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White Sox Minor League Weekly Update: Week 4

Amid a lot of promotions in the organization, the top White Sox prospects continue to shine

Early jump: Reliever Matt Foster earned a promotion from Birmingham to Charlotte with a stellar start to his season.

With the first Minor League Monthly Update coming in a couple days, the overall team outlook will be in the April update instead. However, here are some of the plethora of promotions in the organization:

Charlotte Knights

Zack Collins: .350 BA, 1 HR, 5 R, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 9
Seby Zavala: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K (only one game, currently on IL)
Danny Mendick: .333 BA, 2 HR, 8 R, 10 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 SB ***MVP OF THE WEEK***
Daniel Palka: .211 BA, 1 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI, 6 BB, 9 K, 1 SB
Joel Booker: 0-for-5, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB (only one game, called up from Birmingham)
Dylan Covey: 6 13 IP, 9.48 FIP, 4.26 K/9, 1.42 BB/9 (Promoted to White Sox on April 29)
Caleb Frare: 2 23 IP, 0.80 FIP, 13.5 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Zach Thompson: 2 13 IP, 3.37 FIP, 7.71 K/9, 0.0 BB/9 (only one game, promoted from Birmingham)
Ian Hamilton: 2 IP, 3.30 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 4.5 BB/9
Jordan Stephens: 6 IP, 4.46 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 1.5 BB/9
Dylan Cease: 3 23 IP, 7.07 FIP, 12.27 K/9, 7.36 BB/9

Mr. Spring Training is at it again, Danny Mendick had another hot and clutch week, and he really needed it. Before this week, Mendick was slashing .200/.324/.333 with a 76 wRC+. After this week’s MVP performance, his wRC+ rose 21 points, and his slash line of .238/.343/.417. What Mendick did the past week was just be the hitter he has always been by keeping the BB/K rate in the 0.6 to 0.7 range, with power. As of right now, and it shouldn’t be surprising with the MLB ball deployed in Triple-A, that Mendick currently is tied for a career best in ISO. He is also hitting more fly balls, 2% more than last season. Now, Mendick is squaring pitches up and sending pitches to center field more than ever, but he is also not pulling the ball as much. Compared to his time in Double-A last season, Mendick is pulling the ball 18.4% less this year, which makes his career high in ISO very impressive even if it is probably more ball-related. Whatever the case is, with the increase in fly balls, if Mendick wants to take off and get himself to MLB, he should be closer to mid-40% in pull rate.

Birmingham Barons

Yermin Mercedes: .474 BA, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K
Gavin Sheets: .115 BA, 1 BB, 10 K
Laz Rivera: .182 BA, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 SB
Luis Basabe: 1-for-5, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K (only one game, returned from rehab in Kannapolis)
Luis Gonzalez: .278 BA, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 3 K
Micker Adolfo: .217 BA, 2 R, 4 BB, 10 K (placed on IL with right elbow soreness — his TJS elbow — on April 29)
Blake Rutherford: .250 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K
Matt Foster: 4 IP, 2.05 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 2.25 BB/9 ***MVP OF THE WEEK*** (Promoted to Charlotte)
Hunter Schryver: 4 IP, 4.05 FIP, 6.75 K/9, 6.75 BB/9
Bernardo Flores: 10 IP, 6.90 FIP, 8.1 K/9, 4.5 BB/9
Kodi Medeiros: 4 23 IP, 3.3 FIP, 11.57 K/9, 7.71 BB/9
Jimmy Lambert: 6 IP, 6.13 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 1.5 BB/9

Another stellar week for fireballer Matt Foster sends him back to North Carolina, with a promotion to Charlotte. In 9 23 innings pitched — yeah, not a big sample size — Foster was electric. He didn’t allow a run, which is more remarkable because he went more than one inning four times. In total, Foster only allowed three hits and walked two for a 1.86 BB/9, his best number since a stint with Kannapolis in 2017. Foster’s K-rate is also back up near his minor league career norm, at 11.17 K/9. Now, the most amazing aspect of Foster’s time with the Barons is his fly ball rate. In total, he has allowed a fly ball on 52.6% of his batted balls. Now that might seem bad, especially since it is more than a 20% increase over his 2018 in Birmingham. However, of those fly balls, 50% are in the infield, which just speaks to how batters cannot square up Foster. He is a guy to keep an eye on in Charlotte.

