White Sox Prospect Hot List, 4/11-17

It’s the first full week of the FutureSox Prospect Hot List and after a strong opening games from the bats, its some under the radar arms who stole the show in the past seven days. Let’s take a dip into some of best performances for this past week.

Charlotte

The idea of Chris Beck the starter died sometime in early 2016, but Chris Beck the reliever is still alive and kicking. After making 25 appearances in the White Sox bullpen, Beck started the year strong in relief as a Charlotte Knight. The former 2nd round draft pick has a tidy 1.29 ERA and five strikeouts over seven innings and caught the eye of Baseball America’s editor Kyle Glaser.

Another former 2nd round pick for the White Sox who is transitioning to relief, David Holmberg has had an impressive week. Holmberg has made two appearances totaling four perfect innings with two strikeouts.

Continuing the theme of 2nd round draft picks, Tyler Danish went seven strong innings on Friday, only allowing two runs on one walk and seven hits, while striking out three. Danish has been around seemingly forever, but is still only 22 years old and could see his stock improve with a strong year at AAA.

Birmingham

The Barons have been struggling, but one pitcher has excelled in a starting role – and he’s only there because of an injury to another starter. Matt Cooper made his second start on the 16th, striking out seven batters against 2 walks in 4 frames. His two combined starts look like this in 2017: 8 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 16 K (that’s two per inning!).

Coaches in the Sox system have said that Cooper is seen as a reliever as his ultimate home. But he’s got a starter’s 4-pitch mix and has excelled in High-A and now AA as a starter. It’s not impossible he could make the team change it’s view, but even if he’s destined for the bullpen, these are encouraging showings.

Winston-Salem

Normally, when a position player converts to a pitcher, its a rough transition. Louie Lechich seems to be the exception to the rule, as he tossed two more scoreless innings this past week and has not been scored upon in his first 18.1 innings pitched in regular season baseball. Lechich even pitched well in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, and if you factor his innings there he has a sparkling 0.29 ERA over 31 innings.

Ryan Riga had a 5.40 ERA in 2016, but has gotten off to a fast start in 2017 with a four scoreless innings, only allowing one hit and no walks. Fellow Dash reliever Ian Hamilton also has a perfect 0.00 ERA over seven innings and converted his first save of 2017 on Monday night.

Kannapolis

If you were wondering where the hot bats are in the White Sox system this past week, they are all residing in the Kanny lineup. Mitch Roman was featured last week in the Hot List, and he has actually raised his average to a scalding .463. Roman went 4-4 at the plate on Friday and is riding a eight game hitting streak to go along with his impressive .463/.522/.585 batting line.

Outfielder Joel Booker had four multi-hit games this past week, raising his season slash line to .388/.444/.449. The 23 year-old 2016 draft pick has done nothing but hit since he was taken in the 22nd round.

2016 4th round selection Jameson Fisher got off to a slow start to the season (by his standards), but has roared back this week. Fisher hit his first home run of the season Friday and is now hitting .318/.396/.432.

Dane Dunning had a great opening start (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 8 K) in his new organization, but it was just an appetizer to his next start. Dunning was absolutely dominant on Thursday, throwing 71 strikes on 95 pitches to go 8 shutout innings, striking out 13 and allowing only three hits with no walks. As I wrote in his profile at the time of the Eaton trade, Dunning has impeccable command of his pitches and has not issued a walk over his first 14 innings to go along with 21 strikeouts.

Alec Hansen had a rough season debut, getting chased from the game in the 4th innings with four hits and five walks. However, Hansen has rebounded in his last two starts and combined to throw 11 innings, giving up only 3 runs, 2 walks, and striking out 15 batters.

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