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White Sox Minor League Update: July 20, 2019

The system’s starting pitching, led by Jonathan Stiever, enjoyed an especially great day

Dominant for the Dash: Jonathan Stiever allowed just two hits and fanned nine over seven innings.

Charlotte Knights 7, Pawtucket Red Sox 5

Kyle Kubat (SP) 4 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, HR (6.14 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)
Jordan Guerrero (RP) W (3-7), 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (7.27 ERA, 2.10 WHIP)
Connor Walsh (RP) 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, HR (3.77 ERA, 1.40 WHIP)
Thyago Vieira (RP) SV (7), 1 IP, 0 H. 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, K (4.41 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)
Charlie Tilson (LF) 1-for-4, R, RBI (21), BB
Luis Robert (CF) 1-for-5, R, K(.359 BA, 1.255 OPS)
Daniel Palka (RF) 1-for-3, 2 R, HR (17), 2 RBI (46), BB (.274 BA, .911 OPS)
Matt Skole (3B) 1-for-3, R, HR (21), 3 RBI (54), BB (.258 BA, .910 OPS) **MVP**
Zack Collins (C) 0-for-3 (.243 BA, .838 OPS)
Seby Zavala (1B) 2-for-4, R, HR (15), RBI (35), K (.236 BA, .792 OPS)
Yermin Mercedes (DH) 0-for-3, BB, K (.299 BA, .996 OPS)
Danny Mendick (2B) 1-for-3, R, 2B (18), BB (.276 BA, .800 OPS)

Since Kubat was promoted to Charlotte last month, he’s been scuffling in part due to the smaller dimensions at BB&T Ballpark and the homer-friendly baseballs in Triple-A. These struggles continued early in this game as well, as he relinquished a leadoff homer to Gorkys Hernandez. Then in the bottom of the second, Pawtucket’s Juan Centeno lined a double to left to give The Red Sox a 3-0 lead. However, Daniel Palka answered in the top of the third by hitting an opposite-field homer, scoring Luis Robert, to cut the lead to 3-2.

Two innings later, Tilson tied the game 3-3 with an RBI single to center, plating Danny Mendick. Not to be outdone that inning, Palka walked ,which provided two men on base for Matt Skole, who did this for the 21st time this year:

Seby Zavala pulled a solo homer to left in the top of the sixth (his 15th) to give the Knights a 7-3 lead. In the meantime, Kubat labored through 85 pitches during his four innings of work; however, he did keep his team in the game before turning the game over to struggling southpaw Jordan Guerrero. Guerrero turned in what may have been his best effort of the season, as he allowed just one hit while fanning three in his three innings of work. All-Star reliever Connor Walsh struggled in his one-inning outing, as he allowed three walks and a homer; amazingly, Walsh allowed just two runs with that effort. Thyago Vieira, who actually has pitched quite well of late (1.93 ERA and 0.96 WHIP for July), earned his seventh save of the season. The Knights improved their record to 53-46, and Skole wins the MVP by hitting the three-run homer that gave them the lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Birmingham Barons 3, Tennessee Smokies 1

Blake Battenfield (SP) W (3-2), 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K (4.70 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) **MVP**
Mauricio Cabrera (RP) 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (4.55 ERA, 2.21 WHIP)
Kodi Madeiros (RP) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (5.29 ERA, 1.61 WHIP)
Codi Heuer (RP) SV (3), 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (3.55 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)
Nick Madrigal (2B) 1-for-4, R, HR (1), RBI (13) (.366 BA, .911 OPS)
Luis Basabe (CF) 1-for-4, R, 3 K (.234 BA, .612 OPS)
Blake Rutherford (RF) 0-for-3, R, SB (7), BB, 2K (.260 BA, .672 OPS)
Gavin Sheets (DH) 2-for-3, 2B (12), RBI (64), BB (.279 BA, .775 OPS)
Ti’Quan Forbes (3B) 2-for-4, RBI (30), K (.257 BA, .709 OPS)
Damek Tomscha (1B) 0-for-3, BB, K (.226 BA, .673 OPS)
Nate Nolan (C) 0-for-2, BB, K (.159 BA, .587 OPS)

After Blake Battenfield shut down the Smokies in the top half of the first, Luis Basabe swatted a one-out single to set the stage for Gavin Sheets. Sheets, who’s been on quite the tear for the month of July, nearly clubbed a homer to right-center, but ultimately settled for an RBI double thanks to the cavernous confines of Regions Field.

