White Sox Minor Keys: May 25, 2024

White Sox pitching prospect Noah Schultz
Noah Schultz, defending his position with Winston-Salem. (Jim Margalus / Sox Machine)

When the White Sox called up Noah Schultz to Birmingham, I outlined the three ways they could negotiate his presence in the rotation, and they indeed chose Door 3. They neither forced him into the five-man rotation nor expanded it to a six-man plan to accommodate his Saturday-only schedule. Instead, they chose a polyrhythm, with Schultz throwing every seven days while the incumbent starters take the ball once every five games. Whichever starter overlaps with Schultz in a given week is to piggyback with him, with the hopes that the end product will sound like the result of skill, rather than randomness.

The pilot episode couldn’t have gone any better. Schultz threw four shutout innings on just 40 pitches, after which Jairo Iriate entered and carried the game the rest of the way for a 7-1 victory over Biloxi.

Schultz opened his evening with a perfect 1-2 backdoor slider to freeze Eric Brown Jr., and that more or less set the tone for the other 11 outs to come. He gave up a one-out single on a 2-0 count in the second inning, and that was the only trouble he encountered.

Credit Biloxi broadcaster Javik Blake for sharing the Trackman data as Schultz threw. He regularly relayed pitch types and velocities, and sometimes movement and spin.

“Dots a sweeper, on the inside corner, and the count goes full,” started Blake after a 3-1 breaking ball with two outs in the first. “Fifteen inches of run at 80 mph and almost 3,000 RPMs of spin.”

After a first-pitch strike to Mike Boeve leading off the fourth: “First pitch is a sweeper. That pitch is … very, very good. It is a called strike one on the inside corner. It is a disgusting pitch from Noah Schultz. Seventeen inches of movement, 3,000 RPMs of spin, and impossible to hit.”

That sweeper indeed gave the Beach Chickens nee Shuckers fits. It ranged from 81 to 86, he could throw it arm-side or glove-side, and he got four strikeouts looking with it, even though all the hitters involved were right-handed.

When Biloxi hitters made contact, most of it was shanked. Jacob Gonzalez took care of a couple soft chances, Edgar Quero handled one nubber in front of the mound. And after pitching coach John Ely raved to James earlier in the day about his body control, Schultz recorded three assists, including one play to his right …

… and one to his left:

And when Schultz left, Biloxi had to deal with Iriarte, who came into the game with a 2.89 ERA and 56 strikeouts over 43⅔ innings. He looked no worse for the wear despite the midgame start to his evening, and was rewarded with the victory for the mild inconvenience.

It might not always be so simple, but based on the reactions Schultz inspired, it’s quite possible that four innings could continue being a relatively easy task, and the only question is whether the White Sox try pushing him beyond that.

Nashville 5, Charlotte 3

  • Colson Montgomery went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts.
  • Lenyn Sosa also was 1-for-5.
  • Oscar Colás walked thrice during an 0-for-2 night.
  • Prelander Berroa ran into issues in his second inning: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 17 of 29 pitches for strikes.

Highlights:

*I attended this game, and I’ll be at Sunday’s as well. Following up on our discussion about the ABS challenge system in Triple-A, here’s an example of how it works in game action. Montgomery didn’t agree with a 1-2 pitch that was ruled strike three, so he tapped his helmet, and that started the challenge process that he won by 0.7 inches.

(Montgomery then struck out looking on a pitch he didn’t question.)

Birmingham 7, Biloxi 1

  • Jacob Gonzalez went 2-for-5 with a double.
  • Brooks Baldwin went 1-for-4 with an HBP.
  • Edgar Quero, 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Tim Elko homered, walked and struck out thrice.
  • Wilfred Veras went 3-for-5 with two doubles.
  • Jacob Burke was 2-for-5 with a strikeout and a stolen base.
  • Noah Schultz’s Double-A debut: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 28 of 40 pitches for strikes.
  • Jairo Iriarte: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 46 of 69 pitches for strikes.

