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White Sox Weekly Minor League Update: Week 17

Zack Collins, DJ Gladney, and Jonathan Stiever keep on dominating — but it’s also time to look at the young bullpen arms again

Quality start machine: Jonathan Stiever continues dominating at Winston-Salem.

Charlotte Knights

Yermin Mercedes: .462 BA, 1 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K
Zack Collins: .563 BA, 5 R, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 2 K ***MVP of the Week***
Seby Zavala: .125 BA, 1 HR, 2 BB, 8 K
Danny Mendick: .300 BA, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 9 K, 4 SB
Luis Robert: .381 BA, 6 R, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 SB
Matt Foster: 4 IP, 1.38 FIP, 13.5 K/9, 2.25 BB/9
Carson Fulmer: 4 2/3 IP, -0.65 FIP, 19.29 K/9, 0.00 BB/9

It’s time to look at the most overlooked prospect category: relievers. There are a couple of note for the Charlotte Knights, starting with Matt Foster. The righty started out in Double-A this season and was amazing. In 9 23 innings, he did not allow a run, so Foster was promoted to Charlotte, with the MLB ball — and that has not gone as well for him. Foster currently has a 4.05 ERA, with a FIP and xFIP near that mark, as his home runs allowed have skyrocketed. He currently is allowing 1.58 HR/9, and his HR/FB rate has also risen to a career high by 5.6%. What is encouraging, and why Foster is interesting, is that he throws mid- to upper-90s and seems to have good control of his pitches. He has a K-Rate at 29.6% and a BB-rate at 6.8% — both are very good,

The second reliever is a familiar name, and for all the wrong reasons: Carson Fulmer. Though Fulmer has been bad in his time with the White Sox, and his ERA in Triple-A is at 4.50, Fulmer is much better than he was last season. All of his pitches are faster this season compared to last. His curveball, cutter, and fastball each gained spin (RPMs) and moved more, whether it was horizontally, vertically, or both. But the results were never there — better than last season, but not good enough. You can say Fulmer was never put in a great position when he was with the White Sox, and if you believe that, some stats in Triple-A help prove your point. Fulmer stood at a 13.78 K/9 with a 3.07 FIP before his latest call-up to the White Sox, and he has been much better lately, especially with his command.

Birmingham Barons

Gavin Sheets: .227 BA, 2 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 7 K
Nick Madrigal: .276 BA, 3 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 3 SB
Luis Gonzalez: .261 BA, 3 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 SB
Luis Basabe: .250 BA, 3 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 SB
Blake Rutherford: .150 BA, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 5 K
Alec Hansen: 5 IP, 4.89 FIP, 3.6 K/9, 7.2 BB/9
Tyler Johnson: 3 IP, 2.62 FIP, 12.0 K/9, 6.0 BB/9
Codi Heuer: 3 13 IP, 2.99 FIP, 5.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9
Kodi Medeiros: 1 IP, 20.29 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 18.0 BB/9
Blake Battenfield: 7 IP, 3.29 FIP, 3.86 K/9, 1.29 BB/9
Lincoln Henzman: 10 IP, 6.49, 2.7 K/9, 2.7 BB/9
Matt Tomshaw: 14 IP, 2.07 FIP, 11.57 K/9, 1.29 BB/9 ***MVP of the Week***

In Birmingham, there are a few relievers to keep an eye on, Alec Hansen is not one of them at this point, at least until he proves he can control his pitches.

The first and maybe the best reliever in the system is Tyler Johnson. He took a while to make his debut this season because of a lat injury, but he already is doing Tyler Johnson things. Johnson has some command rust, with a little higher walk rate than 2018 with Winston-Salem; however, his strikeout numbers are right where they were last season. It is a little early to gather exactly how Johnson is doing right now, but he has a 13.5 K/9, 3.37 BB/9, and a 2.51 FIP so far among three levels this season.

Codi Heuer is next up, and he has had somewhat of a breakout season. Heuer was a starter out of college, and continued as one last year, in his first pro season. Heuer was promoted from Winston-Salem after posting a 2.01 FIP with great control numbers with a 5.38 K/BB. So far with Birmingham, the strikeouts are not there but the success still is. With just a 6.19 K/9 but still with a low BB rate at 2.25 BB/9, Heuer still has a 2.66 FIP and has not allowed a home run all season. The decrease in strikeouts is a concern, but Heuer has shown to be a true ground ball pitcher, with a GB-rate better than 60% this season, because of his sinker. FanGraphs also notes he has a cutter as well — and a sinker-cutter combo is also what Aaron Bummer relies on.

