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White Sox Weekly Minor League Update: June 21-27

Micker Adolfo crushes four homers for the Barons, while Taylor Varnell has another fantastic start in Winston-Salem

Yermín Mercedes, perhaps telling Micker Adolfo in spring training, “I’ll take the first half of the season, you take the second.”
Sean Williams/South Side Sox

Charlotte Knights (18-28 - 12 12 GB)

Matt Reynolds .381 BA, 1 HR, 3 XBH, 6 R, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 7 K

Luis González (called up to MLB)
Gavin Sheets .318 BA, 1 XBH, 4 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K
Blake Rutherford .080 BA, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K
Jake Burger .423 BA, 1 HR, 2 XBH, 4 R, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K
Hunter Schryver 2 IP, 9.00 ERA, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 K
Kodi Medeiros 1 23 IP, 10.80 ERA, 1 H, 3 BB, 4 K
Jonathan Stiever 5 IP, 5.40 ERA, 5 H, 0 BB, 6 K
Jimmy Lambert (Did not pitch for Charlotte, appeared in a game for the Sox)
Reynaldo López 8 IP, 7.88 ERA, 14 H, 2 BB, 14 K
Jace Fry 1 13 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K
Tyler Johnson 1 23 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K

The former major leaguers in the Charlotte lineup keep winning MVPs, with Tim Beckham taking the past two and now Matt Reynolds is on the board. Reynolds has 130 games in the bigs, for three different teams. His most recent experience came with the Royals last season, when he appeared in three games and failed to get a hit in 11 tries. He has mostly been in Triple-A since 2014 and bats well there, he just cannot get the same success once he comes to the majors. Reynolds is slashing .306/.413/.452 right now with Charlotte, with most of the slug coming from doubles and a couple of triples. He uses all fields but has been going opposite field a lot this season, about 47% of the time. And with a .414 BABIP, that probably means he is getting lucky quite a bit. Still, June is almost over and Reynolds is doing really well at the plate, including a 15.3% walk rate. He is a shortstop who can play a little third, so with Yoán Moncada and Tim Anderson still healthy, Reynolds does not have a spot with the White Sox right now. But should the need arise, he would be a candidate for a promotion. He is probably behind Beckham in that category, and possibly Jake Burger if the Sox want to role the dice with Burger in the field, but it is not out of the realm of possibility to see Reynolds in Chicago. They do have a totally new outfield because of injury, after all.

MVP Ranks

Gavin Sheets (54.8)
Jake Burger (39.8)
Tim Beckham (36.5)
Mike Wright (27.8)
Marco Hernández (16.5)
Matt Reynolds (14.6)
Mikie Mahtook (13.0)
Adam Engel (12.1)

Cold Cat Ranks

Reynaldo López (-34.8)
Matt Tomshaw (-23.8)
Jonathan Stiever (-13.8)
Félix Paulino (-12.8)
Ryan Burr (-12.6)
Seby Zavala (-12.3)
Blake Rutherford (-12.1)
Nate Nolan (-11.0)
Zack Burdi (-10.9)
Connor Sadzeck (-10.1)

Birmingham Barons (27-20 - 1 GA)

Micker Adolfo .333 BA, 4 HR, 5 XBH, 6 R, 8 RBI, 5 BB, 6 K

Romy González .053 BA, 1 R, 3 BB, 8 K, 1 SB
Konnor Pilkington 10 IP, 4.50 ERA, 4 H, 5 BB, 14 K
Jason Bilous 4 IP, 6.75 ERA, 5 H, 4 BB, 5 K
Andrew Perez 2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K
Bennett Sousa 3 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 0 BB, 5 K
Kade McClure 5 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 H, 1 BB, 8 K

