White Sox Minor Keys: July 5, 2023

Charlotte Knights pitcher A.J. Alexy
A.J. Alexy (Laura Wolff / Charlotte Knights)

The Charlotte Knights added Jordan Holloway to their roster on Wednesday, but that made me notice that the Knights finally saw enough of A.J. Alexy when I checked to see which pitcher they might be replacing.

Alexy had been a subject of mild, morbid fascination for me throughout the season, mostly because he looked like a typical spot-starter candidate when the White Sox claimed him in January.

His year got off to a tough start when he missed time in spring training due to an oblique injury, and everything afterward was brutal. He walked seven batters over 1⅓ innings in his Charlotte debut, and it never really got better. The few times he strung together successful outings, a relapse followed.

For example: Alexy struck out the side in a perfect inning against the Durham Bulls on June 17. Over his next three outings, he issued 10 walks over 2⅔ innings. Those look like they’ll be his last three outings, so he’ll finish his time with the Knights having walked 41 batters over 21 innings, with an ERA of 12.00.

As for Holloway, he may fill the void a little too well. He logged 39 appearances over 15 innings for the Marlins from 2020 through 2022, sometimes starts, sometimes second-pitcher appearances, and sometimes classic long-relief work. The 3.92 ERA isn’t terrible, but the 28 walks against 38 strikeouts means he probably wasn’t the easiest to watch, and his control has taken an even more extreme swing this season. He issued nine walks over seven innings with Triple-A Iowa, and he carried a 10.29 ERA there until the Cubs cut him loose.

Jacksonville 6, Charlotte 3

  • Lenyn Sosa went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.

Tennessee 4, Birmingham 3

  • Terrell Tatum went 3-for-5 with a homer and a stolen base.
  • José Rodríguez was 1-for-5 with a homer and a strikeout.
  • Bryan Ramos struck out thrice during an 0-for-5 night.
  • Luis Mieses, 1-for-4 with no strikeouts.
  • Yoelqui Céspedes, 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
  • Adam Hackenberg, 1-for-4 with one strikeout.
  • Brooks Gosswein appeared as the bulk boy: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 23 of 55 pitches for strikes.

ACL Mariners 9, ACL White Sox 1 (7 innings)

  • Ronny Hernández doubled, walked and struck out.
  • Dario Borrero went 0-for-3 with a K.

Winston-Salem vs. Hickory, PPD
Kannapolis vs. Down East, PPD

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HallofFrank

Why is Jose Rodriguez still in Birmingham? The guy has been in AA since 2021. He has 725 PA in AA and has shown he can handle the level, especially in a difficult offensive environment. For these reasons alone he should be in AAA, but it’s compounded by the fact that the Sox desperately need a 2B.

As Cirensica

Maybe because he is blocked by Lenyn?

knoxfire30

There are no actual “prospects” blocking Sosa and Rodriquez from having 3rd, SS, or 2nd open to them at AAA. I have no idea what the sox are doing at this point. They spent the start of the season using Burger at 1st for no reason when his best shot in the majors was going to be 3rd given their roster structure.

HallofFrank

What @knoxfire30 said. Those guys should be the 2B and SS in Charlotte every night, ideally with each getting reps at both positions. I really hope it’s not because of Yolbert.

jorgefabregas

He was really bad in first half of 2022. By the time he got to 100 wRC+ he broke his hand. This year he was really bad until about June 1st. His plate discipline has regressed this year, but that could just be the pre-tacked ball. Yeah, probably time to bump him up.

HallofFrank

He got hot earlier than June 1st. From May 16th to June 1st, his wRC+ was 122. It’s not a huge difference, but—when combined with how he hit last year before the injury—it highlights that he’s hit plenty for a promotion.

It makes sense to start him in AA this year because of the injury. But they shouldn’t have needed to see much to promote him. In the last six weeks his wRC+ is 155. He should’ve been in AAA in mid-June by the latest. To send him back to AA after calling him up to pinch run in Chicago is just excessive. It sure would be nice to see how he looks against AAA pitching.

ChiTownMax25

He has not shown at all he can handle AA. In his 3rd year at the level, he has a below average wRC+, a .289 OBP, and strikes out over 5x as much as he walks. Showing a good plate approach is significantly more important in terms of higher level success than other statistics and he’s shown an abysmal job of that.

HallofFrank

He has shown he can handle AA. Yes, he started with a few terrible weeks while recovering from hand surgery, but since May 16th the numbers are eye popping: 146 wRC+, .410 wOBA, .347 OBP. Last year we saw something similar before the hand injury: it took him a few weeks to adjust, but then he put together basically 3-4 excellent offensive months. And remember we’re not talking about a 1B/DH type: we’re talking about a middle infielder, for whom the standard for offensive success is much lower.

I’m not saying he doesn’t have things to work on. That’s why I want him in AAA, to challenge him again. He’s been good for awhile but it’s just getting silly the last couple of weeks: 228 wRC+ and a 1.293 OPS with 5 HR. I don’t blame him for not taking walks. If you want him to work on plate discipline, put him somewhere he’s not going to hit a Home Run every 6 ABs.

jorgefabregas

Colson Montgomery and Jacob Burke were both 2-for-2 with a double before the game was delayed by rain.

knoxfire30

In a very discouraging year on the farm Jacob Burke and Terrell Tatum have turned in some eye opening performances.