White Sox Minor Keys: July 11, 2019

Luis Robert’s first Triple-A hit was a grand slam, and that seems like it’ll foreshadow the next few weeks.

Robert’s big night deserves its own post, so there’ll be one later this morning. In the meantime, Keith Law updated his top 50 prospects list, and a couple of White Sox prospects ranked a little higher than I expected.

Law put Robert in the ninth spot, a huge jump from his preseason rank at No. 54. Robert deserves such a boost because he’s having a helluva season, but I wasn’t sure if Law was going to hold against Robert his inability to perform while Law’s in the house (“…when I’m in the park, he has been 0-for-9 and has missed three other games with me there due to injury”).

The bigger surprise is Andrew Vaughn, maybe because I hadn’t really given serious thought to where he might place on a Top 100 prospects list.

Law’s answer? Twelfth:

Vaughn has a great, simple, quiet, right-handed approach with excellent plate discipline, projecting to hit for a high average and OBP with at least above-average power and probably a lot more. The knocks against him are that he’s a right/right first baseman — he has played a little third, but realistically he’s going to be at first — and he’s only 5-foot-10. I’m not concerned until he shows us any reason, in performance or tools, to believe he won’t hit.

Michael Kopech ranked 25th.

Charlotte 15, Gwinnett 12

  • Luis Robert went 3-for-5 with two homers and seven RBIs.
  • Daniel Palka is back at Charlotte, going 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Welington Castillo caught the whole game for the first time, going 1-for-5 with two strikeouts.
  • Yermin Mercedes singled twice, walked once and struck out twice.
  • Danny Mendick doubled, singled thrice and struck out once.
  • Carson Fulmer: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR

Jackson 8, Birmingham 4

  • Luis Gonzalez went 2-for-5 with a double and a strikeout.
  • Nick Madrigal was 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
  • Blake Rutherford was 0-for-3 with a walk and a K.
  • Gavin Sheets, 1-for-3 with a walk and a K.
  • Ti’Quan Forbes went 1-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts.
  • Laz Rivera doubled, walked, struck out and was hit by a pitch.
  • Blake Battenfield: 5 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

More:

*Madrigal’s strikeout was ill-timed, as it comes on the same day his contact abilities received the deep-dive treatment by Lucas Apostoleris at Baseball Prospectus. Madrigal isn’t the only minor-leaguer with a really low strikeout rate, but Madrigal manages to go the extra mile in a few regards. Even among high-contact guys, his contact rate stands out. Even among guys with low strikeout rates, he’s also able to draw an acceptable amount of walks, with three BBs for every K.

Alex Bregman currently leads the majors in walks per strikeout — at 1.31. It’s worth noting that a BB/K over 2.00 in any league is extremely rare — in the majors, it’s only happened eight times since 2000, and five of those seasons were from Barry Bonds. Keeping in mind that it is both a partial season and happening in the minor leagues, it’s still pretty fun to find a stat that lumps Nick Madrigal and Barry Bonds together.

Winston-Salem 8, Fayetteville 5 (7 innings, rain)

  • Steele Walker went 1-for-2 with a double, walk and sac fly.
  • Carlos Perez went 1-for-4.
  • Konnor Pilkington: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K

Greensboro 15, Kannapolis 7

  • Andrew Vaughn went 3-for-5 with a double.
  • Bryce Bush went 0-for-4 with a K.
  • Corey Zangari was 0-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout.
  • Amado Nunez went 1-for-4 with a strikeout and four errors.
  • Davis Martin: 4 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR

Grand Junction 8, Great Falls 2

  • Kelvin Maldonado went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
  • Harvin Mendoza and Luis Mieses both were 1-for-4 with a K.
  • Lency Delgado went 1-for-3 with a walk.
  • Anderson Comas went 0-for-4 with a K.
  • Cabera Weaver was 1-for-3 with a K.
  • Sam Abbott went 1-for-4 with a triple and a strikeout.

