3 Games in Arizona — Minor League News and Notes, 7/1 to 7/7

It was 109 degrees and partly cloudy in Surprise, Ariz., on June 30, when 1B Andrew Clayton Vaughn suited up for his first professional baseball game.

Adorned in the grey road uniforms of the main club, Vaughn went 2-4 with a pair of singles and a strikeout that first day. Our own Sean Williams was at the game, and had nothing but high praise for Vaughn’s plate discipline and bat speed. 

It was 108 degrees and sunny in Phoenix, Ariz., on July 1, when Vaughn suited up for his second game under the Arizona sun. Batting third again, Vaughn launched his first professional home run in the bottom of the 1st. 

He followed that with a double and then another double in his second and third at-bats. He struck out in his fourth at-bat and sent the people home with the sound of hard contact, hitting a single in his fifth and final plate appearance. 

In that second game, he finished 4-5 with a home run, two doubles and a strikeout, the pinnacle of his AZL White Sox career. 

It was 105 degrees and sunny in Scottsdale, Ariz., on July 3, when Vaughn suited up for this third game, and his final day under the Arizona sun. Batting third, and not playing in the field, Vaughn went 3-6, hitting a trio of singles and knocking in three RBIs. 

Vaughn was promoted shortly after that to begin the next stage of his career in Kannapolis, but for three days in Arizona, the White Sox brand new, shiny toy was as electrifying as the heat was high.  

Vaughn finished his AZL White Sox career with an impressive .600/.625/.933 slash line. His stay was intentionally short, and although it’s the smallest of sample sizes, Vaughn impressed. Years from now, if the former Golden Spikes winner graces the main roster, those three days won’t be remembered, they won’t be looked back on, nor will they be career-defining. But for three games, Andrew Vaughn played in the launching pad in Glendale and delivered. He’ll undoubtedly be back in Arizona again but, as they say, waiting is the hardest part. 

With that, here’s what you need to know this week.

Prospect performance highlights

The White Sox named Birmingham 2B Nick Madrigal (!!!!) and Winston-Salem OF Steele Walker their co-Players of the Month for June. 

Winston-Salem RHP Kade McClure was named Pitcher of the Month by Chicago media members. 

  • Winston-Salem LHP Konnor Pilkington threw seven one-run innings July 1. He gave up six hits and two walks while striking out four. 
  • Kannapolis LHP Taylor Varnell threw six shutout innings July 1. He gave up four hits and walked two, while striking out seven. 
  • In his last Charlotte appearance, RHP Dylan Covey through four perfect innings. He struck out six. Charlotte 2B Ryan Goins went 3-3 with a double July 1. 
  • Charlotte OF Adam Engel went 2-3 with a double and two walks July 2. 
  • Kannapolis OF Alex Destino had a 3-4 day with a walk July 2. 
  • Kannapolis 1B Andrew Vaughn went 4-5 with two doubles, a home run and a strikeout July 2. 
  • Charlotte 1B Matt Skole went 4-4 with a double July 3. 
  • Madrigal went 3-4 with a double July 3, beginning his repeat campaign for Player of the Month for July. 
  • Kannapolis 3B Johan Cruz went 3-4 with a homer and a walk July 3. 
  • AZL White Sox 3B DJ Gladney went 4-5 with a double July 4. Not to suffer from a sophomore slump, Vaughn went 3-6 with a single at his second game. 
  • In addition to his excellent bat, Madrigal has some wheels. He went 3-4 with a walk and two stolen bases July 4. 
  • In his Kannapolis debut, Vaughn went 1-4 with three strikeouts. 
  • Winston-Salem RHP Kade McClure threw five shutout innings July 5. He gave up six hits and walked one batter while striking out six. 
  • Birmingham OF Blake Rutherford went 3-4 with a double July 6. 

