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White Sox Minor League Weekly Update: August 23-29

Some really good play by the top prospects this week, but Blake Rutherford and Luis Mieses were best.

Blake Rutheford keeps on swinging in August.
Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights

Charlotte Knights (38-63 - 27 GB)

Blake Rutherford .333 BA, 3 HR, 5 XBH, 5 R, 6 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K

Jake Burger .273 BA, 3 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K
Gavin Sheets .263 BA, 1 HR, 3 XBH, 5 R, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 9 K
Romy González .211, 1 HR, 2 XBH, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K
Zack Collins 1-for-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K (demoted from the White Sox when Grandal was activated)
Yermín Mercedes .000 BA, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K
Micker Adolfo .167 BA, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K
Jimmy Lambert 5 IP, 3.60 ERA, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 K
Kade McClure 7 23 IP, 10.57 ERA, 10 H, 4 BB, 8 K
Jace Fry 1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K

First off, before we get to any MVP, let’s note that Jonathan Stiever is out for year, which leaves Jimmy Lambert as the last option for spot starts in the majors from the players in Charlotte. Stiever has a lat injury that required surgery, although Chris Getz said Stiever should be ready for spring training.

Now, on to Blake Rutherford, who is really playing for other teams at this point, as there is a good chance he is not in the White Sox organization next year. He could survive because he does have an extra option (unlike teammate Micker Adolfo), but if Rutherford continues to play this well, he could be involved in a trade. Not for something meaningful, but maybe if the Sox feel like they need to add an arm he could be a secondary or tertiary piece to help. But to Rutherford’s play, he has a 126 wRC+ this month thanks in large part to a .263 wRC+. He is finally showing power, and it has been consistent over the last month. He would be a good candidate for the Arizona Fall League to see if he can be this good against better talent. Rutherford has sacrificed his walk rate to a very small 3%, but maybe this approach is better for him — it certainly seems like it.

MVP Ranks

Jake Burger (84.5)
Gavin Sheets (75.7)
Tim Beckham (44.1)
Mikie Mahtook (38.8)
Mike Wright Jr. (29.2)
Marco Hernández (26.5)
Yermín Mercedes (24.3)
Micker Adolfo (20.0)
Romy González (17.2)
Luis Robert (15.1)

Cold Cat Ranks

Zach Remillard (-37.0)
Kodi Medeiros (-33.5)
Reynaldo López (-32.7)
Matt Tomshaw (-25.5)
Nate Nolan (-21.8)
Ofriedy Gómez (-20.6)
Jonathan Stiever (-19.9)
Danny Dopico (-17.6)
Connor Sadzeck (-16.8)
Hunter Schryver (-16.2)

Birmingham Barons (54-47 - 2 12 GA)

Jameson Fisher .364 BA, 2 XBH, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K

Yoelqui Céspedes .150 BA, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 SB
Yolbert Sánchez .214 BA, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K
Lenyn Sosa .111 BA, 1 XBH, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K
Caleb Freeman 3 IP, 3.00 ERA, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 K

Another note here, Taylor Varnell (who had been leading our MVP voting for pitchers and thus would have been in line for our Pitcher of the Year) retired this week. His family is growing, and baseball a sport where somebody is away from home often, so he made a choice to focus on that.

Since Jameson Fisher is not truly a prospect any longer, it is as good a time as any to go to the bullpen and look at Caleb Freeman. Before the year, Chris Getz said that Freeman could be a fast mover through the system; well, he only was promoted once but he has done very well nonetheless. With the Dash, he left with a 3.62 ERA and a good K-rate, he was just walking too many batters at 12.1%. If you have a control issue, it is best not to get called up to Double-A, and yet Freeman has corrected it. He could be another pitcher who just needed to get back into stride after no baseball in 2020. So far with the Barons (in 11 innings, mind you), the K-rate has increased by 11% and is just barely under 40%, while the walks have fallen about 5%. That is a good recipe for success. Hopefully Freeman will continue to get late-inning looks (he has seven saves this year) and with the AFL brewing, he could be a guy the Sox send to see what he is made of against the best of the best. Freeman should be a candidate to be on the Sox next season, though probably not on the Opening Day roster.

