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White Sox Minor League Update: August 10, 2019

A tale of two nail-biting wins: Roy Hobbs redux in Charlotte, and pitching majesty in the Dominican

Welcome, welcome, welcome: After a pedestrian season in Birmingham, Ramón Torres (pictured here being fruitful with the Omaha Storm Chasers) has taken a slice out of the Eloy Jiménez playbook in Charlotte.
Minda Haas Kuhlmann/Flickr

Charlotte Knights 1, Lehigh Valley IronPigs 0

Ramón Torres (SS) 2-for-3, R, RBI (7), 2B (3), HR (3) (.688 BA, 2.126 OPS)

Matt Tomshaw (SP) 6 IP, H, 3 BB, 4 K, 94 pitches/59 strikes (5.49 ERA)

Hunter Schryver (RP) IP, BB, 3 K, Sv (1), 18 pitches/12 strikes (4.32 ERA)
Nick Madrigal (2B) 1-for-4 (.235 BA, .524 OPS)
Luis Robert (CF) 0-for-4, K (.296 BA, .958 OPS)
Daniel Palka (RF) 0-for-1, 3 BB (.277 BA, .934 OPS)
Zack Collins (DH) 1-for-3, 2B (16), BB, K (.273 BA, .900 OPS)

Hello, Ramón Torres, where have you been all of our lives? The 26-year-old shortstop, a free agent pickup from the Kansas City Royals this spring, produced utterly pedestrian stats in 58 games with the Birmingham Barons this season — and saying so might be an insult to pedestrians. But in Charlotte, in just four games, Torres has three doubles, three homers and a .688/.688/1.438 slash that has made Luis Robert (0-for-4 tonight, batting average now dipping below .300) shrink in fear and envy. Matt Tomshaw pitched six innings of one-hit ball and is justifiably furious at losing out at MVP honor; sorry Tomshaw, you might just have too much time on your hands if you’re wringing them over SSS MVPs. The difference tonight was Torres’ eighth-inning solo shot, a juicy 1-1 poke out to right off of JD Hammer, who had just entered the game.

Birmingham Barons 4, Montgomery Biscuits 2

Blake Battenfield (SP) 5 23 IP, 3 H, BB, 6 K, W (5-4), 91 pitches/59 strikes (4.34 ERA)

Gavin Sheets (1B) 2-for-4, R, HR (15), RBI (71) (.270 BA, .763 OPS)

Joel Booker (LF) 1-for-4, R, HR (3), 2 RBI (25) (.254 BA, .641 OPS)
Codi Heuer (RP) IP, Sv (8), 11 pitches/7 strikes (2.14 ERA)
Luis Basabe (RF) 2-for-4, 2B (9) (.250 BA .665 OPS)

Entering the game some 22 games behind the Biscuits, you wouldn’t have been dumb for imagining this game to be another easy B-ham defeat. But, heh, baseball, you’d have been wrong. You would have ignored the mustachioed majesty of Blake (née Blakely) Battenfield, who buttered the Biscuits for nigh six innings. You’d have yawned through another ding-dong off the bat of Gavin Sheets — better yet, an eighth inning solo shot that gave untouchable closer Codi Heuer a two-run pad with which to play after the MoBis had narrowed the game to one run in the top of the frame.

Fayetteville Woodpeckers 5, Winston-Salem Dash 4

Tate Blackman (2B) 1-for-4, R, HR (4), 3 RBI (24), 2 K (.196 BA, .610 OPS)

Will Kincanon (RP) 2 IP, 3 K, E (4), 29 pitches/21 strikes (1.84 ERA)

Johan Cruz (SS) 1-for-4, 3 K, E (6) (.234 BA, .678 OPS)
Jameson Fisher (DH) 2-for-4, 2B (27), RBI (36), K (.243 BA .715 OPS)
Jonathan Stiever (SP) 3 IP, 4 H, BB, 3 K, 79 pitches/46 strikes (2.38 ERA)
Bennett Sousa (RP) 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 3 K, L (1-2), 39 pitches/26 strikes (3.00 ERA)
Jake Elliott (RP) 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R/0 ER, BB, BS (2), WP (5.00 ERA)

This ballgame started out OK, then really stunk, then got very exciting at the end before ... heartache. Jonathan Stiever escaped with a decent line but really walked the tightrope tonight, taking 79 pitches to get through just three innings. That placed a bit of a burden on the bullpen, and they did not respond. Bennett Sousa was pressed into a longer outing and yielded two earned (after he left the game) and earned the loss to boot; Jake Elliott took on two as well, giving up three runs and blowing the save, although none of his runs were earned due to a Johan Cruz error that started the seventh. Will Kincanon kept the game close for his two innings, silencing his nemesis Woodpeckers boo-birds, and seriously, can we started short-listing the Cannon among the organization’s top short men by now; brother’s been pure butter. OK, to the ninth, two out, two on, and boomshackalacka Tate Blackman goes yard on a 3-1 pitch to sneak the Dash to within one. And the fun didn’t stop there, as next batter JJ Muno walked to bring the winning run to the plate. Steele Walker grounded out to first to roll the credits on a gutting, fall-from-ahead loss.

