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White Sox Minor League Update: July 29, 2019

Yermín Mercedes tries something new; a trio of Barons homer; Alex Destino has the bat of destiny

Mercedes waits for a special phone call
Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights

Charlotte Knights 6, Norfolk Tides 5

Odrisamer Despaigne: 5 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
Zach Thompson: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (BS, 2)(W, 5-1)
Thyago Vieira: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K (S, 8)
Luis Robert (CF): 1-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 K
Danny Mendick (2B): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
Daniel Palka (DH): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Yermín Mercedes (3B?!?): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K **MVP**
Zack Collins (1B): 0-for-4, 1 K
Seby Zavala (C): 0-for-2, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K

The Knights’ large, exuberant son Yermín Mercedes stepped out from behind the plate, out of the designated hitter role, and straight into the hot corner, what appears to be his first time ever playing third base as a professional. Obviously, the Sox are trying to get creative and find a way for him to be more than a bat-only player in the majors, because while the bat is there, the defense is perhaps a little less than there. No errors for Yermín in his debut, and he also absolutely decimated a baseball, so. Experiment successful, funding extended.

Other people also did stuff, like Luis Robert, that rascal, who hit an RBI single and made the following catch.

Daniel also Palked out with his 20th dinger of the year. Seby Zavala was hitless but walked twice. Jacob Scavuzzo and Danny Mendick both hit doubles.

On the mound, Odrisamer Despaigne gave up an impressive 11 hits over five innings and only allowed four runs. Zach Thompson vultured his way into the blown save/win combo. Thyago Vieira struck out all but two of the batters he faced in two innings.

Birmingham Barons 6, Montgomery Biscuits 2

John Parke: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (W, 3-1)
Nick Madrigal (2B): 1-for-4
Luis Alexander Basabe (DH): 1-for-4, 1 R, 2 K
Blake Rutherford (LF): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K
Gavin Sheets (1B): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Luis González (CF): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 CS **MVP**
Alfredo González (C): 3-for-3, 2 2B, 1 E

John Parke threw perhaps his best start yet for the Barons, who devoured the Biscuits 6-2. On June 29, Parke went seven innings as well, but gave up four hits and walked one. Today, he gave up just three hits and walked zip. Parke has seen his strikeouts bump up a little in Double-A, a pitcher’s league, and correspondingly has seen his home runs allowed percentage dip. The rest of his peripherals are pretty similar to what they have been, though, and he’s now lowered his ERA to 2.57 over 42 innings. In relief, Luis Martinez allowed two runs in one inning, but Danny Dopico added another scoreless inning to his many scoreless innings of work this year; he came into today with an ERA of 2.20 and FIP of 2.63.

Nick Madrigal is batting .350/.409/.463 over 41 games with the Barons. Luis Basabe seems to be slowly putting something together, although he’s running out of time this season to really get on a role. Blake Rutherford and Gavin Sheets both had one hit apiece, for Rutherford his seventh home run and for Sheets his 13th. Luis González added his sixth, a two-run blast in the ninth, and finished a mere triple and also single away from the cycle.

Kannapolis Intimidators 4, Greensboro Grasshoppers 0

Jason Bilous: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K (W, 4-6)
Wilber Perez: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K (S, 4)
Ian Dawkins (CF): 1-for-5, 1 SB
Lenyn Sosa (SS): 0-for-4, 1 BB, 2 K
Andrew Vaughn (1B): 0-for-3, 1 R, 1 HBP
Alex Destino (DH): 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 HBP **MVP**
Amado Nuñez (2B): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K

It is usually good, when you are in the designated hitter slot, to hit two dingers in one game. And, indeed, this was true today, as Alex Destino donged two baseballs out of here and was responsible for 75% of the team’s runs (the other another home run, off the bat of Amado Nuñez). Andrew Vaughn is experiencing one of the first rough patches of his young career, but also, his OBP is still .388 so let’s not fret at this time. Ian Dawkins did not hit a double today, but he has hit 30 on the season, in case you were wondering.

Jason Bilous, last year’s 13th-round draft pick, has been walking an absurd number of batters this year but is doing a great job at not giving up a lot of hits and not letting many of those baserunners score. He’s switched from a bullpen role to starting over the last month and a half, and has had some encouraging results, including today’s terrific outing. Wilber Perez, just 21 years old, handled his three innings nicely and has a 2.72 ERA over 53 innings this year.

