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White Sox Weekly Minor League Update: Week 8

Luis Basabe is the big-name MVP, but Matt Foster, Evan Skoug and Ian Dawkins provided much-needed bumps for their clubs

Get your mojo working: Luis Basabe may be breaking out after a slow start in Double-A.
Michael Wade/@BhamBarons

Charlotte Knights

Not a lot of video on a reliever, so here is Zack Collins’ grand slam again:

Seby Zavala: .143 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K (promoted to White Sox)
Zack Collins: .455 BA. 1 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K
Danny Mendick: .182 BA, 2 R, 3 RBI, 6 BB, 5 K , 1 SB
Daniel Palka: .087 BA, 2 R 1 RBI, 3 BB, 8 K
Matt Foster: 4 IP, 1.43 FIP, 13.5 K/9, 0.0 BB/9 ***MVP of the Week***
Zach Thompson: 2 23 IP, 4.06 FIP, 13.5 K/9, 10.13 BB/9
Carson Fulmer: 5 23 IP, 5.45 FIP, 9.53 K/9, 4.76 BB/9
Jose Ruiz: 1 13 IP, 4.43 FIP, 6.75 K/9, 6.75 BB/9
Dylan Cease: 6 IP, 3.35 FIP, 10.5 K/9, 6.0 BB/9

After an awful two games last week, Matt Foster was back to his old dominating self. Prior to this week, Foster had a 20.02 FIP and opposing batters were hitting .471 off Foster. Most of the production came off him with four home runs, including three allowed in a single game. But this past week, Foster was electric, with just two hits and no walks allowed thanks to a 70% strike rate over four innings pitched. If you look at Foster’s stats since his promotion to Triple-A, they do not look particularly good with a 5.88 FIP, but that was because of last week’s terrible stretch. Foster’s total body of work has looked great, as he pushes for the ultimate promotion. The righty’s K-rate and BB-rate have slightly trended down compared to Double-A, but 20.3% K-BB rate is by no means bad. The batted ball data looks good overall. Foster’s pull rate is less than 40% which is a good sign, but there is a slight bit of concern. In Double-A and Triple-A, Foster has had a higher fly ball rate than ground ball rate. Now, the gap has closed in Charlotte, but keep an eye on that ratio, as it could be a worrying sign going forward — especially with a ball that leaves the park more than ever in Triple-A and MLB.

Birmingham Barons

Gavin Sheets: .227 BA, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K
Laz Rivera: .278 BA, 2 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K
Luis Basabe: .400 BA, 3 R, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K, 2 SB ***MVP of the Week***
Luis Gonzalez: .185 BA, 1 HR, 4 R, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K
Luis Robert: .259 BA, 4 R, 1 RBI, 10 K, 1 SB
Blake Rutherford: .125 BA, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K
Zack Burdi: 3 IP, 11.18 FIP, 12.0 K/9, 6.0 BB/9
Hunter Schryver: 3 23 IP, 1.27 FIP, 12.27 K/9, 2.45 BB/9
Kodi Medeiros: 8 23 IP, 4.22 FIP, 13.5 K/9, 2.08 BB/9
Bernardo Flores: 5 IP, 6.98 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 1.8 BB/9
Alec Hansen: 2 13 IP, 6.61 FIP, 15.43 K/9, 3.86 BB/9
Jimmy Lambert: 4 13 IP, 5.95 FIP, 10.38 K/9, 6.23 BB/9
Blake Battenfield: 5 IP, 7.98 FIP, 7.2 K/9, 3.6 BB/9

Luis Basabe was about as cool as a batter could be when he returned to Double-A. From April 28 to May 14, Basabe had a slash line of .149/.273/.170, for a 42 wRC+. To his credit, he was finding ways to get on base with a 14.3% BB-rate, but Basabe was also striking out 28.6% of the time. It was definitely a mixed bag for a player returning from a broken bone in his left wrist. However, since May 15 Basabe has had a slash line of .324/.375/.405, for a 132 wRC+. He is walking about half as much but he also was striking out about 6% less often — in other words, making more contact overall. Whether Basabe started out in his return more tentative in swinging because of his injury, working through rust, or whatever, the outfielder has been on fire the last week and a half. But as usual, there’s a caveat: Basabe has had 12 hits in a nine-game span, but only two of them have been for extra-bases (for a .081 ISO). In other words, Basabe’s .429 BABIP in those nine games has mattered a lot. This week could be a turning point for Basabe, but the power he showed last season needs to come back.

