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White Sox Minor League Monthly Update: April 2018

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Michael Kopech, Seby Zavala, Joel Booker and Lincoln Henzman led the Sox farm system out of the gate

Push It: Michael Kopech finished April with a 2.10 FIP and 12.43 K/9 in his quest to force a promotion.

This month has been much less of a success for the Chicago White Sox than it was for their minor league affiliates.

The Charlotte Knights have a record of 10-13, and are 2 12 games out of the division lead. As a team, the hitters are slashing .238/.327/.353. Meanwhile the pitchers have combined for a 4.46 ERA with a 9.00 K/9 and a WHIP of 1.32.

The Birmingham Barons are 12-13, 5 12 games out of first. Their hitters have slashed .237/.314/.393. The Barons pitching staff has a 4.33 ERA, along with an 8.00 K/9 and 1.42 WHIP.

The Winston-Salem Dash are where the fun begins for minor league team play. They are 12-12, four games back in the division. Their hitters are slashing .279/.360/.432 along with a 3.42 ERA, 9.90 K/9, and 1.30 WHIP from the pitching staff.

The Kannapolis Intimidators have the best record in the organization after one month. They are 14-10, two games behind the division leaders. The hitters are slashing .263/.332/.380. The pitchers are putting up impressive numbers after one month: 2.36 ERA, 8.60 K/9, 1.12 WHIP.


Charlotte Knights (10-13)

Charlie Tilson: .224 BA, 4 R, 4 RBI, 5 XBH, 7 BB, 14 K, 5 SB

Jose Rondon: .280 BA, 10 R, 8 RBI, 3 HR, 8 XBH, 5 BB, 23 K, 2 SB

Casey Gillaspie: .202 BA, 9 R, 7 RBI, 3 XBH, 7 BB, 34 K

Patrick Leonard: .280 BA, 7 R, 10 RBI, 2 HR, 10 XBH, 9 BB, 25 K, 1 SB

Ryan Cordell: .132, 1 R, 3 RBI, 2 XBH, 1 BB, 17 K, 2 SB — out for two-plus months with fractured collarbone

Michael Kopech: 21 IP, 2.10 FIP, 12.43 K/9, 3.00 BB/9 **April MVP**

Jace Fry: 5 23 IP, 2.91 FIP, 12.71 K/9, 0.00 BB/9 — started season on the DL

Thyago Vieira: 11 IP, 5.16 FIP, 16.36 K/9, 7.37 BB/9, 1 save

Michael Kopech is going to force Rick Hahn and the White sox organization’s hands with more months like April. After his poor end to spring training, Kopech has come back with authority. Compared to his 15 innings in Charlotte at the end of last season, he has shown improvement this spring: Striking out more batters, producing more ground balls, and surrendering fewer line drives. Kopech has averaged a 62 game score, topping out 72 in his last start. The Score’s Bruce Levine is on record saying Sox fans should expect Kopech in July, but Hahn has said multiple times that good prospects can force a promotion. If Kopech continues to let up weaker contact along with more strikeouts, he should be up sooner than later.


Birmingham Barons (12-13)

Eloy Jimenez: .234 BA, 10 R, 14 RBI, 4 HR, 6 XBH, 3 BB, 7 K — started season on the DL with a pectoral muscle strain

Matt Rose: .282 BA, 11 R, 14 RBI, 5 HR, 8 XBH, 6 BB, 28 K

Zack Collins: .206 BA, 12 R, 9 RBI, 2 HR, 5 XBH, 19 BB, 25 K

Jameson Fisher: .208 BA, 6 R, 8 RBI, 3 HR, 5 XBH, 7 BB, 33 K

Tito Polo: .237 BA, 14 R, 3 RBI, 7 XBH, 7 BB, 22 K, 8 SB

Seby Zavala: .315 BA, 13 R, 19 RBI, 6 HR, 10 XBH, 13 BB, 28 K **April MVP**

Spencer Adams: 21 23 IP, 3.45 FIP, 7.06 K/9, 2.91 BB/9

Jordan Stephens: 27 IP, 3.37 FIP, 8.00 K/9, 2.67 BB/9

Jordan Guerrero: 20 13 IP, 2.61 FIP, 10.62 K/9, 2.66 B/9

Ian Clarkin: 26 23 IP, 5.40 FIP, 4.39 K/9, 3.71 BB/9

Ryan Burr: 9 13 IP, 2.70 FIP, 7.71 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, 1 save

Ian Hamilton: 9 13 IP, 1.84 FIP, 11.57 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, 4 saves

Heading into the season, all eyes were on Zack Collins for the catching position. However, Zavala has stolen the show in April. Zavala slashed .315/.411/.616, and has a weighted runs created plus (wRC+) of 182 (an average hitter is at 100). His isolated power is at an eye-popping .301. Over his minor league career, Zavala has proven to be a better batting average hitter than Collins. Is he a better defensive catcher, or does he have better power? Most likely not, but with the DH position in the AL, Zavala should be on the South Side before Collins.


