White Sox Minor Keys: May 11, 2022

Johnny Cueto showed what he needed to show in his final tuneup with Charlotte. He started his night with 4⅔ hitless innings before the Indianapolis lineup starting getting wise to him, and while he gave up two runs, one scored on Andrew Perez’s watch (the other was a solo shot on a mistake).

Cueto has to be called up by Sunday or else he can opt-out, and with a doubleheader in Kansas City necessitating five starters over four days, that seems like a perfect time to introduce him to the proceedings in Chicago, with Tony La Russa left to figure it out afterward.

It looks like he’s going to top out at 91-92, so he’ll need his whole repertoire of deception to throw hitters off his scent. I was wondering how much the pitch clock might affect the way Cueto conducts himself in minor-league games, and James Fegan got something from Joe Kelly about that.

Charlotte 5, Indianapolis 4

  • Adam Haseley was 0-for-5 with a strikeout.
  • Yolbert Sánchez walked twice and struck out twice.
  • Andrew Vaughn went 0-for-4 with a K in his first rehab game.
  • Jake Burger went 1-for-3 with an HBP.
  • Johnny Cueto: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR

Birmingham 10, Biloxi 5

  • Lenyn Sosa homered, doubled, singled and struck out twice.
  • Yoelqui Céspedes was 2-for-5 with a homer and a strikeout.
  • José Rodríguez went 2-for-5.

Rome 3, Winston-Salem 0

  • Bryan Ramos was 0-for-4.
  • Luis Mieses went 1-for-4 with a K.
  • Adam Hackenburg struck out thrice and reached on catcher interference.
  • Harvin Mendoza struck out thrice during an 0-for-4 night.
  • Andrew Dalquist avoided walking four: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

Fredericksburg 3, Kannapolis 0

  • Wes Kath went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
  • DJ gladney was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
  • Chase Krogman singled, walked and struck out twice.
  • Noah Owen: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP
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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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tbsoxfan

So.. Is Lenyn Sosa a thing now? He’s walking at a 9% clip after never reaching 5% before in his career, and is hitting for notable power to boot while being 22 still. It is made more impressive that he’s the only guy hitting consistently in Birmingham among some higher-touted prospects.

a-t

He might be! Per KLaw and FG, the scouting report coming into the year on Sosa is that he has excellent bat-to-ball ability with some present pop and a chance for plus, but he’s been undercut by a hyper-aggressive approach. KLaw thinks he plays an avg SS now, Longenhagen is skeptical of that sticking long-term but sees a utility infield defensive ability. The approach was the single biggest question in his profile, so he is certainly a Guy if the plate discipline change is backed up by an approach change— it’d be hard for it to not be with such a drastic change.

Last edited 3 months ago by a-t
jhomeslice

Cueto won’t likely be wonderful, but that’s 2 real good outings out of his last 3. He’s only a year older than Lynn, I have a feeling he will wind up being better in the longer run than Keuchel or Velasquez this season. Hope so at least, they can use depth as long as he isn’t awful.

dwjm3

Looks like they scheduled VV to pitch against the Yankees and bumped Giolito instead of Keuchel. I don’t get the logic of doing that.

evenyoudorn

We’re thinking in checkers terms, and TLR is playing 4D quarters.

mrridgman

Either that or he didn’t like Lucas’ horoscope this weekend.

metasox

I would assume trying to keep the top guys like Giolito healthy factors into most decisions

jhomeslice

Even though they are looking better overall, there is no getting away from the fact that their manager is still an albatross.

At the end of the year, he will cost them probably 4 games in the standings because of this and other various kinds of nonsense.

a-t

I imagine it has to do with wanting one more data point before deciding which of VV/Keuchel/Cueto is excluded from the rotation for now. VV is not yet truly safe but I think he has to be seen as the leader… this start is basically Dallas’ shot at sticking.

Joliet Orange Sox

I think our perceptions of Velasquez and Keuchel are greatly swayed by a single start by each of them. Velasquez was very good on April 30 against the Angels and Keuchel was putrid on April 20 against the Guardians.

If we ignore those two starts as outliers, we are left with Velasquez having 4 starts with game scores of 53, 42, 29, and 57 (average = 45.25) and Keuchel having 4 starts with game scores of 48, 51, 35, and 52 (average = 46.5). Outside of Velasquez’s one very good start (game score = 67) and Keuchel’s debacle (game score = –2), they’ve been essentially the same level of mediocrity. When one considers Keuchel’s much, much better career numbers (he has more Cy Young awards than Velasquez has had seasons with an ERA+ above 101), it’s a tough call if you ask me.

I have a friend who thinks it’s an easy decision because Keuchel was bad last year as well but Velasquez was even worse than Keuchel last year.

As Cirensica

Keuchel has experience on his side, and that might tilt the decision into his favor. Of course, there are probably other factors we don’t know about as we only know what we see. If they will cut somebody, I think it will be VV.

