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White Sox Minor League Update: June 14, 2019

Steele Walker hits for the cycle and Pioneer League play begins

Steele Singler: Steele doubler, Steele tripler, Steele dinger-er
Scott Kinser/@WSDashBaseball

Rochester Red Wings 7, Charlotte Knights 6

Dylan Cease: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 balk, 1 HBP
Adam Engel (CF): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 K, 1 SB
Jon Jay (RF): 1-for-5, 2 K
Paulo Orlando (LF): 1-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 K
Daniel Palka (DH): 1-for-5, 1 2B, 2 K, 1 SB
Zack Collins (1B): 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 K
Seby Zavala (C): 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 PB **MVP**
Danny Mendick (2B): 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 BB

Dylan Cease’s down couple of weeks continued as the top Sox prospect gave up four runs and walked three in five innings on Friday. It was the first inning that almost did Cease in, but he got through it, unlike last weekend’s sub-one-inning start. It started with a double and a walk, then a Willians Astudillo lineout that advanced a runner to third. A single followed, making it 1-0 Rochester, then Cease balked the runners to second and third. A passed ball and a sac fly followed in quick succession, making it 3-0, and after one more double, Cease was able to get out of the inning.

The third inning also threatened to unleash doom but, like in the first, Cease was able to escape. Astudillo singled to lead off the inning, then a walk and a flyout put runners on the corners. Wilin Rosario singled in a runner with one out, leaving two on, and Cease walked the bases loaded. Presumably sweating a little bit, he retired the next two on a popout and a ground ball to end the inning. Overall, he threw 101 pitches, 55 for strikes.

Luckily for Cease’s W-L record, he exited a tied game; Matt Foster had a blown save, giving up two runs over three innings, and Jimmy Cordero was hung with the loss after giving up the game-winning run in the eighth inning.

At the plate, Seby Zavala’s three-run bomb in the fourth was the highlight, his eighth dong of the year. He also singled in Zack Collins to put the Knights up by one in the sixth, although the lead didn’t last. Collins, Danny Mendick, and Adam Engel all reached base twice. Jon Jay, a week into his rehab assignment, gathered another hit.

Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 3, Birmingham Barons 2

Lincoln Henzman: 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 HBP (L, 0-2)
Luis Robert (RF): 0-for-4, 2 K
Nick Madrigal (2B): 0-for-3, 1 BB
Luis Alexander Basabe (CF): 0-for-4, 2 K
Gavin Sheets (1B): 0-for-2, 1 R, 2 BB
Blake Rutherford (LF): 1-for-4
Luis González (DH): 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 K **Co-MVP**
Ti’Quan Forbes (3B): 2-for-4, 1 RBI **Co-MVP**
Laz Rivera (SS): 1-for-4, 1 K

Birmingham scored two in the bottom of the ninth, but it wasn’t enough and they fell to the Jumbo Shrimp 3-2. Lincoln Henzman’s third start with Birmingham was his best yet, far surpassing his two previous six-run outings. Henzman gave up one run in the second, an inning that saw four Jumbo Shrimp singles. He settled down and retired 12 in a row before giving up a single to start the seventh; he gave up two more runs that inning and was removed after 76 pitches.

Luis Robert is 0 for his last 12, and a kingdom crumbles. Madrigal went hitless, but did draw his 19th walk of the year (12 more than he had last season in just 14 more games played). The Barons went scoreless until two outs in the ninth — Basabe struck out to open the frame, then Gavin Sheets walked, Yermin Mercedes singled him to second, and after a Blake Rutherford flyout, Luis González singled in Sheets. Ti’Quan Forbes added a single to score Mercedes, but Laz Rivera struck out swinging to end the threat and the game.

Winston-Salem Dash 6, Carolina Mudcats 2

John Parke: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP (W, 4-2)
Codi Heuer: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (S, 2)
Tyler Frost (RF): 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K
Mitch Roman (SS): 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 3 K
Steele Walker (CF): 4-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI **MVP**
JJ Muno (2B): 0-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
Yeyson Yrizarri (3B): 1-for-3, 2 SB, 1 HBP
Evan Skoug (C): 1-for-2, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K

Steele Walker did everything but, as he hit for the cycle in reverse order, completing it with a ninth-inning RBI single. Walker raised his batting average from .221 to .246, and now has a line of .246/.348/.381 over 34 games played with the Dash. He kicked things off with a two-run home run in the fourth inning, scoring Mitch Roman. He tripled in the sixth, again knocking in Roman. His double came in the eighth, knocking in nobody, and he squeezed in his single in the ninth, making it 6-2 Dash for the win. Tyler Frost and Evan Skoug were also offensive forces in this game, and Yeyson Yrizarri stole two bases.

