In the final week of the regular season a few White Sox affiliates were in the thick of a playoff race, but it appears only Great Falls will join Birmingham in the postseason. Winston-Salem was eliminated on the second to last day of the season and Kannapolis came up one win short. Meanwhile the Voyagers are red hot and that shows with the numbers their hitters put up this week.
Hot Hitter: Andy Wilkins, 1B, High-A
Stats: .391/.462/.870 with 5 2B, 2 HR, 3 BB and 2 K in 23 AB
After adjusting to the Carolina League in his first full professional season, Wilkins has had a fantastic second half. He hit .317/.377/.561 after the all-star break and has just 91 strikeouts in 556 plate appearances. With big power and good contact skills for a power hitter there is a lot to like about Wilkins. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to AA and going from a hitters’ park to Birmingham’s big Regions Park. Honorable mentions: Lastings Milledge (.455/.520/.545), Dallas McPherson (.522/.577/.913), Tyler Saladino (.348/.444/.565) and Seth Loman (.400/.500/.600) and Collin Kuhn (.450/.450/.850).
Cold Hitter: Jose Martinez, OF, AA
Stats: .111/.200/.111 with 2 BB and 4 K in 18 AB
Martinez is coming off a strong week and had a really strong August (.983) so there isn’t much to worry about here. It took the Venezuelan about a month to get a handle on AA pitching, but his overall numbers look decent now. If he can stay healthy (something he hasn’t been able to do yet in his career) he could be a sleeper fourth outfielder for the White Sox in a year or two. “Honorable” mentions: Jake Oester (.118/.211/.235), Andrew Garcia (.130/.125/.174), and Dan Black (.174/.269/.261).
Hot Pitcher: Charlie Leesman, SP, AA
Stats: 7 IP, 0 R, 10 K, 1 BB, 5 H
Leesman had a dominant start Sept. 3 to finish off his regular season. It’s been an up and down season for the 24-year-old, with control often being the cause for struggles. Leesman will be a factor in the playoffs, which start Thursday, for the Barons. Honorable mentions: Dylan Axelrod (7 IP, 0 R, 3 K, 2 BB, 3 H), Charlie Shirek (6 IP, 1.50 ERA, 2 K, 0 BB, 7 H) and Pete Gehle (10.2 IP, 2.53 ERA, 13 K, 2 BB, 9 H).
Cold Pitcher: Cameron Bayne, SP, High-A
Stats: 5.2 IP, 9.53 ERA, 2 K, 3 BB, 9 H
Bayne has been a rock for the Dash all year, finishing with a Carolina League-high 12 wins, but couldn’t get it done this week. Winston-Salem finished just out of the playoffs with a 37-33 second half record. It’s the first time since 2007 that the Dash missed the playoffs. “Honorable” mentions: Justin Edwards (9 IP, 8 ERA, 11 R, 5 K, 3 BB, 15 H), Jacob Petricka (8.2 IP, 8.44 ERA, 7 K, 3 BB, 16 H) and Blair Walters (10.2 IP, 8.44 ERA, 9 K, 3 BB, 15 H).
Special Great Falls offense section
The Voyagers have won eight in a row to take a two game lead in the second half Pioneer North division race with three days left to play. A big reason why has been the outstanding offensive production they’ve received during that streak. They’ve collected 63 runs during the winning streak, almost good for eight per game. Here’s the list of standout Voyagers from the previous week:
Kevan Smith (.462/.667/.615)
Mark Haddow (.433/.455/.1.000)
Mark Medina (.450/.500/.700)
Michael Earley (.414/.452/.690)
David Herbek (.393/.500/.500)
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