With more games under the belt for the four minor league teams, hot starts and cold starts can start to be worrisome or encouraging. Nothing is indicative, but trends can be seen. It is still early enough for a hitter like Zack Collins to still quell any concerns about his bat and for Joel Booker to come down to earth after a phenomenal week.
The pitching has looked as good as advertised, even without Alec Hansen and Zack Burdi. The logjam of starting pitchers in Birmingham and Winston-Salem should correct itself in the next month, with performance and injuries, but pitchers like Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease, Spencer Adams, and John Parke are all coming off a successful week.
So let’s take a look at the past seven days of the future White Sox.
Charlie Tilson: .091 BA, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 SB
Ryan Cordell: .136 BA, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 SB
Casey Gillaspie: .167 BA, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 10 K
Daniel Palka: .240 BA, 3 HR 4 R, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 9 K
Jose Rondon: .286 BA, 2 HR, 5 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 SB ***MVP of the Week***
Michael Kopech: 10 IP, 2.59 FIP, 9.9 K/9, 3.6 BB/9
Thyago Vieira: 3 1⁄3 IP, 6.59 FIP, 18.9 K/9, 10.8 BB/9
Jose Rondon looked like the contact hitter he is projected to be last week. His batting average on the season rose to .270, coupled with a .320 BABIP. He is closer to a .330 BABIP for his career, which does explain the dip in average so far this season, but it is only nine games. His isolated power is at an uncharacteristic .297 and will not hold the rest of the season. But Rondon figures to be in the majors at some point this season since he is the next man up for utility players. If Tyler Saladino or Luery Garcia get hurt, Rondon should be on the South Side.
Charlie Tilson was supposed to be the most polished hitters coming into the season for Charlotte. Tilson’s BABIP is .267, which does signify some bad luck, but he only has two multi-hit games so far. His walk rate is down from 8.4% to 2.5% and his strikeout rate is up from 12.9% to 20%. Normally, this start could be a cause for concern, but this is Tilson’s first regular playing time since 2016. Come the end of May, we can start to question if Tilson has anything left if his woes continue.
Zack Collins: .100 BA, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K
Tito Polo: .267 BA, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 4 SB
Matt Rose: .313 BA, 2 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K
Seby Zavala: .250 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K
Jameson Fisher: .231 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K
Spencer Adams: 10 1⁄3 IP, 4.43 FIP, 6.97 K/9, 3.48 BB/9
Jordan Guerrero: 9 IP, 2.49 FIP, 8 K/9, 2 BB/9 ***MVP of the Week***
Jordan Stephens: 10 IP, 3.50 FIP, 7.2 K/9, 2.7 BB/9
Ian Clarkin: 12 1⁄3 IP, 2.99 FIP, 5.84 K/9, 1.46 BB/9
Ian Hamilton: 3 1⁄3 IP, 2.40 FIP, 13.5 K/9, 5.4 BB/9, 2 Saves
It was really take your pick on team MVP, with hot starts by much of the pitching staf,f but Jordan Guerrero has put together the best starts so far. Guerrero will be a candidate to get a promotion to Charlotte once Alec Hansen comes back, but he could force the issue sooner. His BABIP allowed is at .357, which explains why his FIP (2.45) is lower than his ERA (3.00). His walk rate is slightly down to begin the season, which is a positive sign as walks have been his problem in the past. He made a drastic improvement from 2015 (4.83 BB/9) to 2016 (2.64 BB/9). If that trend continues, Guerrero should push for playing time in the majors.
Zack Collins did improve his batting average from last week: It went from .000 to .100. He did hit a home run in last night’s game (stat not included this week), but his bat continues to be an issue. However, he is getting very unlucky. His BABIP is down just over 200 points from last season (.286 in 2017 to .083 this season). Eventually, Collins’ BABIP and average will climb because that lack of hits on balls in play is not sustainable, and his strikeouts are a problem he can fix. So far this season, his K-rate is 33.3%, which is up from 24.4% last season in Birmingham.
We told you this team was special.— Winston-Salem Dash (@WSDashBaseball) April 15, 2018
Trailing 5-0, @joelbooker28, Luis Basabe, @MickerAdolfoZap and Yermin Mercedes played long ball at BB&T Ballpark in the eighth.
