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White Sox Minor League Weekly Update: July 12-18

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Some big names played well again this week, like Romy González and José Rodríguez, while Jared Kelley is back pitching, and Yolbert Sánchez is heading to the Barons. Oh yeah, Luis Robert is back too.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox
Luis Robert takes a big step forward, officially going a rehab assignment in Winston-Salem.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte Knights (25-39 - 19 GB)

MVP
Luis González .438 BA, 2 HR, 5 R, 5 RBI, 7 BB, 3 K, 3 SB

Yermín Mercedes .348 BA, 2 HR, 5 XBH, 8 R, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K
Blake Rutherford .273 BA, 1 HR, 2 XBH, 3 R, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 SB
Jake Lamb .364 BA, 1 HR, 2 XBH, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Eloy Jiménez .250 BA, 1 HR, 2 XBH, 3 R, 1 BB, 10 K
Hunter Schryver 1 13 IP, 20.25 ERA, 3 H, 2 BB, 1 K
Kodi Medeiros 1 13 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 3 BB, 2 K
Jonathan Stiever 5 IP, 5.40 ERA, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K
Jimmy Lambert 1 IP, 9.00 ERA, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 K
Tyler Johnson 2 13 IP, 23.14 ERA, 5 H, 3 BB, 4 K
Zack Burdi 3 IP, 3.00 ERA, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 K
Matt Foster 1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K (called back to MLB as 27th man, then returned)
Jace Fry 2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 3 H, 2 BB, 2 K

All of a sudden, the White Sox have a glut of talented outfielders, as two of their regulars in Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert are coming back soon to reclaim their spots. It will be tough for Luis González to break into the outfield now, especially with two players who really aren’t outfielders getting a lot of playing time there on the South Side, in Gavin Sheets and Andrew Vaughn. It is unfortunate because González really has been doing well over an extended period of time. From June 22-27, he was in the majors, and though he only had 11 plate appearances he did well. He walked more than he struck out, and hit a couple of doubles. That time in Chicago seems to have made a difference for González’s season because he was hitting .195 in Charlotte before that stint, and is hitting .309 since (160 wRC+). González seems to be seeing pitches a bit better, with an increased walk rate and a decreased K-rate. The BABIP is high at .371, but González also has a .236 ISO, so he is crushing the ball. Over those 16 games, González has four homers and has only struck out five more times (16) than he has walked (11). He is even 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. González clearly is not truly in the outfield rotation any longer, and before June 22 he really wasn’t a trade piece, but maybe about a month’s worth of good games changes one of those things.

MVP Ranks

Jake Burger (60.5)
Gavin Sheets (54.8)
Tim Beckham (44.1)
Mike Wright (26.9)
Luis González (20.1)
Marco Hernández (18.8)
Adam Engel (12.1)
Tanner Banks (11.4)
Deivy Grullón (10.2)
Nick Williams (10.0)

Cold Cat Ranks

Reynaldo López (-32.7)
Matt Tomshaw (-25.5)
Blake Rutherford (-18.5)
Nate Nolan (-18.1)
Tyler Johnson (-17.4)
Jonathan Stiever (-15.9)
Seby Zavala (-15.0)
Félix Paulino (-12.8)
Ryan Burr (-12.6)
Connor Sadzeck (-12.2)


Birmingham Barons (34-31 - 3 GB)

MVP
Romy González .360 BA, 2 HR, 4 XBH, 6 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 7 K, 2 SB

Micker Adolfo .333 BA, 2 HR, 4 XBH, 5 R, 7 RBI, 0 BB, 6 K
Kade McClure 4 IP, 0.00 ERA, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 K
Konnor Pilkington 5 23 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 H, 1 BB, 7 K
Jason Bilous 2 13 IP, 19.29 ERA, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 K
Andrew Perez 1 IP, 27.00 ERA, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K
Bennett Sousa 2 23 IP, 6.75 ERA, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K

It’s back-to-back MVPs for Romy González, who has put together a really nice July so far, slashing .348/.386/.530 in 16 games. He has six extra-base hits over that timespan, along with three stolen bases. González does have a really high BABIP (.455) that should come down hard, but it had been low for his professional career coming into July so there seems to be some statistical correction going on now. Another thing to just keep an eye on is that during this streak of really good bat-to-ball skills is that González is walking about half as much and is still striking out 27% of the time. It really is not a call to panic or say that this streak is not good, but once the season is over this two-three week span won’t be remembered relative to the whole body of work, and those flags may say something about why the White Sox have not promoted González yet.