AZL Padres1 11, AZL White Sox 0

  • Misael Gonzalez went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
  • Samil Polanco and DJ Gladney both were 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
  • Jose Rodriguez was 1-for-4 with a K.
  • Bryan Ramos, 0-for-4.
  • Josue Guerrero walked once and struck out thrice.
  • James Beard was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
  • Bernardo Flores began his rehab from a strained oblique: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K

DSL White Sox 5, DSL Padres 3

  • Wilber Sanchez went 2-for-5 and was caught stealing.
  • Yolbert Sanchez was 0-for-3.
  • Cesar Jimenez replaced him and went 2-for-2 at the plate and 1-for-2 on the basepaths.
  • A rare off game for Benyamin Bailey, who went 0-for-5 with a strikeout.
  • Ronaldo Guzman: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K
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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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Brett R. Bobysud

I know it’s only one game, but is it possible we’re finally gonna see what numbers a good player can put up with the bouncy-ball in Charlotte?

Lurker Laura

2020 could be lots of fun, y’all.

Brett R. Bobysud

It’ll be even more fun if they can cobble together a better pitching staff.

roke1960

Rick Hahn- “The money will be spent.” If they add 2 starters, one of which is a top of the rotation guy, and add a big bat at rf or DH, then, yes 2020 could be loads of fun.

soxfan

Why are we worried about RF? If Eloy is in LF and Robert is in CF then Leury could play RF more or less full time and we have plenty of fourth OF type options. 

Leury being a full-time OF means we need another utility infielder but if Madrigal isn’t far behind Robert, then Yolmer can be the UT backing up Moncada, Anderson, and Madrigal.

Leury doesn’t offer typical RF power but we’d have better than average positional power in LF, CF, 3B, and SS, with average positional power at 1B and C. The only below average positions from a dinger perspective would be 2B and RF.

As you say, we’d still need a DH.

Patrick Nolan

I think the main reason to worry about right field is not so much that Leury Garcia is inadequate, per se, but because the success of next year’s White Sox is going to hinge on a lot of young players (Cease, Robert, Madrigal, Kopech, maybe Jimenez) that have not yet established themselves as plus contributors over a full season. Leury Garcia can plug a hole, but he’s not so good that he can compensate for struggles from volatile young players elsewhere on the roster. They should acquire a star right fielder, and Leury is valuable depth that still figures to play a lot.

PauliePaulie

That’s why I advocate for a more cautious approach to the offseason.

roke1960

And what would be your more cautious approach?

PauliePaulie

One “big name” FA- Grandal. 1 mid rotation type on a short term deal. 1 lower first tier reliever.

Allow the youngesters to prove the team ready for contention and pitching needs to work themselves out, while prospects build some trade value. If they have a strong first half, use the trade deadline for younger, more cost controlled pieces and next offseason for the final tweaks.

I’m stuck on the Reds and Phillies as cautionary tales. Possibly irrationally so.

PauliePaulie

regarding RF- Hate Puig and Eaton, don’t like Castellanos, Ozuna doesn’t fit, M’s aren’t selling low on Hanniger.

2020 has Betts, Springer, Peralta and Pederson. Betts and Peralta could be available at next year’s trade deadline.

Patrick Nolan

Ozuna fits fine.

PauliePaulie

He’s a very avg defensive LF with a history of shoulder issues. Don’t like him as the answer in RF.

Patrick Nolan

He murders baseballs.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan

there is no way Betts is traded or walks from Boston….

jorgefabregas

He will for the right money. He’s been adamant about not signing an extension.

roke1960

But you know and I know that right money won’t come from the White Sox.

mikeyb

Leury’s depth will also be nice behind a large group of guys who have playing styles that lend themselves to injury quite frequently.

roke1960

Leury is too valuable as a jack-of-all-trades and his numbers don’t stack up to the production they should be getting from right field. If they plan on having Madrigal up by May, I doubt they will pay Yolmer $5million to be a backup. They will probably non-tender him and try to re-sign him for a lower rate.

Yolmer's gatorade

Marcell Ozuna and Gerrit Cole. That’s all you need. Eloy can play some DH, Leury can play some right field, and Collins or Reed can DH some when Eloy, Ozuna, Robert, or Leury are not playing

If they really want a left handed bat in the middle of the lineup, Moustakas may make sense as a DH/3B/2B option. Collins/Reed doesn’t inspire too much confidence right now.

