White Sox Minor Keys: Aug. 19, 2021

Jake Burger (Sox Machine)

We went over Baseball America’s midseason update to its White Sox top 30 rankings a week ago, and now MLB Pipeline has posted its team top 30s after incorporating the most recent draft classes.

Unfortunately, MLB Pipeline doesn’t save its preseason lists the way MLB does, so I can’t see just how far off the board some of these prospects rose, but you can still see some surprises.

Andrew Vaughn1Colson Montgomery
Michael Kopech2Yoelqui Céspedes
Nick Madrigal3Jake Burger
Garrett Crochet4Wes Kath
Jared Kelley5Jared Kelley
Yoelqui Céspedes6Gavin Sheets
Matthew Thompson7Andrew Dalquist
Jonathan Stiever8Matthew Thompson
Andrew Dalquist9Norge Vera
Micker Adolfo10Jose Rodriguez

Compare the BA and MLB lists, and you’ll see a lot of room for disagreement. It’s weird/cool seeing Burger rise to the third spot, and unusual to see the high-school pitchers locked firmly in place despite 1) greatly disappointing seasons and 2) better seasons from some position players, including Rodriguez and Adolfo.

Other intriguing rankings: Bryan Ramos is just behind Rodriguez, third-round pick Sean Burke is at No. 13, and Romy Gonzalez at No. 21.

Norfolk 11, Charlotte 6

  • Blake Rutherford went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.
  • Gavin Sheets came a triple short of the cycle during a 3-for-4 night, walking once.
  • Jake Burger was 1-for-5.
  • Yermín Mercedes was 0-for-5 with a K.
  • Micker Adolfo, 1-for-3 with a double, HBP and strikeout.

Tennessee 5, Birmingham 1 (Game 1, 7 innings)

  • Romy Gonzaleez was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
  • Yolbert Sanchez went 1-for-2 with an HBP.
  • Carlos Pérez, 0-for-3.
  • Yoelqui Céspedes went 1-for-3.
  • So did Lenyn Sosa, with a double and a strikeout.

Birmingham 6, Tennessee 5 (Game 2, 7 innings)

  • Romy Gonzalez reached 20/20 status, going 3-for-4 with a homer.
  • Yolbert Sanchez was 2-for-3 with his second homer and a sac bunt.
  • Yoelqui Céspedes went 1-for-3 with a triple.
  • Lenyn Sosa doubled, singled and struck out.

Down East 14, Kannapolis 3

  • James Beard went 3-for-4.
  • Bryan Ramos was 0-for-4.
  • Harvin Mendoza, 1-for-4 with a triple.
  • Misael Gonzaleez was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
  • Chase Krogman went 0-for-3 with a sac fly and two strikeouts.
  • Wilber Sanchez was 3-for-3 with a homer and two singles.
  • Matthew Thompson: 4 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

ACL Brewers Blue 8, ACL White Sox 5

  • Colson Montgomery was 1-for-5 with a walk and two strikeouts.
  • Wilfred Veras was 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts.
  • Wes Kath, 1-for-5.
  • Jefferson Mendoza went 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Benyamin Bailey went 2-for-4 with a homer and a walk.
  • Logan Glass struck out twice, got plunked twice and was caught stealing.
  • Cristian Mena: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

DSL White Sox 4, DSL D-backs1 2

  • Randel Mondesi went 1-for-2 with three walks and a strikeout, and 1-for-2 on the basepaths.
  • Victor Quezada went 0-for-2 with a sac fly, walk and strikeout.
  • Norge Vera: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K


*More footage of Vera:

Winston-Salem at Hickory Game 1, cancelled
Winston-Saelm at Hickory Game 2, PPD

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Burger ranked 3rd makes a lot more sense than 9th.

I gotta believe Jose Rodriguez is part of why the Sox felt they could deal Madrigal. He might not turn out to be as good a player, but then again with his power might have a higher ceiling.


I’m impressed by Vera’s motion. It seems smooth and repeatable.


