White Sox Minor League News and Notes, 4/29 to 5/5

TINSTAAPP.

After only a year in the White Sox’ farm system, LHP Carlos Rodón made his major league debut. An NC State product, Rodón was polished when the Sox took him 3rd overall in the 2014 MLB draft.

Five years and 529 innings later and what do we really know about Rodón? A pitcher of much promise, he’s had his career and his ceiling lowered by injury. The latest coming May 1 after exiting in the fourth inning against the Orioles, noting exaggerated elbow tightness.

This case of elbow inflammation could carry with it the two words no pitcher ever wants to hear: Tommy John. While not a UCL tear as far as we know, Rodon has edema in the flexor mass or blood in the muscle, which White Sox GM Rick Hahn dutifully noted to MLB.com’s Scott Merkin, “[Is] not a good thing, obviously.”

With no Rodón, the promising pieces of the current White Sox rotation are RHP Lucas GIolito and RHP Reynaldo Lopez. The farm still has RHP MIchael Kopech (recovering from Tommy John) and RHP Dylan Cease (recovered from Tommy John) to headline it but question marks surround RHP Dane Dunning (rehabbing from Tommy John) and the rest of the pitching corps. While 2018 draft standout LHP Konnor Pilkington is lighting it up in Kannapolis and looks promising, to expand on a common theme, the future rotation looks shaky at best, with little to no help coming in free agency.

While there are always trades, a position of depth in the farm went from sure-thing to uncertain in a snap. Chris Sale and Jose Quintana may have brought back Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez, but looking at the roster today and the roster of tomorrow, finding the next Sale and Quintana is beginning to looks like if Where’s Waldo was printed in black and white.

That said tomorrow’s another day, and James Shields is always out there to eat some innings.

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

Prospect performance highlights

Kannapolis LHP Konnor Pilkington was named the Chicago White Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Month!

  • (Former) Winston-Salem OF Luis Robert went 3-5 with a triple and a home run April 29. Not to be outclassed, OF Jameson Fisher went 2-4 with two home runs, a walk and two strikeouts. Fisher followed-up that performance with a 3-5 day May 3.
  • Charlotte RHP Dylan Cease threw six sensational innings April 30, allowing two runs, five hits and a walk while striking out 11.
  • Winston-Salem RHP Zach Lewis went 4.2 innings April 30, allowing four hits, a single run and a walk while striking out six.   
  • Birmingham OF Blake Rutherford went 2-3 with a walk an a strikeout April 29.
  • Charlotte SS Danny Mendick went 3-4 with a home run and a walk May 1
  • Kannapolis LHP Konnor Pilkington threw five innings of one-run ball May 1. He allowed three hits and a walk but struck out six.
  • On a night where Luis Robert was debuting in Birmingham, LHP Kyle Kubat shined brightest. Through seven shutout innings, he allowed five hits and struck out seven.
  • Kannapolis CF Luis Gonzalez was 3-3 with a double May 3.
  • Birmingham OF Luis Robert went 4-5 with a double and a run scored May 4. (The force was with him).
  • SSS alert but Charlotte SS Danny Mendick may have found what worked for him so well in spring training. He went 3-4 with a walk and a strikeout May 4.
  • Kannapolis SS Lenyn Sosa went 3-5 with two doubles, two RBIs and a strikeout May 4.

Transactions

Injuries

  • Charlotte placed RHP Spencer Adams on the 7-day injured list, retroactive to April 29
  • Charlotte placed RHP Donn Roach on the 7-day IL May 2
  • Birmingham placed OF Micker Adolfo on the 7 day IL April 29

Activated

  • Winston-Salem OF/1B Jordan George returned from injury May 2
  • Kannapolis 1B Corey Zangari returned from injury (hamstring) April 30
  • Kannapolis RHP Lane Ramsey returned from injury May 4

Assigned

Optioned

Selected

Declared Free Agency

  • Charlotte RHP Ervin Santana elected free agency after his designation.

Team Performances

  • Charlotte posted a 1-5 week (16-14 overall, 1.0 game back). The Knights regressed to the mean, ceding first to the prospect-heavy Gwinnett Braves. They say nothing gold can ever last, but Knights are more silver anyways. The real question is can the Knights also fend off the raging Durham Bulls? Charlotte plays three against Columbus before three against Louisville.
  • Birmingham went 1-5 for the week (11-19 overall, 8.5 games back). The basement-dwelling Barons continue to disappoint and this week was more of the same. Birmingham posted another sub-.500 set. Hopefully the arrival of Luis Robert and Alec Hansen will provide a spark the team is dearly in need of. Birmingham has a five-game series in Jacksonville before traveling to Tennessee for a five-game series.
  • Winston-Salem had a 3-2 week (16-13 overall, 6 games back). The Dash bats were alive and the Dash ran into a good week, despite the terrible weather. They’ll look to keep in stride and carry that momentum towards the finish into series against Lynchburg and Down East.
  • Kannapolis compiled a 1-4 week (11-16 overall, 12 games back). I’ll retire the theme of the season when the Intimidators become more intimidating. The Intimidators had a bad week playing drastically under .500 ball.  They finish off a series against Hickory Monday before a three-game series at Lexington and a three-game series against West Virginia.
  • Great Falls opens their season in 39 days.

News and Links

  • Give a shoutout to our newest writer Josh Barglog!
  • Rob Young made his season debut and is back with another edition of the Prospect Hot List.
  • Winston-Salem OF no more, Luis Robert has made his way to Birmingham and that’s not the only prospect making moves. James Fox broke them down for us.
  • The fine folks at Baseball America released a new 2019 mock draft, tying the White Sox to Cal 1B Andrew Vaughn. The fine folks at FanGraphs also tied the White Sox to Vaughn in their first mock draft as well. Through his season, Vaughn is hitting .384/.535/.696 with 10 doubles, 11 home runs and 41 walks to 26 strikeouts (℅ Rob Young).
  • The Athletic’s James Fegan opined on the White Sox’ rotation depth as well, much more elegantly of course. Fegan also caught up with recovering 3B Jake Burger.
  • Birmingham manager Omar Vizquel would like to remind you he is also an artist, and his lineup cards are a work of art.

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