The score remained 1-0, thanks to this brilliant throw by Joel Booker in the third:

The 1-0 lead remained until the bottom half of the sixth, when Ti’Quan Forbes lined an RBI single to center field, scoring Blake Rutherford to give the Barons a 2-0 lead. As was the case for most of the game tonight, pitchers left their games earlier than they normally would due to the excessive heat. Battenfield hurled a masterpiece over five innings as he ceded just five hits while fanning six; an amazing 60 of his 76 pitches were thrown for strikes.

After the Smokies narrowed their deficit to 2-1 with an RBI groundout versus Mauricio Cabrera in the seventh, the game remained that way until the Barons half of the eighth when menacing slugger Nick Madrigal came to bat. As the Smokies found out: You can’t stop Nick Madrigal, you can only hope to contain him!

Kodi Medeiros walked and struck out a batter apiece in the eighth, while Codi Heuer pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his third save. Speaking of Medeiros, he could be quite the southpaw bullpen option going forward. For July, he’s compiled a nifty 1.13 ERA and 0.63 WHIP exclusively out of the pen. Battenfield, however, earns the MVP with five innings of shutout baseball. The Barons improved their record to 43-52, and it’s always nice to beat a Cubs affiliate.

Winston-Salem Dash 3, Down East Wood Ducks 0

Jonathan Stiever (SP) W (3-3), 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K (2.08 ERA, 0.85 WHIP) **MVP**
Luis Ledo (RP) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (2.17 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
Jose Nin (RP) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K (4.34 ERA, 1.55 WHIP)
Tyler Frost (CF) 2-for-4, K (.256 BA, .761 OPS)
Mitch Roman (2B) 1-for-4, K (.285 BA, .682 OPS)
Steele Walker (DH) 1-for-4, R, K (.266 BA, .753 OPS)
Craig Dedelow (RF) 2-for-3, R, BB (.265 BA, .787 OPS)
Zach Remillard (SS) 1-for-4, R, K (.291 BA, .744 OPS)
Jameson Fisher (1B) 1-for-3, 2B (22), 3 RBI (31), 2 K (.235 BA, .712 OPS)
Evan Skoug (C) 1-for-2, BB (.195 BA, .764 OPS)

A good old-fashioned pitcher’s duel between Dash hurler Jonathan Stiever and Wood Ducks pitcher Alex Eubanks forced the game scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when Jameson Fisher plated Steele Walker with a sac fly. One would think Stiever works at a casino with the way he was dealing, striking out the side in the first and fanning seven in his first four innings.

In the sixth, Fisher furthered his damage to the Ducks by yanking a double to right that scored Craig Dedelow and Zack Remillard. Stiever continued his ace-like work, shutting down the Texas Rangers affiliate by ceding just two hits while fanning nine through seven innings and maintaining his efficiency at just 83 pitches. Relievers Luis Ledo and Jose Nin pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth respectively, capping the two-hit shutout. While Fisher deserves the credit for knocking in all three runs, Stiever was easily the star of this game. The 22-year-old has been outstanding in his six starts spanning 39 innings for the Dash, and it’s likely is just a matter of time before he punches his ticket to Birmingham. Meanwhile, with the victory, the Dash improved their record to 51-43.

Kannapolis Intimidators 4, Lakewood BlueClaws 2

Sam Long (SP) 5 23 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K (3.88 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) **MVP**
J.B. Olson (RP) 23 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (6.46 ERA, 1.86 WHIP)
Austin Conway (RP) W (1-0), 2 23 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (1.89 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)
Ian Dawkins (CF) 1-for-4, 2B (27), K, assist (.315 BA, .794 OPS)
Johan Cruz (SS) 2-for-4, 2 R, HR (6), RBI (26), (.297 BA, .860 OPS)
Andrew Vaughn (1B) 1-for-3, 2 R, 2B (6), BB (.291 BA, .875 OPS)
Romy Gonzalez (RF) 2-for-4, 2B (15), RBI (38), SB (5), K (.237 BA, .690 OPS)
Gunnar Troutwine (C) 1-for-3, RBI (9), 2 K (.275 BA, .744 OPS)
Cameron Simmons (LF) 1-for-3 (.250 BA, .500 OPS)

