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White Sox Minor League Weekly Update: Week 6

Some familiar names like Danny Mendick and Gavin Sheets are back on top, while Zach Remillard and Ian Dawkins sport fantastic lines, in another promotion-heavy week

Moving time: Konnor Pilkington is on his way up after a masterful time in Kannapolis.
Tiffany Wintz/South Side Sox

Charlotte Knights

Zack Collins: .167 BA, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K (on 7-day IL, concussion)
Danny Mendick: .318 BA, 2 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 SB ***MVP of the Week***
Daniel Palka: .333 BA, 2 HR, 6 R, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 7 K
Adam Engel: .200 BA, 1 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 8 K
Joel Booker: .385 BA, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K
Ian Hamilton: 2 23 IP, 1.43 FIP, 10.12 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Matt Foster: 3 IP, 3.02 FIP, 12.0 K/9, 6.0 BB/9
Thyago Vieira: 3 13 IP, 6.68 FIP, 16.2 K/9, 8.1 BB/9
Carson Fulmer: 3 IP, 4.02 FIP, 12.0 K/9, 9/0 BB/9
Caleb Frare: 1 13 IP, 12.68 FIP, 13.5 K/9, 6.75 BB/9
Zach Thompson: 4 IP, 8.18 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Jose Ruiz: 2 IP, 0.68 FIP, 13.5 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Dylan Cease: 3 23 IP, 4.50 FIP, 7.36 K/9, 7.36 BB/9

To some, it might be surprising how often Danny Mendick already has been the MVP of the Week in Charlotte. To others, it is surprising he is still in AAA. Right now, Mendick has a 115 wRC+, a respectable number considering he would be primarily a second baseman in MLB. Just an FYI, Jose Rondon currently sports an 81 wRC+ and Yolmer Sanchez has a 71 wRC+ in Chicago, food for thought White Sox front office. Mendick has picked up right where he left off in AAA last year. His walk and strikeout rates are slightly higher, but the BABIP and ISO have increased at a better rate. Currently, his ISO is at .195, which is fifth-best among second basemen in the International League (min. 100 PA). Mendick’s BABIP, which has increased 17 points compared to last season, corresponds with a 26-point batting average increase. Those stats are not without concern, though. With a 19.4% HR/FB rate, that would be almost 10% higher than Mendick’s previous career mark, but again, there is always the caveat of the new baseball. The more concerning thing is the fly ball rate, which has dropped 5%. With a new ball, that drop hasn’t been detrimental, but, obviously, with better pitchers in MLB, it could matter.

Birmingham Barons

Gavin Sheets: .444 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 SB ***MVP of the Week***
Laz Rivera: .267 BA, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K
Luis Gonzalez: .316 BA, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 SB
Blake Rutherford: .158 BA, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K
Luis Robert: .071 BA, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 SB
Luis Basabe: .083 BA, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K 1 SB
Hunter Schryver: 1 13 IP, 3.18 FIP, 0.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Zack Burdi: 3 23 IP, 4.55 FIP, 12.27 K/9, 12.27 BB/9
Alec Hansen: 2 IP, 7.18 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 13.5 BB/9
Kodi Medeiros: 4 23 IP, 9.82 FIP, 9.64 K/9, 5.79 BB/9
Bernardo Flores: 6 IP, 2.68 FIP, 4.5 K/9, 1.5 BB/9
Jimmy Lambert: 5 IP, 3.18 FIP, 5.4 K/9, 3.6 BB/9
Blake Battenfield: Just promoted to AA, no appearances yet.

Gavin Sheets has had an odd year so far. He has basically had two very good weeks of baseball and the rest, well, not very good. Though he did hit his third home run of the year on May 11, Sheets has not been driving the ball well enough to induce extra-base hits. Before that homer, Sheets’s last XBH came on May 2, before that, it was April 21. In total, he has five XBH on the year compared to 24 singles, for a .091 ISO — not a good mark for a first baseman. The problem lies in the available batted ball data. First, over half of Sheets’s batted balls are grounders (52.7%), which is not a mark that will lead to extra-base hits, especially for batters without good speed. The second spot is the pull rate, which is at 41.3%. Though it is good that Sheets is showing good plate coverage and is hitting the ball the other way, it is not good contact, or at least, not hard-hit contact over the wall or into the gaps. With a 93 wRC+ so far this season, Sheets seems to have longer way to go to see AAA right now.

Winston-Salem Dash

Nick Madrigal: .136 BA, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 0 K, 2 SB
Zach Remillard: .556 BA, 1 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K ***MVP of the Week***
Steele Walker: .235 BA, 3 R, 7 BB, 5 K
Codi Heuer: 3 IP, 4.64 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 6.0 BB/9
Lincoln Henzman: 10 IP, 6.34 FIP, 6.3 K/9, 3.6 BB/9

Apologies to Zach Remillard and his outrageous week, but Konnor Pilkington is moving his way up to High-A after a stellar start in Kannapolis. The 2018 3rd round pick leaves the I’s with a 1.62 ERA, 3.21 FIP, and much better command than what he showed last season after being drafted. With a minimum of 30 innings pitched, he had the third-best ERA and fifth-best K/9 in the South Atlantic League. Pilkington was just too good for the SALLY and he proved it, as batters had a .132 BA against him, tops in the league by 32 points. It was not as conventional a run as other dominant pitchers because Pilkington allowed 13% more fly balls than grounders, but the contact was week. First, 30% of those fly balls never left the infield. Second, a pull rate in the low 40% indicates batters did not get around on Pilkington’s pitches. A+ ball is obviously harder, but if Pilkington’s time in Single-A provides any indication, the young hitters are going to have a tough time. A side note, the 2018 draft class now has their first three draft picks in Winston-Salem, a new level to keep an eye on.

Kannapolis Intimidators

Gunnar Troutwine: .143 BA, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K
Ian Dawkins: .556 BA, 1 HR, 8 R, 6 RBI, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 SB ***MVP of the Week***
Corey Zangari: .077 BA, 2 R, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 7 K
Bryce Bush: .222 BA, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K
Luis Curbelo: .136 BA, 1 R, 0 BB, 12 K
Lenyn Sosa: .296 BA, 1 HR, 6 R, 7 RBI, 0 BB, 7 K
Romy Gonzalez: .333 BA, 4 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K
Bennett Sousa: 2 13 IP, 3.15 FIP, 7.71 K/9, 3.86 BB/9
Andrew Perez: 4 IP, 0.35 FIP, 18.0 K/9, 2.25 BB/9
Jonathan Stiever: 7 IP, 1.30 FIP, 1029 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Konnor Pilkington: 6 IP, 2.42 FIP, 12.0 K/9, 4.5 BB/9 (promoted to Single-A+)
Kade McClure: 7 IP, 3.01 FIP, 12.86 FIP, 1.29 BB/9

Relievers tend to be overlooked, especially at this low of a level in MILB, but Andrew Perez has been special this season. Perez has taken huge steps in his second stint with the I’s, in just about every way. His K-rate has jumped 10% and his BB-rate is down 2%. His FIP has taken a drastic fall all the way to 2.67, and the contact he lets up seems to be very weak, which is actually much better for Perez than normal. He has a .292 batting average against with a .440 BABIP, as most batted balls are going to the opposite field, and on the ground. This is especially important because Perez has allowed at least one hit in every appearance and multiple hits in nine of his 11 games. That makes his 84.5% left-on-base rate even more impressive. The hits should stop falling eventually, as the batted ball data indicates, but Perez has done very well keeping runners from scoring — an important measure for any pitcher, especially a late-inning reliever.