Is Yolbert Sanchez a thing? I’ve always thought of him as a glove without a bat. I expected him to flame out in AA, but his OPS is .848. I suspect he’ll regress, as he’s still just under 100 PAs in AA. Still, 100 PAs in a difficult hitter’s park is not nothing.

If the glove really is elite, he could be a useful player. He could be a candidate to replace Hernandez at 2B in ’23. The bat limits the ceiling, but elite defense with ~.750 OPS is valuable. Andrelton Simmons put up two 5 fWAR seasons doing that at SS.


Yeah you can’t ignore a .353 average, with a little bit of pop to go with it. He and Rodriguez both future candidates for 2b.


I don’t have a sense of what his appropriate level is at the moment. Should a 24-year-old who played at the highest level in Cuba be able to handle AA pitching like this? It’s certainly more encouraging than an OPS of .500, but it doesn’t look much different than Micah Johnson’s 2014 line with Birmingham at age 23.

Do we have good, recent reports about his defense? Didn’t he gain weight over the offseason?


Yeah, I don’t know what to make of it. I have a hard time holding age against him because of the pandemic. Isn’t AA just older across the board this season? And Johnson’s AA season is a cautionary tale, but Johnson didn’t hit in AA until his fifth season of affiliated, US ball. This is Yolbert’s first. So, there are some dissimilarities.

I, too, wondered about the defense. I hadn’t heard anything about weight gain (though of course that could be good or bad). The boxscores give us a pretty good idea of offensive performance, but the defense remains a mystery. MLB Pipeline has 60-grade defense on him (FG has 55), but who knows.


The updated little blurb at MLB only mentions he “didn’t stay on top of his conditioning during the pandemic layoff” and has played a lot of 2B because of Sosa and Gonzalez at SS. So no clarity there on any change.


Seems like he definitely could be a thing. I’ve heard the quality of play in Cuba to be between Low A and High A. So it’s not that he’s played at a similar level before–the better context check is probably his age for level.


Nora is an exciting arm I think he is the guy I’d have higher on the list but considering the lack of pro experience and not being able to get him stateside its easy to see why he is where he is at.


Good to see Sheets continue to rake. There was a good interview with him a few days back at FutureSox:


Gives some insight into why Abreu’s so respected, like him spending additional time with Sheets for video scouting of upcoming pitchers. Really rooting for Gavin, he was fun to watch.


I can’t see how he isn’t a better hitter than Lamb for the postseason, his OPS vs righties was almost 150 points higher. If they want him to get more at bats for now and to not DFA Lamb, fine. But they are out of their minds if Lamb is on the October roster and Sheets is not.


Sheets is 1/17 (a single) on breaking balls, with 9 Ks. I’m sure he will get another chance to prove himself when rosters expand, but I don’t think you can carry a guy on the postseason roster who can’t hit a breaking ball at all. If his approach looks even remotely better in September, then I would agree he should make the postseason roster. But if he hasn’t adjusted yet, I would probably ride with somebody else.

Brett R. Bobysud

I wonder if they’re giving Kelley, Thompson, & Dalquist the benefit of the doubt because of the combination of COVID taking out last season and minor league contraction forcing them to start in Kannapolis, which isn’t really ideal for their age.


I wanted to see how rare it was for someone to have a >.200 ISO at Birmingham like Romy does. The list in the last 10 years is 4 current big leaguers, Romy, Micker, and Craig Dedelow.


That list seems heavy on the last 5 years, so I expanded it to 2005 to make sure Fangraphs actually had the data beyond the last few years and then I got into some real “remember some guys” territory.


Last edited 2 years ago by jorgefabregas

On the MLB pipeline podcast they mentioned that prospect pitchers seemed to be hurt by the pandemic much more than prospect position players. That seems true for the White Sox too, especially for the top pitching prospects.

Brett R. Bobysud

How long until we start seeing people* saying the Sox should trade Moncada and let Burger play third base?

*I am not one of them.


Romy Gonzalez was promoted to the Knights. I know this because I was looking on his Baseball Savant page to see if there was any statcast data and saw the transaction.

It had already been announced and all that, but I thought it was funny to find out that way.

Last edited 2 years ago by jorgefabregas