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White Sox Minor League Monthly Update: May 2018

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May was top prospect-heavy, as Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, and Luis González earn monthly honors

Besss is Back: Eloy Jiménez [center] had a big month after an injury-riddled April.

Charlotte Knights (22-31 - 7 12 GB)

Kevan Smith: .269 BA, 3 HR, 9 R, 10 RBI, 5 XBH, 6 BB, 13 K

Casey Gillaspie: .259 BA, 1 HR, 5 R, 6 RBI, 6 XBH, 4 BB, 20 K

Patrick Leonard: .218 BA, 2 HR, 8 R, 8 RBI, 7 XBH, 9 BB, 30 K

Michael Kopech: 30 13 IP, 4.15 FIP, 11.57 K/9, 5.34 BB/9 **May MVP**

Tyler Danish: 15 23 IP, 4.66 FIP, 7.04 K/9, 3.52 BB/9

Thyago Vieira: 13 23 IP, 3.87 FIP, 10.54 K/9, 7.90 BB/9

I wish there was more talent on the Knights, but there isn’t just yet. The lone choice for MVP was Michael Kopech. He is not doing as well this year as last, in his overall numbers. His walks are up, as well as his fly ball rate and FIP. There is obviously no cause for concern, it’s just that

Kopech does not seem to be learning anything pertinent to his development in Charlotte. It is not hindering him, however. He has increased his strikeouts, and seems to be inducing weaker contact (line drive rate is down, ground ball rate is up, and infield fly ball rate is up). But if the front office wants to see if Kopech can use his changeup and breaking balls effectively, it should be in Chicago.


Birmingham Barons (24-28 - 6 12 GB)

Eloy Jimenez: .374 BA, 6 HR, 17 R, 25 RBI, 18 XBH, 9 BB, 21 K **May MVP**

Matt Rose: .133 BA, 3 HR, 10 R, 8 RBI, 8 XBH, 14 BB, 33 K

Zack Collins: .322 BA, 5 HR, 20 R, 13 RBI, 9 XBH, 33 BB, 29 K

Jameson Fisher: .296 BA, 2 HR, 13 R, 4 RBI, 10 XBH, 14 BB, 26 K

Danny Mendick: .261 BA, 4 HR, 13 R, 17 RBI, 9 XBH, 10 BB, 16 K, 5 SB

Seby Zavala: .203 BA, 4 HR, 11 R, 7 RBI, 5 XBH, 8 BB, 22 K

Spencer Adams: 34 IP, 6.17 FIP, 7.15 K/9, 2.65 BB/9

Jordan Guerrero: 27 IP, 3.99 FIP, 7.33 K/9, 3.00 B/9

Dane Dunning: 32 23 IP, 2.70 FIP, 9.92 K/9, 3.58 BB/9

Ian Clarkin: 22 IP, 6.38 FIP, 3.27 K/9, 5.32 BB/9

Ian Hamilton: 10 IP, 2.23 FIP, 13.50 K/9, 5.40 BB/9, 4 saves

From one top prospect to the next: Eloy Jiménez continues his strong 2018 campaign. His BABIP is creeping up to his career minor league average, but it is still slightly lower. However, when he comes to the big leagues, his BABIP should be near .345, anyway, because of how hard he hits the ball. The above tweet helps underscore Eloy’s dominance: He missed a chunk to begin the season, and is already atop the Southern League leaderboard in homers with 10. Jiménez is also first in the Southern League in OPS (.996), slugging (.623) and RBI (39). It is safe to say the it’s time for a promotion but when that happens is still unclear.

Once the draft is over, there will be a rash of promotions, demotions, and releases that should get Jiménez to the majors. However, the White Sox seem to want to be overly patient with every prospect.


Winston-Salem Dash (29-25 - 1 12 GB)

Micker Adolfo: .255 BA, 1 HR, 14 R, 9 RBI, 7 XBH, 15 BB, 28 K

Joel Booker: .192 BA, 2 HR, 15 R, 9 RBI, 6 XBH, 11 BB, 20 K, 3 SB

Alex Call: .286 BA, 4 HR, 14 R, 17 RBI, 10 XBH, 11 BB, 21 K, 3 SB

Blake Rutherford: .237 BA, 3 HR, 19 R, 21 RBI, 8 XBH, 6 BB, 20 K, 4 SB

Luis Basabe: .226 BA, 3 HR, 9 R, 9 RBI, 8 XBH, 14 BB, 29 K, 1 SB

Gavin Sheets: .242 BA, 2 HR, 15 R, 15 RBI, 7 XBH, 12 BB, 21 K — recently put on the DL

