Now well into the dog days of summer, I wanted to use my introduction to highlight some of the players I think are putting on a show, whether by breakout or improvement.
This is the first edition of the dog pile, with four names:
Winston-Salem SS Laz Rivera
2017 28th round pick SS Laz Rivera choose 2018 to breakout and has been on a roll basically all year. In 63 games with Kannapolis, he hit .346/.395/.502 in 237 AB. His performance earned him a promotion to Winston-Salem where he just kept on hitting, this time to the tune of .308/.336/.533 through 107 AB. While working a walk isn’t in his game currently, he has eight walks to 69 strikeouts in the combined 344 at bats, (and a total of 16 through his 530 career ABs). There’s a lot to like with the bat in the 23-year-old SS.
Kannapolis RHP Blake Battenfield
Another 2017 draft pick is Blake Battenfield. The 17th round pick’s season has similar undertones to Laz. He started the year in Kannapolis, where he put up a 2.00 ERA through 67.2 innings pitched. That performance got him to Winston-Salem where’s he has seen a slight increase in the number of long balls he’s given up. Still, Battenfield has a 3.22 ERA through 134 innings in his two years in the organization. He also has respectable control numbers, posting a 1.00 WHIP and a 1.11 WHIP in his two stops this season.
Birmingham INF Trey Michalczewski
It wasn’t too long ago that Michalczewski was being paraded around by the White Sox as a part of the “future.” While Trey struggled once he made the jump from Winston-Salem to Birmingham, he has improved on his third go-around in Birmingham. His slash line of .268/.317/.406 won’t make jaws drop, but its a considerable improvement from his .234/.313/.356 from his most recent try.
Charlotte 2B Jake Elmore
I’m a sucker for a journeyman. The 31-year-old Jake Elmore put up a .282/.382/.367 slash line for the Knights this year, which is a considerable improvement from his .236/.324/.281 2017 combined slash line. Elmore last played in the majors for the Brewers in 2016, but his ability to take a walk (he has 43 walks to 41 strikeouts) and his ability to play all over the diamond could make him an interesting bench option.
With that, here’s what you need to know this week…
Prospect performance highlights
- Winston-Salem SS Laz Rivera had a 3-5 game July 16 with a long ball and a strikeout.
- INF Nick Madrigal singled in his first at bat for the Intimidators July 17, and finished with a 3-4 day, with a double and a walk. Speaking of Madrigal, in his first 40 professional plate appearances he has yet to strike out.
- Kannapolis (and very recent Great Falls) 1B Corey Zangari was named the Pioneer League Player of the Week.
- Charlotte RHP Spencer Adams threw six innings of shutout ball July 18. He had two walks and two strikes outs.
- The phenomenal Charlotte RHP Michael Kopech was a K-machine July 19. He threw six innings of seven hit, two run ball. He struck out nine and walked one.
- The Dash scored 17 runs July 20 in a shutout win.
- Charlotte C Seby Zavala was placed on the 7-day disabled list, retroactive to July 14 (wrist)
- Charlotte 1B Casey Gillaspie was placed on the 7-day disabled list July 19 (hand, hit by pitch)
- Winston-Salem C Nate Nolan and RHP Blake HIckman were placed on the 7-day disabled list July 18
- Kannapolis 1B/3B Anthony Villa and LHP Joe Mockbee were placed on the 7-day disabled list July 20
- MLB.com’s Scott Merkin reported Kannapolis 1B Corey Zangari was hit in the right hand by a pitch. “He’ll be out a while,” Merkin tweeted. Zangari missed all of 2017 recovering from Tommy John surgery.
- Birmingham RHP Jimmy Lambert has a strained oblique, as first reported by our Rob Young. The Athletic’s James Fegan reports he is expected to miss a couple weeks.
- Charlotte C Brett Austin was activated from the 7-day disabled list
- RHP Mauricio Cabrera was signed, assigned to AA Birmingham, and placed on the Disabled List
- Birmingham OF Ryan Brett and LHP Matt Tomshaw were promoted to Charlotte
- Charlotte OF Ryan Cordell was sent on a rehab assignment to AZL White Sox
- RHP Devan Watts was promoted to Winston-Salem
- Kannapolis OF’s Nolan Brown and J.J. Muno were promoted to Winston-Salem
- Great Falls 1B Corey Zangari, OF Ian Dawkins and RHP Spencer Moran were promoted to Kannapolis
- AZL White Sox SS Nick Madrigal was promoted to Kannapolis
- AZL White Sox OF Steele Walker, RHP Austin Conway and LHP Drew Weston were promoted to Great Falls
- 2018 draft pick LHP Konnor Pilkington was assigned to AZL White Sox
- Charlotte released OF Mason Robbins
- Charlotte RHP Bruce Rondon opted for free agency after being DFA’d
- Charlotte posted a 5-2 week (47-53 overall, 9.5 games back). The Knights went on a winning streak in the middle of the week, taking 3 of 4 from Pawtucket and 2 of 3 from Indianapolis. They are away this week with three against Scranton and three against Pawtucket. The real question should be how much longer will OF Eloy Jimenez continue to be a Knight?
- Birmingham went 4-2 for the week (17-13 overall 2nd half, 1st). The Barons continue to fight, as they’ve clawed their way into 1st place on the back of a 4-2 week. Birmingham plays five against Tennessee before beginning a road trip to Mississippi.
- Winston-Salem had a 4-2 week (20-10 overall 2nd half, 1st place). More Dash, less White Sox. The incredible Winston-Salem team continues to win, they face tough competition from the Buies Creek Astros, who are a half game behind the Dash in the standings. They finish their series against Myrtle Beach Monday, before a pair of three game sets against Frederick and Salem.
- Kannapolis compiled a 3-3 week (14-15 overall 2nd half, 4 games back). Fun fact: Every week this month the Intimidators have been 3-3. It’s really something special. They’ll look to continue or break that streak with four against West Virginia and three against Delmarva.
- Great Falls had a 3-3 week (21-15 overall, 1st). 3-3 week will be what haunts my dreams when I close my eyes. Despite that, the Voyagers continue to be impressive, and in fact have clinched a playoff spot already with their winning of the division’s first half title. They finish the Grand Junction series before beginning a four game set against Helena.
- AZL White Sox enjoyed a 2-3 week. (14-13 overall, 5.0 games back)
- DSL White Sox posted a 1-5 week (6-36, 22.5 games back). Saturday’s win ended a 13-game losing streak.
News and Links
- Our own Rob Young had a phenomenal feature on the breakout White Sox prospect nobody is talking about. It started the conversation. He also did this week’s edition of the Hot List.
- Ken Sawilchik provided a guide to understand the plethora of injuries the organization is currently fighting.
- Julie Brady’s weekly column gave us another reason to appreciate young phenom and Charlotte OF Eloy Jimenez.
- The Loop Sports’ Sean Williams recapped several AZL games. Here’s his coverage of last weekend and the short week that followed it.
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