Let’s also highlight two starters, Kade McClure and Konnor Pilkington. Over the last four starts for McClure (a total of 19 innings), he has only allowed two runs (both of which came in the same game) and struck out 23. He seems to be getting a lot more strikes lately, as he is only walking batters in 6.7% of plate appearances over this timespan. This run of good pitching is a welcome sight, as he had a 5.94 ERA heading into June 26, and he has been able to bring that down to 4.13.

On the other hand, Pilkington has been pretty good all season. He is apparently throwing a bit harder, which is always good, and is doing better in Double-A compared to High-A, which is fantastic. Pilkington is striking out more batters while walking about the same rate. He is getting more outs in general, as his batting average against has fallen just about 100 points. Along with the increased K-rate, Pilkington is getting more grounders, which helps that BAA fall.

If any starters are getting promoted from Birmingham, it should be either Pilkington or McClure.

MVP Ranks

Kade McClure (36.9)
Konnor Pilkington (31.5)
Ti’quan Forbes (26.8)
Carlos Pérez (21.0)
Micker Adolfo (15.4)
Ofriedy Gómez (12.9)
Blake Battenfield (10.1)

Cold Cat Ranks

Ian Dawkins (-32.7)
J.B. Olson (-30.4)
Alec Hansen (-19.0)
JJ Muno (-17.5)
Xavier Fernández (-15.5)
Craig Dedelow (-10.9)


Winston-Salem Dash (26-40 - 19 GB)

MVP
Yolbert Sánchez .313 BA, 1 HR, 2 XBH, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K (promoted to Birmingham)

Lenyn Sosa .182 BA, 1 XBH, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K
Yoelqui Céspedes .238 BA, 1 XBH, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 SB
Bailey Horn 2 IP, 9.00 ERA, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 K
Caleb Freeman 2 IP, 4.50 ERA, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K

Finally, Yolbert Sánchez is going to Double-A, a much more age-appropriate setting after a decent stint with the Dash. While there are some reservations about his bat, Sánchez still did enough to deserve a chance to prove he can be successful against better competition. Let’s start with acknowledging a few priors, Sánchez is a defense-first player who does not have much pop. He does have good speed but according to MLB Pipeline, did not stay in shape during the pandemic, which is very relatable. Sánchez does get the bat on the ball, although not quite like Nick Madrigal; Sánchez strikes out a bit more, and his K-rate right now is about 14%. He really needs to walk more than he does right now (about 7.5% of the time) because he really does need that added walk-rate to get about an average wRC+. With a .286/.340/.387 slash line, Sánchez had a 104 wRC+ at the time of his promotion. That should fall when he goes to Double-A, which is concerning, but again, nobody played last season and he was coming off a 2019 where he only played 29 games and was dealing with coming from Cuba before that; Sánchez’s story is very unique in terms of how little has has played since 2018.

On another note, Luis Robert is back — at least for a rehab assignment. Before the injury, Robert had a 128 OPS+ and was really doing well, even as the home-run power wasn’t there yet. The last time Robert was in Winston-Salem was in 2019, when he had a 306 wRC+ in 19 games.

