White Sox Minor Keys: Aug. 9, 2022

Carlos Pérez strikes out just 8 percent of the time, making him the toughest player with 200 plate appearances to fan in the International League. But what gives him such a nice upside is that he is also really good at connecting with pitches in the strike zone, with his team-leading 57 percent in-zone hit rate.

“His bat-to-ball skills are tremendous,” hitting coach Chris Johnson said about the Knights’ catcher. “He is so good at putting the barrel of the bat on the baseball.”

Pérez tops the Knights with 16 home runs and 57 RBIs.  He also has 22 walks and a miniscule 28 strikeouts in 338 plate appearances. He carries a slash line of .266/.323/.459.

The Knights are pushing Perez this season, getting him behind the plate often so that he is comfortable with the grind of regular major-league catching. So far, he’s been behind the dish in 62 games of 105 Knights’ contests. (He has also DHed 18 times.)

That may not sound like much, but catching four days a week in upper-90s heat is grueling, and his stats reflected as much as the first half of the season wound down.  ut after four days off at the All-Star break, he is looking more like his old self. And that’s good, because he is next man up with the trade of Reese McGuire.

Knights’ Plate Discipline

Despite the temptations of such a hitter-friendly ballpark, the Knights are a fairly disciplined team at the plate. In terms of total strikeouts on the season, the Knights have the fifth-fewest in the International League, and only two behind fourth-place Memphis.

At the end of day, Johnson said, it boils down to in-zone swings, chase rates and exit velos.

“That’s what we look at,” he said. “When guys are throwing strikes, are you hitting it hard, making contact and putting it in play? That’s the biggest thing. Other than that, are we taking balls. When you really dumb down hitting, that’s what it is about. We want guys to hit the ball hard, and hit the ball a lot.”

Peering over the latest set of Knights’ hitting stats after BP earlier this week, Johnson said it is the same group of guys — Payton, Haseley, Perez, Sosa, Rutherford and Remillard — who lead the team in in-zone swings that also chase the fewest pitches outside the zone.

I asked Johnson when does he decide to step in and work with a guy about his approach at the plate. It turns out that it is more art than science.

“If a guy is going good and has a couple of games when he’s chasing, I try not to bombard him,” Johnson explained. “This game is so up and down, you’re going to go through ruts. But if we hit a bad series and I start to see something that I think is causing it, then I’ll say, hey, let’s change this.

“But most of time, when you’re talking about in-zone contact and chase rate, that’s all approach,” he said. “It has nothing to do with swing mechanics. So that is a conversation of, hey, what are you thinking about? What are you trying to do? That’s probably what’s causing the bad chase rate.”

Minor Keys

Lehigh Valley 8, Charlotte 1

  • Romy Gonzalez homered in his return to Triple-A, going 1-for-4 with a K.
  • Jake Burger was 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Carlos Pérez, 0-for-3 with a walk. He was also picked off/caught stealing.
  • Adam Haseley was 0-for-2 with a strikeout and an HBP.
  • Yolbert Sánchez went 2-for-3 with a stolen base.

Pensacola 5, Birmingham 4

  • José Rodríguez went 0-for-5 with a K, but stole his 39th base.
  • Oscar Colás was 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Yoelqui Céspedes went 0-for-4 with a K.
  • Matthew Thompson: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 46 of 68 pitches for strikes.

Bowling Green 9, Winston-Salem 6

  • Colson Montgomery went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Bryan Ramos went 1-for-4 with a walk, but was picked off.
  • Luis Mieses, 3-for-5 with a double.
  • Adam Hackenberg was 1-for-4 with a homer and two strikeouts.

Salem 5, Kannapolis 3

  • Wes Kath went 1-for-4 with a homer and a strikeout
  • DJ Gladney, 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
  • Wilfred Veras, 0-for-4 with a K.

ACL Padres 2, ACL White Sox 1 (7 innings)

  • Brooks Baldwin went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
  • Jordan Sprinkle, 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and an HBP.
  • Jacob Burke went 1-for-2 with a walk.
  • Victor Quezada, 0-for-3 with a K.
  • Manuel Guariman doubled and struck out twice.
  • Cam Butler struck out all three trips.

