It’s promotion day in the minor leagues as far as the White Sox are concerned. The Charlotte Knights, Birmingham Barons, Winston-Salem Dash and Kannapolis Intimidators have all seen some movement. Luis Robert heading to the Winston-Salem Dash in High-A from Kannapolis was the first official announcement and one that shouldn’t have been a surprise.
— Sam Dykstra (@SamDykstraMiLB) June 21, 2018
Below are some of the promotions and roster moves that have become official by affiliate.
Charlotte Knights AAA
- From Birmingham: RHP Ian Hamilton, OF Eloy Jimenez, C Seby Zavala
- Released: OF Michael Saunders
- To 7 Day DL: C Brett Austin
Eloy Jimenez is a consensus top 5 prospect in the sport among notable publications and this is a warranted promotion. The 21-year-old posted a .925 OPS in almost 230 plate appearances with the Barons. The 6’4 205 pound outfielder posted a staggering 155 wRC+ with a .405 wOBA and .239 ISO. Eloy hit 10 homers and drove in 42 and he should do some big time damage in the hitter friendly BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte. Seby Zavala will turn 25 years old in August and he has hit consistently over the last year in the minors. The former 12th rounder slashed .271/.358/.472 with a 132 wRC+ in Double-A. It is noteworthy that Zavala is getting the call to Charlotte before Zack Collins but it makes sense in a couple of different ways. Zavala profiles as an offensive oriented backup catcher in the big leagues and is almost 18 months older than Collins. Zavala also will need to be protected on the White Sox 40-man roster this winter in order to avoid the Rule 5 Draft. Seby has a chance to earn a big league call-up to finish out the 2018 season potentially in Chicago.
The third name coming from Birmingham to Charlotte is a less familiar one to casual fans. Ian Hamilton was an 11th round pick in the 2016 draft out of Washington State and has moved through the system at a rapid pace since. The 6’0 200 pound right hander has posted a 1.78 ERA and a 2.20 FIP while striking out 12 hitters per 9 innings in 25.1 IP for the Barons. Hamilton has been a bit of a system sleeper of late but he throws high 90’s heat and possesses a mid 90’s slider as well. Hamilton will slot into the back end of Charlotte’s bullpen and could even see Chicago later this season.
Chris Getz spoke briefly to the media today about some of the promotions
Getz on Seby Zavala: “He handles a pitching staff like a major leaguer. He’s major league ready in that aspect”
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) June 21, 2018
— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) June 21, 2018
Birmingham Barons AA
- From Winston-Salem: OF Luis Alexander Basabe, OF Joel Booker, OF Alex Call, RHP Dylan Cease, LHP Bernardo Flores, RHP Matt Foster, RHP Zach Thompson
- To Winston-Salem: RHP Cameron Seitzer, RHP Connor Walsh
- To Kannapolis: SS JJ Muno
- To 7 Day DL: RHP Jake Johansen
- From 7 Day DL: C Casey Schroeder
- Released: OF/3 Nick Basto
The Birmingham Barons starting rotation is loaded with pitching prospects and two more are on the way. Dylan Cease has top of the rotation stuff but questions have lingered about whether or not he can master an effective third pitch or stay healthy throughout an entire season. The 22-year-old flamethrower has quelled some of those concerns in 71.2 IP in the Carolina League this year. The 6’2 190 pound righty has posted a 2.89 ERA and a 3.32 FIP while striking out more than 10 hitters per 9 in just over 70 innings. Bernardo Flores was a 7th round pick in the 2016 draft and he’s posted a 2.55 ERA in 77.2 innings with Winston-Salem. The 22-year-old southpaw doesn’t strikeout a bunch of guys but he’s been very effective in his 12 starts this year earning this well deserved promotion. Zach Thompson and Matt Foster are two right-handed relievers that are also joining the Barons. Thompson is 24 years old and was a 5th rounder back in 2014. In 35.1 innings on the season, he has posted a 1.78 ERA with a 2.75 FIP. Foster is 23 years old and has posted a 2.57 ERA with a sparkling 1.76 FIP in 28 innings.
