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White Sox Minor League Weekly Update: Week 8

It was a very successful week throughout the system, especially for Matt Skole, Zack Collins, Bernardo Flores and Blake Battenfield

Wicked Flower: Bernardo Flores has thrown five straight quality starts — including two last week.
Winston-Salem Dash

Charlotte Knights

Patrick Leonard: .227 BA, 4 R, 3 RBI, 6 BB, 8 K

Matt Skole: .348 BA, 2 HR, 6 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K ***MVP of the Week***

Michael Kopech: 5 IP, 2.59 FIP, 14.40 K/9, 7.20 BB/9

Jordan Stephens: 12 13 IP, 3.14 FIP, 6.57 K/9, 2.92 BB/9

Carlos Rodon: 2 23 IP, -1.11 FIP, 20.25 K/9, 0.00 BB/9 — left outing after a line drive hit his head

Carson Fulmer: 5 IP, 4.99 FIP, 9.00 K/9, 10.80 BB/9

Ricardo Pinto: 4 IP, 10.89 FIP, 9.00 K/9, 6.75 BB/9

Thyago Vieira: 2 IP, 8.39 FIP, 4.50 K/9, 18.00 BB/9

Tyler Danish: 3 IP, 3.72 FIP, 3.00 K/9, 3.00 BB/9

Matt Skole was the next man up when Matt Davidson was put on the DL, and he proved that he deserved that promotion last week. Last week, Skole had a wRC+ of 206 and an ISO of .304. He also slashed .348/.423/.652 in what was his best week of the season by far. His season totals are still unimpressive, but that is to be expected for a 28-year-old who has no major league experience. However, Skole has his best batting average and OBP since A-ball and his best BB% since 2015. The best Skole could be is a placeholder until the next wave of White Sox are called up, and that will only happen if José Abreu is traded.

Carson Fulmer’s problems stem from his delivery. He uses max effort on every pitch, cannot repeat his delivery and punches his glove around three times before he throws the ball to the plate. Of course command will be a problem — and it will take more than one start at Charlotte to fix that. In his first start for the Knights, Fulmer walked six batters in five innings. He was able to miss bats, but still could not find the glove. I hate to say it, but it is time for a move to the pen for Fulmer.

Birmingham Barons

Eloy Jimenez: .360 BA, 2 HR, 6 R, 8 RBI, 4 BB, 8 K

Matt Rose: .111, BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K

Jameson Fisher: .176 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 7 K

Zack Collins .421 BA, 6 R, 1 RBI, 10 BB, 8 K ***MVP of the Week***

Dane Dunning: 5 IP, 3.62 FIP, 12.60 K/9, 7.20 BB/9

Ian Clarkin: 11 IP, 5.06 FIP, 2.45 K/9, 5.73 BB/9

Jordan Guerrero: 9 IP, 7.87 FIP, 5 K/9, 6 BB/9

Spencer Adams: 10 23 IP, 5.41 FIP, 9.28 K/9, 5.06 BB/9

Ian Hamilton: 3 13 IP, 1.93 FIP, 10.80 K/9, 2.70 BB/9, 1 save

So, anybody still hate Zack Collins? He hit .421 last week and walked more than he struck out. He currently has the best batting average (.268) and best OBP (.451) of his career. The catcher has the second-best OBP and the fifth-best OPS in the Southern League. Collins’ catching ability still seems to be lacking, because he was not called up after the Welington Castillo suspension, but his bat is finally producing like White Sox fans expected. When Collins is called up to the big leagues, odds are he will platoon and only face right-handed pitchers; this season, he is slashing .295/.469/.562 against righties. If Collins’ average does fall back to .240-.250, just remember that it is more important to look at how Collins does against righties.

Ian Hamilton is good. The batted balls he is giving up are far from being hit hard: 13.6% are line drives, which is a miniscule percentage. On top of that, one-quarter of of his fly balls are infield flies. If you are looking for a potential closer with Zack Burdi out, Hamilton is your guy. He has a career-best FIP so far this season (2.03) and is eight-for-eight in save chances, with two wins. His walks are slightly up, but his left-on-base percentage is at 82.6%. Hamilton is proving to be the best reliever in AAA and AA for the White Sox, and should be in play for a September call-up.