After a down week last week, Micker Adolfo and the Barons are back on top. Birmingham is back in the division lead, and Adolfo hit four homers in six games including the walk-off above and a grand slam — he is a very strong man, to say the least. What makes this week different than other good ones, though, is Adolfo’s plate discipline. He had five walks over those six games (walked at least once in four games) and really cut down on the strikeouts (for him, at least), only recording a strikeout in three of the six games. Now, it is just six games of this approach, but Adolfo’s BB-rate is down 5% compared to 2019 in Double-A and that has given some cause for concern, because his K-rate is still at 35%. Adolfo also did not have a homer with the Barons in 23 games, and maybe he is being more aggressive at the plate — is a good trade off, but why not have both? Power will always be Adolfo’s key statistic and the .290 ISO is great, but the amount of strikeouts he is getting in Double-A is a concern. Hopefully this week is the start of something. If it is, Adolfo very well may be in Charlotte sooner rather than later, or maybe ... with the Diamondbacks? I do not mention fielding a lot, because it is tough to get a read on that, but in right field Adolfo has three assists, which means his arm is still good after those Tommy John surgeries. Maybe it is not what it was back in 2017, but a strong right-field arm is a positive thing to see.

MVP Ranks

Konnor Pilkington (28.0)
Kade McClure (26.9)
Ti’quan Forbes (18.6)
Micker Adolfo (16.2)
Ofriedy Gómez (12.9)
Jameson Fisher (10.5)

Cold Cat Ranks
Ian Dawkins (-32.7)
J.B. Olson (-22.2)
Alec Hansen (-19.0)
Craig Dedelow (-15.2)

Winston-Salem Dash (22-26 - 10 GB)

Taylor Varnell 5 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 2 BB, 9 K

Yolbert Sánchez .375 BA, 2 HR, 4 R, 10 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K
Lenyn Sosa .500 BA, 1 HR, 4 XBH, 5 R, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 7 K
Luis Curbelo .286 BA, 5 XBH, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K
Yoelqui Céspedes .160 BA, 1 HR, 6 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 9 K
Bryce Bush Did not play (shoulder injury)
Caleb Freeman 2 IP, 9.00 ERA, 3 H, 3 BB, 1 K

Taylor Varnell is back to his shutout ways this week. He started off the season with four scoreless appearances, and has added two more since then. Varnell’s start this past week was probably his best start of the year. He had a season-high nine strikeouts and only allowed one hit. Compared to his 2019 season with Winston-Salem, Varnell is striking out more batters and walking fewer, a good combination, and it has resulted in a 2.03 ERA. If not for a stellar Birmingham rotation, Varnell probably would have gotten a promotion already, because he has been dominating the competition in High-A so far this season.

It would be remiss to not mention the weeks and seasons of Yolbert Sánchez and Lenyn Sosa as well. After this week, Sánchez now has a wRC+ above average, at 108, which is a good sign to see from a guy who specializes in defense. This past week Sánchez became a run producer, with 10 RBIs and a couple of homers. He has split between second and shortstop this season, too. For Sosa, if not for a big start from Varnell, the .500-hitting Sosa should have been the MVP of the week. So far this season he also has a 108 wRC+, but Sosa’s comes with a bit more power, fewer walks, and more strikeouts compared to Sánchez. The pair is basically switching playing time at second and short as the Sox figure out which position best suits them; right now it is Sosa who is getting more time at short.

MVP Ranks

Taylor Varnell (38.0)
Yolbert Sánchez (21.0) (from off the list last week, to nearly the W-S MVP ...)
Johan Dominguez (20.2)
Jason Bilous (19.6)
Luis Curbelo (17.5)
Ian Dawkins (16.4)
Evan Skoug (15.6)
Travis Moniot (13.6)
Davis Martin (11.0)
Alex Destino (10.9)

Cold Cat Ranks

Lázaro Leal (-21.8)
Duke Ellis (-21.0)
Cooper Bradford (-17.5)
Wilber Perez (-17.0)
Bryce Bush (-12.2)
Edgar Navarro (-11.6)
Caleb Freeman (-10.3)

Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (15-32 - 13 12 GB)

Harvin Mendoza .429 BA, 1 HR, 2 XBH, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K