Winston-Salem 7, Bowling Green 5

  • Eddie Park went 1-for-5 with a double.
  • Calvin Harris was 2-for-4 with a triple, walk and strikeout.
  • Wes Kath, 0-for-2 with a walk, HBP and strikeout.
  • Samuel Zavala went 1-for-3 with a double, walk and strikeout.

Kannapolis 17, Augusta 2 (Game 1, 7 innings)

  • Rikuu Nishida went 2-for-4 with two walks.
  • Ronny Hernandez also went 2-for-4 with two walks, striking out once.
  • Ryan Burrowes was 2-for-5 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Grant Taylor: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 38 of 55 pitches for strikes.

Highlights:

*On most days, Taylor’s performance would be the headliner.

Kannapolis 6, Augusta 0 (Game 2, 7 innings)

  • Rikuu Nishida walked thrice and struck out once.
  • Ronny Hernandez went 2-for-4.
  • Ryan Burrowes, 1-for-3 with a walk, strikeout and stolen base.
  • Seth Keener: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 9 K

ACL White Sox 6, ACL Cubs 2

  • Luis Robert Jr. struck out all three times up.
  • Adrian Gil was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and an HBP.
  • Stiven Flores, 1-for-4 with a K.
  • Sean Burke: 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K

Author

  • 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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Lew

Throw in Keener and Burke and you’ve got an immaculate Minor Keys….

John

I get why they’d be cautious with Schultz, but I’d keep him more on a pitch limit than an innings limit. With a ridiculously efficient 4 innings, I might have run him out for a 5th. We discussed this here a few days ago, about how such limits could possibly be counterproductive to a pitcher’s development, so if it were me, I’d have him undergo an exam on his whole left arm, including x-rays, and if there’s no cause for concern, I’d start trying to stretch him out. He’s already getting extra rest pitching just once a week. Let him try to go 5 at some point, then 6. He needs to learn some of the finer points of pitching.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

It seems so many of these guys wind up needing TJ surgery no matter what, hard to know how to bring these guys up, if it can even be avoided. I think these guys today do more harm than good with weights and by pitching too much at too young an age. Nolan Ryan, Jim Palmer, Carlton, Koufax, all threw very hard and still threw 300 innings at times. Nobody has thrown 300 innings in over 40 years (last time was Carlton in 1980), last two years nobody has thrown over 230. The league leaders in innings pitched decades ago dwarf what these guys of today do, and it sure seemed there were way less surgeries. Guys today throw a bit harder but the explanation has got to be more than that.

Hopefully they can save Schultz from injury, but among many things this organization is terrible at, preventing injuries is certainly near the top of the list.

Any word on Wolkow or Mogollon? I don’t think either has played in the last few games, and the last time Mogollon played he was lifted halfway through a close game.

ForsterFTOG

I hear there’s some concern about Wolkow becoming a free agent before Jerry turns 100.

Wolkow disappeared from the box scores when Robert appeared, as if ACL White Sox are only allowed to have one gigantic center fielder.

JazznFunk

Mogollon sounds gigantic. But surprisingly, is only listed at 5’8” and 160

Jim, that was a really cool photo that you took for this article.

Willardmarshall

First HR robbery by pitcher….

GrinnellSteve

I like how the challenge system worked. Quick, and everyone in the park could see the result. It reminded me of line challenges in tennis.

mrridgman

I’d rather see the automated strike zone than the challenge system; but, seeing video of the actual process, it’s not bad. However, in the articles I’ve seen the suggestion has been that teams might get 5+- challenges a game (I don’t know how many are allowed at AA). Recent stats are that umpires get about 90% of balls/strikes right, 10% wrong – so if 250 pitches were thrown in a game, teams could challenge 10 out of 25 wrong calls – not good enough.

bob

there’s still things to question about the automated system. everyone’s strike zone can be different because of their size. so then the system has recalibrate constantly. someone would have to do this manually right? so you’d have to question if that’s been done correctly. and if nothing is changing zonewise, it’s totally flawed

Warren Z

Very impressive plays by Schultz in the field.

ParisSox

This pitching .. dear god