White Sox Prospect Hot List, 5/8

The weather is heating up and so are the bats and arms in the White Sox system. The Hot List took last week off in lieu of the April Prospects of the Month, so we have two full weeks to breakdown for your reading enjoyment.

CHARLOTTE

Matt Skole at first base, holding Fernando Tatis Jr, Spring Training 2018 (Kim Contreras / FutureSox)

Matt Skole at first base, holding Fernando Tatis Jr, Spring Training 2018 (Kim Contreras / FutureSox)

The Knights offense has been scuffling a bit, but 1B/3B/DH Matt Skole has been carrying his weight, slashing .333/.476/.667 with two home runs and five doubles over the last two weeks. Jose Rondon, who the White Sox claimed this past off-season from San Diego, slashed .310/.356/.429 to raise his season line to .286/.340/.490. The second baseman has shown considerable pop, with four home runs, two triples, and four doubles over his first 24 games of 2018.

After a fantastic April that earned him Prospect of the Month honors, Michael Kopech has had two so-so starts to begin his May. He has a 3.60 ERA combined over his last three starts with 17 strikeouts to 8 walks over 13 innings. Jeanmar Gomez might not be long for Charlotte after not allowing a run since April 22nd. The veteran has been brilliant out of the Knights pen, posting a 1.04 ERA with 14 strikeouts and only 3 walks over 17.1 innings.

BIRMINGHAM

Zack Collins bats against the Frederick Keys (Mike Brady for FutureSox)

Zack Collins bats against the Frederick Keys (Mike Brady for FutureSox)

White Sox #1 prospect Eloy Jimenez is currently on a 11-game hitting streak and 7-game multi-hit streak simultaneously and he is somehow NOT the hottest hitter in Birmingham. That distinction belongs to catcher Zack Collins, who has slashed an absolutely bonkers .425/.603/.750 over his last 13 games. What is even more incredible about Collins hot streak is he was hitting .054/.294/.135 coming into the game on April 24th and has raised his average nearly 200 points. The aforementioned Jimenez has been red hot as well, slashing .368/.377/.684 with four home runs over the last two weeks. And last but not least, Danny Mendick has hit .357/.413/.571 with two home runs and three doubles. For the season, Mendick now has five home runs, which isn’t too shabby for a guy who only hit two in 2016.

Overshadowed by the torrid bats but deserving of recognition is Barons starter Jordan Stephens. Stephens has only given up two earned runs over his last three starts spanning 17.2 innings. Stephens has a 3.48 season ERA and a tidy 32/9 K/BB rate. After dominating Winston-Salem, Dane Dunning has not let up on the gas during three starts in Birmingham with a 3.06 ERA with 15 strikeouts over 17.2 innings.

WINSTON-SALEM

Dylan Cease throwing for the Winston-Salem Rayados, 2018 (Clinton Cole / FutureSox)

Dylan Cease throwing for the Winston-Salem Rayados, 2018 (Clinton Cole / FutureSox)

Things seemed bleak for Micker Adolfo after it was discovered in Spring Training that he tore a ligament in his elbow. It immediately ruled out him playing the outfield, but the Sox creatively decided to designate him as a DH, which partially eases the logjam for outfield playing time in Winston-Salem. Adolfo the DH has been a monster, slashing .330/.403/.607 for the season and has shown no signs of slowing down, smacking three home runs since our last Hot Sheet. Outfielder Alex Call got off to a sluggish start but has started to heat up, hitting .303/.378/.576 over his last nine games.

A polarizing prospect in the scouting industry, Dylan Cease entered 2018 with a lot of questions about his ability to stick as a durable starter and if his lethal fastball/curveball combo would play better in relief. While it is still very early in the season (and Cease’s career), it is hard to imagine a better start to his campaign. The former Cubs prospect has only allowed one earned run over his last three starts spanning 16.2 innings while striking out 24 batters to 8 walks. Cease’s fellow rotation mate Bernardo Flores has also strung together two solid starts, striking out 12 batters over 13 innings while only giving up two earned runs.

KANNAPOLIS

Luis Gonzalez hitting for the Intimidators (Clinton Cole / FutureSox)

Luis Gonzalez hitting for the Intimidators (Clinton Cole / FutureSox)

While Zack Collins’ unbelievable on base and slugging percentage were unmatched in our two week sample, it is center-fielder and 2017 3rd round draft pick Luis Gonzalez who had the best batting average. Gonzalez has been on fire, slashing .476/.513/.583 over his last eight contests. However, he hasn’t played since May 3rd, with no word as to why. Anthony Villa hasn’t been quite that hot, but .382/.447/.500 is nothing to sneeze at. Villa leads the Intimidators in batting average (.367), OBP (.433), and slugging (.517) and the slugging percentage is particularly impressive considering he has yet to hit a home run. He’s been playing off the bench but has seeing playing time increase as his numbers have justified.

Blake Battenfield has been lights-out all season and his last two starts were no different, tossing 11 innings and only allowing one run on six hits. Lincoln Henzman posted a pretty 11/0 K/BB rate and a 2.25 ERA over his last two starts. Reliever Yelmison Peralta was unscored upon over his last 6.2 innings of work and struck out nine batters to just one free pass.

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