Pitching Leads the Way in Week 9 of AZL White Sox Season

Despite riding a seven-game losing streak into Sunday, last week was still an exciting one for the AZL White Sox. On Tuesday, Andrew Dalquist made his professional debut against the AZL Dodgers Mota in Glendale. On Saturday, Matthew Thompson also made his professional debut as he faced the AZL Reds in Goodyear. Both of these debuts were highly anticipated as the two of them have spent most of the season in Arizona, but went through a slow transition into their professional career. Aside from that, Yolevin Silven had an incredible outing on Thursday in just his second start of the season and Jeremiah Burke helped the team end their seven-game losing streak on Sunday. While last week featured just one win for the AZL White Sox, it also featured important debuts and two very strong pitching performances.

Let’s take a look into the performances of each of these young prospects:

Dalquist got two starts under his belt this week with the first coming on Tuesday against the AZL Dodgers and the other coming against the AZL Mariners in Peoria on Sunday. In his first start, Dalquist threw one inning, which is common for prep pitchers who are just getting their feet wet in their professional baseball career. He did not record a strikeout on Tuesday, but overall, I really liked what I saw from him. After not pitching in a game for an extended period of time, Andrew Dalquist pounded the strike zone and wasn’t afraid to attack hitters. He threw primarily fastballs on Tuesday and worked around a walk and a hit to toss a scoreless inning. It was great to see that Dalquist can still be an effective pitcher without needing to punch guys out. He generated a lot of weak contact, with two of his outs coming on weak pop-outs that did not leave the infield. His final line: 1.0 IP, H, BB, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 K.

On Sunday, Andrew Dalquist faced the AZL Mariners where he once again got one inning of work. His outing on Sunday was similar to his first one in the fact that he once again tossed a scoreless inning without recording a strikeout. Only this time, we got to see more of his curveball which had a lot of depth to it. At first, he had a hard time throwing it but he went on to get a good feel for the pitch and had no trouble getting it over for a strike or a swing and miss. Collectively, Dalquist has faced eight hitters in his two starts. Out of those eight hitters, only two of them have been able to hit the ball out of the infield. So far, he’s done a great job at getting weak contact consistently and has kept the ball on the ground. Seeing him strike out a lot of hitters would be great, but I’ve enjoyed seeing him work through two successful starts by giving his defense a lot of routine plays. His final line on Sunday: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.

Matthew Thompson’s first start went for one inning on Saturday as well. Thompson got tagged for a run, but it was unearned as the first batter he faced reached on an error and later scored on a passed ball. After having back-to-back hitters reach base to start the game, Thompson kept the damage to a minimal by only allowing the one run to score and retiring the next three batters to get out of the inning. The highlight of his debut involved striking out Nick Ciuffo, a guy with MLB and Triple-A experience, to record the first out of the inning. Thompson would go on to get two more outs by keeping the ball in the infield and wrapping up what was a successful professional debut. His final line: 1.0 IP, H, R, 0 ER, 0 BB, K.

Yoelvin Silven took the mound on Thursday for his second start of the 2019 season. He’s been used primarily as an innings eater out of the bullpen and it wasn’t until recently that he began to get some experience as a starter. Thursday marked the longest outing this year for the right-hander and it was easily his best outing as well. After giving up two hits in the first two innings, Silven went on to retire eight consecutive batters on his way to throwing six shutout innings. He ended the night with nine strikeouts, which matches his career-high that he set last season with the DSL White Sox.

Silven also saw a lot of action defensively on Thursday. He displayed athleticism on the mound and he showed signs of this ability early. After giving up a lead-off double to start the game, Silven recorded two outs via two different rundowns on the same ball hit in play. He snagged a hard grounder to his right that started the first rundown. The runner thought the ball was heading for a deeper area of the infield and got caught in his tracks between third and home. Overall, it was an excellent start for Silven, who is showing that he can handle throwing a lot of innings and making starts if need be. Yoelvin Silven currently has a 2.25 ERA with 44 strikeouts, 5 walks, and a 1.08 WHIP in 40.0 IP on the season. He currently leads the team in strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP is fourth in innings pitched and has the second-lowest walk total among pitchers who have appeared in 10 or more games. The 20-year-old has been one of the most impressive pitchers on the AZL White Sox staff and this is just his first time playing stateside.

The AZL White Sox finally got their first and only win of the week on Sunday and Jeremiah Burke played a major role in helping his team earn the victory. Burke entered the game in relief of Dalquist and he would go on to have a lights-out performance. Upon entering the game, Burke retired 11 out of the 12 batters he faced, with 7 of them being retired on a strikeout. The AZL Mariners had no answer for him as Burke seemed untouchable. They couldn’t time up his fastball and he made a handful of batters look foolish with his off-speeds. Burke ended the night by tossing 5.0 scoreless innings while only allowing two hits, two walks, and racking up 8 strikeouts. This was the third consecutive strong outing for Burke and the 8 strikeouts are a new career-high for the young right-hander.

On the offensive side of things, it’s been a struggle for the AZL White Sox recently. The team has scored three runs or more just one time since August 8, which was also the last time they won before Sunday. Last week, the team was only able to put up two runs in a game twice and was either shutout or held to one run four times. Playoffs seem like a stretch at this point, but a strong finish to the season would be great for this team. The team will be back in action with six games this week as they look to finish off the 2019 season on a positive note.

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