Thanks to the trade deadline, rankings week, and top prospect of the month awards, it has been a whole four weeks since the last Hot List. This gives us a delicious sample size to play with as we break down the hottest hitters and hurlers in the Sox system.
Reminder: all the stats presented below are aggregated since the last Hot List, July 17th, unless otherwise noted.
Charlotte Knights (AAA)
Perhaps you’ve heard of this outfielder the Knights have, Eloy Jimenez? After only hitting two home runs in his first 14 games in Charlotte, Jimenez has exploded for nine home runs over his last 21 contests, slashing .373/.398/.783 during his torrid streak. The power display has been prestigious, cementing his status as a top 3 prospect in baseball and a future middle of the order masher on the South Side.
Coinciding with Jimenez’s dominance has been his pitching counterpart, Michael Kopech. Kopech has been flat-out unfair to International League hitters over his last five starts, posting a 1.97 ERA with 39 strikeouts to 3 walks over 32 innings. Kopech has now struck out a minor league leading 161 batters over 120.1 innings this season.
Charlotte bullpen has been devastating as well with multiple great performers, Ian Hamilton (0.84 ERA, 10.2 IP), Ryan Burr (0.00 ERA, 4 IP), Rob Scahill (0.82 ERA, 11 IP), Ricardo Pinto (1.26 ERA, 14 IP), and Caleb Frare (0.00 ERA, 5.2 IP) to name a few.
Birmingham Barons (AA)
Things haven’t been as rosy for the stars of the Barons lineup, as Luis Basabe (.234/.341/.416) and Zack Collins (.231/.348/.423) are scuffling a bit. But outfielder Alex Call has been a bright spot, slashing .296/.408/.605.
When Dylan Cease was promoted to the Barons on June 21st, it was expected to be a challenge for the 22 year-old who only spent 13 starts with the Dash. Cease has not only succeeded in Birmingham, but he has flourished, posting a sparkling 1.94 ERA with a 64/18 K/BB ratio over 46.1 AA innings. Southern League hitters just aren’t getting to him, as evidenced by a mere 13 hits over his last 29.2 innings spanning five starts.
Out of the Birmingham bullpen, Colton Turner has been a consistent force, spinning a 0.95 ERA over 38 innings and is a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities.
Winston-Salem Dash (A+)
The Dash’s lineup is undoubtedly the most stacked in the system, boasting five top 30 ranked prospects and a sixth (Laz Rivera) right in the conversation. As a cruel joke to opposing pitchers, the hottest Dash bat over the past four weeks has actually been none of those top ranked prospects, but 25 year-old catcher Yermin Mercedes. Mercedes has mashed his way to a .386/.446/.643 line to lead the pack but Blake Rutherford (.333/.410/.420), Luis Gonzalez (.303/.374/.595), Mitch Roman (.314/.385/.343), Laz Rivera (.313/.371/.353) and Nick Madrigal (.310/.382/.379) are also fueling the offensive juggernaut. Oh and Luis Robert hasn’t been too bad (.286/.375/.429) in his first four games back from injury either.
Left-hander Kyle Kubat is 25 years-old in A+ and thus not much a prospect, but boy has he been valuable in Winston-Salem. After being a reliever all year, Kubat has started his last three appearances, posting a 2.05 ERA. Kubat is a control freak, only issuing 8 walks to 67 punchouts over 74.1 innings with the Dash this season. Lincoln Henzman has also been starting and relieving, and he has a perfect 0.00 ERA over his last 11.2 innings. Tyler Johnson is just a tick behind Henzman in terms of effectiveness, only allowing one earned run over his last 11 innings of work. Lefty reliever Hunter Schryver has been as advertised since being acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays on July 31st, not allowing a run over his first five innings with his new organization.
Kannapolis Intimidators (A)
Outfielder Tyler Frost has led the Intimidators offense over the last four weeks, slashing .311/.395/.568. At 5’11’ and 183 pounds, Frost isn’t your prototypical slugger, but he has hit quietly hit 16 bombs this year, to go along with 16 doubles and 4 triples.
On the pitching side of things, 2018 10th rounder Bennett Sousa has had quite the charmed beginning to his pro career, only allowing one earned run over his first 23.2 innings. Reliever Kevin Escorcia has also been lights out (1.00 ERA, 9 IP), while starter Zach Lewis has a 1.80 ERA over his last four starts, spanning 20 innings.
Great Falls Voyagers/Arizona League White Sox (Rk)
Much praise has been heaped upon 18 year-old Bryce Bush (you can read our deep dive here) and he is hitting an absurd .349/.461/.556 between Arizona and Great Falls. Despite being a part of the 2014 J2 class, 2B Amado Nunez is only 20 years-old and excelling in the Pioneer League, slashing .378/.412/.556 for the Voyagers recently. Younger J2 bonus babies are also standing out; OF Anderson Comas (.327/.390/.404), 1B Harvin Mendoza (.327/.407/.423), and SS Lenyn Sosa (.322/.371/.444) has been the most consistent trio. 2018 28th round pick Logan Sowers (.292/.363/.514) also deserves mention for his impressive work.
Rigo Fernandez was snagged in the 24th round of this years draft and hasn’t had much trouble with the AZL, posting a 1.88 ERA and is a perfect 6-for-6 in save chances. Fellow 2018 college draft picks Nick Johnson (0.82 ERA, 22 IP), Taylor Varnell (1.97 ERA, 45.2 IP), and Jack Maynard (2.53 ERA, 32 IP) are proving too advanced for their rookie levels.
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