MVP Ranks

Kade McClure (45.7)
Jameson Fisher (43.9)
Yolbert Sánchez (37.8)
Carlos Pérez (27.3)
Ti’quan Forbes (26.8)
Emilio Vargas (23.9)
Micker Adolfo (20.3)
Ofriedy Gómez (10.5)
Romy González (10.1)
Tyler Neslony (8.5)

Cold Cat Ranks

J.B. Olson (-55.7)
Ian Dawkins (-52.3)
Alec Hansen (-34.8)
JJ Muno (-27.0)
Peter Tago (-20.2)
Luis Ledo (-19.6)
Lenyn Sosa (-14.8)
Joel Booker (-10.3)
Jake Elliott (-9.2)
Anderson Severino (-9.1)

Winston-Salem Dash (38-63 - 30 12 GB)

Luis Mieses .348 BA, 2 HR, 6 XBH, 7 R, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K

José Rodríguez .231 BA, 1 HR, 5 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
McKinley Moore 2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K

Most times, or at least it seems like most of the time, a demotion spells certain doom for a player’s prospect hype, luster, and standing. Not so for Luis Mieses. Since his promotion at the start of the month, Mieses has a slash line of .293/.343/.587 for a 142 wRC+. He is now a very interesting prospect moving forward, with him seemingly realizing his tools and putting them together. Mieses is hitting the ball extremely well, with a .293 ISO. He has 16 extra-base hits compared to 11 singles in August, which is just an amazing stat. Whatever happened in Kannapolis clearly helped; maybe it was a jolt of confidence that was needed and he finally got it, or maybe it was natural progression and Mieses is one of the players who needed some time to get into the swing of things after not playing in 2020. Whatever the case is, Mieses is somebody to watch now, and hopefully he will continue this in 2022.

MVP Ranks

Yolbert Sánchez (52.8)
Luis Curbelo (41.9)
Alex Destino (35.3)
Yoelqui Céspedes (27.7)
Lenyn Sosa (22.2)
Luis Mieses (20.2)
Jason Bilous (19.6)
Ian Dawkins (18.5)
Johan Dominguez (18.1)
Jagger Rusconi (16.1)

Cold Cat Ranks

Cooper Bradford (-50.2)
Kaleb Roper (-41.5)
Wilber Perez (-36.9)
Edgar Navarro (-32.3)
Ryan Williamson (-21.4)
Declan Cronin (-19.8)
Duke Ellis (-19.3)
Sal Biasi (-14.7)
Dan Metzdorf (-14.5)
Bryce Bush (-12.2)

Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (27-69 - 32 GB)

Bryan Ramos .333 BA, 2 HR, 4 XBH, 5 R, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K

James Beard: .143 BA, 4 R, 2 BB, 11 K
Misael González .200 BA, 2 R, 3 BB, 7 K
Chase Krogman .067 BA, 0 BB, 6 K
Drew Dalquist 4 23 IP, 1.93 ERA, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K
Jared Kelley (Injured)
Sean Burke 2 IP, 4.50 ERA, 0 H, 3 BB, 4 K
Matthew Thompson 4 23 IP, 3.86 ERA, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 K

He had been struggling for a few weeks, but Bryan Ramos is back and hitting a couple more homers last week. He now has a 105 wRC+ thanks in large part to a 10.4% walk rate with some power. Ramos has a .289 BABIP so his .238 batting average should be higher, but not by much. This is his age-19 season so the fact he is an average to above-average hitter is a success, though he obviously still needs to be better or he would have been promoted already. Ramos is probably the most successful of the top prospects left in Kannapolis from the start of the season, and he should start there next year with a quick hook to Winston-Salem if he shows improvement early.

Another thing to note is that one of the top guys from the 2021 draft is already here in Kannapolis, in Sean Burke. If Great Falls was still around, Burke probably would be there instead, but without it he is already in Low-A. FanGraphs has him ranked as the 11th-best prospect for the Sox, and he’s 13th per MLB Pipeline. Burke will need to solidify his fastball velocity and get better control, but it is a good sign that he is already in Kannapolis, and should start there next year, too.

