Minor league monthly: Charlotte and Birmingham

Mark Teahen’s fractured finger triggered a flurry of activity in the minor-league ranks. Here’s a list of all the movement that happened in its wake:

And somewhere along the line, Erick Threets returned to action and Jhonny Nunez received a call to Charlotte as well.
Oh, and Trayce Thompson is out for a couple months after undergoing thumb surgery (h/t Larry).
So with all that on the table for the month ahead, let’s take a look at what happened in the minors to get to this point.
CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS
Record: 21-31 (tied for last place)
Team offense: .692 OPS (12th in IL)
Team pitching: 4.58 ERA (12th in IL)
PITCHING DEPTH AT THE READY
Daniel Hudson
6-2, 4.56 ERA, 53 1/3 IP, 54 H, 8 HR, 16 BB, 62 K
It looks like Hudson just wanted to put a little scare in us.  He’s back to his old self and then some.

  • April: 2-2, 9.37 ERA, 16 1/3 IP, 6 HR, 8 BB, 18 K, .352 BAA
  • May: 4-0, 2.43 ERA, 37 IP, 2 HR, 8 BB, 44 K, .210 BAA.

The scouting reports are favorable, so it looks like he’s merely waiting for a chance. Funny how it looked like Freddy Garcia was the most replaceable, and now it’s Jake Peavy.
Carlos Torres
3-5, 3.68 ERA, 66 IP, 55 H, 7 HR, 24 BB, 69 K
You can take Hudson’s storyline and apply it to Torres.  He hasn’t reached Hudson’s extremes, but he’s looking quite like the guy who dominated Triple-A last season.
He’s been very good against righties (.171 BAA; .274 against lefties), so, as always, he’s a great swingman candidate.  The only problem is that Tony Pena is already playing that role pretty well.
ONE STEP FORWARD
Dayan Viciedo
.286/.323/.519, 10 2B, 11 HR, 5 BB, 42 K over 185 AB
So far, the shape of Viciedo’s 2010 season is looking a lot like his 2009, but he’s ahead of the curve.  He hit for better contact in May last year; he’s hitting for better contact plus power this time around, to the tune of a .304/.355/.588 month.
There are concerns when looking at his splits:
Lefty/righty: He’s got a .295 OBP and 36 strikeouts to two walks against right-handed pitching over 147 at-bats.
Home/away: He’s slugging 200 points higher at Knights Stadium (.631 SLG)
Add in the gigantic chasm between the walks and strikeouts, and he’s still got a lot of learning to do. But he’s making good progress, and has been hit by five pitches, which is helping him offset that difference a little.
TWO STEPS BACK
Tyler Flowers
.208/.311/.424, 5 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 19 BB, 57 K
Flowers ended his month mired in a 3-for-39 slump with 18 strikeouts.  He said that he was trying to implement some changes suggested by Greg Walker, but they don’t seem to be working.  Next month will be a big one.
Jordan Danks
.237/.311/.366, 14 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 18 BB, 64 K, 10-for-12 SB
Flowers’ struggles have overshadowed the fact that Danks has been awful, himself.  He hit .206/.271/.290 with 40 strikeouts and zero homers over 107 at-bats in May.  Buck Coats is your emergency left-handed outfielder for the time being.
NEVER GOT STARTED
C.J. Retherford
.201/.249/.321, 7 2B, 4 HR, 8 BB, 30 in 69 ABs
Retherford lost all momentum when he ended his month with a 2-for-22 skid.  After his numbers declined nearly all the way across the board, he’s back in Birmingham.
BIRMINGHAM BARONS
Record: 18-32 (last place)
Team offense: .646 OPS (last in SL)
Team pitching: 3.97 ERA (8th in SL)
CHARLOTTE-BOUND
Brent Morel
.324/.375/.434, 12 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 14 BB, 36 K, 5-for-10 SB
Morel stamped his pass to Triple-A with an outstanding month, as he hit .352/.405/.467.  He had some problems with strikeouts early in the month, but he seemed to eliminate that issue over the last couple of weeks. He also picked up his running game, successful on 5-for-7 attempts after going without a stolen base in April.
His home/road splits were virtually identical, except he managed to slug 40 points better at home, which is no easy feat.  The Sox have been patient with Morel for a couple years, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to a faster track.
Jhonny Nunez
1-4, 3.71 ERA, 51 IP, 53 H, 3 HR, 17 BB, 38 K
Nunez had a nice May in terms of results (2.05 ERA, .231 BAA), but there isn’t much to show it peripherally.  His walk rate is decent, but his strikeout and groundball rates are nothing special.  I wonder if they’re going to turn him back into a reliever in Charlotte, perhaps as new right-handed relief blood in case they trade J.J. Putz.
BEST OF THE REST
Charlie Shirek
2-1, 2.36 ERA, 49 1/3 IP, 48 H, 0 HR, 12 BB, 27 K
Nine of the 13 earned runs allowed by Shirek this season have come over his last two starts.  Moreover, he’s only thrown 5 2/3 innings combined.  His numbers for the season are still good, but considering his health history, it’s not the greatest way to close out a month.
Christian Marrero
.245/.369/.346, 7 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 30 BB, 31 K in 159 AB
Marrero’s strange season continues.  He’s topped his 2009 walk total in two months, but he’s still wanting for extra-base power in a big way despite some small across-the-board improvements.  Some more oddities — he’s a left-handed hitter who’s hitting lefties way better (.813 OPS to .672), and his OPS away from Regions Park is below .700.  Like I said, weird year, and not particularly encouraging.
Brandon Hynick
1-0, 2.89 ERA, 9 1/3 IP, 11 H, 0 HR, 2 BB, 5 K.
Not much to report here, except that Hynick is finally up and running with two starts under his belt. He should be in Triple-A once he gets to full strength.
Shelby dramatically improved his walk rate last season, but saw his average and slugging drop.  He went back to his old ways starting 2010, but has drawn all five of his walks over his last seven games.  He’s a hard guy to figure out.
***********************
Minor league roundup:

  • Charlotte 3, Pawtucket 2
    • Flowers doubled! But he also struck out twice.
    • Danks also struck out twice, and laid down a sac bunt.
    • Threets threw a scoreless inning in his return, allowing just a hit.
  • Tennessee 3, Birmingham 0
    • Justin Edwards allowed two runs on five hits and three walks over seven innings.  Both runs came on one swing, and he struck out one.
    • Marrero went 0-for-2 with two walks.
  • Winston-Salem 9, Potomac 1
    • Brandon Short went 2-for-5 with a triple and an RBI. He struck out once.
    • Eduardo Escobar singled twice, walked once and struck out once. He drove in two.
    • Jon Gilmore joined the above teammates with a pair of singles over five at-bats.
    • And Justin Greene had two hits, driving in one.
    • Stephen Sauer allowed one run on four hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings, striking out five.
    • Kyle Bellamy (1 1/3 IP, 1 BB, 1 K) and Santos Rodriguez (1 IP, 1 H, 2 K) contributed scoreless relief.
  • Greenville 2, Kannapolis 0
    • Kyle Colligan went 3-for-4.
    • Brady Shoemaker drew the collar and struck out twice.
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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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knoxfire30

Thompson got hurt, geezus, this has been a cursed fucking season. Awful performances from the big league club, dumb managing, and now the second guy I really liked on the farm to go down with a serious injury. Not good!!!!
This team pretends that it wants to contend but they show nothing in support of it, if your a contender you dont replace teahen with lillbridge and vizquel, you certainly dont keep randy williams on a 25 man roster, and you dont continue to treat every game as an “o well” there is still time… thats garbage! SINK OR SWIM im sick of them just barely treading water, its annoying I need some direction!

