Reminder: this piece is not exclusively focused on top prospects, just the best stat producers from each level since the last Hot List. Also, all stats listed are from the last Hot List unless otherwise noted.
Charlotte Knights (AAA) 35-28, 2nd place INT South
Charlotte is chugging right along in the hunt for the lead in the International League South. The Knights Stadium is infamously hitter friendly, so to find success as a pitcher is impressive. With the White Sox starting pitching woes, they have already tapped into that depth by calling up Cuban veteran Odrisamer Despaigne. Despaigne has put a 2.00 ERA over 18 innings since being signed on May 18th by the White Sox, striking out 16 batters to just four walks.
The White Sox had other starting pitchers to choose from, Justin Nicolino (4.87 ERA), Ross Detweiler (3.54 ERA), and also that Dylan Cease guy. Dylan’s season hasn’t been close to being as dominant as his previous year, but he still has a respectable 4.10 ERA with 59 punchouts to 22 walks over 52.2 innings this year.
Carson Fulmer is trying to reinvent himself as a reliever in Charlotte’s pen, and despite major league struggles he has been solid in AAA. The former 1st round pick has a 3.68 ERA with 21 strikeouts to 6 walks over his last 14.2 innings. Fellow reliever Connor Walsh is another intriguing arm with a 2.70 ERA over his last 13.1 innings for the Knights.
The Knights offense has been buoyed by the long ball, with veterans boppers Matt Skole (11 HRs) and Daniel Palka (11 HRs) leading the way. Despite not displaying much power, middle infielder Ryan Goins has been on fire over his last 32 games, slashing .323/.436/.458. Catcher Zack Collins slumped badly in May (.204/.369/.367) but has bounced back in June (.323/.400/.484).
Birmingham Barons (AA) 26-38, 5th place SOU South
The Barons have struggled despite a prospect heavy squad thanks in part to injuries (Adolfo, Lambert, Flores, Basabe, Dunning, Johnson) and also under performance.
Starter Tanner Banks has a bright spot, posting a 1.74 ERA over his last 20.2 innings both in relief and starting. Starter Kyle Kubat has been a revelation for the Barons since coming up from the Dash, posting a 2.42 ERA with 35 K’s to 7 walks over 48.1 innings. Before going on the DL, Bernardo Flores was cruising along with a 3.70 ERA over his last five starts with just three walks allowed over 24.2 innings. Similarly to Carson Fulmer, hulking right hander Alec Hansen has worked exclusively out of the bullpen and owns a 3.29 ERA over his last 10 appearances.
The Barons offense has been the Luis Robert show as the Cuban phenom owns a .338/.380/.547 with 4 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 37 games.
Unfortunately collectively the rest of the Birmingham hitters have struggled, but there are signs of life. Gavin Sheets had a miserable April (.207/.286/.293) but has had a strong June (.317/.370/.512). Most encouragingly on Gavin, the in-game power seems to have finally arrived; he has already eclipsed his home run totals from 2017 (4) and 2018 (6) by hitting 7 home runs thus far this season. Laz Rivera (.400/.400/.433) and Blake Rutherford (.410/.465/.436) have also heated up with the warmer weather in June after ice cold starts.
Nick Madrigal also deserves a shout out here, though it’s only been five games since his promotion. The No. 4 overall pick in last year’s draft is slashing .579/.600./.737 through his first 20 plate appearances.
Winston-Salem Dash (A+) 36-24, 2nd place CAR South
The Dash are riding a seven-game win streak and are one of the hottest teams in the minors. They’ve had some solid starting pitching in our sample size from Christian Castillo (1.64 ERA), John Parke (3.13 ERA), and Jorgan Cavanerio (3.90 ERA) and also some excellent relief. Luis Ledo (1.50 ERA, 12 IP), Jake Elliott (2.55 ERA, 17.2 IP), Codi Heuer (2.66 ERA, 20.1 IP), Will Kincanon (2.57 ERA, 14 IP), and Wyatt Burns (2.25 ERA, 12 IP) have all been excellent out of the Dash bullpen.
The offense has been led by a couple of veterans who are repeating the level. Third baseman Zach Remillard is slashing .342/.417/.487 and first baseman Jameson Fisher is also dominating Winston-Salem in his second go-around, hitting .313/.428/.504. Catcher Carlos Perez, 22, has shown great upside recently, producing a .282/.345/.372 with 7 walks to just 8 strikeouts over his last 22 games.
Kannapolis Intimidators (A) 27-36, 6th place SAL South
Kannapolis is buried in the South Atlantic League standings, but it hasn’t been a total loss for the White Sox lowest full-season affiliate. For those of you who take pleasure in short term success from low level trades, RHP Johan Dominguez (acquired for Xavier Cedeno last August) has a 2.08 ERA over 39 innings and even has been starting recently. Fellow RHP Wilber Perez (acquired for Joakim Soria last July) has a 3.86 ERA and a .152 batting average against over 25.2 innings of the bullpen. Take that Milwaukee Brewers!
A trio of relievers have been putting up gaudy numbers for the Intimidators’ bullpen, Jason Bilous (2.48 ERA, 38 K, 36.2 IP), Andrew Perez (2.45 ERA, 48 K, 33 IP), and Bennett Sousa (2.37 ERA, 37 K, 30.1 IP).
The Kanny offense has been led by 2018 27th round pick and mustache aficionado (seriously check his MiLB page) Ian Dawkins. He has been crushing it recently with a .383/.442/.517 line over his last 39 games. Catcher Gunnar Troutwine (.283/.366/.394) was also hitting well before he went on the DL and outfielder Alex Destino is another strong contributor with a .269/.337/.448 season line. Lenyn Sosa, 19, started the season off slow but has been much recently, hitting .262/.293/.443 over his last 37 games.
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