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White Sox Minor League Weekly Update: Week 7

Daniel Palka, Luis Robert, and Nick Madrigal flash their power, as Kade McClure pushes for a promotion to High-A

He bop: Nick Madrigal hit his first professional home run earlier last week.
Tiffany Wintz/South Side Sox

Charlotte Knights

Zack Collins: .000 BA, 1 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K
Seby Zavala: .286 BA, 2 HR, 3 R, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 8 K
Danny Mendick: .348 BA, 1 HR, 5 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 SB
Daniel Palka: .450 BA, 3 HR, 9 R, 7 RBI, 8 BB, 5 K ***MVP of the Week***
Eloy Jimenez: .318 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 0 BB, 5 K (on a rehab assignment)
Ian Hamilton: 3 IP, 5.63 FIP, 15.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
Matt Foster: 3 IP, 19.96 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
Thyago Vieira: 3 IP, 1.30 FIP, 15.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
Carson Fulmer: 1 IP, -2.37 FIP, 27.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Zach Thompson: 2 23 IP, 8.13 FIP, 6.75 K/9, 3.37 BB/9
Dylan Cease: 6 IP, 3.63 FIP, 12.0 K/9, 1.5 BB/9

Daniel Palka has been night and day this season. With the caveat of playing in Triple-A the past 25 games, everything looks different with him. Palka’s BB-rate has dramatically increased (about 7.5%) and his K-rate has fallen about 13%. The improved plate discipline has led to a much healthier slash line of .311/.461/.644, with an ISO at .333. On top of the plate discipline, Palka is just hitting the ball much better recently. His ground ball rate has decreased about 15% in favor of more line drives. There isn’t a hard hit rate available in the minors, but the increase in line drives and the HR/FB rate over 30% show Palka is hitting pitches better. Much better than the 40% soft contact rate FanGraphs tabbed for him in his 13 MLB games, at least. There still should be some concern at how well Palka will do when he is recalled to Chicago, but it seems like he’s much more comfortable at the plate than he was earlier this year.

Birmingham Barons

Gavin Sheets: .333 BA, 1 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K
Laz Rivera: .267 BA, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 SB
Luis Gonzalez: .333 BA , 4 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K
Blake Rutherford: .292 BA, 1 HR, 5 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K
Luis Robert: .348 BA, 2 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K, 2 SB ***MVP of the Week***
Luis Basabe: .174 BA, 4 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 9 K, 1 SB
Hunter Schryver: 5 IP, 2.92 FIP, 3.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9
Zack Burdi: 3 23 IP, 4.49 FIP, 9.82 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Alec Hansen: 3 IP, 2.46 FIP, 12.0 K/9, 6.0 BB/9
Kodi Medeiros: 5 IP, 6.32 FIP, 1.8 K/9, 7.2 BB/9
Bernardo Flores: 5 13 IP, 1.62 FIP, 6.75 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Jimmy Lambert: 6 IP, 2.62 FIP, 16.5 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
Blake Battenfield: 10 13 IP, 1.48 FIP, 11.32 K/9, 1.74 BB/9

Well, Luis Robert is MVP again, and I can’t avoid talking about how good he has been for very long. Over the last week, Robert broke out of his mini-AA slump. He had a 247 wRC+ over the seven-day stretch that included his first two Double-A homers. Robert’s BB-rate doubled, although with as hot a bat as Robert has, walking stats are a little overrated at this point. What is better is the K-rate, which continues to fall. Right now it is just more than 20% and has decreased about 6% since 2018 in High-A. Robert does not seem to be hitting the ball as well compared to earlier this year in High-A. The ground ball rate is up, but he is still hitting fly balls at a 55% clip. He is using the opposite field more often, but that is also an indication of late swings. Also, the infield fly rate is up almost 20% which is a significant jump (38.5% in total). He still has been and is very impressive but the AA jump hasn’t been without some struggles.

Winston-Salem Dash

Nick Madrigal: .360 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 3 SB ***MVP of the Week***
Steele Walker: .100 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K
Codi Heuer: 3 23 IP, 3.01 FIP, 9.82 K/9, 2.45 BB/9
Konnor Pilkington: 9 13 IP, 3.56 FIP, 16.39 K/9, 6.75 BB/9
Lincoln Henzman: 6 IP, 6.89 FIP, 4.5 K/9, 0.0 BB/9

Nick Madrigal hit his first professional homer! It was not a bomb by any means, but it still left the park. His ISO still isn’t at a respectable number (.103), but it still would be far and away a career high for him. As we speak, Madrigal has a 106 wRC+, which is not very impressive for a top pick. Since Madrigal does not have much power and does not walk a lot (6.7%), his success will be purely batting average and base running based. The .274 batting average he has now is a good number, it just should be higher for him. Nine stolen bases so far is good, but he is 9-of-13 overall, not good. Though defensive stats are limited in the minors and we cannot watch every game, Madrigal does have three errors in 31 games, which is a little high for him as a potential Gold Glover. But that is more or less the downside of his year so far. Madrigal has been getting better contact, it just doesn’t seem to be falling the way he wants. He is hitting the fewest ground balls for his short career right now (44%) and the fly balls have benefited from that. That has led to an increased rate of extra-base hits, but it seems like the batting average have suffered because of it. Whatever the case, Madrigal has underwhelmed so far in Winston-Salem.

Kannapolis Intimidators

Gunnar Troutwine: .222 BA, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K
Bryce Bush: .167 BA, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 8 K
Luis Curbelo: .227 BA, 1 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 13 K
Lenyn Sosa: .259 BA, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K
Romy Gonzalez: .125 BA, 1 HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 7 K, 1 SB
Bennett Sousa: 3 IP, 2.29 FIP, 6.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Andrew Perez: 4 IP, 1.87 FIP, 11.25 K/9, 2.25 BB/9
Jonathan Stiever: 11 IP, 5.89 FIP, 8.18 K/9, 0.82 BB/9
Kade McClure: 13 13 IP, 3.17 FIP, 9.45 K/9, 2.03 BB/9 ***MVP of the Week***

Finally, a pitcher, and a good one in Kade McClure. He is currently on a three-game quality start streak, and has looked just as good as last season before his injury. He currently has a 2.95 FIP in 44 13 innings pitched. The strikeout numbers are similar to last season, but McClure is walking about one fewer batter per nine innings. McClure does seem to be allowing a little better contact overall, but that might be because of the rust he was working off earlier in the year. In McClure’s last three starts he has a 10.62 K/9 and a 1.77 BB/9 to go along with a 3.11 FIP. He has allowed two home runs in those three games, which is why the FIP is much higher than the 1.77 ERA in that same time span. Konnor Pilkington got the first promotion of the I’s starters, but McClure should not be far behind.