White Sox Prospect Hot List, 5/16-22

After a two week hiatus while we focused on affiliate visit content, the hot list is back. Let’see who has been hot on the White Sox farm in the past week of games (or a little longer in some cases)…

Charlotte Knights

With Yoan Moncada out of the lineup and the usual power bats scuffling, the Knights offense hasn’t been so hot lately. But Jacob May certainly hasn’t struggled in his return to AAA, hitting .304/.407/.391 in the last week and .324/.392/.465 in 17 games since his demotion. Everth Cabrera doesn’t technically count as a prospect, but his .364/.500/.409 slash in his last six contests is a signal that he’s ready to contribute should an opportunity arise.

Reynaldo Lopez continues to show he’s very close to major league-ready. In 11 innings spanning his two most recent starts, Lopez has allowed just one run on six hits, walking four and striking out eleven. We’ll have a Lopez feature article coming soon, with some video we took at a recent game in Charlotte, but the short story is that he’s looking quite good.

Tyler Danish gets the award for odd stat line for a starter this week. He was effective in allowing just one run over five frames. But he gave up five hits and four walks, striking out only one batter, somehow making it all work anyway.

Birmingham Barons

Outfielder Hunter Jones is known primarily for his defense – his spectacular plays in center field have made highlight reels time and time again this year. But he’s been getting hot with the stick as well, putting up a large .421/.450/.789 line and striking out just twice in 20 plate appearances this past week. The 25-year old should probably be in Charlotte, but they already have a crowded outfield.

Infielder and utility man Jake Peter was a surprise to be assigned to AA instead of AAA to open the season, then further surprised by struggling mightily with the Barons. But he seems to be turning it around a bit now, hitting .261 with 4 of his 6 hits going for extra bases in the last six games. He’ll need to do that and more to make it back to Charlotte.

Michael Kopech continues to be filthy, striking out Southern League batters at a prolific clip. In his one start this week, he struck out 8 batters in 7 innings, allowing just 3 hits and perhaps most importantly, walking only 2 batters. The stuff is not in question – command is the key focus for Kopech right now, and there are indications he’s improving at least in control if not true command.

Winston-Salem Dash

After a huge statistical performance with Great Falls in his draft year, Brady Conlan was double-promoted to Winston-Salem for this season and hit just .200 in his first 30 games there. But he’s now on his first real hot streak; he’s getting hits (.382 AVG) and showing some power (2 HR, 3 2B) during a current 9-game on-base streak.

Zack Collins gets another mention for having a super-weird triple-slash line: .158/.385/.526 in the last week of action, drawing six walks and hitting a pair of home runs. It appears that Carolina League pitchers are working around Collins without much protection in the lineup behind him. But one trend or another has to give soon.

Left-hander Tanner Banks continues to show that he’s really too much for the Carolina League and belongs in AA when the next opportunity arises. In a pair of starts this past week, Banks posted these numbers: 14 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K.

Max Beatty has been a jack of all trades for the Dash, working as a starter, long man and short reliever. He’s also a swiss army knife as a pitcher, throwing from three different angles including the occasional submarine delivery. He’s made it work for him lately – in his last three appearances (one start, one long relief, one short relief) he’s allowed just 4 hits, zero walks and zero earned runs in 11 innings, striking out 9 along the way.

Kannapolis Intimidators

The Intimidators are the winningest, and perhaps most exciting, affiliate in the White Sox minors so far in 2017. So it is no surprise that they’ve got more hot hands than the other clubs, on both sides of the ball.

Seby Zavala would probably be a level up if not for the presence of Collins. So when he hit just just .153 and struck out in 22 of his 64 PA in April, it didn’t figure to last. Sure enough he has turned it around in a big way, hitting a ridiculous .333/.455/.833 in the last week and .341/.426/.659 in May overall, striking out just 6 times in 47 PA during the month. As soon as Collins moves up, expect Zavala to do the same.

Jameson Fisher also unexpectedly struggled in the early going, and has similarly turned it around. After missing a few games with a bruised ankle/shin, he batted .333 on the week with three doubles and a triple. Fellow outfielder Joel Booker also had a strong week (.321/.367/.429), but in his case it’s more of the same as he’s been the most consistent hitter in the Intimidators lineup this year.

Alec Hansen, like Kopech, keeps piling up the K’s – he collected 17 in 11.2 innings in his two most recent starts, allowing three earned on ten hits and five walks. But also like Kopech, he’s got some development to do and you shouldn’t expect him to move up any time soon. Luis Martinez made his first start of the season (he’d been in Extended Spring Training) and looked good doing it – he struck out nine and allowed just one run in five innings.

Closer Mike Morrison continues to be ridiculous and clearly needs a promotion. This week? 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K. On the season so far? 21.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 33 K. It would be impossible for any practical purpose to do better than that. Time for a new challenge.

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