White Sox Minor League News and Notes, 4/4 to 4/7

To quote former MLB Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, “I need to think something lasts forever, and it might as well be that state of being that is a game; it might as well be that, in a green field, in the sun.”

Welcome back, baseball. Welcome back, home runs, strikeouts, fly outs, ground outs, strikes, balls, umpires, bat flips, balks, errant throws, spectacular displays of athleticism and awe-inspiring moments.

The 2019 season is here and with it begins a pivotal period for the White Sox. To quote Major League Baseball, the White Sox need to “Let The Kids Play.” We’ve entered the precursor to the infamously foretold 2020-window of contention. The major league roster is riddled with holes and injuries are devastating the ranks of the farm.

But, hope is not lost. The saying, “hope rings anew” is correlated with the beginning of every season. So too, the farm remains the element that brings with it hope. For every strikeout and fly out that festers within us, we have the home runs and walk-off wins that bring with them jubilation and joyousness.

In terms of development cycles, all eyes will be on Charlotte and Birmingham (with some elongated stares at Luis Robert in Winston-Salem). Charlotte is home to RHP Dylan Cease, C Zack Collins, RHP Zack Burdi, C Seby Zavala, RHP Jordan Stephens and RHP Spencer Adams. Birmingham features RHP Dane Dunning, OF/DH Micker Adolfo, OF Luis Alexander Basabe, OF Luis Gonzalez, OF Blake Rutherford, 1B Gavin Sheets, RHP Tyler Johnson, RHP Jimmy Lambert, LHP Bernardo Flores, SS Laz Rivera and LHP Kodi Medeiros.

Come September, a Starbucks should open at Guaranteed Rate Field because of how many cups of coffee the team needs to hand out, or I fear the the window of contention will get pushed further and further away. But for now, as the grind begins, everything is still hopeful, the fields are still green and the sun is still shining.

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

Prospect performance highlights

  • Winston-Salem OF Luis Robert hit two bombs on opening day to go along with a walk and a stolen base April 4. Robert stole the spotlight again April 6, going 3-5 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. He returned for an encore April 7, hitting a 3-run bomb in the top of the 9th.
  • Not to be outdone, Charlotte C Zack Collins also sent two out of the park and hit a triple for good measure April 4. He followed that up with another homer April 6.
  • Kannapolis LHP Taylor Varnell threw six shutout innings April 5, striking out seven and giving up only two hits to the Rome Braves.
  • Charlotte SS Danny Mendick homered in each of Charlotte’s first two games of the season.
  • Winston-Salem RHP Alec Hansen made his season debut, coming out of the pen. He tossed a scoreless and hitless inning, striking out one.
  • Kannapolis SS Lenyn Sosa went 4-5 with a double April 6.
  • LHP Konnor Pilkington threw 5.2 innings of shutout ball April 7. He struck out six, walked one and surrendered three hits.

Injuries

  • The Knights placed RHP Zack Burdi and LHP Aaron Bummer on the 7-day injured list April 4.
  • The Barons placed RHP Dane Dunning (TJS), LHP Kodi Medeiros and OF Luis Alexander Basabe (returns in June) on the 7-day injured list and A.J. Puckett on the 60-day injured list April 4.
  • The Dash placed RHPs Drew Hasler and Victor Diaz on the 7-day injured list April 4, the Dash also placed RHP Lincoln Henzman on the 7-day injured list retroactive to April 5 (ankle injury covering first base in his start).
  • The Intimidators placed RHP J.B. Olson, 1B Corey Zangari (hamstring) and 3B Jake Burger (recovery from achilles tear) on the 7-day injured list April 4.

Your 2019 FutureSox Season Previews

Charlotte Knights

Birmingham Barons

Winston-Salem Dash

Kannapolis Intimidators

Official rosters

Transactions

Assigned

  • RHP Will Kincanon was assigned to Winston-Salem from extended Spring Training.

Recalled

  • The White Sox recalled RHP Jose Ruiz from Charlotte

Optioned

Team Performances

  • Charlotte posted a 3-1 week (3-1, tied for 1st). Welcome back to the emoticons!┏(・o・)┛♪┗ (・o・) ┓Charlotte started strong and currently shares first place with the Gwinnett Stripers. Charlotte plays three against Norfolk before beginning a series with Indianapolis.
  • Birmingham went 1-3 for the week (1-3 overall, 2 games back). The weather is only one of Birmingham's many problems right now. After rain delayed the season opener, the Barons dropped both games of their doubleheader, only for rain to suspend their third game April 6. They’ll look to fight off mother nature as they finish their series against Biloxi before starting a five game series against the Smokies (Who are having a Touch-A-Truck promotion April 7).
  • Winston-Salem had a 3-1 week (3-1 overall, 1st). The movie Almost Famous tells the story of a teenage journalist writing for Rolling Stone on his journey covering the music industry. Almost Perfect is the title you can give Winston-Salem’s opening week after the team went 3-1. The Dash play three against Wilmington before beginning a series against Potomac.
  • Kannapolis compiled a 3-1 week (3-1 overall, tied for 1st). Almost Perfect 2 is the sequel to Almost Perfect, chronicling the Intimidators hot start to the season. They play three against Delmarva before beginning a four game series against the Crawdads.
  • Great Falls opens their season in 67 days. AZL will open around the same time but their schedule has not been released yet.

News and Links

  • FutureSox Editor-in-Chief Clinton Cole previewed the 2019 minor league season in the latest episode of the FutureSox podcast.
  • Our own James Fox wrote about the White Sox 2019 draft prospects highlighting three top prospects and Fox dove into a rumor tying the White Sox to 22-year-old Cuban SS Yolbert Sanchez.
  • Ken Sawilchik opened up the history books to look at the White Sox’s draft history.
  • Mike Rankin relayed the tale of his trip to Glendale and his time spent scouring the back fields of Minor League camp.
  • MiLB brought back its excellent Copa de la Diversion promotion. The Knights will suit up as Cabelleros de Charlotte, Winston-Salem as Rayados de Winston-Salem and Kannapolis as Rapidos de Kannapolis.
  • Fangraphs’ dynamic duo reviewed the White Sox’s top 30 prospects. The TL:DR? The system is top heavy and lacks depth.
  • The Athletic’s James Fegan remembered the rise of OF Eloy Jimenez.

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    Unfortunately, we will all have to wait until sometime during the 2020 season to enjoy the progress of Dane Dunning at AA Birmingham. It will likely be at least mid-season of next year before Dunning takes the mound in a competitive game following his TJ surgery last month.

  • Yes, I definitely should’ve made that clear.

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