White Sox Minor Keys: Aug. 27, 2021

After squeaking by on the strength of one productive inning for a victory in the game I saw on Wednesday, the Cannon Ballers followed it up with two more authoritative performances to take three in a row against Lynchburg. They’re now 5-18 in August, which is only respectable because they started the season 2-20.

I find myself looking at the walk and strikeout numbers after the score, because that’s where the Ballers have failed the hardest. The hitters posted a respectable three walks (and two HBPs) against seven strikeouts. The pitchers, conversely, issued 10 walks against nine K’s, with Hunter Speer and Corey Stone throwing strike rates lower than 50 percent.

With so many Cannon Ballers struggling at even putting the ball in play or throwing strikes, I wonder how the White Sox are evaluating this roster. Are they chalking it up to rust from the pandemic, or drafting prep players just in time for short-season leagues to be eliminated? Is it more of a survival of the fittest, where you chalk up the Rodriguez-like stories as successes and wait to see if anybody else joins him before turning the roster over?

Case in point: Misael Gonzalez went 0-for-6 with five strikeouts and an HBP in the two games I saw. It’s hard to know what you’re looking at when you see a player at their worst. My biggest takeaway is that he had a shiny gold elbow pad and shinguard.

Fortunately, there were a few guys who had moments that illuminated some potential, even if 10,000 hours of refinement remain necessary.

Bryan Ramos: I caught the last two games of an 0-for-35 slump, over which he struck out 13 times against one walk. You could see why his numbers on the season reflected a better player than the recent sample, as he pulled multiple balls in the air and lined out to center and left. You could also see why he could be prone to such a slump, as he started pressing on breaking balls low and out of the zone. He also tried to start a double play at third base before he looked the ball into his glove, and the bouncer clanked away for an error.

After I headed to Winston-Salem, he had the first of two consecutive three-hit games, so maybe he’s back on track.

James Beard: He’s the kind of player who couldn’t be judged by his first batch of full-season reps no matter where they took place given a lack of experience against high-level competition in high school. He’ll warrant watching for a while because if his speed can act as a multiplier for any useful profile he can build in the box. I got to see him sprint a couple times, once to flag down a drive to deep center, and another infield single that set up Samil Polanco’s three-run homer.

His swing looks a little rough. It can be really flat at times, with a strange wrist rotation that almost makes it look like his wrong hand lets go first (it doesn’t, but I’ve had to watch the replays to make sure). On the plus side, his at-bats were more competitive than I expected given the 37 percent strikeout rate he carried into the game, and there are signs of getting it. His .257/.366/.343 line over his last 10 games is his best 10-game stretch of the year.

Chase Krogman: He’s the rare low-minors lefty with better numbers against left-handed pitching, which I only thought to look up because he singled against a southpaw. He stayed on the ball well enough that I’d guessed that same-sided pitching couldn’t have been what was tanking his numbers, but I didn’t expect the disparity to be this large:

  • vs. LHP: .281/.452/.338, 21.4% BB, 33.3 K over 52 PA
  • vs. RHP: .171/.337/.323, 15.8% BB, 44.2% K over 199 PA
  • Total: .189/.357/.342, 16.6% BB, 42.3% over 241 PA

Wilber Sanchez and Samil Polanco: Kannapolis’ middle infielder produced the loudest contact, with the former homering in the first game, and the latter in the second. Polanco’s had some good weeks, and Sanchez some good games, but they both have OBPs below .300, so it’s hard to generate the bandwidth to follow either closely. Sanchez, who was promoted to Kannapolis after Jose Rodriguez earned a bump to Winston-Salem and the selections of Colson Montgomery took away his playing time in Arizona, has 33 strikeouts against one walk in 66 plate appearances in Low-A. At least his struggles indicate the potential challenges of jumping from rookie ball to A-ball without the short-season step in between.

Montgomery 4, Birmingham 3

  • Yoelqui Céspedes went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.
  • Lenyn Sosa was 0-for-4 with a K.
  • Yoelvin Silven lost the lead in his Birmingham debut: 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Winston-Salem 5, Hudson Valley 3

  • Jose Rodriguez went 2-for-4.
  • Luis Mieses also was 2-for-4, but he homered and doubled.
  • Luis Curbelo went 1-for-2 with a walk and an HBP.
  • Harvin Mendoza went 0-for-4.
  • Caberea Weaver went 1-for-3 with a walk, strikeout and stolen base.

Kannapolis 11, Lynchburg 5

  • Shawn Goosenberg went 0-for-3 with a wakl.
  • Bryan Ramos is regaining ground lost to his slump: 3-for-5 with two homers.
  • Misael Gonzalez went 0-for-3 with a walk.
  • Chase Krogman went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
  • James Beard, 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Wilber Sanchez went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
  • Andrew Dalquist: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HBP

ACL Rangers 3, ACL White Sox 1

  • Colson Montgomery went 1-for-4 with a double.
  • Wilfred Veras was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
  • Wes Kath wore the collar and silver sombrero.
  • Benyamin Bailey went 0-for-3.
  • Logan Glass did as well, with a strikeout.
  • Tanner McDougal bleeds: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP
  • Ronaldo Guzman’s best work yet: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K

DSL Padres 12, DSL White Sox 4

  • Victor Quezada went 1-for-4 with a homer and a strikeout.
  • Carlos Jimenez went 3-for-4 with a homer and a double.
  • Carlos Hinestroza had his first awful outing: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3 WP, 2 HBP and a balk.
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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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Flitcraft

Is there a compelling developmental case to be made for adding another squad at the complex level?

This question sets aside the million practical questions and considerations ($$, etc.) such a move entails. Asking merely whether the possible tweeners might be better served down a half level rather than up. Tough enough row no matter what.

Right now, the Brewers, Giants, and Royals are each running two teams in Arizona. Jays, Orioles, Pirates, and Tigers doing the same in Florida. Not sure whether those clubs were granted some temporary dispensation and they’ll be limited to a single squad once current players move through, but maybe this is an option the Sox could snd should select as well.

ParisSox

Dalquist had a good line. How did he look?