While the Charlotte Knights will have Michael Kopech to start the year, the Barons will welcome back No. 4 overall prospect Eloy Jimenez as soon as the slugging outfielder recovers from a pectoral strain. Alec Hansen, MLB.com’s No. 54 prospect, will also head to Birmingham after a delay caused by forearm soreness in early March. He’ll be joining a staff stocked with some of Chicago’s top pitching prospects -- Jordan Stephens, Spencer Adams, Ian Clarkin and A.J. Puckett. For a batterymate, they’ll have Seby Zavala, who knocked 42 extra-base hits in 107 games across two levels last year. Luis Robert -- the No. 28 overall prospect who sprained a thumb ligament before hitting a grand slam in a Cactus League game -- will probably head to Winston-Salem when he recovers, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see him in Double-A soon.
And an Eloy update:
"He played catch yesterday. He's slowly ramping back up baseball activities. Again, project him playing extended games sometime next week."#WhiteSox top prospect Eloy Jimenez hoping to return to action soon: https://t.co/K14TqaSSZh pic.twitter.com/8qFw3szdIH— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 6, 2018
On to Opening Day!
Patrick Leonard: 3-for-5, double, 3 RBI (all with two out), SB, 2 K ***MVP***
Matt Skole: 2-for-3, run, RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
Daniel Palka: 2-for-4, 2 R, BB, 2 K, SB
Charlie Tilson: 2-for-5, SB
Ryan Cordell: 1-for-4, R, SB, RBI
Dylan Covey: 5 IP, 3 H, ER, 6 K, 67 GS, 75 pitches/46 strikes, win
Charlotte hitters struck out 13 times, walked four, and hit .368 for the game.
Tito Polo: 2-for-4, R, BB, pickoff
Matt Rose: 2-for-4, R, 2B, BB, K
Seby Zavala (DH): 1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K ***MVP***
Zack Collins (C): 0-for-2, RBI, 3 BB, K
Jameson Fisher: 1-for-4, R, 2B, RBI, BB, pickoff at third, 3 K
Spencer Adams: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 K, HR to No. 9 hitter Ryan Walker, 41 GS, 78 pitches/50 strikes
Brandon Brennan: 2 IP, 2 H, BB, save
Birmingham hitters struck out 14 times, walked 10, hit .242 for the game. Zavala hit the game-tying double in the seventh, Fisher hit the eventual game-winning double in the eighth.
Yermin Mercedes: 3-for-4, R, 2B, RBI
Luis Basabe: 2-for-5, 2B, K
Blake Rutherford: 2-for-4, BB, CS
Alex Call: 1-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB, K, CS
Gavin Sheets: 1-for-4, 2 R, BB , E
Micker Adolfo: 1-for-5, RBI, 2 K (one game-ending)
Yeyson Yrizarri: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, K
Dane Dunning: 5 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 65 GS, 86 pitches/60 strikes ***MVP***
Zach Thompson: 1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER, K, blown save, loss
The tying run scored in the eighth on a Sheets error. The eventual winning run scored on an RBI single off of Thompson. Dash batters walked five times, struck out seven, and hit .389 in the game.
Tate Blackman: 3-for-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, RBI ***MVP***
Craig Dedelow: 0-for-3, BB, 2 K
Michael Hickman: 1-for-2, 2B, RBI, 2 BB
Kade McClure: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, HR to No. 9 hitter Nick Maton, 65 GS, 99 pitches/67 strikes
Aron McRee: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K, win
The Intimidators won their home opener in thrilling fashion, in the bottom of the ninth. Blackman led off with a soft single to left, and scored on Hickman’s double to center. Kannapolis pitching was dominant, with McClure, Yelmison Peralta and McRee holding Lakewood to five hits, striking out 12. The home team had six walks, seven strikeouts and hit .259 for the game.