Transactions

Status change

  • OF Luis Robert was placed on the temporarily inactive list July 6 (To play in the Futures Game) 

Activated

  • Birmingham activated 2B Camilo Quinteiro from the temporarily inactive list July 6. 
  • Birmingham activated RHP Blake Battenfield from the 7-day injured list July 5.

Optioned

Assigned

  • Birmingham RHP Jake Elliott was demoted to Winston-Salem
  • Great Falls 2B Camilo Quinteiro was promoted to Birmingham 
  • AZL White Sox 1B Andrew Vaughn was promoted to Kannapolis
  • AZL White Sox LHP Sammy Peralta was promoted to Great Falls
  • AZL White Sox 2B Tom Archer was promoted to Great Falls 
  • RHP Caleb Freeman was assigned to the AZL White Sox 
  • RHP Manuel Veloz was assigned to the DSL White Sox

Selected

Released

Team Performances

  • Charlotte posted a 4-3 week (49-40 overall, 3.5 games back). The Knights slipped to third place, but remain competitive in the IL South division. The strong Atlanta and Tampa Bay affiliates, Gwinnett and Durham respectively, will make any push towards the top of the division difficult and the welcome departure of Cease will also not grant the team any favors. But in a season that was largely written off by most (myself included), the Knights continue to fight. After the All-Star break the Knights open up the season at home against Gwinnett. 
  • Birmingham went 6-1 for the week (13-5 overall, first). From last to first, the Barons second half is starting off with a bang and the team finds itself atop the SL North division. The Barons went into Saturday riding high on a four game winning streak. They’ll look to stay hot against Pensacola and Jackson. 
  • Winston-Salem had a 3-4 week (7-11 overall, 3 games back). The cellar-dwelling Dash have nowhere to go but up, and the good news is the rest of the division isn’t lighting the baseball-world on fire, with all four teams putting up 9-8 records. The Dash will see an infusion of hot talent lava toward the end of the season, and hopefully it’s not too late. They finish a series against Frederick, before going to Fayetteville and Down East.  
  • Kannapolis compiled a 5-2 week (11-7 overall, 2 games back). LADIES AND GENTLEMAN! FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS SEASON! THE INTIMIDATORS ARE INTIMIDATING! At 11-7 they are third, but playing solid, winning baseball. That same hot talent lava infusion already started in Kannapolis with the addition of 1B Andrew Vaughn, and with his advanced bat the Intimidators could intimidate their way up the standings. They play a series against Greensboro before going to Rome to take on the Braves. 
  • Great Falls put up a 4-3 week (9-11 overall, 4 games back). Prepare for repetition of a familiar theme: although the Voyagers are struggling now, the promise of youth and better ballplayers is in the works. The 2019 draft class will play baseball in beautiful Great Falls, Mont. this year and they’ll all be splendid, or they won’t. To paraphrase an old Effectively Wild standby, such is baseball and such is life. 
  • AZL White Sox posted a 1-4 week 7-10 overall, 5.5 games back). 
  • DSL White Sox had a 5-1 week (16-15 overall, 4 games back). 

News and Links

Several episodes of the FutureSox podcast dropped. The latest features Winston-Salem OF Steele Walker discussing the challenges of advancing through the minor league ranks and what he’s working on going forward. Editor-in-chief Clinton Cole also spoke with Winston-Salem RHP Kade McClure. 

Mike Rankin broke down the White Sox 2019 international signing period activity, that landed very good SS Yolbert Sanchez and Elijah Tatis, among others. Someone call the Padres for James Shields 2.0. 

If you wanted a closer look at the Dash’s season, the excellent Julie Brady continues to put out fantastic daily game stories. 

Sean Williams is back on the AZL beat offering observations from beautiful, sunny Arizona, including 1B Andrew Vaughn’s very short tenure under the Arizona sky. 

The Athletic’s Emily Waldon broke down Dylan Cease’s pitch mix in an excellent piece. The masterful James Fegan also talked to Cease’s past high school teammates, chronicling the rise of the pitcher Sox fans just got to meet. 

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