White Sox Minor Keys: April 18, 2018

Eloy Jimenez is back on Birmingham's roster; Winston-Salem's offense has huge day

Eloy Jimenez is in, and Courtney Hawkins is out.

That’s a beautiful sentence for reasons that should be obvious to everybody following the Birmingham Barons, but mainly because it’s a big-time baggage drop. Jimenez represents the purest optimism for the White Sox rebuild, while Hawkins was the bleakest manifestation of the team’s old way of doing things.

Hawkins, the 13th overall pick in the 2012 draft, saw his career derailed by a disastrous year in Winston-Salem in 2013, and he never recovered. The failure had three root causes:

  1. A too-aggressive assignment.
  2. Poor health.
  3. Maybe he just wasn’t that good.

The White Sox shouldn’t have started him in Winston-Salem at age 19 despite encouraging returns from his first pro season, and they should’ve definitely demoted him at some point during a season where he hit .178/.249/.384. Their stubbornness didn’t pay out, because Hawkins never developed adequate pitch recognition.

Maybe he wouldn’t have anyway, whether because of all the ways his body betrayed him (foot, thumb, shoulder, oblique, thyroid) or just because he wouldn’t have been able to find a way to adjust.

At any rate, a lot has changed with the Sox since that draft. They have an Arizona Rookie League affiliate that’s more conducive for introducing raw talent, and the rebuild makes it easier to resist the pressure to force flawed prospects into rigid timetables.

They’ve also overcorrected in their drafting. Instead of preferring athletes in need of polish, they’ve leaned heavily on collegiate prospects with polished approach and limited athleticism. Zack Collins and Jake Burger have a much better sense of the strike zone, but they’re also going to have to work to stick at positions other than first base. That’s left them to trade for the upside (Jimenez, Blake Rutherford) or sign it for now-illegal amounts (Luis Robert).

Hopefully Tim Anderson can solidify his presence at shortstop and show Sox fans why “toolsy,” “athletic” and “raw” aren’t dirty words. There’s a certain subsection of fans who can’t help but pick at their scabs, but not having Hawkins around should help get past this. Jimenez hitting the ground hitting will do even more.

Charlotte 9, Rochester 2

Jackson 8, Birmingham 1

More:

*The Barons committed four errors, and Stephens’ brother wasn’t having it:

Winston-Salem 14, Down East 4

Augusta 5, Kannapolis 1

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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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ParisSox

Thanks for noting the 90 pitches for Cease. That’s a good step for him.

Brett R. Bobysud

Question for those who have, or have had, it:

Is milb.tv worth the $50 a year?

CanOCorn

Very much so…Just make sure you have a decent Internet connection bandwidth…10 Mb/s or higher.
You could watch the games live or days later on any smart device you own: SmartTV, DumTV with a Roku (or any digital ‘streamer’), PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

jorgefabregas

I think CanOfCorn is referring to MLB.tv here. Device support for milb.tv is pretty minimal. It’s just PCs, phones, and tablets currently. No Roku, etc. They just added Android support a year or two ago.

With that said, I do think it’s worth it. Home broadcasts for Charlotte and Winston Salem are good. Birmingham has a bad camera angle and poor video quality. There aren’t many Kanny or below games available and some Dash road games are not available. I’ve been waiting to sign up this year because 3/4 of the players I wanted to watch most have been injured.

CanOCorn

I beg to differ sir…I have had 3(Three) Rokus and been on MLB.tv for four years (I do have Comcast Sports Net and WGN but the darn Brewers blackout all Sox’s games even the 2 am replays!!)…I get to watch WS games in my living room or bedroom or on the man cave Roku-ed TVs…One of them is a ‘Smart’Samsung with its own browser and will connect to MLB.tv without a Roku, however, I prefer the streamer for its ‘nimbleness’…
Chrome support had been implemented in 2014…Internet Explorer since inception…

Greg Nix

You guys are talking about two different things. You’re referring to MLB.TV (for White Sox games) Brett and jorgefabergas are talking about MiLB.TV (for minor league games).

CanOCorn

MiLB.tv Roku Chromecast is quite a trivial implementation…You need one Roku and any of the following: Android phone or Android tablet or PC/Laptop with Google Chrome browser.
Replace Netflix/YouTube with MiLB.tv in:

https://www.howtogeek.com/214943/how-to-use-your-roku-like-a-chromecast/

NDSox12

I have no experience with Roku, but MiLB.TV is definitely not as easy to use with Chromecast as MLB.TV because you can’t cast directly from the MiLB First Pitch app like you can from MLB At Bat. I usually watch MiLB.TV directly on my Android tablet. However, if I want to use the Chromecast that is hooked up to my TV, I cast from the Chrome browser on my laptop.

TheBigHrabosky

It’s even better at $40/year. Use promo code KNIGHTS for $10 off MILB.tv

ndshiba

I can’t thank you enough for the discount code. Made the purchase decision easier to explain to my wife!