Winston-Salem Dash (12-12)

Micker Adolfo: .308 BA, 14 R, 21 RBI, 5 HR, 12 XBH, 8 BB, 31 K — elbow injury restricting him to DH

Joel Booker: .353 BA, 16 R, 5 RBI, 2 HR, 6 XBH, 6 BB, 17 K, 7 SB **April MVP**

Alex Call: .224 BA, 15 R, 5 RBI, 1 HR, 5 XBH, 13 BB, 17 K

Blake Rutherford: .338 BA, 6 R, 11 RBI, 7 XBH, 5 BB, 16 K, 3 SB

Luis Basabe: .313 BA, 16 R, 17 RBI, 4 HR, 14 XBH, 12 BB, 20 K, 3 SB

Yermin Mercedes: .298 BA, 6 R, 8 RBI, 2 HR, 8 XBH, 1 BB, 14 K

Gavin Sheets: .290 BA, 10 R, 8 RBI, 6 XBH, 15 BB, 11 K

Yeyson Yrizarri: .211 BA, 8 R, 9 RBI, 2 HR, 6 XBH, 4 BB, 17 K, 4 SB

Dylan Cease: 19 13 IP, 3.66 FIP, 11.17 K/9, 5.59 BB/9

Jimmy Lambert: 19 23 IP, 2.89 FIP, 10.98 K/9, 3.66 BB/9

Bernardo Flores: 29 IP, 4.14 FIP, 6.21 K/9, 2.17 BB/9

Matt Foster: 9 IP, 3.89 FIP, 9.00 K/9, 3.00 BB/9, 1 save

The outfield in Winston-Salem is ridiculous. Four of the five players garnering enough playing time had a batting average better than .300. And that’s before the best prospect of the bunch, Luis Robert, joins the team after injury rehab! Joel Booker was the best hitter of all, with a .353 average. He had the least amount of buzz coming into the season, but his play has pushed him into the lineup as an everyday player. He has a wRC+ of 165, is leading the Carolina League in batting average and is second in OPS (behind teammate Luis Alexander Basabe). The outfield logjam has not been a problem for Winston-Salem yet, but Booker is now deserving of a shot to eventually be a part of an MLB outfield.


Kannapolis Intimidators (14-10)

Justin Yurchak: .205 BA, 11 R, 6 RBI, 3 XBH, 18 BB, 17 K

Evan Skoug: .150 BA, 7 R, 5 RBI, 1 HR, 3 XBH, 10 BB, 24 K, 1 SB

Luis Gonzalez: .310 BA, 12 R, 9 RBI, 3 HR, 6 XBH, 12 BB, 25 K, 3 SB

Tate Blackman: .333 BA, 13 R, 14 RBI, 3 HR, 7 XBH, 7 BB, 28 K, 1 SB

Laz Rivera: .333 BA, 15 R, 9 RBI, 2 HR, 8 XBH, 2 BB, 15 K, 3 SB

Lincoln Henzman: 25 IP, 2.24 FIP, 7.2 K/9, 1.08 BB/9 **April MVP**

Kade McClure: 29 IP, 3.62 FIP, 9.00 K/9, 3.41 BB/9

John Parke: 29 IP, 3.17 FIP, 7.14 K/9, 1.55 B/9

Tyler Johnson: 10 13 IP, 2.52 FIP, 16.55 K/9, 2.61 BB/9, 3 saves

Jose Nin: 4 IP, 3.48 FIP, 0.00 K/9, 0.00 BB/9, 1 save — just called up from extended spring training

Kevin Escorcia: 11 23 IP, 2.80 FIP, 13.89 K/9, 3.09 BB/9

Lincoln Henzman was the only Intimidator starting pitcher in MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 White Sox prospects, and he backed that up in April. Though he does not have the best ERA of the pitching staff (Parker Rigler does), he has the best FIP. His control has been exemplary, with only three walks in 25 innings, and he has still not allowed a home run in his professional career. He has an average game score of 51, topping out at 70. Once promotions begin to flow, Henzman should be one of the first Kannapolis pitchers to move up to Winston-Salem.


Relevant in-season promotions

Daniel Palka

(AAA) .286 BA, 11 R, 7 RBI, 3 HR, 6 XBH, 10 BB, 21 K

(MLB) 6-for-15, 3 R, 6 RBI, 1 HR, 4 XBH, 0 BB, 1 K

Palka was mainly called up because Ryan Cordell is injured and Charlie Tilson is not ready for major league pitching. He has started out well, enough to keep himself in Chicago for the remainder of Avisail Garcia’s DL stint, but should be sent back down once García returns.

Dane Dunning

(A+) 24 13 IP, 2.59 FIP, 11.47 K/9, 1.11 BB/9

(AA) 6 IP, 3.11 FIP, 6.00 K/9, 3.00 BB/9

Dunning should have started the season in Birmingham, and he proved that with his 24 13 innings in Winston-Salem. Dunning reduced his BB/9 from 2.75 to 1.11 from 2017 to 2018 in Winston Salem. His K/9 also rose, from 10.3 to 11.47. He has only one start in Birmingham, but with a game score of 52, Dunning is off to a good start.

Ricardo Pinto

(A+) 10 23 IP, 6.64 FIP, 6.75 K/9, 6.75 BB/9

(AAA) 5 IP, 7.44 FIP, 7.2 K/9, 7.2 BB/9

Pinto was a reliever for Philadelphia last season and was sent to Winston-Salem to stretch out. Unfortunately, like his time as a reliever for the Phillies, it was unsuccessful. It is early to downgrade Pinto’s status as a prospect with only 15 23 innings pitched this season, but his command continues to elude him. He has the same number of walks as strikeouts, which is not optimal for a pitcher.