In my dream off season, this is their best lineup:

C – McCann
1B – Abreau
2B – Yolmer/Madigral
SS – Timmy
3B – Moncada
LF – Ozuna
CF – Robert
RF – L. Garcia
DH – Eloy

But even assuming good health, you should probably only project 140 games for Ozuna, Robert, Garcia, and Jimenez. That leaves about 80 games to play with to give DH time to Collins or Reed and have three of the four play in the outfield.

roke1960

The Dodgers just got AJ Pollock back and have an overcrowded outfield. Maybe we can pry Pederson from them for Colome. Both are free agents after 2020.

Neat_on_the_rocks

I’m pretty optimistic they will put together a better staff. Cease/Kopech on the opening day roster, Rodon/Dunning possibly coming in as mid season reinforcements. Already they’re in line for a base line improvement. And I really really get the hunch that management wants to competitive in 2020. They have so much money that its almost impossibel to imagine they dont add at least one quality SP. Would that SP be Gerrit Cole? Skepticism is certainly deserved there.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see them add even TWO guys of the Rick Porcello + Madison Bumgarner tier. I know that is not exciting, but our SP has been so bad that adding 2 vets who can get a 4.3 ERA 4.5 FIP type season would be a sizable upgrade, especially with the 4 pitchers previously mentioned around.

Yolmer's gatorade

Lopez can be an adequate 5th starter plus Rodon might make it back by midseason. They should spend the money on Cole and get another ace not two adequate starters.

Neat_on_the_rocks

You’re right, thats what they Should do. Buuuuuut.

Patrick Nolan

Gonna be fun to re-litigate the Eloy Jimenez promotion saga all over again.

roke1960

There’s no way they’ll wait til 2020 to promote Robert, is there?

Patrick Nolan

It sounded to me like they didn’t want him to face four different levels in a season.

roke1960

If he’s going to start 2020 with the Sox, it is really stupid to not let him get some experience at the major league level this year.

Patrick Nolan

He won’t start 2020 with the Sox….they’re going to wait until late April to promote him, barring an extension.

roke1960

You are probably right, Patrick. Again, seeing how Eloy struggled a bit the first few months this year, wouldn’t it make more sense to give him some ABs late this year? If they are planning on competing in 2020, you don’t want to throw away April not playing your best players. And with Robert getting the big international signing bonus, an extension is very unlikely.

PauliePaulie

Under this CBA, in this era, getting the 7th year trumps all that.

roke1960

You’re absolutely right. It really sucks that they are prioritizing 2027 over 2020.

phillyd

Bring him up now and this is the 7th year.

MrTopaz

What if he doesn’t face four different levels so much as he tackles them to the ground and makes them call him sir, John John Mackey style?

Neat_on_the_rocks

As someone who was OK with them holding Eloy back, I dont think this is a straight up comparison.

Last year the Sox were still at least 1 year out from contention, especially after the Kopech Injury. This year – 2020 still looks like it could be “competitive”, sure maybe not world series contenders but competitive.

Especially with Luis Robert being exteremely unlikely to sign an Eloy type deal, I see less excuses to hold him back. If he tears up AAA and shows hes ready, he needs to be here in September (at the latest) to keep the line moving, no excuses.

evenyoudorn

This new Fulmer fellow is no better than the last.

Digger910

Another hit for my guy T. Forbes. 

PauliePaulie

Are the Sox going to waste Yolbert’s age 22 season in the DSL for that tax break?

NDSox12

The tax break is for the player, not the team, correct? If so, then I assume they would be holding him there at his own request.

PauliePaulie

Yes. Yolbert gets the tax break. If he isn’t going to be stateside until age 23 and is spending this year playing against high schoolers, I like the signing even less than before.

Lurker Laura

Wait, there’s something Sox fans can’t blame the front office for? How ever will they survive?

Patrick Nolan

We’ll call it Renteria’s fault and sleep soundly.

PauliePaulie

Why wouldn’t signing a guy who played 32 games in his age 20 year, 0 at 21 and is now facing high school level talent as a 22yo as their premier J2 catch be the FO’s fault?

Lurker Laura

I meant the holding him in the DSL for tax purposes (as that was what your original question was about).

PauliePaulie

Gotcha.
As long as I can still blame them for signing him in the first place, I’m happy.

Lurker Laura

Totes.

TCBullfrog

That has to be the only thing way you could group Barry Bonds and Nick Madrigal together.

I imagine the next smallest Venn Diagram circle they would both inhabit is “professional baseball player”