DSL White Sox 5, DSL D-backs Red 2 (7 innings)

  • Ryan Burrowes was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
  • Erick Hernandez went 1-for-2 with a double and a walk.
  • Loidel Chapelli went 1-for-3 with a triple.
  • Carlos Jimenez singled, walked and struck out.
  • Ronny Hernandeez was 0-for-3.
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Jeff Cohen
Jeff Cohen
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Wayne

Matthew Thompson throwing 5 strong innings is nice to see.

soxygen

Thanks for the helpful bit re Carlos Perez. As you say, he’s next man up and depending on how the FO decides to deploy its resources in the off-season, he could end up being an important piece in 2023…or we’ll end up getting very little in exchange for him and then watch his production from afar while some cheap FA signing bombs.

Augusto Barojas

Is he good enough defensively to catch in MLB? If he is, I’d love to see him get a call. Grandal is gone after next year, I personally think it is unlikely he will ever be a positive again. Certainly not catching. They really could benefit from trading him if they only had to pay part of his salary.

Hopefully if either Perez or Seby can catch, it would save them from having to address catcher in addition to all of their other holes. But then again, even if they luck out and have a decent enough in-house solution at catcher, it doesn’t mean they will sign a real RF or 2b.

soxygen

Your last sentence a million times…and same goes for 2B. I keep thinking “hey, how bad would it be if they just picked up Harrison’s option or just went with Danny Mendick…” and then I realize that in this scenario our right fielder is Adam Gavin Vaughn.

Last edited 1 month ago by soxygen
tommytwonines

How is the “in-zone hit rate” percentage calculated? I take it it’s only on swings, not pitches taken for strikes? Are foul balls taken out of the equation?

burning-phoneix

I assume its Zone Contact % with foul balls taken out so its pitches swung on in the zone that turned into a hit.Balls taken in the zone don’t count.

Greg Nix

Perez is a great development story. 29 HR the last two seasons after 7 HR over his first six minor league seasons. I’d be surprised if we DON’T see him this year with the way Seby has cratered.

upnorthsox

Cratered? Are we judging guys 12 ABs at a time now?

mrridgman

We’ve seen the 12 AB version of Seby before, so there’s a hypothesis that might be had. Time may tell.

Augusto Barojas

Seby killed it at AAA this year, so I think he is a different hitter than last year. Probably unlikely to be as productive as he was, but right now I’ll take him over Grandal without hesitation. He makes 17M less than Grandal, and at least has legs and a future. If Seby can just be a slightly below average MLB catcher at his salary, it’s one of the only things that might help save this team.

Last edited 1 month ago by Augusto Barojas
Greg Nix

That’d be nice, but guys don’t often turn into completely different hitters at 28 years old in their 8th pro year.

metasox

Based on his history, Seby will K a lot. The question is what he does the rest of the time. Trayce Thompson is useful for the Dodgers despite the K’s because of hitting the ball well when he makes contact. If Seby can hit for some power, that at least could be enough for a backup catcher.

Greg Nix

.501 OPS over the last month, aka 50% of his season.

upnorthsox

Huh?
OPS since July 1st = .669

Just a reminder he is a backup catcher hitting 8/9th

If you want to advocate for Perez that’s fine, I just don’t see why you need to trash the other guy.

Greg Nix

I’m not trashing him or advocating for the other guy. It’s literally just an observation. He’s been bad since mid-July. Sheesh.

Last edited 1 month ago by Greg Nix
upnorthsox

Ok trashing was a little strong on my part but then cratering was a little harsh too. In the end it should all get figured out this spring…..or not.

ForsterFTOG

Trashing struggling AAAA catchers is what Sox fans do best.

upnorthsox

AAAA catchers are all we know.

Joliet Orange Sox

Are we judging guys 12 ABs at a time now?

Heaven forfend! Judging a player on a small sample size would never happen in the Sox Machine community.

SocksO’Graham

Is anyone calling him “Monty” yet? When does he get to 35th and Shields? 2024?

Right Size Wrong Shape

I vote for Big Sexy.

jorgefabregas

I lobbied for “The Count.” No one assented.