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This Week In White Sox Minor League Baseball

This week we'll take a look at Charlotte:

  • With the recent injuries to Tony Pena and Alex Rios, the talk inevitably turns to what's in the minors to replace them, should the need arise (though neither injury is currently considered serious).  For bullpen help, Jhonny Nunez is the standout performer so far.  The righty has thrown 12.1 innings with 5 hits and a superb 17 strikeouts against just 1 intentional walk.  Journeyman RHP Josh Kinney has also pitched well: 10.2 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 15 K.  Phil Rogers' boy, RHP Anthony Carter, had a horrific outing on Easter that inflated his ERA and hits but, otherwise, he's been good: 11.1 IP, 9 H, 8 K, 2 BB.
  • The Charlotte outfield is crowded, with four players of varying but sufficient pedigree to be considered for a call-up.  Alejandro De Aza is the only one who actually has done about what he's supposed to do in the first month.  The lefty is putting up his now standard .280/.345/.453 but doing a great Jordan Danks impression by striking out a third of the time, substantially higher than his usual sub-20%. Jordan Danks is also doing a great Jordan Danks with a .213/.351/.377, while striking out a third of the time.  Lastings Milledge has been awful: .200/.263/.220. And Dayan Viciedo is doing the whole Cubans start slowly thing for the third straight season: .238/.270/.393.
  • C Tyler Flowers is playing respectably.  He's been nondescript on defense, with only one passed ball and a 22% kill rate.  His offense has been passable: .239/.352/.478. Strikeouts, of course, remain the concern with 18 K in 54 PA.  His contact rate simply isn't major league ready.
  • SS Eduardo Escobar is the White Sox prospect who elicits the greatest divergence in opinion among analysts.  John Sickels lumped him into the morass of 'C' prospects in his book, which wouldn't make him a top 15 prospect in the organization.  Kevin Goldstein, on the other hand, ranked him the #2 prospect.  Baseball America joined me in the middle ground of those two. The 22 year old is struggling offensively, as should be expected after his aggressive promotion. His .227/.331/.333 line is really only remarkable for the lack of contact he's making, as the "power" is in line with expectations and his walk rate is actually a bit higher than usual.  He's been prone to bouts of excessive strikeouts in the past but one would expect the strikeouts to decline as he adjusts to the level. He's also living up to his reputation as a flashy defender who makes too many errors on routine plays, with 5 so far on the year.
  • The Jake Peavy Rehab Experience Tour 2011 came back from hiatus to throw a strong outing for Charlotte last night: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 0 BB, 8 K (83 pitches).  As you can see from his line, he was focused on throwing strikes and he did a good job of that. He wasn't in any trouble until the sixth and fatigue as he approached his 85 pitch limit arguably played a role.  His velocity was good, at about 90 MPH. The next stop is Jacksonville on Wednesday, where he'll pitch for the Barons.