They say bad things happen in threes, and between Michael Kopech going down with a torn UCL and Tommy John surgery and the Dash and Intimidators both getting quickly eliminated in their playoffs this past week, that seems to ring true. However, a lone team is keeping White Sox minor league baseball alive and the hopes of a summer lasting deep into September a reality for at least another week.
The Great Fall Voyagers are here to fight off fall. They narrowly won game one, 3-2, on Sept. 7. They can thank the big bats of 3B Bryce Bush and C Gunnar Troutwine, as well as an exceptional performance from the entire pitching staff which combined only gave up seven hits and two runs. The Voyagers followed up the narrow victory with a blowout the next day. There were many more bats to thank. Bush was once again a standout, but so too was 2B Amado Nunez who went 3-4 with a double and a home run. 2018 draftee Konnor Pilkington threw three innings giving up four hits and two runs while striking out two.
The popular mantra that anything can happen in the playoffs has held true once again, as the team that finished the second half 12-25 swept the first place 25-13 Billings Mustangs. The Voyagers will play Grand Junction, starting Sept. 11, in the Pioneer League Championship Series.
So instead of accepting the inevitable advancement of time, the Voyagers have their bats and balls and are ready to beat pumpkin spice back into the cellar it escaped from. Slather on the sunscreen, grab your beach ball and buckle in for some Great Falls baseball.
With that, here’s what you need to know this week.
Prospect performance highlights
- Winston-Salem 2B Nick Madrigal went 4-4 with a double Sept. 3. (We need something to beat the bad news, so I’m including Sept. 3 again.) Madrigal’s performance landed his name in the final Baseball America hot sheet of the season.
- Temporary Winston-Salem RHP Nate Jones threw a scoreless rehab inning with a strikeout to start Winston-Salem’s playoff game, Sept. 5.
- Kannapolis 2B Tate Blackman was 2-3 with a walk and a strikeout Sept. 5.
- MLB Pipeline named Birmingham RHP Dylan Cease its Pitcher of the Year.
- Winston-Salem 1B Gavin Sheets went 2-4 with a home run and a strikeout Sept. 7.
- Great Falls 3B Bryce Bush went 2-3 with two doubles and a strikeout Sept. 7. He followed up that performance going 2-3 with a double and a walk Sept. 8.
- Great Falls 2B Amado Nunez went 3-4 with a double and a dinger Sept. 8.
- White Sox RHP Michael Kopech is slated to undergo Tommy John after being diagnosed with a torn UCL. The surgery will keep Kopech out of action until 2020. It’s a real (Aaron) bummer.
- Charlotte activated C Brett Austin from the 7-day disabled list Sept. 3.
- The White Sox called up Birmingham RHP Jose Ruiz
- White Sox RHP Nate Jones was sent to Winston-Salem on a rehab assignment Sept. 5.
- The White Sox outrighted RHP Tyler Danish and 1B Matt Skole to Charlotte. This was Danish’s second outright assignment by the Sox and is therefore eligible to elect free agency.
- Charlotte finished the season 64-75 overall, 22 games back. Here’s one last look at Charlotte OF Eloy Jimenez’s final 2018 AAA slash line .355/.399/.597 and his line on the season: .337.384/.577.
- Birmingham’s 2018 campaign ended with a 66-73 record and a fourth place finish.
- Winston-Salem fell to the Buies Creek Astros in the first round of the CAR playoffs, losing game four by a single run (down 6-0, clawed back to 6-5). It was a roller coaster ride for the Dash in the game and the season. They finish the 2018 campaign at 84-54 with the best overall record in the Carolina League. Pivotal members of the team will be promoted, but the depth that’s coming could keep my pleas to replace the White Sox telecast with that of Winston-Salem’s alive for at least another season.
- Kannapolis fell to the Lakewood BlueClaws, getting no-hit in the second and deciding game. They finish their 2018 campaign with a 74-63 record in second place overall, 12.5 games behind the BlueClaws.
- Great Falls had a 2-4 week (12-25 overall 2nd half, 12.5 games back). Watch this team in the playoffs. Keep summer alive for another week with me.
- AZL White Sox finished their season in third place at 30-26, and missed the playoffs by just a half game.
- DSL White Sox finished 18-54, 30 games back.
News and Links
- We named our prospects of the month for August and September! Read about the last two players receiving monthly honors for the season.
- The eighth episode of the FutureSox podcast dropped with Clinton Cole talking to Chuck Garfien.
- Kan Sawilchik wrote a wonderful piece on Charlotte RHP Spencer Adams, who is knocking on the door to the bigs.
- Charlotte was ranked No. 1 in minor league baseball attendance again this year. Amen to that!
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