This past week on the White Sox farm saw many of its best performances come from the starting rotations for Charlotte and Winston-Salem, while it was the hitters doing the most for Birmingham and Kannapolis. Overall there were plenty of big numbers put up by prospects, which we detail here by team.
Charlotte Knights (AAA)
The window for Eddy Alvarez' dream of going from the Olympics to MLB has been narrowing in the last couple seasons, but he's still making his case. The 28-year-old posted one of the strongest offensive lines on the farm in the last week: .273/.385/.818, with a home run, triple and double (all three of his hits were for extra bases) in five games. It's not impossible he gets a September call-up to Chicago if he keeps trending the right direction. Speaking of utility type players, journeyman Patrick Leonard just keeps hitting, posting a .400 average with three doubles.
The Knights haven't won a ton of games lately, but they have gotten some very strong starts from their rotation. Michael Kopech bounced back from his worst outing of 2018 (8 ER in 3.1 IP) with a truly stellar start: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K. It was also his first start since his first of the year that he allowed zero runs. Dylan Covey threw a six inning gem, allowing just one unearned run, striking out six, which launched him to Chicago. Jordan Stephens' first two starts in AAA have gone pretty well too. In two starts combined in the last week: 12.1 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K.
Birmingham Barons (AA)
Lots of hitters have been bashing the ball for the Barons. Zack Collins continues to show his bounce-back is not a short term illusion, hitting .333 with a pair of bombs (on the same day) and (in no surprise) adding four walks in six games. Fellow catcher Seby Zavala had hit the skids a bit, but in the last week he seemed to turn it around: .294/.368/.529 in 5 games. Unfortunately he's now on the disabled list due to a "nagging wrist" issue, per Scot Gregor.
Eloy Jimenez just keeps hitting, begging the question of when he will head for AAA. His .364/.423/.591 line, not to mention just 4 K in 26 PA, seems pedestrian for him at this point. Trey Michalczewski continues his surprising turnaround, with the still only 23-year-old hitting .273 with a double and the unusual pair of triples in the past seven days.
Two relievers have been very effective for Birmingham in recent days. Jose Ruiz in 4 IP allowed just 2 hits - no walks or runs - while whiffing 7 batters. So far in AA overall he's struck out 12 batters in just 7.2 innings. Brandon Brennan allowed one run on 2 hits in his 4 innings, striking out five.
Winston-Salem Dash (A+)
It seems every week we have to cram in four, five or six names putting up stupid offensive numbers for the Dash, and still leave guys out who deserve recognition. But for the first time this season, the Dash lineup seems to have been less than spectacular, though there are some exceptions. Luis Alexander Basabe was red-hot in April, fell back a bit in early May, but seems to be turning it back around - he hit .294 with a home run, a double and added a stolen base. Third baseman Ti'Quan Forbes has leapt off the mat after a mediocre start to the year, hitting .333 in the past week and not striking out at all in 15 plate appearances.
On the other hand, there were plenty of pretty lines posted by starting pitchers with Winston-Salem. Dylan Cease was filthy in his one start: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K. Lefty Tanner Banks perhaps equally so in his: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Fellow southpaw Bernardo Flores walked the tight rope allowing 10 hits in seven innings, but kept the damage to three earned runs and struck out six.
Kannapolis Intimidators (A)
The Intimidators just keep winning ballgames, and in the last week their offense was the primary driver. Every time you think Laz Rivera may be coming back down to earth, he responds by getting even better at the plate and forcing the question of why he's still in Low-A. The 23-year-old shortstop slashed .438/.550/.688 with a home run, a double and two more swipes. He's now hitting a ridiculous .373 on the full season, and surprisingly has already hit five home runs in 41 games.
Rivera wasn't the only hot bat for Kannapolis though. Justin Yurchak put up a .350/.409/.600 line on the week and made the hits count with four of them going for extra bases. Like Rivera, outfielder Luis Gonzalez sure looks ready for a promotion, posting another strong week hitting .346 with a home run and three doubles, adding a steal for spice. Catcher Evan Skoug hit .333 and added three walks in his five games.
On the pitching side, Parker Rigler posted a nice start: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. Blake Battenfield's lone start on the week was strong as well (6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K), but to put in perspective just how good his 2018 has been, it was only his second start of the year where he allowed more than one earned run.
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Filed under: News and notes
Tags: Bernardo Flores, Blake Battenfield, Brandon Brennan, Dylan Cease, Dylan Covey, Eddy Alvarez, Eloy Jimenez, Evan Skoug, Jordan Stephens, Jose Ruiz, Justin Yurchak, Laz Rivera, Luis Alexander Basabe, Luis Gonzalez, Michael Kopech, Parker Rigler, Patrick Leonard, Seby Zavala, Tanner Banks, Ti'Quan Forbes, Trey Michalczewski, Zack Collins