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White Sox Minor League Weekly Update: Week 9

Luis Robert and Ian Dawkins stay in their normal MVP place, joined by Dylan Cease and Tyler Frost. Also, some much-needed talk on the status of some high leverage relievers

Seven heavenly days: Ian Dawkins kept his hit streak going this week in another .400-plus batting average stretch.
Tiffany Wintz/South Side Sox

Charlotte Knights

Zack Collins: .158 BA, 1 R, 4 BB, 7 K
Seby Zavala: 0-for-3, 0 BB, 0 K (first game back in Charlotte)
Danny Mendick: .130 BA, 1 BB, 4 K
Daniel Palka: .238 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 8 K
Thyago Vieira: 2 IP, 10.13 FIP, 13.5 K/9, 9.0 BB/9
Carson Fulmer: 1 IP, -0.37 FIP, 18.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Matt Foster: 3 IP, 2.30 FIP, 6.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Dylan Cease: 7 IP, 2.77 FIP, 7.71 K/9, 2.57 BB/9 **MVP of the week**

With rumors abounding that Dylan Cease could be on his way up to Chicago soon, let’s take a look at what he has done at Triple-A so far. In terms of innings, Cease has started to ramp up the past two weeks — mostly because Cease has been much better of late, but also the innings limit seems to be rising. That fact also plays a role in the Cease promotion rumors. Overall, Cease has been great. He has a 3.32 FIP, with walk and strikeout numbers near career norms. What has been a bit of improvement is the batted ball data. He is allowing a 56.6% ground ball rate, which is his best mark since rookie ball in 2015. That is why his .258 batting average against is a little better than it seems. That ground ball rate also helps a lot because of the MLB ball and the huge increase in home runs in the bigs this season. Whenever Cease arrives on the South Side, he should be a huge improvement in the starting rotation.


Birmingham Barons

Gavin Sheets: .250 BA, 2 HR, 3 R, 11 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K
Laz Rivera: .235 BA, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 SB
Luis Robert: .467 BA, 1 HR, 7 R, 8 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 SB **MVP of the week**
Luis Basabe: .231 BA, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
Luis Gonzalez: .250 BA, 1 HR, 6 R, 4 RBI, 7 BB, 4 K
Blake Rutherford: .375 BA, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 SB
Zack Burdi: 2 IP, 18.71 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 13.5 BB/9
Hunter Schryver: 3 13 IP, 11.31 FIP, 10.8 K/9, 8.1 BB/9
Alec Hansen: 3 13 IP, 10.11 FIP, 16.2 K/9, 8.1 BB/9
Jimmy Lambert: 4 13 IP, 5.98 FIP, 16.62 K/9, 10.38 BB/9
Lincoln Henzman: 5 23 IP, 2.15 FIP, 4.76 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Blake Battenfield: 5 IP, 8.41 FIP, 1.8 K/9, 7.2 BB/9

Luis Robert has been good ... too good. He is all White Sox fans talk about down in the minors. So, why not revisit two guys that used to be glowingly talked about a lot, Zack Burdi and Alec Hansen? First, Burdi. Now is the time to have an honest discussion. Burdi might be bad now. In 14 13 innings pitched in Double-A, he has a 7.75 FIP and is allowing a .302 batting average against. He has struck out a decent amount of hitters, but has an awful walk rate at 16%. That has led to an even worse-looking 2.16 WHIP so far. He is also allowing an absurd amount of homers at 3.14 HR/9, without the disadvantage of the MLB ball. Hansen has been better than Burdi, but he too is running into a lot of trouble. Again, the strikeouts are at a great number, but the walks (7.59 BB/9) are not. The batting average against is at .244, which should be lower with the stuff Hansen has, but he also has a home run problem at 2.53 HR/9. For both pitchers, the past seemed bright. But that has now disappeared.


Winston-Salem Dash

Nick Madrigal: .304 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 0 K, 3 SB
Steele Walker: .182 BA, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 SB
Tyler Frost: .480 BA, 3 HR, 6 R, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K **MVP of the week**
Codi Heuer: 4 IP, 0.48 FIP, 13.5 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Jordan Stephens: 2 IP, 5.98 FIP, 18.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Kade McClure: 6 IP, 3.32 FIP, 7.5 K/9, 3.0 BB/9

Tyler Frost had an unreal week. He had three homers (including that inside-the-parker) and almost a .500 batting average. However, we need to talk some pitching, as Codi Heuer had an almost equally impressive week. The former starter was converted to reliever this year and he has usually worked in multiple innings (17 games, 31 13 innings). That doesn’t mean Heuer comes in as a mop-up guy with a huge lead or deficit — he is one of the high-leverage pitchers on the staff. With his switch to the bullpen, Heuer was expedited to Winston-Salem and has been much better. He is striking out more batters and walking fewer. The batting average against has dropped almost 70 points despite facing more difficult competition. Heuer was already allowing more than half of his batted balls as grounders, and that has even increased to just over 60%. Overall, this switch to the pen has been great and it could result in a speedy promotion schedule as his pro career goes on.


Kannapolis Intimidators

Luis Curbelo: .136 BA, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 13 K
Lenyn Sosa: .296, 1 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K
Ian Dawkins: .423 BA, 5 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K **MVP of the week**
Andrew Perez: 5 23 IP, 0.80 FIP, 12.71 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Bennett Sousa: 3 IP, 5.29 FIP, 12.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Jason Bilous: 4 IP, 2.87 FIP, 6.75 K/9, 2.25 BB/9
Jonathan Stiever: 5 IP, 8.22 FIP, 5.4 K/9, 1.8 BB/9

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Ian Dawkins is good at hitting and shouldn’t be in Kannapolis anymore, I think we did this last week. Well, there are two other guys shouldn’t be in Kanny anymore either, Andrew Perez and Bennett Sousa. Perez has been almost unstoppable this season. He has a 26.7% K-BB rate, which is otherworldly, and a 2.01 FIP in 31 innings. He has also usually been going multiple innings but unlike Heuer, Perez has gone at least three innings multiple times in a sort of extended fireman role. His stuff has been fantastic in his year-and-a-half in pro ball and it seems to only get better. For Sousa, he has been more of a one inning pitcher but he has still shown the ability to go multiple innings. There is no set closer for the I’s, but Sousa is tied with the team lead in saves at three. He has not been as good as Perez, but still deserves a quick promotion. He currently has a 2.66 FIP along with a 19.5% K-BB rate and you can still say he has been unlucky with a .350 BABIP. Let’s see these two and Dawkins in Winston-Salem sooner than later.


DSL White Sox

The Domincan Summer League White Sox opened up play last week. There was only one game so not enough for a weekly update on them, but the summer leagues are on their way now.