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) June 21, 2018
Three talented outfielders will also be joining the Barons as well. Luis Alexander Basabe struggled in his first year with the organization but some of those issues apparently can be attributed to an injured knee. The switch-hitting centerfielder has posted a 145 wRC+ on the season so far and has hit for power. Basabe has slashed .266/.370/.502 while playing stellar defense in every outfield position. The 21-year-old will be tested in the Southern League and he should get the majority of his play in CF. Alex Call was a 3rd round pick of the Sox out of Ball State in the highly lauded 2016 draft. Call has battled injuries during his time in the system but he’s off to a solid start this year. The 23-year-old can play multiple positions in the outfield as well and has hit .256/.368/.421 with a wRC+ of 125. Joel Booker is another guy that has performed admirably in High-A. The 24-year-old can also play multiple spots and he has posted a 144 wRC+ in 53 games. His .297/.389/.469 line earned him this promotion.
Winston Salem Dash A+
- From Kannapolis: RHP Blake Battenfield, OF Luis Gonzalez, RHP Lincoln Henzman, RHP Tyler Johnson, SS Laz Rivera, OF Luis Robert
- From Birmingham: RHP Cameron Seitzer, RHP Connor Walsh
- To Kannapolis: LHP Joe Mockbee
The biggest name joining the Dash is obviously 20-year-old outfielder Luis Robert. Robert posted a 119 wRC+ while displaying ++ speed in a 50 plate appearance sample with Kannapolis. Luis should be the primary CF in the Winston-Salem lineup and he’ll attempt to show everyone why he’s a top 50 prospect in the game. Luis Gonzalez is the other Intimidator to earn a promotion to the High-A outfield. The former New Mexico product was a 3rd round pick of the White Sox in 2017 and he posted a 139 wRC+ in 255 plate appearances with Kannapolis. The 22-year-old lefty hit .300/.358/.491 with 8 homers and 16 doubles. He also played good defense at multiple positions and is creeping up into top-10 organizational prospect territory. Infielder Laz Rivera will be 24 years old in September and his age alone warrants this promotion. The White Sox need to find out what they have in this 2017 late rounder after he mashed 6 homers in Low-A with a 155 wRC+ and .401 wOBA.
Three pitchers with excellent numbers are also heading to the Dash. Lincoln Henzman was a 4th round pick out of Louisville in 2017. He was used in high leverage situations with the Cardinals but he has primarily been used as a starter with the White Sox. In 72.2 innings, the right-hander has posted a 2.23 ERA with a 2.94 xFIP. He’s only striking out 7.43 batters per nine and doesn’t have lights out stuff but he’s been getting the job done. Blake Battenfield was a 17th rounder in the 2017 draft and he earned the promotion to Advanced A ball as well. Blake will be 24 in August and the organization needs to see him against some stiffer competition. The 6’3 220 pound right-handed hurler has struck out 9 batters per nine and compiled a 2.00 ERA with a FIP of 3.22. Tyler Johnson has been lights out as the closer in Kannapolis after being selected in the 5th round of the 2017 draft out of South Carolina. The 6’3 205 pound right hander has a 1.33 ERA and 1.91 FIP in 27 innings. The 22-year-old is striking out 15.33 hitters per 9 innings as well. He will likely be thrown right into a high-leverage relief role in Winston-Salem.
Kannapolis Intimidators A-
- From Birmingham: UTIL JJ Muno
- From Winston-Salem: LHP Joe Mockbee
- From AZL: LHP Drew Harrington
- Activated from DL: C Mike Hickman, OF Nolan Brown
Harrington is interesting as a 3rd round pick from just 2 years ago, scooped up from the Braves. The rest of the moves here are just shuffles to replenish a roster that lost quite a lot of talent.
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Filed under: News and notes
Tags: Alex Call, Bernardo Flores, Blake Battenfield, Brett Austin, Cameron Seitzer, Case Schroeder, Connor Walsh, Drew Harrington, Dylan Cease, Eloy Jimenez, Ian Hamilton, Jake Johansen, JJ Muno, Joe Mockbee, Joel Booker, Laz Rivera, Lincoln Henzman, Luis Alexander Basabe, Luis Gonzalez, Luis Robert, Matt Foster, Mike Hickman, Nolan Brown, Seby Zavala, Tyler Johnson, Zach Thompson, Zack Collins