Ti’Quan Forbes .310 BA, 2 HR, 18 R, 14 RBI, 8 XBH, 3 BB, 12 K, 1 SB

Dylan Cease: 32 13 IP, 2.06 FIP, 11.13 K/9, 3.34 BB/9 **May MVP**

Jimmy Lambert: 24 23 IP, 2.70 FIP, 10.18 K/9, 3.05 BB/9

Bernardo Flores: 34 23 IP, 2.82 FIP, 7.53 K/9, 1.56 BB/9

Matt Foster: 13 IP, 1.19 FIP, 13.15 K/9, 2.08 BB/9, 3 saves

The names on the MVP list should not surprise, and Dylan Cease is no exception. In the month of May, Cease was able to lower his FIP and BB/9 considerably. He still is inconsistent, but four out of his six starts in May did go six-plus innings. Cease also seems to be generating weaker contact, as his ground ball rate is up and his fly ball rate is down. Teams are also swinging much earlier this year than last year with Cease on the mound. The pull percentage on batted balls is up 12%. Cease, like Kopech and Jiménez is ripe for a call-up, but is much farther away to the majors.


Kannapolis Intimidators (33-17 3 12 GA)

Justin Yurchak: .264 BA, 12 R, 11 RBI, 6 XBH, 8 BB, 16 K

Evan Skoug: .280 BA, 4 HR, 17 R, 13 RBI, 10 XBH, 10 BB, 23 K, 2 SB

Luis Gonzalez: .359 BA, 5 HR, 19 R, 11 RBI, 18 XBH, 5 BB, 19 K, 3 SB **May MVP**

Tate Blackman: .258 BA, 2 HR, 11 R, 14 RBI, 4 XBH, 15 BB, 27 K, 1 SB

Laz Rivera: .383 BA, 4 HR, 23 R, 12 RBI, 9 XBH, 3 BB, 18 K, 3 SB

Craig Dedelow: .333 BA, 3 HR, 18 R, 18 RBI, 18 XBH, 4 BB, 23 K

Luis Curbelo: .154 BA, 5 K — four games played

Lincoln Henzman: 23 23 IP, 4.46 FIP, 7.23 K/9, 0.76 BB/9

Blake Battenfield: 31 IP, 2.50 FIP, 10.16 K/9, 2.32 BB/9

John Parke: 23 23 IP, 3.00 FIP, 9.89 K/9, 1.90 BB/9

Tyler Johnson: 11 23 IP, 1.67 FIP, 13.89 K/9, 3.86 BB/9, 4 wins, 3 saves

Laz Rivera certainly deserved the MVP, but Luis González put together a better overall power month (18 XBH to 9 XBH). González is second to Rivera in batting average in the South Atlantic League. However, González leads the league in OPS. González is generally the highest-rated prospect in Kannapolis and he has not done anything to change that. His BABIP is more than .400 and his ground ball rate is more than 50%, which should point to some regression, but it has not happened yet. It is hard to tell if these are dribblers for hits or actual hard-hit balls, but González does have a 4% increase in balls hit to the center of the diamond, which usually means better contact.


Relevant Promotions and Demotions

Carson Fulmer: MLB: 32 13 IP, 7.24 FIP, 8.07 K/9, 6.68 BB/9

AAA: 11 IP, 3.91 FIP, 9.82 K/9, 8.18 BB/9

Feel bad for Carson. He was rushed when he wasn’t ready. He has lost velocity while using more arm strength. He cannot repeat a delivery, and seems mad all the time on the mound. It has not gotten much better in AAA so far, as his walks have actually increased. No other stat should matter to Fulmer right now besides walk rate, but his entire delivery needs to change. He may be in the minors for the rest of the season.

Jordan Stephens: AA: 12 23 IP, 2.85 FIP, 8.38 K/9, 2.48 BB/9

AAA: 24 13 IP, 3.18 FIP, 8.16 K/9, 2.25 BB/9

A reason why Fulmer might stay in the minors all season is Jordan Stephens. Stephens is older than Fulmer, and seems to be better than him as well. He should not be in the minors long.

Charlie Tilson: AAA: .276 BA, 8 R, 6 RBI, 3 XBH, 2 BB, 13 K, 2 SB

MLB: .364 BA, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB

This is a nice story. Tilson has not had much time in the majors, but after a very slow start in Charlotte, Tilson gradually got up to speed with the game. He started to hit more and with it his strikeouts have decreased. He is still not hitting the ball as hard as he once was, but with time, Tilson could be a factor in the outfield.