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It only took two days to see the full spectrum of Project Birmingham’s possibilities.
On Tuesday, the Barons won 11-7 behind a bunch of stirring performances from prospects of note.
On Wednesday, the A-ball prospects pretty much all struggles, and the Barons and the two adjacent affiliates went 0-3 and lost by a combined score of 35-3.
In actual unfortunate news — as opposed to merely unfortunate results — I’d missed the note from Curt Bloom on Birmingham’s broadcast announcing that José Rodríguez was done for the season due to a broken hamate bone.
In a manner befitting his unbelievable August, even the way Rodríguez injured his hand was impressive. The White Sox Daily Twitter account noted that Rodríguez appeared to hurt something in the penultimate swing of his final at-bat on Sunday.
And with the one last swing he had to give, he homered to left.
Depending on how you look at it, Rodríguez either picked the best or worst time to break his hamate. On one (injured) hand, it interrupted him at his peak. He hit .319/.413/.768 with nine homers and 10 walks over 17 games in August, a sudden surge after slow but steady improvement over the first four months.
On the other, had he experienced it on July 20 instead of Aug. 20, you’d be looking at a guy with a .284/.326/.371 line, and one homer over 79 games at Double-A. With one extra month, Rodríguez nearly doubled his season’s ISO, finishing at .280/.340/.430.
My biggest question about Rodríguez was whether he could generate impactful contact against Double-A pitching, or whether his success through A-ball was more attributable his general acumen and high motor. It took him a few months to figure out how to elevate more advanced stuff — and James Fegan said Rodríguez played through a leg injury — but in the end, Rodríguez had just enough time to answer the former while maintaining the latter attributes. Now we’ll just have to wait to see how quickly he can recover.
- Lenyn Sosa went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Adam Haseley was 0-for-4.
- Yolbert Sánchez, 2-for-4 with a K.
- Jason Bilous faced six batters and didn’t retire a one: 0 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 9 of 29 pitches for strikes.
- Raudy Read pitched at the end: 1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 1 WP
- Yoelqui Céspedes went 1-fo-4 with a homer, walk and two strikeouts. He also cut down a runner at home.
- Oscar Colás was 2-for-5 with a strikeout.
- Bryan Ramos, 0-for-5.
- Colson Montgomery, 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- Luis Mieses was 2-for-4.
- Duke Ellis went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his Double-A debut.
- Tyler Osik walked thrice and struck out once.
- Drew Dalquist: 2.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR
- Colby Smelley went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
- Brooks Gosswein: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
- Jordan Sprinkle went 3-for-5 with a double.
- Brooks Baldwin struck out thrice while going 0-for-5.
- Jacob Burke doubled, singled and struck out twice.