Minor league monthly: Winston-Salem and Kannapolis

There’s more good news to be found in the lower levels than there is at Charlotte and Birmingham, but May still found a way to be bittersweet.
WINSTON-SALEM DASH

Record: 34-19 (1st place)
Team offense: .815 OPS (1st in CL)
Team pitching: 3.70 ERA (4th in CL)
THE HITS KEEP COMING
Brandon Short
.346/.378/.513, 18 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 8 BB, 52 K, 3-for-9 SB
Short had an incredible hot streak that briefly carried his average over .400, and has predictably cooled down since.  Strikeouts are more of a problem, as he’s whiffed 14 times over his last nine games.  But he’s still 21 and there’s a dearth of other compelling players, so he’s on the radar for now.
Justin Greene
.322/.405/.554, 9 2B, 7 3B, 6 HR, 22 BB, 50 K, 13-for-19 SB
Greene had a slump during which he went 2-for-23 with 11 strikeouts, but had a nice month around that terrible week.  He needs to be promoted soon.
Eduardo Escobar
.272/.324/.371, 10 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 19 BB, 54 K in 224 AB, 5-for-8 SB
Escobar had a month to build on in May.  The bat isn’t quite electric — .276/.326/.397 — but he did hit his first two homers while going 4-for-4 in the stolen-base department.  There’s a pulse here
Jon Gilmore
.325/.350/.390, 7 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 BB, 36 K in 231 AB
Gilmore didn’t build on his hot start.  He was solid on a game-by-game basis (he hit .290 in May), but the .670 OPS at the end of the month is glaring.  He’s also committed 17 errors.  Escobar has the glove to support his lack of power, but it’s safe to say Gilmore does not.
STARTERS, MEET REGRESSION
Nevin Griffith
4-1, 2.44 ERA, 57 2/3 IP, 48 H, 2 HR, 21 BB, 39 K
Griffith’s luck evened out a bit after a blazing start — a .194 BABIP in April, a .314 BABIP in May.  He struggled with inefficiency/control over a four-start stretch, but has rebounded with three outings of six innings or longer.  He’s doing fine.
Nathan Jones
4-1, 4.33 ERA, 52 IP, 62 H, 5 HR, 22 BB, 42 K
Jones, on the other hand, had bigger problems.  Namely 16 walks over 29 2/3 May innings, and a WHIP of 1.85 with five homers over that stretch.  He’s battled a high BABIP all year (.365), and it’s not going to get any better after his start tonight (see below).
Stephen Sauer
4-2, 4.19 ERA, 58 IP, 72 IP, 2 HR, 19 BB, 29 K
Sauer cut his walk rate in May, but offenses compensated by racking up more hits.  It’s hard to determine how much is his fault — he suffered a .373 BABIP despite a 9.2 percent line-drive rate in May, which seems almost impossible.  I will say he needs to get more grounders (52.6 percent), as he’s not even striking out a batter every other inning.
Charles Leesman
6-1, 4.89 ERA, 49 2/3 IP, 57 H, 3 HR, 26 BB, 24 K
Here’s a good example of why wins don’t matter in the minors.  He threw seven shutout innings against Myrtle Beach on May 18, but otherwise, exciting outings have been hard to come by.
THE BULLPEN
Kyle Bellamy
2-0, 1.35 ERA, 26 2/3 IP, 18 H, 1 HR, 7 BB, 30 K
Twenty-two strikeouts over 19 2/3 innings in May is good.  Twenty-two strikeouts to two walks is even better.  Bellamy appears to be the real deal.  He’s killer on righties (.140 BAA), and he’s seeing more success against lefties (.256) as well.  He might be in Birmingham before the break.
Dan Remenowsky
1-1, 3.64 ERA, 29 2/3 IP, 28 H, 3 HR, 11 BB, 41 K
Aesthetics are the biggest difference between Remenowsky and Bellamy.  His ERA isn’t awesome, and hes allowed runs in his last four outings, and he doesn’t have Bellamy’s sidewinding delivery.   Even still, he struck out 22 to just four walks over 16 innings in May, and that’s pretty awesome.   Now, if he can just shake off this slump…
Santos Rodriguez
0-0, 5.31 ERA, 20 1/3 IP, 17 H, 0 HR, 21 BB, 25 K
His numbers are still awful, but it’s possible he’s figured something out.  Over his last five outings (six innings), he’s struck out eight batters to just five hits and a walk.  It’s his best stretch of the season to date.  He’s got better stuff than anybody in the Dash’s bullpen, and he might finally be showing it.
KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS

Record: 27-26 (4th place)
Team offense: .714 OPS (3rd in SAL)
Team pitching: 3.79 ERA (8th in SAL)
FALLEN COMRADE

Trayce Thompson
.236/.296/.458, 10 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 13 BB, 43 K in 144 AB, 3-for-7 SB
Even though Thompson only hit .213/.262/.394 in May, that was still a better line than his rookie-ball performance from a year ago.  Alas, he’s going to miss the next couple of months after undergoing surgery on his thumb.  Very unfortunate.
SOLDIERING ON

Miguel Gonzalez
.228/.263/.346, 5 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 5 BB, 27 K over 127 AB
The bat is still lagging, and the strike zone control gap is widening (two walks, 17 K’s in May).  Last I checked, he was having great success throwing out runners, so he’s got that going for him.
Kyle Colligan
.301/.384/.472, 14 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 17 BB, 37 K in 176 AB, 9-for-12 SB
Colligan’s strikeouts seem to come in bunches.  He racked up 22 K’s to just seven walks in May, but he’s only struck out twice in his last seven games.  He’s still playing well, and if Justin Greene ever gets to Birmingham, Colligan should take his place at Winston-Salem.
Nick Ciolli
.260/.282/.146, 9 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 5 BB, 54 K in 173 AB, 5-for-7 SB
Same problems for Ciolli.  If there’s some silver lining, he slugged .460 in May after posting a .383 SLG in April.
Brady Shoemaker
.267/.358/.450, 7 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 17 BB, 43 K in 131 AB
Shoemaker made the most of his second chance, hitting .299/.380/.552 in May.  He runs hot and cold, and has just six hits over his last 36 at-bats.
EMERGING PITCHERS

Justin Collop
3-4, 6.66 ERA, 48 2/3 IP, 62 H, 4 HR, 10 BB, 38 K
Collop gave up 11 runs over five innings in his first start in April.  He gave up 10 runs over three innings in his first start in May.  He’s been either fine or awful, but the 61.9 percent groundball rate in May is encouraging.
Jimmy Ballinger
0-0, 0.74 ERA, 24 1/3 IP, 18 H, 2 HR, 10 BB, 21 K
Ballinger nearly ran through May without allowing a run, but he struggled in his final two outings, walking four batters and allowing the only two earned runs he’s given up all season.
Joe Serafin
5-2, 2.92 ERA, 61 2/3 IP, 61 H, 6 HR, 17 BB, 35 K
The tiny lefty from Vermont keeps plugging along, but he only struck out 13 batters over 31 innings in May, which obviously doesn’t bode well.  So far, he’s limiting the damage.
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Minor league roundup:

  • Pawtucket 1, Charlotte 0
    • Tyler Flowers doubled for one of Charlotte’s two hits on the night. He also struck out twice.
    • Jordan Danks went 0-for-2 with a walk.
    • Brent Morel went 0-for-3 in his Triple-A debut.
  • Tennessee 8, Birmingham 7 (11 innings)
    • Christian Marrero went 0-for-3 with a walk and two sac flies.
  • Potomac 12, Winston-Salem 4
    • Eduardo Escobar went 2-for-4 with two strikeouts and an RBI.
    • Jon Gilmore went 2-for-5; Brandon Short went 0-for-5 with a K.
    • Justin Greene had two hits and an RBI over four at-bats.
    • Bad start for Nathan Jones: 2 2/3 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.
    • Dan Remenowsky walked two in an inning, leading to a run.
  • Kannapolis 12, Greenville 3
    • Kyle Colligan went 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI.
    • Brady Shoemaker went 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts.
    • Nick Ciolli struck out twice while going 1-for-5.
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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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