Winston-Salem Dash

Joel Booker: .235 BA, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K

Micker Adolfo: .154 BA, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K

Alex Call: .120 BA, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K

Luis Alexander Basabe: .263, BA, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, 4 BB, 3 K

Blake Rutherford: .150 BA, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 7 K

Gavin Sheets: .231 BA, 2 HR. 4 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K

Dylan Cease: 7 13 IP, 1.85 FIP, 11.05 K/9, 2.45 BB/9

Bernardo Flores: 13 IP, 2.02 FIP, 9.69 K/9, 0.69 BB/9 ***MVP of the Week***

Jimmy Lambert: 12 23 IP, 2.20 FIP, 9.95 K/9, 2.84 BB/9

Matt Foster: 2 IP, -.52 FIP, 18.00 K/9, 0.00 BB/9

Bernardo Flores is sneakily putting together a good season that is standing out among the other blue-chip starting pitching prospects. He has a low BB/9 at 2.10 and his FIP is at 3.63. He also has a 51.5% ground ball rate and only a 19.3% line drive rate. He will get hit harder than other top pitchers, but Flores goes deep into games consistently. In nine starts, he has gone less than six innings only once and he has thrown five straight quality starts. Flores has allowed four home runs in nine starts, which is too many, but he hasn’t allowed a homer since May 5. He will be overlooked and overshadowed compared to some of the other blue chips, but Flores is a dark horse to keep an eye on, especially if Spencer Adams doesn’t improve.

Matt Foster is another reliever to keep an eye on for high-leverage situations in the future. The Dash use more of a closer-by-committee, but Foster is the best reliever on the team. He has a 2.23 FIP so far this season and has converted all three of his save opportunities. Foster has a better BB/9 than Hamilton, at 2.14, but a worse but still impressive K/9 of 11.57. Foster also generates weak contact: 16% of his batted balls are line drives and 52% are ground balls. Foster is farther from a major league call-up, but it would not be surprising to see him on the White Sox next season.

Kannapolis Intimidators

Tate Blackman: .318 BA, 1 HR, 5 R, 4 RBI, 7 BB, 6 K

Craig Dedelow: .414 BA, 2 HR, 6 R, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 7 K

Laz Rivera: .292 BA, 2 HR, 6 R, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 7 K

Luis Gonzalez: .357 BA, 1 HR, 6 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 8 K

Justin Yurchak: .050 BA, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K

Evan Skoug: .211 BA, 1 HR, 1 R, 5 RBI, 0 BB, 8 K

Luis Curbelo: 1-for-10, 0 R, 0 RBI, 5 K — played three games after promotion

Lincoln Henzman: 5 IP, 7.49 FIP, 5.40 K/9, 0.00 BB/9

John Parke: 6 23 IP, 3.49 FIP, 10.80 K/9, 1.35 BB/9

Blake Battenfield: 12 IP, 1.98 FIP, 11.25 K/9, 3.00 BB/9 ***MVP of the Week***

Tyler Johnson: 3 13 IP, 1.08 FIP, 10.80 K/9, 0.00 BB/9

Blake Battenfield is gradually grabbing the attention of Sox fans as a pitcher — and for his mustache. In 10 starts this season, he has a 9.75 K/9 and a 1.74 BB/9, helping him to a 2.95 FIP. Battenfield does allow more fly balls than ground balls, but 22% of the flies are in the infield. He also has a low line drive rate, at 18%. Battenfield has not allowed more than two runs in any of his 10 outings, and that includes four games with no runs allowed. His ERA (1.57) is more than one point lower than his FIP (2.95) because of his low BABIP against, at .220. However, that is also an indication of how weak the contact is against Battenfield.

Tyler Johnson is another extremely impressive reliever in the White Sox system. He has raised his K/9 to 15.43 and lowered his BB/9 to 3.43. Johnson has also converted all six of his save chances, and has four wins to add to his impressive season. He is actually tied for second in Kannapolis in wins — as the closer. His walks per nine was more than six last year, so if this newfound command continues, Johnson could be fast-tracked next season.