While several pitchers in the Sox system were dealing like Stiever, lesser-heralded southpaw Sam Long pitched amazing shutout ball through four innings by keeping the BlueClaws, a Philadelphia Phillies affiliate, hitless while striking out nine! After leading off the bottom half of the fourth with a double, Andrew Vaughn scored courtesy of a sac fly by Gunnar Troutwine, giving the Intimidators a 1-0 lead. Eventually, due to the heat, Long left after 5 23 innings and 80 pitches (55 strikes) with that lead intact. After a Johan Cruz homer gave Kannapolis a 2-0 lead, scuffling reliever J.B. Olson surrendered it by allowing two runs on three hits and a walk in his two-thirds innings. A hit batsman allowed the first run to score, and Austin Conway allowed an inherited runner to score via a walk. Fortunately, Conway was able to stymie the BlueClaws the rest of the way. The Intimidators took the lead for good with two runs in the eighth, thanks to a Romy Gonzalez RBI double and a throwing error by the left fielder. The victory improved the home team’s record to 43-55. Conway and Long could have been co-MVPs, but because Conway did allow the tying run to score on a free pass, Long deserves the sole honors today.

Missoula Osprey 4, Great Falls Voyagers 2

Sean Thompson (SP) L (1-4), 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR (6.63 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) **MVP**
Ramon Pineda 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (1.84 ERA, 0.82 WHIP)
Luis Curbelo (3B) 1-for-4, 2 K (.299 BA, .882 OPS)
Harvin Mendoza (1B) 0-for-2, RBI (18), 2 BB, K (.313 BA, .949 OPS)
Lency Delgado (SS) 0-for-4, RBI (12), 3 K, E (6) (.284 BA, .749 OPS)
Luis Mieses (RF) 0-for-4, K (.275 BA, .668 OPS)
Kleyder Sanchez (C) 1-for-3, R, 2B (3), K, E (5), (.133 BA, .396 OPS)
Cabera Weaver (CF) 2-for-3, R, 2B (6) (.250 BA, .649 OPS)

Sean Thompson, who had been struggling this year for the Voyagers, had a solid outing against the Osprey on this night. Aside from allowing a soft RBI liner in the third and a solo homer in the fourth, Thompson definitely gave his squad a chance to win. Preventing any free passes was the definite key to his start. Unfortunately, two errors (including one of his own) led to a key insurance run that gave the Osprey a three-run lead. After the Osprey tacked on a unearned run on the top half of the eighth, the Voyagers mounted a furious comeback attempt in the bottom half. Thanks to three hits, the bases were loaded with just one out. A walk to Harvin Mendoza plated the first run, while a force out on a grounder by Lency Delgado scored the second.

The game was now 4-2 with two outs and runners on the corners for Luis Mieses. Alas, that’s where the rally ended, as Delgado was picked off by the catcher to end the rally. The Voyagers lost, 4-2, and they only have themselves to blame with nearly as many errors (three) as hits (four). Those errors ultimately led to two unearned runs, which was the difference in the game. Based on the strength of his quality start, in which he allowed just five hits and no walks while fanning five over seven innings, Thompson was today’s MVP. With the loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate, Great Falls fell to 13-18 on the year.