Carolina League All-Star John Parke churned out yet another quality start; he’s given up two earned runs or fewer in seven of his 12 starts. He only walked one, a welcome sight, and threw 86 pitches, an impressive 65 of which went for strikes. Codi Heuer handled his longest appearance of the year with ease, allowing just two baserunners — both singles — and striking out three. His ERA drops to 2.82, and he’s walked eight and struck out 43.

Greensboro Grasshopper 4, Kannapolis Intimidators 1

Jason Bilous: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K (L, 2-4)
Wilber Perez: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
Ian Dawkins (CF): 0-for-4, 1 K
Lenyn Sosa (SS): 0-for-4, 2 K
Alex Destino (RF): 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 outfield assist
Bryce Bush (DH): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 K **MVP**
Johan Cruz (3B): 1-for-3, 1 BB
Corey Zangari (1B): 1-for-4, 1 E
Ramon Beltre: 1-for-3, 1 SB

Jason Bilous, last year’s 13th-round draft pick, lost his third start of the year (but 17th appearance). A three-run fourth — walk, single, home run — was enough to overcome the Intimidators, who only scrounged up six hits. Bilous did strike out nine, giving him 47 punchouts in 41 ⅓ innings, but he’s also walked 22 over that span. In relief, Wilber Perez is a similar story: over 29 ⅔ innings pitched this year, he’s walked 23 and struck out 34.

It was a rare day in which neither Ian Dawkins nor Lenyn Sosa reached base in the box score, although Dawkins did physically reach base on an error. Kannapolis’s lone run came off the bat of Bryce Bush, his fourth home run of the season. Bush has had a streaky year at best and is deep in a slump, but 16 of his 33 hits have gone for extra bases. Corey Zangari continues to show signs of life, and Alex Destino had a good day at the plate and in the field, singling, doubling, and throwing a runner out at second base.

Missoula Osprey 6, Great Falls Voyagers 1

Sean Thompson: 2 ⅔ IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 balk (L, 0-1)
Jack Maynard: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
Cabrera Weaver (CF): 0-for-4, 2 K
Kelvin Maldonado (2B): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 K
Luis Mieses (RF): 1-for-4, 1 RBI, 2 E **MVP**
Lency Delgado (SS): 1-for-3, 1 BB
Anderson Comas (LF): 1-for-4, 2 K
Kleyder Sanchez (C): 0-for-3, 1 K
Camilo Quinteiro (3B): 0-for-2, 1 BB

The Great Falls Voyagers opened up short-season play with a 6-1 loss, all of those runs credited to Sean Thompson, who signed last summer as an undrafted free agent. Thompson, age 23, was unable to get out of the third inning, in which the Ospreys scored five runs, three coming on a bases-clearing double by David Sanchez. A bevy of relief pitchers — Felix Mercedes, Rigo Fernandez, and Jack Maynard — all pitched at least one scoreless inning, Fernandez striking out four, Maynard walking none.

A few of the names on the roster might be familiar to Sox fans in perhaps too deep with this whole minor leagues thing, like Lency Delgado. Delgado is about to turn 21 years old and was drafted in the fourth round last season. He more or less held his own on the Sox AZL team last season, and reached base twice on Friday with a walk and a hit. Luis Mieses signed as a 16-year-old in 2016 and is in his second season playing stateside. While he made two errors in the outfield today, neither led to runs scoring, and his bat accounted for the lone Voyagers run. This came on a groundout in the first inning, scoring Kelvin Maldonado from his single, and was unearned, but these are all just details. Anderson Comas hit an eighth-inning single, the fourth and final Voyagers hit of the day.

You can get to know the Great Falls Voyagers here.

DSL White Sox 8, DSL Blue Jays 4

Dionicio Jiménez: 4 ⅔ IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 WP
Jesus Rondón: 1 ⅓ IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (W, 1-0)
Anthony Espinoza (2B): 1-for-4, 2 RBI, 1 HBP
Benyamin Bailey (LF): 1-for-5, 1 3B, 1 K
Alberto Bernál (1B): 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 HBP
Jefferson Mendoza (C): 3-for-4, 1 BB, 1 PO
Juan Mercedes (RF): 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 K
Ruben Benavides (DH): 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 K **MVP**
Edwin Peralta (3B): 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Johnabiell Laureano (CF): 2-for-4, 1 RBI

Blessed are the Jiménezes, for they shall inherit the earth. Dionicio is not one of the Jiménezes of Eloy fame, but he still stood out on the field, giving up two runs in just under five innings. He went decisionless, though, sniped by Jesus Rondón (a starting pitcher doesn’t get the win unless he pitches five full).

Unfortunately for most, the new Mendoza line is set at .381. Catcher Jefferson Mendoza picked up three hits, and has only struck out once in his nine games played this season. Weirdly, last year in the DSL, he caught 24 of 52 stealing; this season, he’s only caught one of nine. Ruben Benavides, at the ripe old age of 17, had his first three hits of the season all in one game, one to start the scoring in a four-run eighth.