winningugly

So you had your eye on Mitchell and Thompson, too. Perhaps it is YOU that has cursed them (I thought it was me).
I hear you re: bringing up better talent than Bridge, but we don’t have it! And why rush the kids if they are not going to turn us into a contender? Becks performed way above expectation last year and is paying for those adjusted expectations this year. Let the kids grow up.
Time to rope-a-dope.

jimbo

Morel is 23 years old and has performed very well in the AFL and AA. We need help at 3b. Get his ass up here.

ceverettsdinosaurs

One of my roommates in school was from Denver and a fairly die-hard Rockies fan. Before the Rockies’ recent resurgence, at about this time of year, he would slowly begin to shift his focus from the major league team (which was undoubtedly floundering) to the minor league system. He used to talk hopefully about the young talent coming up through the system, guys like Matt Holliday, Garret Atkins, Troy Tulowitzki, Brad Hawpe, etc. Obviously they had stockpiled some impressive talent from always being able to draft near the top of each round in the draft.
As the current White Sox season drifts toward hopeless (if it isn’t already there), I too have shifted my focus toward the farm system (which I had always paid attention to, I just look forward to the minor league recaps more and more this season). However, I wonder what it was like to look down at the farm and see all that promise and talent stock-piling the minor league system, as my roommate was able to do. Instead, I look to the farm and find a glaring lack of major-league talent and it depresses me even further….

knoxfire30

Ah, dont have the numbers in front of me but im confused by your post, cause Holliday and Tulo came into the fold about 4 years apart I thought. Its not like the Rockies had 1 awesome draft class that came up together they were pretty bad or mediocre for a while. I dont want the sox to be bad and mediocre for a while, they are supposidly a big market team and have a 100 mil payroll I want the quick fix!

blah

The sad thing is the Sox had the chance to do the quick fix last offseason. Any combination of bargain buys like O Hudson, Damon, Matsui, Thome, Lopez etc. could have put them in a pretty good spot both this year as well as give them the ability to make a meaningful trade in the future.
Instead what do the Sox do? Trade for Pierre & Teahen. Waste money and roster space on Jones and Vizquel. (What can Vizquel do that Bridgey can’t? Except for being part of the four decade team and getting a token at-bat as DH, Vizquel brings nothing to the table.)
And the worst part (for me) is I dunno if I should be ticked off at Guillen for maintaining that this is the team he wants or if I should be PO’d at Williams for listening to him.

winningugly

Worse was signing Teahen for 3 years. WTF was that? I have little issue with Pierre. And take out your frustration on both Ozzie and KW. With the money that is being spent we ought to have a better performing team.

chisoxt

Recall about 10 years ago when we saw guys in their 30s have career years? Nowadays, with the reduction in PEDs you hardly ever see that. In fact,you can almost make a case for spending less money by emphasizing youth and player development and de-emphasizing spening money on older veterans who are likley to either break down and/or produce leass.

ceverettsdinosaurs

I wasn’t necessarily comparing us to the Rockies, just comparing situations to illustrate how depressing this season has become.
I understand your “big market team” angle and the need for a quick fix. However, maybe since we’re a big market team we could spend some of that money on the draft, instead of being so cheap and being the lap-dog of the commissioner. (there is an interesting article on ESPN, behind their paywall, http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/draft2010/insider/news/story?id=5237879 that illustrates how, although Boras may get a lot for his players, they have a history of performing so that they eventually justify their contracts through quality major league performance) Basically, the article says that even the teams that used to shy away from it (Pittsburgh) have come to realize that it’s worth it to pay over slot if the talent is legitimately there (Porcello, Weiters, etc.). I just wish we would catch on as well. So, even when seasons go bad, there are still some interesting eventual major-leaguers in the minors.

chisoxt

You can thank the general manager for that…I wonder if Kenny were GM in the late ’80s if the Sox would have had kept guys like Big Frank, Fernandez, Ventura, McDowell, Alvarez, etc.
I am so ready for a different general manager.