White Sox Minor Keys: April 13, 2018

First-person observations from Birmingham; Dylan Cease's second start looks like his first, but with more help

Josh is hanging out in Birmingham, where he’s watching the Barons and knocking out a lot of interviews for posts and the podcast. Follow him on Twitter if you don’t already.

For instance, he saw Jordan Guerrero pitch. While his ceiling is still lowered by the lack of a strong breaking ball, at least his velocity is where it was:

Charlotte 6, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 5 (10 innings)

  • Charlie Tilson went 1-for-5 with a double and a strikeout.
  • Ryan Cordell was 1-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base.
  • Daniel Palka homered, singled, walked and struck out twice.
  • Casey Gillaspie was 2-for-5 with a strikeout.

Birmingham 5, Montgomery 4

  • Tito Polo went 2-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. He also swiped four bases.
  • Jameson Fisher was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
  • Seby Zavala, 1-for-2 with a sac fly, walk and strikeout.
  • Jordan Guerrero: 4 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
  • Ian Hamilton: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K


*Josh likes the cut of Hamilton’s jib.

*Birmingham hasn’t seen anything like Polo’s basepath capers in a while.

Winston-Salem 8, Carolina 1

  • Joel Booker, doubled, singled and struck out thrice.
  • Luis Alexander Basabe was 3-for-5 with a double.
  • Alex Call was 0-for-3 with a walk.
  • Micker Adolfo, 2-for-4.
  • Gavin Sheets also went 2-for-4, with a double and a strikeout.
  • Yeyson Yrizarri was 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
  • Ti’Quan Forbes was 1-for-3 with a walk.
  • Dylan Cease: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K


*Future Sox watched Dylan Cease’s second start of the season, and it looks like what I would’ve seen in Cease’s debut had he received adequate defensive support — specifically the way his stuff remained strong but started missing by more in the middle innings.

Charleston 2, Kannapolis 1

  • Luis Gonzalez went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
  • Justin Yurchak went 1-for-4 with a K.
  • Evan Skoug, 0-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout.
  • Tate Blackman struck out three times and bunted once.
  • Michael Hickman struck out three times and singled once.


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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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It appears, early on, Rutherford is getting the short-end of the W-S OF straw.

Greg Nix

Wonder if he’a banged up. No way he’s behind Booker in the pecking order. 

Trooper Galactus

He is when Boooker’s playing like he has been!

Brett R. Bobysud

Well, when you consider that Booker & Basabe are both hitting .400, have OBPs 100 points higher, and slugging 150 points higher than Rutherford, it makes sense that he’s “behind” them in the pecking order.

The only player that one could argue doesn’t warrant playing time above Rutherford at the moment is Call, who’s hitting a dismal .091 through 7 games, but they obviously want to give all 4 guys opportunities.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I don’t think batting average and OBP over a nine game stretch should determine pecking order in the minor leagues.


I heard on the radio call that the Dash have yet to be out-hit in a game. They must be prevailing upon the BABIP gods who are taking hits away from the Barons.

The Wimperoo

Shout out to Craig Dedelow with a nice game in Kannapolis and a decent start in general.


Looks like Basabe could be a mover this year


I think I saw an analysts of this somewhere (maybe Fangraphs or Beyond the Box Score), but is there a speed where the change-up becomes so slow that it’s ineffective? Because if Guerrero is 11-13 mph slower on the change than the fastball, that seems like it might be almost too easy for hitters to see the difference. It seems to me like the best pitchers live in the 4-8 mph zone, but I’m pulling those numbers just out of my memory of watching games. 


I’d always heard you want a 10mph spread. It’s one of the reasons fireballing High School and College rarely have a good one. When they throw it, it is the fastball of the “average” pitcher. And thus very hittable.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Yeah, I always heard 11 mph was perfect.