected P Chris Beck and OF Daniel Palka from Charlotte
  • P Dylan Covey took a brief trip to the White Sox but was optioned back to Charlotte April 29

Outrighted

  • The White Sox outrighted 1B Casey Gillaspie to Charlotte

Optioned

  • P Gregory Infante was optioned to Charlotte after a quick visit to Chicago

Assigned

  • Birmingham P Matt Tomshaw, P Colton Turner and OF Todd Cunningham were assigned to Charlotte. Cunningham was acquired from the Pirates.
  • Birmingham OF Ryan Brett spent a portion of the week in Charlotte but was sent back to Birmingham April 27.
  • Winston-Salem P Dane Dunning was promoted to Birmingham
  • P Tanner Banks was assigned to Winston-Salem

Released

Team Performances

  • Charlotte posted a 3-3 week (10-12 overall, 2 games back). P Kopech’s stellar performance April 25 was the highlight of the week, but despite only giving up 1 run, the Louisville Bats walked it off in extra innings. The Knights are back home for three versus Gwinnett and then hit the road for four at Columbus and four at Gwinnett.
  • Birmingham went 4-4 for the week (11-13 overall 1st half, 6.5 games back). The highlight of the week came from a 6-0 shutout from P Jordan Stephens. He gave up only 5 hits, while walking and striking out 2. They’re back home to play one more against Biloxi before hitting the road to go to Tennessee for a five game series.
  • Winston-Salem had a 2-4 week (12012 overall 1st half, 4 games back). A 9-3 shellacking of the Lynchburg Hillcats April 24 was among the memorable performances of the week, as were Micker Adolfo and Luis Alexander Basabe’ hot bats. They’re home for three games against Lynchburg and three against Buies Creek.  
  • Kannapolis compiled a 3-4 week (14-10 overall 1st half, 2 games back). The highlight of the week came April 27 in a 6-4 shootout. 2B Tate Blackman continued to see the ball well, going 4-5 on the day.

News and Links

FutureSox Editor-in-Chief Matt Cassidy reviewed how the prospects did this last week in the hot list and compiled scouting reports on the starting lineup for Winston-Salem.

Our own Ken Sawilchik took a look at the prospects who are playing to make or break their careers (including a fun couple of paragraphs on Joel “Lightning Rod” Booker, feel free to disregard the author's self-appointed nickname)

FutureSox Julie Brady took a deep dive into some of the under-the-radar prospect performances of the early year

Baseball America shouted out Winston-Salem OF Blake Rutherford in their Prospect Hot Sheet. His .409/.440/.591 stretch cemented his place on the list.

FutureSox is having a night at the ballpark and wants our readers to come. The inaugural FutureSox Night will be 7:10 p.m. June 13th at Guaranteed Rate Field against the Indians. Not only will readers get to enjoy a pregame buffet, but a portion of the ticket will go to support Baseball Miracles, a charity founded by White Sox scout John Tumminia. Here’s a link to tickets.

Lastly, keep White Sox P Danny Farquhar in your thoughts. Although progressing, he is still in critical condition.

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