Delmarva Shorebirds 5, Kannapolis Intimidators 1

Wilber Perez (RP) 3 IP, 2 H, BB, 3 K, WP, 46 pitches/30 strikes (2.55 ERA)

Romy González (3B) 1-for-3, BB, SB (9), BB, 2 K (.259 BA, .721 OPS)

Jason Bilous (SP) 5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, L (5-7), WP, HBP, 86 pitches/58 strikes (3.36 ERA)
Cameron Simmons (LF) 0-for-4, 3 K (.205 BA, .597 OPS)

Both A-games today were pretty blah, but at least W-S rallied for some excitement at the end; Kanny was toast almost from first pitch, and was no-hit through six innings. Jason Bilous was pitching to contact today, in what may have been his worst start of the year (hey, even after five earned in five innings, his ERA swelled to just 3.36). Just three hits for the I’s along with four walks could not counter an ugly 13 strikeouts. Let’s just move on, people.

Great Falls Voyagers 3, Grand Junction Rockies 2

Jason Morgan (SP) 7 13 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, 3 K, W (2-4), 84 pitches/53 strikes (5.19 ERA)

Sammy Peralta (RP) 1 23 IP, H, BB, 4 K, Sv (1), WP, 33 pitches/21 strikes (2.00 ERA)

Luis Mieses (RF) 1-for-3, scored eventual winning run (.274 BA, .707 OPS)
Kelvin Maldonado (2B) 1-for-3, RBI (12), K (.253 BA, .606 OPS)

Wild pitch offense for the win! Yep, not only did Great Falls complete a come-from-behind win, but they did so with the classic wild pitch offense: Luis Mieses scampering home when Trysten Barlow let loose a doozy with two outs in the seventh. Otherwise, the Voyagers offense was somewhat hilariously inept: three hits (none for extra bases), one walk against seven Ks. Clearly, things are trending nicely for Jason Morgan, with his best outing of the year in this dominant start, and the longest outing of his pro career by an impressive four outs. He’s allowed two or fewer earned runs, and earned quality starts, in four of his last five games.

AZL Cubs1 10, AZL White Sox 2

José Rodriguez (SS) 1-for-4, R, HR (8), RBI (24), SB (5) (.291 BA, .843 OPS)

Joseph Jarneski (RP) 2 IP, 2 K (1.66 ERA)

Justin Friedman (SP) 4 IP, 12 H, 9 ER, 2 K, HR, L (3-3) (4.97 ERA)
DJ Gladney (1B) 0-for-4, K (.271 BA, .776 OPS)
Garvin Alson (RP) IP, BB, K, (3.00 ERA)

In 11 career pro games, Justin Friedman has never surrendered more than three earned runs, and at that, just once. Tonight, he tripled that, and it was just that kind of crosstown AZL game. Can we just leave it at that? Let’s just leave it at that. Oh, but DJ Gladney played his second career game at first base.

DSL White Sox 5, DSL Arizona Diamondbacks1 0

Ray Castro (SP) 4 IP, H, BB, 8 K, HBP (1.85 ERA)

Manuel Veloz (RP) 3 IP, H, 6 K, Sv (3) (0.92 ERA)

Jefferson Mendoza (DH) 2-for-5, R, RBI (20), 2 K, SB (1) (.354 BA, .999 OPS)
Juan Mercedes (LF) 0-for-3, 2 BB, 3 K, E (1) (.248 BA, .664 OPS)
Lazaro Leal (RF) 2-for-3, R, 2B (11), 2 BB (.222 BA, .701 OPS)
Daneuris Lagrange (RP) 2 IP, BB, 3 K, W (2-0) (5.91 ERA)

Let’s just explain this stirring win thusly: White Sox pitching recorded 17 strikeouts against just two walks and two hits; Arizona pitchers threw eight wild pitches. And yet, the game truly wasn’t in hand through eight innings, as the White Sox led by a slim 2-0 margin. But in the ninth, just one hit led to three DSL Sox runs (oh, and two errors, three wild pitches and a walk). DSL, baby. As terrific as breakout stars like Benyamin Bailey and Ronaldo Guzman have been, don’t sleep on Ray Castro or Manuel Veloz — both have had extraordinary seasons on the mound.