Last but not least is Kodi Medeiros, who was converted from a starter this season. Since becoming a full-time reliever on June 9, Medeiros has a 2.02 ERA — much better than his 7.75 ERA as a starter. Medeiros has struck out more batters, but his command is still poor, with a 16.4% BB-rate. A rate that high, coupled with a HR/9 at 1.0, has led to an also-poor 4.75 FIP. What has kept Medeiros’ time as a reliever afloat is a .128 batting average against thanks to a .143 BABIP. Medeiros also has not been a traditional reliever yet. A majority of his outings have been for multiple innings, as he transitions to his new role. If you remember when Medeiros was acquired, many reports said that his turn to the bullpen was inevitable. Those reports came true, with some positive results.

Winston-Salem Dash

Steele Walker: .167 BA, 1 HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K
Andrew Perez: 2 IP, 3.89 FIP, 4.5 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Jacob Lindgren: 3 IP, 2.06 FIP, 6.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Bennett Sousa: 3 13 IP, 6.39 FIP, 8.1 K/9, 2.7 BB/9
Jonathan Stiever: 6 IP, 1.39 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9 ***MVP of the Week***
Konnor Pilkington: 8 23 IP, 4.08 FIP, 3.12 K/9, 3.12 BB/9
Kade McClure: 6 IP, 2.56 FIP, 6.0 K/9, 1.5 BB/9

Like Birmingham, there are also three relievers for Winston-Salem to look at. And again, one of them is just returning from injury (Jacob Lindgren), and he still has a long way to go. After not pitching in a professional game since 2016, Lindgren finally got on the mound this year. There aren’t many reports, if any, about his time so far, but it seems like his control is all right, with a 1.93 BB/9. On the bad side, Lindgren’s K-rate is way down. Obviously, he has not had game action in three years, so it is impossible for Lindgren to on top of his game, but it’s notable. Lindgren should still be in play for time in Chicago next season.

Andrew Perez, another lefty, was a high draft pick in 2018 (8th) and has steadily moved up the organization since then. He currently has a 1.80 ERA in Winston-Salem, but his K-BB rate has fallen 16.3% because of the better competition. This also happened last season: When Perez was called up from rookie ball, his K-BB fell from 31.8% to 9.9%. The hope is that when Perez returns to the Dash next season, his stats will improve just like they did with the Intimidators from the end of 2018 to the beginning of 2019.

Bennett Sousa is the last reliever who commands some extra notice. He was drafted two rounds later and is two years older than Perez, but is still good so far and is on the same trajectory. So far in Sousa’s career, his control has been fantastic. In 83 23 innings as a professional, he has only walked 17 batters, hit three, and has thrown four wild pitches. That has led to a 5.1% BB-rate in about one-and-a-half seasons. Sousa had been a reliever with a K/9 higher than 9.0 in every stint until his time with the Dash so far, and he has certainly gotten very lucky. Sousa’s fly ball rate is near 60%, and he is giving up 2.25 HR/9. All three of those things is why Sousa has a 5.77 FIP, but a 2.81 ERA at the same time.

Kannapolis Intimidators

Andrew Vaughn: .217 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K (promoted to Winston-Salem)
Camilo Quinteiro: .158 BA, 1 R, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 7 K, 1 SB
Ian Dawkins: .250 BA, 2 R, 6 RBI, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 SB
Lenyn Sosa: .211 BA, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
Alex Destino: .348 BA, 2 HR, 4 R, 10 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K
Davis Martin: 6 IP, 1.68 FIP, 10.5 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 ***MVP of the Week***
Jason Bilous: 5 IP, 1.91 FIP, 12.6 K/9, 3.6 BB/9

Great Falls Voyagers

Harvin Mendoza: .391 BA, 1 HR, 6 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K
Caberea Weaver: .182 BA, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K
Lency Delgado: .407 BA, 1 HR, 6 R, 10 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K ***MVP of the Week***
Luis Mieses: .261 BA, 1 R, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K
Dan Metzdorf: 3 IP, 7.61 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9
Karan Patel: 4 IP, 2.03 FIP, 13.5 K/9, 2.25 BB/9
Avery Weems: 5 IP, 1.08 FIP, 14.4 K/9, 0.0 BB/9

AZL White Sox

DJ Gladney: .318 BA, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 SB ***MVP of the Week***
José Rodriguez: .200 BA, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 SB
James Beard: .235 BA, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 9 K
Chase Krogman: Did not play last week
Logan Glass: .182 BA, 2 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 6 K
Caleb Freeman: 1 IP, 5.95 FIP, 13.5 K/9, 13.5 BB/9
Bernardo Flores: 12 IP, 4.70 FIP, 9.75 K/9, 0.75 BB/9 (entire rehab assignment)

DSL White Sox

Benyamin Bailey: .235 BA, 4 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K
Yolbert Sánchez : .235 BA, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K
Elijah Tatís : .250 BA, 2 R, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 SB
Anthony Espinoza: .417 BA, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K
Ronaldo Guzman: 4 IP, 2.21 FIP, 20.25 K/9, 9.0 BB/9 ***MVP of the Week***