CanOCorn

You could also listen to Farmio and DJ live (or the opponents’ radio feed if not a fan of WGN Radio Sox broadcast team) while driving (or working) thousands of miles away from Chicago…

mikeyb

One of the few good things about the Sox being godawful this year is that they have no excuse to try to rush Robert. Engel has been terrible, and the CF play at AAA has been just as bad (Cordell was putting up even worse offensive numbers than Engel before the injury). In the past, I would have been a bit worried that they’d be trying to have Robert ready to make an impact by late Spring 2019.

CanOCorn

Hawkins’s story could also be extrapolated to another first round pick (2015 8th overall) who is hanging by a thin thread…Carson Fulmer surely doesn’t look like a MLB starter and the longer he is allowed to try proving the opposite the lesser the chances he could be converted into a high leverage reliever…
The upper management post World Series win inertia is still showing its fangs…RH is KW’s ‘product’ after all…

PauliePaulie

I’m still confident it’ll be a smooth transition to the ‘Pen. Concentrating on 2 pitches, instead of 4, will make life much easier for Carson and his wonky delivery.

CanOCorn

I surely hope so…If his mojo doesn’t collapse after so many failures of the very highly imposed expectations…

karkovice squad

Getting an extended look as a starter isn’t going to dim his prospects as a reliever on its own. But the transition to the ‘pen won’t necessarily be easy if the problem is how his mechanics affect control of all his pitches. He’s had trouble sticking his delivery even in short stints.

He might get caught in no-man’s-land where he can’t keep his delivery together for 6 innings and also can’t consistently have his mechanics ready for 1 inning.

PauliePaulie

Rutherford making the step from ground balls to doubles power. Add some plate discipline and we’re cooking with gas.

PauliePaulie

FKL’s updated top 50 draft prospect ranking is out. Anyone got a top 5 for someone who hates ESPN and refuses to give them $?

Patrick Nolan

I think maybe it’s time to drop “FKL”.

It’s actually been time for that since its inception, but the more we become distanced from an errant Chris Sale assessment (and South Side Sox, for that matter), the less need there is for that particular brand of ugliness.

PauliePaulie

Was using it as a harmless nickname, not to perpetuate some sort of Sox fan vendetta.
I’ll never use it again.

ParisSox

Who?

Josh Nelson

If you hate ESPN, why do you care about Keith Law’s rankings? (Side note: I find the Insider account handy because of Keith and Dan Szymborski’s work).

PauliePaulie

Disliking the corporate entity, those who run it and the way they do so does not mean that Kieth Law’s opinions on the draft can’t be included with the other opinion havers.
I respect anyone’s right to not share paywalled info. As it is my right to use my wallet in the way that helps me sleep best at night.

Patrick Nolan

I’m the same way. I’m a big Keith Law fan, but I won’t give ESPN money. Too much of their content is trash, and there’s no way for ESPN to recognize that my subscription is basically just to get access to Law’s stuff, so they can’t attribute it. Wish Law would just join the Athletic like a normal person and then I’d be paying for his work.

Greg Nix

Does The Athletic have a prospect-focused guy yet? It might only be a matter of time before they poach Law.

Josh Nelson

How much money do you give to Disney?

Patrick Nolan

Is this some sort of “gotcha”?

ESPN may be owned by Disney, but it has its own accounting and is evaluated as an organization on its own. It’s not inconsistent to spend money on Disney things and refuse to pay ESPN for generally poor journalism.

Josh Nelson

As someone who owns Disney stock, ESPN is not evaluated as an organization on its own. Whenever ESPN reports a loss, Disney answers for it. Because of revenue reasons, its Disney telling ESPN to make radical changes. Sure, ESPN producers suck today, but the ultimate vision of what ESPN is has a lot of input of what Disney wants.

I look it at as my $5 a month goes to help keep Dan and Keith around. Before Disney has ESPN even make more cuts.

Patrick Nolan

That’s sort of what I mean. Disney looks at ESPN’s success or failure and determines how/whether to change it. ESPN revenue is accounted for and identified separately from the revenue Disney collects elsewhere. I don’t want to pay for ESPN because I don’t want to contribute to the impression that ESPN is fine/good and should keep trotting out bad journalism. Purchasing Aladdin from the iTunes store doesn’t have any bearing on the evaluation of ESPN’s success or failure.

lil jimmy

I don’t hate ESPN. I just don’t watch or care about ESPN. I don’t seek Kieth Law, but am happy to read his thoughts if I am not paying for them.

jorgefabregas

Mize, Stewart, Liberatore, Swaggerty, Bohm. He has Madrigal sixth if that top 5 made you wonder.

PauliePaulie

TY.
I like the Stewart support.

lil jimmy

Madrigal
He played six games, two months ago, and he keeps moving up.
It’s like magic!