Winston-Salem Dash

Evan Skoug: .385 BA, 2 HR, 3 R, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K ***MVP of the Week***
Nick Madrigal: .280 BA, 4 R, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K, 5 SB
Steele Walker: .368 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 SB
Codi Heuer: 3 23 IP, 3.24 FIP, 12.27 K/9, 4.91 BB/9
Lincoln Henzman: 7 IP, 2.80 FIP, 5.14 K/9, 1.29 BB/9
Konnor Pilkington: 4 IP, 8.01 FIP, 4.5 K/9, 6.75 BB/9

Sorry Steele Walker, Evan Skoug arrived and all he has done is hit in his first eight games with the Dash. Since his short bus trip to Winston-Salem, Skoug is slashing .250/.344/.571, with a .321 ISO for a 155 wRC+. The once-top draft prospect out of Libertyville took a tumble his junior year at TCU, and it continued after the White Sox drafted him. After his four-game stint in rookie ball two years ago, Skoug has looked overmatched in Kannapolis, as he was unable to reach the Mendoza Line at any point. Skoug has had a strikeout problem ever since his college days, but his power had always been able to overshadow that negative. Until these past eight games, Skoug has not looked like a top draft prospect in any form. With the Dash, Skoug’s plate discipline numbers are similar to his career norm, but he has been pulling the ball much more often, which usually means harder-hit balls. Maybe Jamie Dismuke, the Dash hitting coach, said something to Skoug that helped his swing, or maybe Skoug is growing into his own finally. He can quickly become a guy to watch if he can sustain some success at the plate.

Kannapolis Intimidators

Gunnar Troutwine: .273 BA, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K
Luis Curbelo: .190 BA, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 8 K
Corey Zangari: .000 BA, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K
Lenyn Sosa: .222 BA, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K
Romy Gonzalez: .192 BA, 2 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 8 K
Ian Dawkins: .300 BA, 1 HR, 6 R, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 SB ***MVP of the Week***
Jason Bilous: 4 23 IP, 4.52 FIP, 7.71 K/9, 7.71 BB/9
Bennett Sousa: 4 23 IP, 2.59 FIP, 7.71 K/9, 1.93 BB/9
Andrew Perez: 3 IP, 0.33 FIP, 15.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Kade McClure: 6 IP, 5.83 FIP, 4.5 K/9, 1.5 BB/9
Jonathan Stiever: 5 IP, 3.86 FIP, 7.2 K/9, 5.4 BB/9

Ian Dawkins “cooled off” this past week with just a .300 batting average, but the outfielder who was once an afterthought has blossomed into a player to watch for the rest of the season. Dawkins currently has a 150 wRC+, as he has looked much better compared to his first go-around with Kannapolis. He is making more contact — at least he is walking more and striking out less — but he has shown more of his speed tool so far. He is 15-of-18 on stolen base attempts, and has also shown a bit more pop than what was believed out of college. Dawkins has already surpassed his extra-base hit mark from last season, in 17 fewer games, with some of his doubles possibly being speed-driven. Dawkins seems to be a hitter that will live and die off his BABIP, though, as he has shown his norm is around a 50% ground ball rate. He is also not your conventional slap hitter either — though he does use some of the opposite field (23.9% to be exact), he is also around a 50% pull hitter. That at least means Dawkins is hitting the ball hard, and maybe with some swing changes that help induce more fly balls, Dawkins could tap into some gap power. But still, be wary of the fact the Dawkins turns 24 in July and is still playing in Single-A ball; he is playing against younger talent, but at least he is doing well against it.