Do the White Sox have help available at Triple-A Charlotte?

White Sox pitcher Davis Martin
(Brian Sevald/USA TODAY Sports)

As the Chicago White Sox’s horrid start to the 2023 season continues, one can’t help but wonder about the help available at Triple-A Charlotte.

Help is surely available on the pitching side of things, but offensively it is a different story. The options are limited given that Jake Burger, Oscar Colas and Lenyn Sosa are already with the White Sox.  Two former big-leaguers, Victor Reyes and Stephen Piscotty, might be contributors down the road, but neither offers the immediate answer that the team appears to need.

Among pitchers, the best option is Davis Martin.  Martin had an 11-strikeout, six-inning shutout about 10 days ago, but did not pitch on the team’s six-game road trip to Louisville last week.  It is still unclear if he was skipped because of workload management, an injury or because the White Sox want him to be available for a possible call-up. 

Two other Knights’ pitchers also are off to great starts: Nate Fisher and Jesse Scholtens.

Scholtens was called up to the White Sox April 7-13, and then struck out 11 over five innings two days after his return to Charlotte.  Then, last week in Louisville, he went 5.2 innings giving up five hits, three earned runs and two walks while fanning eight.  Across 14.2 innings in Charlotte this year, opponents are hitting just .200 against him, though he has surrendered four home runs.

Fisher, meanwhile, who is not on the 40-man roster, has also been exceptional this year: 22.2 IP, 17 hits and one HR, for a .213 BAA and a 1.28 WHIP.

At the very least, Martin, Scholtens and Fisher offer immediate multi-inning relief options for the White Sox, if not a spot start.

A LOOK AT THE REST OF THE STAFF

In the spring, Rick Hahn cited Sean Burke as a guy who could help the White Sox this season.  And he very well may, but Burke made his first start of the season last week in Louisville and it was a rough one.  Burke had control issues, issuing four consecutive walks followed by a home run in 1.2 innings.  

Burke is currently on the Development List, presumably to work out some kinks in his mechanics, so it is unclear if we’ll see him on this home stand.  But there’s every reason to think Burke will begin to turn things around sooner than later as he gets some innings under his belt.

Another Charlotte starter in need of a turnaround is AJ Alexy, who has been brutal in three starts: seven innings, 13 walks, five hits and 12 earned runs.

The final member of the Knights’ rotation, Jonathan Stiever, is back on the IL after just four innings of work this season.  There’s no word yet on the extent of his injury.

Without Stiever and Martin, the Knights recalled Garrett Davila from Birmingham and gave him a start in Louisville, and the 26-year-old lefty responded with four innings of three-hit, one-run ball.

The Charlotte bullpen has been fairly solid this year, but that was not the case in Louisville last week.  One notable exception was Daniel Ponce de Leon, who turned in three innings of one-hit, six-strikeout relief work. 

Declan Cronin and Alex Colome were the only other relievers who pitched at least an inning without surrendering an earned run.  

Overall, the Knights tossed 46.2 innings in Louisville and gave up 51 hits, 27 walks, seven home runs and 32 earned runs.  And those numbers include the strong efforts of Scholtens, Ponce de Leon and Fisher.

ARE THERE BATS IN CHARLOTTE?

Probably not immediately.

The White Sox have a couple of hitters who are off to solid starts, led by Reyes (.320 BA) and Zach Remillard (.443 OBP).  And they added free agent Piscotty last week, a right-handed hitting outfielder with eight years of MLB experience.  Piscotty, 32, has a career slash line of .255/.324/.430, with 93 home runs.

This is not a typical Knights’ line-up of mashers.  In fact, in the last six-game road trip, the Knights managed just one home run.  

But they had the 3rd best OBP and 7th best batting average in the 20-team International League last week, combining a triple, 12 doubles, 33 singles and 34 walks (versus just 29 strikeouts) into enough offense to be competitive in the games that the pitching staff could keep them in striking distance.

I continue to harbor hope that Reyes will be able to provide a boost to the White Sox offense, but his high batting average is offset by just four doubles and three homers in 75 at bats.  If and when he gets a bit more locked in, I’d expect a spike in his power numbers.

THIS WEEK

The Knights are back home for a six-game series against the Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.  There was a time not that long ago that the Tides offered a chance for opponents to get healthy, but no longer.

The Orioles boast one of MLB’s best farm systems, and this week will provide an opportunity to see some of their top-ranked guys like like Colton Cowser (#3), Jordan Westburg (#4), DL Hall (#6), Joey Ortiz (#7) and Connor Norby (#8).

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King Joffrey

I was afraid this might be the shortest article ever – like two letters long.

Trooper Galactus

Help? Yes.

Meaningful help? No.

Alfornia Jones

a lot of guys currently on the roster with options left. no reason not to send one or both of Romy or Sosa down and bring up Remiliard. same with Colas, if he slips any further he should go down for Reyes. not saying these are the long term guys, but it takes some guys multiple trips to figure it out.

SkeeterSkeeterman

Who do you propose they DFA to get any of these guys on the 40 man roster?

Alex

AJ Alexy and Franklin German seem like good candidates. Nicholas Padilla has a 2.00 ERA but 8 walks in 9 innings, so he could be another candidate.

FishSox

We have to look at Lynn and ask how much leash does he get? We could bring up Martin as our 5th, put LL into long relief and bounce Diekman.

The problem is the Sox are too slow to pull the trigger on guys when they could actually help. I really could give a rats ass about handedness if our LHRP keeps walking guys and loading the bases. That’s a bomb with the fuse lit. Replace him with a hot RHRP and it’ll yield better results.