James Beard: .500 BA, 2 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
José Rodríguez .182 BA, 2 XBH, 4 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 3 SB
Bryan Ramos .227 BA, 1 HR, 5 R, 6 RBI, 5 BB, 9 K, 3 SB
DJ Gladney .083 BA, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K
Chase Krogman .063 BA, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K
Lency Delgado .250 BA, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K
Luis Mieses .261 BA, 1 HR, 3 XBH, 4 R, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K
Bailey Horn 3 13 IP, 5.40 ERA, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K
Andrew Dalquist 7 23 IP, 3.52 ERA, 6 H, 5 BB, 11 K
McKinley Moore 3 23 IP, 2.45 ERA, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 K
Yoelvin Silven Did not pitch
Matthew Thompson Did not pitch
Jared Kelley Did not pitch (on the IL)

Harvin Mendoza had a very tough time in Winston-Salem. He couldn’t really barrel the ball or hit fly balls, and was demoted after 16 games, with a 63 wRC+. What really was his saving grace was a 14% walk rate, which is why his OBP looked all right compared to everything else. So far in Kannapolis, Mendoza is slashing .278/.376/.367 for a 114 wRC+. Power will never be in Mendoza’s game so the slugging number is not that important, but he is doing much better with weaker pitching. Mendoza is using all fields, which is something you want to do when you cannot hit homers, and he is still walking at a good clip (about 13%). Mendoza’s BABIP is at .339, which is probably what it needs to be for Mendoza to have a good season. And he is not the only demoted player doing much better now.

Since Luis Mieses was sent down to Low-A, he has a 112 wRC+ as he has cut down on his strikeouts by about 12% and putting more balls and hits in play. Both Mieses and Mendoza came in with some regard, Mendoza for his success in rookie ball and Mieses because of his past pedigree in the White Sox Top 30 prospect lists. Both have underwhelmed overall, but hopefully High-A was just too much for them and they will get it right in Kannapolis.

MVP Ranks

José Rodríguez (56.6)
Luis Mieses (23.9)
Bailey Horn (14.8)
DJ Gladney (11.6)
Bryan Ramos (11.5)

Cold Cat Ranks

Marcus Evey (-29.7)
Martin Carrasco (-15.6)
Yoelvin Silven (-15.2)
Garvin Alston Jr. (-13.8)
Lency Delgado (-11.8)
Jared Kelley (-10.2)

White Sox Organizational All-Stars

Catcher Evan Skoug, Winston-Salem Dash
First Base Gavin Sheets, Charlotte Knights
Second Base Yolbert Sánchez, Winston-Salem Dash
Third Base Jake Burger, Charlotte Knights
Shortstop José Rodríguez, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Left Field Luis Mieses, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Center Field Mikie Mahtook, Charlotte Knights
Right Field Micker Adolfo, Birmingham Barons
Designated Hitter Tim Beckham, Charlotte Knights

Bench (1B-3B) Ti’quan Forbes, Birmingham Barons
Bench (3B) Luis Curbelo, Winston-Salem Dash
Bench (2B) Marco Hernández, Charlotte Knights
Bench (SS) Matt Reynolds, Charlotte Knights
Bench (OF-1B-2B) Travis Moniot, Winston-Salem Dash
Bench (CF) Adam Engel, Charlotte Knights
Bench (3B) DJ Gladney, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Bench (2B) Bryan Ramos, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Bench (OF) Alex Destino, Winston-Salem Dash
Bench (1B) Jameson Fisher, Birmingham Barons

Left-Handed Starting Pitcher Taylor Varnell, Winston-Salem Dash (**Pitching MVP**)
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher Konnor Pilkington, Birmingham Barons
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher Mike Wright, Charlotte Knights
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher Jason Bilous, Birmingham Barons
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher Kade McClure, Birmingham Barons

Right-Handed Relief Pitcher Johan Dominguez, Winston-Salem Dash
Left-Handed Relief Pitcher Bailey Horn, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher Ofriedy Gómez, Birmingham Barons
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher Davis Martin, Winston-Salem Dash

South Side Sox Writer Standings