Before we know it the 2019 draft will be here and with the White Sox picking at three, the return should be substantial. But it wasn’t too long ago us at FutureSox was getting excited about a whole different crop of new prospects. So, let’s catch up with the class of 2018.
Nick Madrigal: The Crown Jewel
Madrigal is at Winston-Salem, sadly not doing much of anything. Through 125 plate appearances, Madrigal has a .266/.347/.367 slash line. The 10 walks to four strikeouts are nice to see, but only nine of his 29 base hits were for extra bases and he has six steals. Baseball America put him at No. 43 on their preseason top 100, MLB.com ranked him at No. 47, Fangraphs had him at No. 32 and Baseball Prospectus was highest on him at 15.
Wrist injuries, like the one Madrigal sustained in 2018, sap power for a long time as hitters work their way back to full health, but even when he first returned from that injury he was hitting. What’s happening now with Madrigal, I’m not sure, but for such a quintessential pick, White Sox fans better hope he figures it out.
Konnor Pilkington: It’s Early But Something’s Different Here
Pilkington, the third-round, left-handed Mississippi State alumni, looks like a different pitcher through 33.1 Southern League innings. He’s allowed 15 hits, 11 walks, and only six earned runs. He’s sporting an incredible 1.62 ERA and struck out a whopping 42 for an 11.34 K/9. Yes, it’s incredibly SSS and his FIP and xFIP suggest modest regression but this Konnor Pilkington is not the Konnor Pilkington coming out of Mississippi State. The White Sox farm needs some quality innings and if Pilkington keeps striking guys out while limiting walks, he might be the guy to provide them.
Bryce Bush: The Most Exciting 33rd Round Pick I’ve Ever Seen
It’s been a popular FutureSox take that Rick Hahn committed highway robbery when he took 3B Bryce Bush with the 33rd round pick and convinced him to sign. All Bush has done since is hit and hit and hit. Bush had a slow start to the season but since April 22nd, he’s posted a slash line of .348/.449/.636 (℅ Ian Rankin). For a 33rd round high school bat with signability issues, Bush may be a hidden gem in the making. He’s already made FanGraph’s Top 30 Prospect list and if this hot streak continues, he’ll undoubtedly be moving on up.
With that, here’s what you need to know this week.
Prospect performance highlights
- Birmingham LHP Kyle Kubat may have figured something out. On May 6, he threw seven shutout innings, allowing only three hits, while striking out five. Through that date, he pitched 31 consecutive innings without allowing a run. (℅ the Barons)
- LHP Konnor Pilkington threw a six-inning shutout May 6. He allowed two hits and three walks but struck out eight. Through May 6 and 33.1 innings, the 2018 draft pick has a 1.62 ERA, 42 Ks, 11 walks and only 15 hits allowed.
- Charlotte OF Adam Engel was 3-5 with a double and a strikeout May 7.
- Birmingham OF Blake Rutherford went 3-4 with a triple May 7. Complimenting him RHP Zack Burdi threw a scoreless inning. He allowed a walk and a hit while striking out one.
- Winston-Salem OF Jameson Fisher and C Carlos Perez each had 3-5 nights May 7.
- Winston-Salem OF Steele Walker went 3-3 with two walks May 8. Fisher stayed hot, going 3-4 with a home run and a walk.
- Charlotte SS Danny Mendick went 3-4 with a double May 8
- Kannapolis RHP Kade McClure threw 7 strong innings May 8. He gave up an unearned run, four hits, and a walk but struck out 10.
- Kannapolis OF Ian Dawkins went 5-6 with a home run and a strikeout May 9. OF Romy Gonzalez went 4-5 with a triple.
- Charlotte placed C Zack Collins on the 7-day injured list May 9
- Charlotte placed RHP Jordan Stephens on the 7-day IL, retroactive to May 8
- Birmingham placed RHP Felix Paulino on the 7-day IL, May 9
- Birmingham placed C Yermin Mercedes on the 7-day IL, May 6
- OF Paulo Orlando, 2B Ivan De Jesus Jr., and LHP Ross Detwiler were assigned to the Knights
- Charlotte RHP Jake Elliott was demoted to Winston-Salem
- Charlotte RHP Connor Walsh and C Daniel Gonzalez were demoted to Birmingham
- Birmingham C Michael Hickman was promoted to Charlotte
- Winston-Salem RHP Blake Battenfield and C Nate Nolan were promoted to Birmingham
- Winston-Salem 3B Johan Cruz was sent to Kannapolis
- RHP Jorgan Cavanerio was assigned to Winston-Salem
- Kannapolis LHP Konnor Pilkington and C Evan Skoug were sent to Winston-Salem
- Great Falls OF Travis Moniot and C Jhoandro Alfaro were promoted to Kannapolis
- The White Sox optioned LHP Caleb Frare and OF Adam Engel to Charlotte
- The White Sox promoted OF Charlie Tilson
- Charlotte released OF Preston Tucker
- Birmingham C Brett Nichols retired
- Charlotte posted a 3-3 week (18 -17 overall, 2.5 games back). A .500 week for a .500 team. The rain kept the series against Columbus even, and the Knights split the series with Louisville. Not even the sensational Dylan Cease could save the night as he went just 3.2 innings May 11, ceding two runs on five hits. Charlotte is back in town for three against Rochester before a series against Lehigh Valley.
- Birmingham went 2-3 for the week (13-22 overall, 9.5 games back). Everyone knows of the Luis Roberts and Alec Hansens of the world but how many of you know of the Kyle Kubats? Yes, at 26, he’s old but he’s had examples of past success and is putting together a string of pitching right now that borders on ludicrous. A major league team needs to hit on the majority of its prospects to be successful, but never count out a guy that might’ve figured it out. That said, the Barons will attempt to figure it out against Tennessee and Mississippi.
- Winston-Salem had a 2-4 week (18-17 overall, 8 games back). The Dash looks a lot like Spiderman at the end of Avengers Endgame. Hopefully, they start to feel during their road series against Myrtle Beach and Downs East.
- Kannapolis compiled a 5-2 week (16-18 overall, 11 games back). The Intimidators listened to me (lol) and were a lot more intimidating this week. The crown performance was a 12-1 blowout of the Lexington Legends. The Intimidators will keep up this newfound intimidating performance with a game against West Virginia, followed by a series against Lexington and Delmarva.
- Great Falls opens their season in 32 days.
News and Links
The latest episode of the FutureSox podcast is out featuring Kannapolis broadcaster Trevor Wilt and Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo. Give it a listen and subscribe.
Julie Brady recapped some excellent Winston-Salem Dash action, with a perfect example of alliteration and a sprinkle of self-realization.
FutureSox started its draft preview series. James Fox tackled one of the top industry-consensus mock picks in Cal 1B Andrew Vaughn.
2080 Baseball’s Adam McInturff ranked the minor leaguers, including scouting reports, spotlights and videos.
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