Eagle Bones

I can’t say I track who complains about what, but it does seem like we get an awful lot of complaints from fans about both the toolsy guys and the low-ceiling college picks. You can’t really have it both ways folks. The guys that are high floor and have legit tools don’t really grow on trees. Rather than preferring one over the other, as with everything, the key is probably to diversify and get a good mix of both.

Trooper Galactus

Well, it would be nice if one of their high floor guys wasn’t club-footed and destined for 1B/DH. It’s not the floor that’s the problem, it’s that there’s minimal variety between them. I mean, say they take Logan Warmouth (college SS) instead of Jake Burger. Sure, the bat doesn’t have the same ceiling, but he’s a player with a plus hit tool, plus speed, and actual defensive versatility in the middle infield. Such a prospect would look a lot better in that draft alongside Gavin Sheets and less like a carbon copy.

Or, if they were so high on Burger, go a different route with the second pick as a result instead of doubling down on guys with the same limited profiles. I agree that diversity would be good, but their 2017 draft in particular kinda failed in this regard.

Eagle Bones

That’s a fair point. Believe me, I’ve not been a fan of those picks either (I’d lean more towards tools myself or at least having a decent chance to stick at a non-1B/DH position).

zerobs

They drafted Curbelo in 2016 and paid him way over slot.

Trooper Galactus

Curbelo was drafted for his ceiling, not his floor, as are most high schoolers. Kid has a lot of physical projection left before we have any idea of what he can be as a finished product. They paid him way over slot because he had a known commitment to a college and it was necessary to pay more to get him to go pro.

lil jimmy

Curbelo
and he would have been available if he had not played like shit.

PauliePaulie

I think the “toolsy” vs. “low ceiling” is 2 sides of the same coin. Both dealing with the Sox propensity to fall in love with players the industry deems an obvious overdraft.

ndsoxfan

I’ve made this point before,  but why the hell are we using our top picks on 3B/1B/DH sluggers?  Moose, Morrison, Duda, Alonso are getting paid peanuts in free agency and are a dime a dozen

zerobs

Not that I disagree, but when the Sox signed or traded for guys like that, they all fell way short of expectations. And they aren’t a dime a dozen, they all cost a draft pick. OK, the pick is lower now than it used to be, but the cost isn’t just what they get paid.

Trooper Galactus

Given the way this team has thrown away perfectly good prospects on garbage veterans over the years, losing one draft pick over a FA is preferable by comparison.

zerobs

We MIGHT have been able to have it both ways if the club wasn’t forfeiting draft picks to sign Dunn, LaRoche, Melky, etc.

karkovice squad

The reason why the players have low/high floors/ceilings is more important than whether they’re deemed that way. The Sox have done a middling job of finding a balance between athleticism and skills. I think McCracken’s model is probably fine for projecting bats but they seem to be weighting it too far over other scouting tools.

It’s an open question whether that’s a problem with organizational philosophy or with the underlying talent evaluation. Or both.

Jason.Wade17

So Fangraphs still hasn’t released their top prospect list for the Sox, which at this point, its like why bother.
But they did an article today introducing their new “The Board,” which is a compiled sortable database list of the top prospects. An easy sort and filter by team and you can get their listing for the Sox.

Jason.Wade17

A couple surprises, but here is the list:
1. Eloy Jimenez 2. Michael Kopech 3. Luis Robert 4. Alec Hansen 5. Zack Burdi 6. Zack Collins 7. Dane Dunning 8. Dylan Cease 9. Micker Adolfo 10. Jake Burger 11. Blake Rutherford 12. Ryan Cordell 13. Carson Fulmer 14. Gavin Sheets 15. A.J. Puckett 16. Luis Gonzalez 17. Seby Zavala 18. Luis Alexander Basabe 19. Ian Clarkin 20. Spencer Adams 21. Tyler Danish 22. Jameson Fisher 23. Aaron Bummer 24. Jordan Stephens 25. Danny Mendick

Trooper Galactus

Well, now I expect Burdi to be the greatest White Sox closer of all time.

Smclean09

Wasn’t Reed a top 100 prospect at one point? Kiley also said they are trying to represent the industries increased value held for elite relief arms.

Trooper Galactus

Waitaminnit…they put Stephens behind Danish, Fisher, and Bummer? I can’t wait to hear their explanation for that one. Interesting to see Mendick crack their top-25 list, though…their love fest for him last year carrying over to 2018.

NDSox12

40 FV rating on all of those guys, so I will be curious to see if those are their actual org rankings, or if they are placeholders until such time they do the Sox list. I’m surprised Danish is even on this list.

Trooper Galactus

I think Stephens merits better than a 40 rating, personally.

Eagle Bones

The Mendick thing was more Cistulli last year. He’s also FG, but not cut from the same cloth as Longenhagen and Kiley.

Smclean09

Because Fish is a 85 FV

Amar

Seems like the FO made the wise decision to let Adolfo DH.