Winston-Salem Dash

Nick Madrigal: .273 BA, 2 R, 6 RBI, 5 BB, 0 K, 3 SB
Luis Robert: .182 BA, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 SB (returned after his hand bruise, for some reason is still in A+)
Alec Hansen: 4 IP, -0.79 FIP, 20.25 K/9, 0.0 BB/9 ***MVP OF THE WEEK***
Codi Heuer: 3 IP, 2.04 FIP, 12.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
Blake Battenfield: 12 IP, 4.54 FIP, 6.75 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
Lincoln Henzman: 3 23 IP, 5.35 FIP, 0.0 K/9, 2.45 BB/9

Alec Hansen has looked very good, though against inferior competition. He has pitched 10 innings so far but never more than two innings as the White Sox slowly increase his workload. The best part of Hansen’s stint so far with Winston-Salem has been his control, which was so out of whack last season. Right now, Hansen has a 47.1% K-BB rate (52.9% K-rate, 5.9% BB-rate) which is by far and away a career high. Albeit, with the asterisk that he has been relieving. However, why that K-BB is so impressive is because it was -4.1% in Double-A and 4.1% in Single-A+ last season. It is night and day for Hansen from 2018 to 2019. Other than just straight up fooling hitters, Hansen is not allowing any hard contact, nor any batted balls in the air. The pull rate is at 50%, but Hansen’s ground ball rate is at 66.7%, which indicates the pulled balls are mostly on the ground. His fly ball rate is also a measly 25%, which bodes well for keeping balls inside the park. Hansen will probably stay in A+ for the foreseeable future as he revs up his innings, but he couldn’t have bounced back better (triple alliteration, nice).

Kannapolis Intimidators

Gunnar Troutwine: .214 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 9 K, 1 SB
Luis Curbelo: .393 BA, 1 HR, 6 R, 11 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K ***MVP OF THE WEEK***
Bryce Bush: .400 BA, 8 R, 3 RBI, 7 BB, 6 K, 2 SB
Lenyn Sosa: .091 BA, 4 R, 0 BB, 10 K
Steele Walker: .414 BA, 3 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, 2 SB
Bennett Sousa: 3 IP, 0.96 FIP, 12.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Andrew Perez: 3 IP, 0.96 FIP, 12.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Zack Burdi: 3 IP, 0.63 FIP, 18.0 K/9, 3 BB/9 (on a rehab assignment, promoted to Birmingham)
Jason Bilous: 1 IP, 1.63 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Davis Martin: 6 IP, 2.13 FIP, 16.5 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Wilber Perez: 3 IP, 1.30 FIP, 15.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
Konnor Pilkington: 6 IP, 2.30 FIP, 10.5 K/9, 1.5 BB/9
Jonathan Stiever: 12 IP, 2.96 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 0.75 BB/9
Kade McClure: 5 IP, 3.23 FIP, 7.2 K/9, 3.6 BB/9

The I’s bats are finally awake! At least, they were for some top prospects, especially Luis Curbelo. This is Curbelo’s fourth year with the Sox, he’s still only 21, but he has not shown much sustained potential. This past week sure was one of those spurts, but he has mostly sputtered this year. His BB-rate is holding near 5% and his K-rate is up about 10% compared to last season in Kannapolis. In just one week, Curbelo raised his wRC+ from 19 all the way to 80, but of course neither of those numbers are good to begin with. The biggest knock on Curbelo before 2019 was his health. So far so good on that front, but he will need to sustain his success of the past week if he wants to see Winston-Salem anytime soon.