️: @JakeEisenberg_ pic.twitter.com/rHgbv4SMfo
Micker Adolfo: .385 BA, 1 HR, 5 R, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K
Yeyson Yrizarri: .273 BA, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 SB
Blake Rutherford: .389 BA, 2 R, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 5 K
Gavin Sheets: .348 BA, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K
Luis Basabe: .500 BA, 1 HR, 7 R, 9 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K ***MVP of the Week***
Alex Call: .077 BA, 4 R, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 2 K
Joel Booker: .421 BA, 2 HR, 8 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, 3 SB
Dylan Cease: 10 2⁄3 IP, 2.43 FIP, 10.12 K/9, 3.37 BB/9
Dane Dunning: 11 1⁄3 IP, 1.26 FIP, 12.71 K/9, 1.59 BB/9
Bernardo Flores: 12 IP, 4.71 FIP, 6.75 K/9, 2.25 BB/9
Matt Foster: 2 1⁄3 IP, 4.98 FIP, 3.86 K/9, 7.71 BB/9
Winston-Salem are our team of the week after six straight victories, and many players had monster weeks (especially on the hitting side), but hitting .500 takes the cake. Luis Alexander Basabe edged out Joel Booker and Dane Dunning for MVP this week. Basabe is hitting .372, but that will not hold. His BABIP is .469, which is astronomic to begin with, but it stood at just .292 last season. Basabe’s approach to the plate seems to be improving: His strikeout percentage is at 20.8%, and that is his lowest since rookie ball. After a bad 2017 season, Basabe may be in the midst of a breakout season to put himself back on the prospect map.
The Dash outfield is stacked even without Luis Robert, but somebody needed to be the odd man out and that looks like it is Alex Call. He was coming off an injury in a down 2017 season, but his troubles with batting average have spilled over the 2018. However, there is cause to believe he is on the right track. His 2018 walk percentage is at 22.2%, a career high, and his K-percentage is at 16.7%, a low since rookie ball. His approach has improved but his BABIP is at .143. After his first season in which he had a .308 BA, many looked at Call as an under-the-radar prospect, but that ended in 2017. His approach to the plate is Zack Collins-esque, but he could find himself in Kannapolis when Luis Robert returns.
Tate Blackman: .211 BA, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 9 K
Luis Gonzalez: .357 BA, 2 R, 1 RBI, 4 BB, 5 K
Craig Dedelow: .227 BA, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K
Evan Skoug: .111 BA, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 SB
Justin Yurchak: .200. 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K
John Parke: 12 IP, 2.41 FIP, 9 K/9, 0 BB/9 K
Lincoln Henzman: 12 IP, 2.24 FIP, 7.5 K/9, .75 BB/9
Kade McClure: 11 IP, 3.39 FIP 11.45 K/9, 3.27 BB/9
Tyler Johnson: 3 1⁄3 IP, .36 FIP, 18.9 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 2 Saves ***MVP of the Week***
Kannapolis’ pitching staff had a phenomenal week, but a 0.36 FIP cannot be ignored even if it is by a reliever. In Tyler Johnson’s last outing, he pitched 1 1⁄3 innings and had a -.084 FIP. Yes, that is a NEGATIVE FIP! Johnson will always be above 10 K/9 — that is what makes him an intriguing bullpen option in the future for the White Sox — but what will make him great is if he can improve is BB/9. Last season his BB/9 was above six, and so far this season it is at 4.15. Johnson should be on the same track as Ian Hamilton, which means Johnson has a great chance to be in Birmingham by the end of the season.
Justin Yurchak is off to a disappointing but not overly surprising start. His BABIP in 2017 was .375, which helped him to a .345 BA. In 2018, his BABIP has dropped to .136 in this early season, leading to a .107 BA. The obvious answer is to say Yurchack is not a .345 hitter, nor is he going to hit in the low .200s. But he is striking out more, 18.3% this season compared to 2017 (12.3%). What disappointing players in Kannapolis have to worry about is the amateur draft. If the Sox choose a first baseman, for example, Yurchak could lose playing time or even be sent back down to rookie ball.
Hitting stats and relief pitching stats are from the last seven days, ending on April 14. Starting pitching stats are the pitcher’s last two starts.