MVP Ranks

Yolbert Sánchez (52.8)
Taylor Varnell (41.7)
Alex Destino (22.8)
Johan Dominguez (20.7)
Luis Curbelo (19.6)
Jason Bilous (19.6)
Ian Dawkins (18.5)
Evan Skoug (15.1)
Eloy Jiménez (13.1)

Cold Cat Ranks

Kaleb Roper (-23.8)
Wilber Perez (-22.3)
Duke Ellis (-19.3)
Isaiah Carranza (-17.2)
Lázaro Leal (-17.1)
Cooper Bradford (-15.9)
Bryce Bush (-12.2)
Edgar Navarro (-11.8)
Bailey Horn (-11.6)


Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (19-46 - 21 GB)

MVP
José Rodríguez .308 BA, 1 XBH, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K

James Beard: .125 BA, 0 BB, 2 K
Bryan Ramos .125 BA, 1 XBH, 1 R, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K
Luis Mieses .391 BA, 1 XBH, 7 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K
DJ Gladney .250 BA, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 10 K
Chase Krogman .250 BA, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 10 K
Lency Delgado .154 BA, 1 XBH, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 7 K
Drew Dalquist 3 23 IP, 14.73 ERA, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 K
Matthew Thompson 3 IP, 6.00 ERA, 4 H, 0 BB, 3 K
McKinley Moore 2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 3 BB, 4 K
Yoelvin Silven 1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K

Look who it is again: José Rodríguez with another MVP win, though he had some tough competition in this one. Over the past few weeks, Rodríguez has been much better compared to how he ended June. He is putting the ball in play more often, while not really having a high BABIP (.311). Rodríguez is showing good pop and cutting down his strikeouts by a significant margin. Hopefully this trend holds — or even better, he is promoted.

Other guys that did pretty well were Luis Mieses and Chase Krogman. Since the beginning of July, Mieses is hitting .338 and has continued a trend of minimal strikeouts (for him, at least). Since his demotion, Mieses’ strikeouts have fallen about 11%, and while the walks are still low they have ticked up a point. It took a demotion for him to excel, but at least it has finally happened.

Krogman is having a very weird and probably (?) bad season in Kannapolis. He has a 132 wRC+ right now because of very healthy numbers like 17.6% BB-rate and a .212 ISO. He is walking a lot, showing good power — but he also is striking out 41.8% of the time and has a .383 BABIP. Krogman truly is a three-true-outcome player but odds are, the K-rate should increase as he faces tougher pitching. He should probably stay in Kannapolis for the season, and may even start there next season.

Also, just a couple injury notes, Yoelvin Silven is back, along with Matthew Thompson, who had been pitching in the Arizona Complex League.

MVP Ranks

José Rodríguez (80.8)
Luis Mieses (37.6)
Bryan Ramos (30.0)
Chase Krogman (21.1)
Caberea Weaver (21.1)
DJ Gladney (19.4)
Harvin Mendoza (17.1)
Bailey Horn (14.8)

Cold Cat Ranks

Tyson Messer (-31.5)
Marcus Evey (-30.2)
Angel Acevedo (-25.7)
Garvin Alston Jr. (-19.4)
Drew Dalquist (-16.7)
Lency Delgado (-15.6)
Yoelvin Silven (-15.2)
Martin Carrasco (-14.1)
Ty Madrigal (-11.1)
Jared Kelley (-10.2)


ACL White Sox (4-10 7 GB)

MVP
Dilmer Mejía 5 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 K

Benyamin Bailey .100 BA, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 5 K
Bryce Bush (Played in the Complex League on July 2)
Jefferson Mendoza .200 BA, 1 HR, 1 BB, 3 K
Logan Glass .125 BA, 1 XBH, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K
Ronaldo Guzman 2 IP, 4.50 ERA, 1 H, 5 BB, 3 K
Cristian Mena 5 IP, 3.60 ERA, 5 H, 3 BB, 7 K
Jared Kelley 2 IP, 4.50 ERA, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K (On a rehab assignment)

This may be cheating on the ACL White Sox part, as Dilmer Mejía is 24 and playing in rookie ball, but hey, he did pretty well. He has been pitching in the system already, with some innings at both A-ball levels, and he just had a great game last week. There are probably not a ton of pitchers in the rookie leagues who will go five innings in one game, but at age 24, Mejía better. It is tough to see how he stays in the Sox organization after the draft picks start getting placed, but maybe Mejía goes back to somewhere in North Carolina too if other pitchers get promoted.

