With the draft behind us all six Chicago White Sox affiliates are in season. A number of all-star games are in the books and a couple are still to come shortly. The minor league season is past its halfway point so the roster moves are starting to come in bigger flurries. Time to take a look at who was truly in midseason form in the middle month of the season.
Charlotte (18-11 in June, 48-37 overall) exploded in June to take a commanding six-game lead in the International League South Division. All these rookies that have had success with the Sox helped Charlotte wins some ball games first.
Winston-Salem (17-10, 48-31) had a 10-1 stretch in June to clinch a playoff spot from the Carolina League Southern Division. The Dash went 44-25 in the first half, which was best in the eight-team league by three games.
Birmingham (10-15, 36-44) endured an eight-game losing streak in early June to knock themselves out of the first half division race. The Barons finished the first half 30-39, but are currently 6-5 in the second half. Meanwhile, Kannapolis (12-14, 38-42) finished under .500 in the first half.
Neither rookie ball team is setting the world on fire. Great Falls sits at 7-7 while Bristol is 4-9 after an eight-game losing skid. The team’s best hitter so far, 2012 third round pick Joey DeMichele, has already been promoted to Kannapolis so my prediction that they could be competitive isn’t looking good.
Onto this month’s ‘award’ winners!
Hitter of the Month: Brady Shoemaker
Stats: .315/.439/.522, 23 RBI, 20 R, 7 2B, 4 HR with 15 BB and 22 K in 92 AB
Like Mark Haddow from last month, Shoemaker isn’t much of a prospect due to his age. He’s 25 with no AA experience. However, that’s about to change. The former Indiana State outfielder was promoted to Birmingham today so he will get a better chance to prove his worth. Don’t pencil in Shoemaker to any future White Sox plans, but he’s posted an OPS over .900 each month with the Dash and exits the Carolina League second in that stat at .971. He also ranked second in batting average and slugging percentage while leading in RBI and runs scored. He was a 19th round pick in 2009 so he’s already surpassed expectations, but let’s see if he can keep it up in AA.
Dan Johnson (AAA): .262/.391/.563 with 8 HR, 21 BB and 20 K in 103 AB
Andy Wilkins (AA): .272/.342/.534 with 6 HR, 11 BB and 18 K in 103 AB
Trayce Thompson (High-A): .253/.303/.586 with 8 HR, 6 BB and 28 K in 99 AB
Johnson continues to be a rock in the middle of Charlotte’s lineup while Wilkins and Thompson have been very streaky for their clubs. Wilkins seems to be getting healthy after a back injury earlier in the season. Thompson is always hard to figure out, but his power remains very real. The 21-year-old is second in the Carolina League with 14 homers.
Pitcher of the Month: Matt Heidenreich
Stats: 2.64 ERA, 16 K, 3 BB, 25 H in 30.2 IP
Heidenreich played a role in the Dash’s hot finish to the first half. The 21-year-old right-hander won four games in June and was named Carolina League Pitcher of the Week earlier today. His staggering control is essential to his success, but he will need to show he can strikeout more batters as he moves up the system. On the season he has walked just 13 batters in 93.1 innings, but only has a mediocre 62 strikeouts to go with that. He has a 3.57 ERA in 15 starts and considering he is at an age appropriate level he could be a breakout candidate for the future.
Charlie Shirek (AAA): 37 IP, 2.43 ERA, 31 K, 6 BB, 34 H
Terance Marin (High-A): 18 IP, 2.50 ERA, 23 K, 4 BB, 20 H
Scott Snodgress (Low-A): 29.2 IP, 2.43 ERA, 30 K, 11 BB, 20 H
Shirek was a bit of a surprise, but it’s hard to argue with those numbers. The Charlotte pitching staff is second in the IL in ERA because guys like Shirek have stepped up this season. Marin has also been a surprise, having earned a promotion to Winston-Salem in mid-May and dominating since his arrival. Snodgress has had a rocky season (4.02 ERA), but seems to have found a groove.