HallofFrank

It is probably closer than many realize. But I think the outliers are significant. The fact that DK can get rocked like that matters. The fact that VV can dominate a good offense matters. It’s hard to imagine either having a game like the other’s outlier, if that make sense.

But to your point: DK doesn’t get the Ks that VV does, but the Statcast data suggests DK is underperforming and VV is overperforming:

DK: .290 xBA/.449 xSLG/.352 xWOBA/4.41 xERA

VV: .286 xBA/.581 xSLG/.393 xWOBA/5.74 xERA

Even if the expected stats aren’t predictive, it suggests DK has been a bit better than his numbers suggest.

a-t

I don’t think statcast is a great way to evaluate VV, because he’s clearly a work in progress, not static like Keuchel. his first four starts were quite rough but lucky, his last two have been actually effective. his curve and to a lesser extent his slider have looked much better in both shape and command, we’ll see if they keep up

To Err is Herrmann

I don’t understand how options/minor league contracts work, but it seems they need to see what he can do. 91-92 is what a Western Athletic Conference pitcher throws, but we need the depth. Joe Kelly may have a point.

soxfan

Mark Buehrle would like a word.

There are always a few guys that can survive at lower speeds. More important than top velocity (which is still important) is changing speeds, hitting spots, and late movement. If a Western Athletic Conference pitcher can do the last three as well as Cueto can he won’t be in the WAC for long.

soxygen

Jim got to use “thrice” twice today. Which is nice.

soxfan

If I could give you some advice, I’d suggest rhyming is a vice we put on ice or we’ll all pay a price when Jim gets sick of it and hits us in the head with some gneiss.

jorgefabregas

Buried in the replies, James Fegan gave us an answer on Colson Montgomery: bone bruise on hand. Colás has a wrist issue may be back next week.

Last edited 3 months ago by jorgefabregas
Joliet Orange Sox

This seems like a very weak cover story for what I believe was an alien abduction. I don’t understand how it took this much time to come up with this cover story. With so much time to fabricate this cover story, it should be much more believable.

Last edited 3 months ago by Joliet Orange Sox
HallofFrank

Is it a foregone conclusion that they’ll add Cueto? Right now, he seems like more than a luxury than a necessity—though, granted that could change quickly. And won’t they owe him like $4.5m this year if they add him? Surely they’d need to be fairly confident that he can hang this year to pay him that. That’s basically what they’re paying their starting second baseman.

mrridgman

Right now VV or Keuchel are 5-starter, and that’s without further injury and doubleheader consideration. I think there’s a decent chance K is annihilated this weekend by Yankees, possible end of that experiment.
Yes they need Cueto, one way or the other.

jhomeslice

I think a decent chance both double V and DK will get creamed this weekend. Which is why, after an unexpected off day that would allow a rotation turn to get skipped, maybe it isn’t the brightest move to start your two worst pitchers against a team you may wind up fighting for home field.

I highly doubt they will feel that both DK and VV are adequate after this weekend. Looking forward to seeing what Cueto can do.

jorgefabregas

I would think it is. They have no starter depth behind him and they will lose him if they don’t call him up. I think they almost definitely will unless they make a trade or some other transaction to get another starter.

HallofFrank

Yeah, to be clear: I hope they do. It’d be nice to have the depth. I’m just wondering if we’ve been ignoring that Cueto would cost $4.5m. And that’s a lot for this team. I’m thinking: this team isn’t going to pay Cueto $4.5m unless they’re confident that he’s an upgrade over DK or VV. I doubt they’ll pay him $4.5m to sit in the bullpen. But I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

mrridgman

Cueto 2021 WAR .9; Keuchel 2021 WAR 0.0. Cueto is a Manager’s Special at Kroger.

HallofFrank

I’m not sure what this means. But it’s easy to draw arbitrary lines to make Keuchel look like the better option.

Cueto ’20-’21 fWAR: 2.0;

Keuchel ’20-’21 fWAR: 2.4.

And remember: my point isn’t that Keuchel is preferable to Cueto. It’s that the White Sox have to think Cueto is $5m better than Keuchel. The Sox are paying Keuchel either way. They don’t have to pay Cueto.

jorgefabregas

They don’t necessarily have to think Cueto is 5M better than Keuchel. They need to think that certain number of Cueto starts is better than the same number of starts from a collection of Keuchel, VV, and an assorted number of replacement-level (or below) pitchers in and out of their minor league system. It’s partially current need and partially insurance.

There’s also the Reynaldo Lopez factor. But so far this year they haven’t seemed interested in stretching him out.

HallofFrank

Sure. And like I said: I hope they do it. It’d be nice to have the insurance, and he might be the best bet to lockdown the 5th spot.

I’m just not sure it’s a foregone conclusion that they’ll think he’s worth the $5m—of that the need is that great.

a-t

On the other hand, if they pay Cueto $5M now they can get out of paying Keuchel $18M next year