A pitcher that is a bit more interesting is Cristian Mena. He started the ACL campaign well, but scuffled until this week. Mena also went five innings and has shown decent strikeout stuff so far. He’s only 18, so he will probably be in the ACL for awhile, but he probably has more of a chance to reach the majors than Mejía.

MVP Ranks
Wilber Sánchez (13.2)
Richard García (11.6)
Misael González (10.6)
Dilmer Mejía (10-6)
Homer Cruz (9.1)
Cristian Mena (7.8)
Jagger Rusconi (7.3)
Wilfred Veras (6.6)
The Lightning (5.3)

Cold Cat Ranks

Elijah Tatís (-38.6)
Jacob Gilliland (-10.0)
Jared Kelley (-8.8)
Anthony Espinoza (-7.1)
Johanbiell Laureano (-6.6)
Vince Arobio (-5.7)
Karan Patel (-5.4)


DSL White Sox (3-2 1 GB)

MVP
Randel Mondesi .500 BA, 1 XBH, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 SB

Manuel Guariman .250 BA, 1 R , 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
Dario Borrero .364 BA, 1 XBH, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
Victor Quezada .111 BA, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K
Norge Vera (Has not played yet)
Adrian Gil 3 IP, 3.00 ERA, 5 H, 0 BB, 4 K

The DSL is back! This time, without as much fanfare compared with previous seasons. Norge Vera is by far and away the best name here, as he is rated as the seventh-best prospect in the White Sox system according to MLB Pipeline and is 14th on FanGraphs. He is a right-handed pitcher with a low-90s fastball, but that could change as he matures. He also had an above-average curve and slider, and MLB Pipeline notes a decent change as well. It will be a long time before he even gets close to Chicago, though, like every other player on this team — even though he is 21.

The other guys of note are all recent signings (all bonus money comes from a James Fox Future Sox post). Victor Quezada, a third baseman, got $525,000 bonus, the third-most after Céspedes and Vera. Manuel Guariman, a catcher, came in with a slightly-lower bonus. To round it out, outfielder Dario Barrero received $350,000, and then right-handed pitcher Adrian Gil got a quarter-million dollars. These players are all teenagers, so get to know them — they will be around for awhile.

MVP Ranks

Randel Mondesi (9.0)
Emerson Talavera (7.2)
Carlos Gomez (7.0)
DSL Intern (5.9)
Carlos Hinestroza (5.6)

Cold Cat Ranks

Alberto Bernal (-14.4)
Victor Quezada (-8.1)


White Sox Organizational All-Stars

Catcher Carlos Pérez, Birmingham Barons
First Base Gavin Sheets, Charlotte Knights
Second Base Yolbert Sánchez, Birmingham Barons
Third Base Jake Burger, Charlotte Knights
Shortstop José Rodríguez, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (**Player MVP**)
Left Field Alex Destino, Winston-Salem Dash
Center Field Caberea Weaver, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Right Field Luis Mieses, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Designated Hitter Tim Beckham, Charlotte Knights

Bench (2B) Bryan Ramos, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Bench (1B-3B) Ti’quan Forbes, Charlotte Knights
Bench (OF) Chase Krogman, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Bench (CF) Luis González, Charlotte Knights
Bench (3B) Luis Curbelo, Winston-Salem Dash
Bench (3B) DJ Gladney, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Bench (2B) Marco Hernández, Charlotte Knights
Bench (LF) Eloy Jiménez, Charlotte Knights
Bench (RF) Micker Adolfo, Birmingham Barons
Bench (C) Evan Skoug, Winston-Salem Dash
Bench (OF) Johnabiell Laureano, ACL White Sox

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

Right-Handed Relief Pitcher Jason Bilous, Birmingham Barons


South Side Sox Writer Standings