AZL Athletics Green 7, AZL White Sox 2

Hector Acosta (SP) L (1-4), 4 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (6.26 ERA, 1.94 WHIP)
Yoelvin Silven (RP) 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (3.32 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
Garvin Alston (RP) 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (2.03 ERA, 0.98 WHIP)
McKinley Moore (RP) 0.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K (5.79 ERA, 2.04 WHIP)
Mac Welsh (RP) 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP)
Samil Polanco (SS) 2-for-5, R, 2B (6), SB (3), K (.267 BA, .636 OPS)
Bryan Ramos (3B) 1-for-4, R, HR, RBI (13), K, CS (3) (.304 BA, .883 OPS) **MVP**
D.J. Gladney (DH) 2-for-4, RBI (16) (.321 BA, .893 OPS)
Tyler Osik (1B) 2-for-4, 2 K (.317 BA, .819 OPS)
Misael Gonzalez (LF) 1-for-4, 2 K (.197 BA, .465 OPS)
James Beard (CF) 0-for-4, 3 K, SB (5) (.188 BA, .511 OPS

The Athletics Green squad took a page from their major league counterparts by scoring a couple of runs against the Sox in the very first inning off Hector Acosta. D.J. Gladney, who’s had an outstanding rookie campaign, cut the lead by half in the third inning with an RBI single, plating Samil Polanco. After the Athletics countered with a run in the top of the fourth, the score remained 3-1 until Bryan Ramos slugged his third homer of the season in the fifth inning, to again trim the game to a one-run deficit. The Athletics added an insurance run in the seventh, and ultimately broke the game open in the ninth with a three-spot. The White Sox, after the homer by Ramos, were unable to place any additional tallies to the scoreboard. With the loss, the AZL White Sox fell to 11-16 on the year. On the positive side, Ramos and D.J. Gladney continued their hot hitting — it’ll be fun to see how quickly they progress through the system. The team played errorless ball, which is quite a feat with players so young, and 37th round selection Garvin Alston is continuing to do well out of the bullpen. Finally, former Louisville Cardinal Mac Welsh got an out against the first batter he faced this year.

DSL White Sox 15, DSL Blue Jays 6

Edgar Navarro (SP) W (3-0), 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K (2.57 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)
Jose Jimenez (RP) 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (10.80 ERA, 2.40 WHIP)
Carlos Mola (RP) 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (4.55 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
Christopher Valdez (RP) 2 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K (9.00 ERA, 1.91 WHIP)
Elijah Tatis (2B) 1-for-6, R, BB, K (.208 BA, .560 OPS)
Yolbert Sanchez (SS) 3-for-4, 2 R, RBI (5), BB, SB (1), (.323 BA, .824 OPS)
Benyamin Bailey (LF) 3-for-5, 2 R, BB, SB (10), (.374 BA, 1.016 OPS)
Johnabiell Laureano (CF) 2-for-5, 2 R, RBI (23), BB, SB (5), E (5), (.359 BA, .977 OPS)
Matthew Mercedes (1B) 2-for-5, 3 R, HR (1), 2 RBI (24), BB, K, E (3), (.375 BA, .995 OPS) **MVP**
Roberth Gutierrez (RF) 3-for-5, 3 R, SB (4), (.288 BA, .716 OPS)
Richard Garcia (C) 3-for-4, R, RBI (4), 2 BB, K (.243 BA, .569 OPS)
Anthony Espinoza (3B) 1-for-5, R, 3 RBI (24), (.239 BA, .642 OPS)

Though the DSL Sox only got one extra-base hit (the first homer of the year by Matthew Mercedes), the team kept the scorekeeper busy thanks to a combined 18 hits, eight walks, six errors, and a hit batsman. The first three innings were relatively tame, as the Blue Jays edged out to a 2-1 lead. The Sox, however, scored nine over the following four innings while keeping the Blue Jays in check, to not only take the lead but begin pulling away.

The pitching hero of the game was Edgar Navarro, who dominated by surrendering just one earned run, five hits and one free pass while fanning nine hitters in his first start (a quality start, at that) of the season. Navarro will likely leapfrog the AZL next year if he keeps this up, as he’s relatively old for the league at 21 years of age. While he deserves kudos for a job well done, Navarro wasn’t the only one who merited MVP honors. Six starters enjoyed multiple-hit games, including DSL All-Star outfielders Benyamin Bailey and Johnabiell Laureano. With two hits, including his first homer, Mercedes wins the honors for today — courtesy also of his three runs and two RBIs. While he’s fallen under the radar due to the heroics of Bailey (who, I must admit, would’ve been an ideal teammate of Keon Barnum’s) and Laureano, Mercedes has put together a nice season of his own by slashing .375/.449/.536.