2019 Kannapolis Intimidators preview

We wrap up our affiliate season previews with the Kannapolis Intimidators, who are playing their last season at Intimidators Stadium before moving to a shiny new downtown ballpark that will make the White Sox farm system 4-for-4 with regards to modern facilities.

While Birmingham wins the title for the most loaded roster, I think it’s fair to say the Intimidators have the most intriguing one. They’re hosting most of last year’s notable draft picks and the full-season debuts of a couple prominent international prospects. Given the youth involved, this could be a year full of learning experiences, but if things break right, a few of these guys could move on to Winston-Salem and crash top-10 lists by midseason updates.

Starting Pitchers

This is a stab at the starting five, as the Intimidators didn’t separate the rotation from the bullpen in their roster announcement. It’s a healthy mix of second-day draft picks, including McClure, who is coming off season-ending knee injury after an encouraging opening to his season in Kannapolis last year. The third-round pick Pilkington opens the year trying to reclaim some of the power he lost during his draft campaign, while Stiever (fifth round) boasted the best results of any pitcher making his pro debut last year.

The 14th-round pick Martin was the only Sox selection in that neighborhood who could throw strikes, whether because of control issues or injuries. Perez was picked up from the Brewers as the secondary piece in the Joakim Soria trade. He’ll be making his stateside debut as a 21-year-old.

Relief Pitchers

It’s always tough to distinguish A-ball relievers from one another, but Bilous and Perez at least warrant some initial attention due to draft status. Perez was a lefty college closer taken in the eighth round, while Bilous was an over-slot signing in the 13th round. The former fared better than the latter in his pro debut.


Skoug looked like a potential steal when the Sox selected him in the seventh round of the 2017 draft, but he hit just .199/.294/.326 with 93 strikeouts in 83 games his first full season, which explains his slide. Hickman also repeats the level after gaining no traction in his full-season debut last year. Troutwine spent the offseason sparring with other chieftains at the Alþingi over the number of sheep a human life is worth.


The infield is loaded with promising position players who helped lead the Great Falls Voyagers to a championship, but could nevertheless struggle with an adjustment to their first full-season exposures. Bush outhit every other draft pick despite being an 18-year-old selected in the 33rd round. Sosa looks like the most promising international infielder at the moment, showing good contact skills, a little pop and the potential to stick at short with Great Falls as an 18-year-old last year (.293/.317/.406).

Nunez hasn’t been able to stick at short, but at least he found a way to unlock his bat as he slides down the defensive spectrum. He hit .357/.394/.568 with the Voyagers in 2018, and it looks like he’ll be the first baseman for Kannapolis. Curbelo finally stayed healthy last year, and now the sixth-rounder from the 2015 will be expected to do something with it. He’s repeating the level after posting a .620 OPS last year. Beltre posted some intriguing lines in the Dominican Summer League years ago, but the Sox use him as a utility seat-filler now. Beltre aside, all these hitters are aggressive, and we’ll see whether they can stay successful by pouncing, or have some hard lessons ahead.


Dawins, Destino and Sowers are all third-day draft picks who are org guys until proven otherwise. Dawkins has an A-plus mustache, and Destino’s is a C-minus. Walker is the one name-brand player in the bunch, and his pro debut was sapped by an oblique injury at the end of his college career. The second-round pick has some fans among prospect evaluators, and he’ll win fans over if he’s able to produce.

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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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Ted Mulvey

Good to see we’re in agreement on the Gunnar Troutwine assessment, Jim.


Nunez’s second half was hopefully a big switch flip and continues to crush baseballs and becomes interesting.
His plate discipline numbers and the fact he is at first to start the season arent great signs though.

Eagle Bones

Hopefully someone gets promoted early so they can move him back to a non-1B position.

Eagle Bones

Man Walker’s hair. Best since Beckham?

Right Size Wrong Shape

C’mon now. Davidson had great salad.


Troutwine might be my second favorite fermented fish refreshment, right after mackerelmead.


I’m partial to alewife lager.

lil jimmy

Fish Sauce Saison


Corey Zangari?

Right Size Wrong Shape

His entire career has been a long-term issue.


Shame. Seemed like a good pick at the time.


Seems like an awful lot of guys of legal drinking age+, for a low A team.