White Sox Minor Keys: June 29, 2021

Farm Fortnight won’t be taking its traditional form this week due to vacation, but I’ll be using the Minor Keys over the next four days to provide brief summaries of key prospect progress. We’ll start in Charlotte, which no longer includes Gavin Sheets, who made a successful debut with the White Sox during their 7-6 victory on Tuesday.

Sheets’ departure leaves Jake Burger as the unquestioned headliner, and he’s having no problem shouldering the burden. He’s raised his average over .300 by hitting .404/.440/.702 over 50 appearances during the past two series, and it’s up even more after a sensational opening to this week.

On the flip side, Blake Rutherford went 4-for-40 with a homer, two walks and 12 strikeouts over 43 plate appearances against Jacksonville and Nashville, dragging his OPS below .600. Throw in some unimpressive play in right field, and I’m not sure what he offers. Luis González isn’t doing much more, although promotions to Chicago are a good reason why he’s not in a groove in Charlotte.

The pitching all took positive turns, with Reynaldo López capping the last two weeks with 11 strikeouts over six innings against Nashville out of nowhere. Considering he entered that start with a 9.17 ERA, it’s safe to say he needed that. Jimmy Lambert continues to post nice peripherals in abbreviated outings while Jonathan Stiever will get another shot to post two encouraging outings in a row for the first time this season the next time out.

Among relievers, Nik Turley seems like the guy most deserving of a roster spot if Evan Marshall needs to miss time, what with his 24 strikeouts against 13 baserunners (seven hits, six walks) over 15⅔ innings. Jace Fry has the edge of being on the 40-man roster and pitching decently himself, albeit with the walk clusters that tend to make his outings an adventure. Tyler Johnson hasn’t found what he had two years ago, and Alex McRae lost his roster spot when Fry’s rehab stint ended.

Charlotte 5, Norfolk 4 (13 innings)

  • Jake Burger had a perfect night at the plate: 4-for-4 with a homer, double and two walks.
  • Blake Rutherford went 2-for-4 with a walk and a sac fly.
  • Luis González went 0-for-4 with two walks, a sac bunt and three strikeouts.

Chattanooga 4, Birmingham 0

Winston-Salem 14, Greenville 5

  • Yoelqui Céspedes went 4-for-6 with three doubles, a strikeout and a stolen base.
  • Yolbert Sanchez went 2-for-6 with two strikeouts.
  • Luis Curbelo was 1-for-6 with a homer and a strikeout.
  • Duke Ellis wore the golden sombrero during an 0-for-5 night.
  • Luke Shilling: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HR

Charleston 16, Kannapolis 10

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Nice to see Cespedes finally have a good game.

Burger continues to rake, his OPS now over .800 against righties, +.950 overall. I hope the Sox land Escobar, but if they are asking for Burger… no thanks. Burger seems a good bet to land in the top 100 prospects by seasons end, he has to be gaining some attention. Unless Yermin starts to hit consistently and shows success like he did early in the year, how can they not consider calling up Burger to DH?

Turley or Fry, one of them should replace Foster pretty damn soon.


Kopech will probably replace Foster.


True, good point. I could see Heuer being replaced by either one of those 2 just as well, he has been bad way too often. Evan Marshall the same. I have zero confidence in any of those 3 (Foster being the other).


Gladney is racking up a disturbing amount of 0fers lately.


The Arizona Complex League started on Monday. Yesterday’s game was canceled for some reason. Here’s Monday’s box score and the stateside debut of Elijah Tatis https://www.milb.com/gameday/acl-white-sox-vs-acl-reds/2021/06/28/658024#game_state=final,lock_state=final,game_tab=box,game=658024


The game was cancelled due to concerns about COVID with the Brewers’ squad.

Right Size Wrong Shape

You got me again, Quickdraw…

The Brewers team had COVID issues, which caused the cancellation.

Last edited 2 years ago by Right Size Wrong Shape

It was interesting that most of the coaching staff is like a who’s who of 2010’s White Sox minor leaguers.


I’d be surprised if Burger makes any top 100 prospect lists, but he absolutely should be seriously considered. A top 3-5 bat in his draft class, he was knocked down for concerns he’d be 1B/DH only. Well, now he’s slimmed down, playing 2B/3B, and mashing in AAA.

The arguments against him are flimsy. His old-ish age for a prospect is due to the pandemic and injuries, but there’s no evidence that the injuries are a lingering problem. The best argument against him is that the sample size is too small. Fair enough – but he seems to be getting better, not worse. Even if his numbers regress, it’s clear that his strengths—good contact skills with big power—are still there while the weaknesses—slow and possibly 1B/DH only—appear to be fading.

Last edited 2 years ago by HallofFrank
Right Size Wrong Shape

I think the knock on him right now is going to be defense. The eye test looks better now than when they drafted him, but he is still committing a lot of errors. Hopefully that quiets down with more repetition, but the experiment at 2B might not be a good idea if he still needs work at 3B.


Fair point. I don’t know much about his defense other than the errors (I couldn’t find any advance metrics for AAA). Still, I believe the scouting report on him defensively has been decent arm/hands, but his lack of athleticism really counted against him. So, I’d expect the errors to shape up.


FWIW, Fangraphs wrote up that he projects to be an average third baseman with a plus arm now that he’s lost weight. I don’t think anyone cares about errors for a kid that barely played in the minors and then missed 4 years. https://blogs.fangraphs.com/a-thursday-scouting-notebook-5-20-2021/

Thanks, that’s good info. It’s probably anecdotal, but it feels like he has an error in the box score every other day. The box score doesn’t tell half the story when it comes to defense, though.


Even with defensive issues, it seems highly probable that he would be a better hitter than Mercedes at the moment. Unless Yermin has miraculously cured his slump… possible but I don’t believe he is likely to do that well going forward. I could see them swapping Burger and Yermin at some point, giving Burger a shot at DH until Eloy gets back. If he keeps hitting this well, I don’t see how the Sox keep him in the minors unless Yermin really starts to hit well again.


Burger and Cespedes will be in the Futures game.