MVP Ranks

José Rodríguez (104.7)
Bryan Ramos (76.4)
Luis Mieses (65.3)
Harvin Mendoza (34.3)
Samil Polanco (28.9)
Misael González (17.8)
Caberea Weaver (12.4)
DJ Gladney (11.7)
Wilber Sánchez (10.9)

Cold Cat Ranks

Tyson Messer (-35.4)
Garvin Alston Jr. (-30.2)
Marcus Evey (-30.2)
Angel Acevedo (-28.2)
Yoelvin Silven (-28.0)
Hunter Speer (-22.5)
Martin Carrasco (-19.7)
Ty Madrigal (-19.6)
Corey Stone (-19.4)
Jared Kelley (-18.8)

ACL White Sox (18-27 - 14 GB)

Victor Torres .625 BA, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K

Wes Kath .150 BA, 4 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 10 K
Benyamin Bailey .200 BA, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K
Colson Montgomery .250 BA, 3 XBH, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 K
Tanner McDougal 2 IP, 9.00 ERA, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K
Cristian Mena 4 IP, 2.25 ERA, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K

MVP Ranks
Misael González (37.1)
Homer Cruz (21.1)
Wilfred Veras (20.3)
Wilber Sánchez (13.5)
Anderson Comas (12.9)
Rigo Fernández (11.7)
Richard García (11.6)
Tanner McDougal (11.2)
Dilmer Mejía (10.8)
Adam Hackenberg (9.5)

Cold Cat Ranks

Elijah Tatís (-43.8)
Ronaldo Guzman (-26.1)
Jacob Gilliland (-22.3)
Anthony Espinoza (-15.0)
Brandon Jenkins (-13.7)
Deivi Diaz (-11.2)
Cameron Butler (-10.9)
Marcus Evey (-8.9)
Jared Kelley (-8.8)
Erick Bello (-7.5)

DSL White Sox (15-20 - 11 12 GB)

Victor Quezada .333 BA, 2 HR, 4 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 4 SB

Manuel Guariman .235 BA, 1 R, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K
Norge Vera 1 23 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 H, 2 BB, 3 K

MVP Ranks

Emerson Talavera (17.2)
Cesar Jiménez (16.5)
Guillermo Cuevas (14.8)
Randel Mondesi (14.1)
Manuel Garriman (10.8)
Godwin Bennett (8.9)
Gabriel Rodriguez (8.0)
Yohemy Nolasco (6.8)
Norge Vera (6.6)

Cold Cat Ranks

Arxy Hernández (-18.1)
Daniel González (-16.4)
Oriel Castro (-15.9)
Alberto Bernal (-15.2)
Miguel Toribio (-13.8)
Jorge Ferrer (-8.3)
Ricardo Aguilar (-7.4)
Carlos Jiménez (-7.0)
Dinocio Jiménez (-6.6)
Javier Mora (-5.6)

White Sox Organizational All-Stars

Catcher Carlos Pérez, Birmingham Barons (27.3)
First Base Gavin Sheets, Charlotte Knights (75.7)
Second Base Yolbert Sánchez, Birmingham Barons (90.6)
Third Base Jake Burger, Charlotte Knights (84.5)
Shortstop José Rodríguez, Winston-Salem Dash (117.2) (**Player MVP**)
Left Field Luis Mieses, Winston-Salem Dash (85.5)
Center Field Misael González, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (54.9)
Right Field Micker Adolfo, Charlotte Knights (40.3)
Designated Hitter Bryan Ramos, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (76.4)

Bench (SS/3B/1B) Tim Beckham, Charlotte Knights (44.1)
Bench (1B) Jameson Fisher, Birmingham Barons (43.9)
Bench (3B) Luis Curbelo, Winston-Salem Dash (41.9)
Bench (OF) Mikie Mahtook, Charlotte Knights (38.8)
Bench (RF-LF) Alex Destino, Winston-Salem Dash (35.3)
Bench (1B) Harvin Mendoza, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (34.3)
Bench (RF) Yoelqui Céspedes, Birmingham Barons (33.4)
Bench (1B-3B) Ti’quan Forbes, Charlotte Knights (29.3)
Bench (3B/2B/SS) Samil Polanco, Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (28.9)
Bench (SS/2B/3B) Romy González, Charlotte Knights (26.5)
Bench (2B) Marco Hernández, Charlotte Knights (26.5)
Bench (2B) Jagger Rusconi, Winston-Salem Dash (26.2)

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher Kade McClure, Charlotte Knights (29.7) (**Pitcher MVP**)
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher Mike Wright, Charlotte Knights (29.2)
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher Johan Dominguez, Birmingham Barons (25.7)
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher Emilio Vargas, Birmingham Barons (23.9)
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher Jason Bilous, Birmingham Barons (19.6)

Right-Handed Relief Pitcher Emerson Talavera, DSL White Sox (17.2)
Left-Handed Relief Pitcher Guillermo Cuevas, DSL White Sox (14.8)
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher Homer Cruz, ACL White Sox (13.6)
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher Tanner McDougal, ACL White Sox (11.2)

South Side Sox Writer Standings