Billings Mustangs 7, Great Falls Voyagers 2

Dan Metzdorf: 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (L, 0-1)
Sammy Peralta: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Caberea Weaver (CF): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 K
Luis Mieses (LF): 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K **MVP**
Iván González (C): 1-for-3, 1 2B
Kelvin Maldonado (SS): 1-for-3

Dan Metzdorf gave up a home run three batters into the ballgame and the Voyagers never recovered, although Metzdorf was able to pitch the equivalent of three scoreless innings afterwards, thanks to inducing no outs before the home run. The bullpen was also dinged, Kaleb Roper giving up three runs and walking three in two innings, and Sammy Peralta giving up one run over three innings. Rigo Fernandez got one out with no problem to finish it out from the pitching side of things.

Caberea Weaver led off the Voyagers half of the first by both reaching and then advancing all the way to third base on an error by the right fielder. He then scored on Joshua Rivera’s sacrifice fly. Luis Mieses’ 420-foot home run in the fourth was the only other Great Falls run.

AZL Dodgers Mota 7, AZL White Sox 6

Justin Friedman: 4 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Justin O’Conner: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
James Beard (CF): 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 K, 1 E
Bryan Ramos (3B): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
DJ Gladney (DH): 0-for-4, 4 K
José Rodriguez (2B): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 SB
Tyler Osik (1B): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E
Anthony Coronado (LF): 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI **MVP**

The AZL squad put up a valiant effort, but also gave up three runs in the last three innings for the loss. Two Justins appeared for the Sox with varying results, 26th-rounder Friedman with one of his only less-than-good outings and O’Conner, a career light-hitting catcher making the conversion to the mound, with one perfect inning. Vladimir Nuñez, Jr. earned the loss after allowing two home runs in three innings, although he did strike out four, and McKinley Moore also gave up a run in his inning.

The team’s first run came in the second off the bat of Anthony Coronado, who hit his first home run and scored Tyler Osik with two outs. James Beard hit his second home run of the year in the fifth inning. In the sixth, Bryan Ramos hit his eighth double and José Rodriguez doubled him in, then stole third. Osik’s groundout drove him in. They almost had something going in the ninth with one out, when Coronado doubled and Gabriel Ortiz singled him to third to put runners on the corners, but fell just short; Josue Guerrero hit a sac fly to make it 6-5, but Beard struck out to end the game.

DSL Diamondbacks1 6, DSL White Sox 3

Carlos Mola: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (L, 3-4)
Johnabiell Laureano (CF): 1-for-4, 1 K
Yolbert Sánchez (SS): 0-for-3, 1 BB
Benyamin Bailey (LF): 0-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E
Jefferson Mendoza (DH): 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 3 K
Luis Pineda (C): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K **MVP**
Roberth Gutierrez (RF): 1-for-2, 1 3B, 1 BB, 1 K

The DSL Sox held a slim lead until the fourth, but dropped this one to their Diamondbacks1 counterpart. It’s almost 50 games into the season, the point at which we might forgive seeing performance dips in the heat of a long summer. It’s wild, taking that into consideration, seeing guys like Johnabiell Laureano and Jefferson Mendoza just continue to rake. Benyamin Bailey went hitless today but, naturally, drew a walk, although he also made an error that led to an unearned run. Catcher Luis Pineda has had limited playing time behind Mendoza, who DH-ed today, and Jhoneiker Betancourt, who is also getting limited time despite hitting .348/.489/.493, because the White Sox only pay for one DSL team instead of two like many other franchises do. In any event, Pineda made the best of today’s appearance, going deep in the ninth to keep hope alive for a few more batters.

Starter Carlos Mola is in his first full DSL season, pitching mostly out of the bullpen. He’s had mixed results, but if you’re 6’4”, 190 at age 18, it’s not unreasonable to give you a chance. Mola also has a 1.96 BB/9, which is pretty incredible for the DSL. Cristopher Valdez pitched an inning and two thirds and gave up two runs, and Edgar Navarro finished things up with a one-batter, one-out appearance.