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White Sox Weekly Minor League Update: April 18-24

Blake Rutherford performed like the old top prospect he was last week as he, Davis Martin, Tyler Osik, and Terrell Tatum are MVPs.

Blake Rutherford has gotten off to a hot start in Charlotte.
Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights

Charlotte Knights

Romy González: .214/.389/.214 — 4 BB, 8 K, 1 R, 2 SB
Seby Zavala: .000/.118/.000 — 2 BB, 7 K, 1 R
Micker Adolfo: .143/.200/.143 — 1 BB, 6 K
Carlos Pérez: .150/.227/.150 — 2 BB, 0 K, 2 R, 2 RBI
Blake Rutherford: .412/.500/.471 - 3 BB, 4 K, 3 R **Weekly MVP**
Johan Domínguez: 3 IP, 3.00 ERA, 2 BB, 4 K
Emilio Vargas: 9 IP, 9.00 ERA, 2 BB, 7 K
Kade McClure: 2 23 IP, 16.87 ERA, 3 BB, 2 K
Johnny Cueto: 2 23 IP, 10.13 ERA, 2 BB, 2 K

Before we get to Blake Rutherford, Wes Benjamin had a stellar start, and was right there for the weekly MVP; he went seven innings, and allowed just one run. In 17 innings, Benjamin has a 1.59 ERA. It is just tough to beat a player that reaches base in 50% of his plate appearances, which Rutherford did. Rutherford’s first week was highlighted by a couple of homers, and he continued his hot streak with a .412 batting average. He has earned a 144 wRC+ off the back of a much-improved plate discipline, at least for now. Rutherford has a walk rate of 12.5% which is 9% better than in 2021. The K-rate has also fallen from last year about 6%, down to 18.8%. He seems to be seeing the ball right now as well as he was seeing it back in rookie ball, and is also driving the ball a bit more, using the opposite field. On the negative side, Rutherford is still hitting the same amount of grounders that he did when he had an 80 wRC+. His BABIP is at .355, so Rutherford could be in for a rude awakening as the season goes on if the plate discipline improvements are just a two-week thing.


Birmingham Barons

José Rodríguez: .263/.300/.526 — 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 R
Lenyn Sosa: .286/.304/.429 — 1 HR, 1 BB, 0 K, 3 R, 2 RBI
Yoelqui Céspedes: .300/.333/.500 — 1 HR, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 R, 3 SB
Yolbert Sánchez: .400/.444/.400 — 2 BB, 1 K, 4 R, 5 RBI (promoted to Triple-A Charlotte)
Jason Bilous: 5 IP, 1.80 ERA, 4 BB, 6 K
Davis Martin: 9 IP, 1.00 ERA, 6 BB, 13 K **Weekly MVP**
Caleb Freeman: (Did not pitch this week)

Again, a shout-out or two before getting to the Weekly MVP. First is for Tyler Neslony, who had a wRC+ of more than 200 last week — definitely not too shabby. Lincoln Henzman also had a great week out of the bullpen, with two shutout outings and a save — his move to the bullpen is raising some eyebrows.

Alas, the weekly MVP goes to Davis Martin, for two impressive starts last week that totaled nine innings, with just one run allowed. Martin was pretty good in Double-A last year, with a 3.54 ERA in 20 13 innings, but he was not getting the velocity that he is now. As you see in the video above, he is getting up to 98 mph, though not consistently. Nevertheless, the velocity is up, which means Martin might be a guy to watch out for. If he continues this start (1.89 ERA in 19 innings), he could be in Charlotte pretty soon. In part because of the increase in velocity, Martin has also seen a jump in strikeouts, as he sports a 30.4% K-rate. The walk rate is at 9%, but that is because he had great command his first two starts, and then fell this past week (six walks in nine innings), so we still want to see more of his pitch control.


Winston-Salem Dash

Oscar Colás: .240/.296/.320 — 2 BB, 8 K, 3 R, 4 RBI
Bryan Ramos: .500/.538/.500 — 1 BB, 2 K, 2 R, 1 RBI
Luis Míeses: .318/.348/.545 — 1 HR, 1 BB, 4 K, 5 R, 6 RBI
Adam Hackenberg: .294/.368/.588 — 1 HR, 2 BB, 2 K, 3 R, 3 RBI
Tyler Osik: .429/.455/.571 - 1 HR, 0 BB, 8 K, 3 R, 5 RBI, 1 SB **Weekly MVP**
Drew Dalquist: 4 IP, 9.00 ERA, 4 BB, 1 K
Matthew Thompson: 5 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 BB, 7 K
Sean Burke: 4 23 IP, 3.86 ERA, 3 BB, 6 K

Bryan Ramos could have been the weekly MVP, but he did not play over the weekend, so Tyler Osik stole it from him. The White Sox keep trying to find a place for Osik to play; he has found himself mostly DHing this year while continuing to kind of play catcher and first base. The bat has never really been an issue for Osik, though he did really struggle last year while playing sporadically. So far in 2022, Osik seems to be getting regular at-bats and is doing well with them right now (113 wRC+). The .481 BABIP he has is concerning, as well as the huge disparity in strikeouts to walks. He is sporting a 34% K-rate and just a 4.3% BB-rate, so Osik’s successes should be viewed with a grain of salt. However, Osik’s plate discipline traditionally is not this bad, so maybe he is taking a more aggressive approach. It seems to be working out fine so far, but Osik is definitely getting lucky because his batted balls are grounders 71% of the time.


Kannapolis Cannon Ballers

Misael González: .300/.333/.550 — 1 HR, 1 BB, 10 K, 4 R, 4 RBI
Colson Montgomery: .158/.261/.368 — 1 HR, 1 BB, 4 K, 3 R, 7 RBI
Wes Kath: .211/.348/.211 — 4 BB, 8 K, 2 R, 2 RBI
Benyamín Bailey: (Did not play this Week)
Wilfred Veras: .263/.391/.632 — 2 HR, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 R, 6 RBI
Terrell Tatum: .462/.588/.538 - 4 BB, 6 K. 5 R, 2 SB **Weekly MVP**
Jared Kelley: 1 23 IP, 16.20 ERA, 4 BB, 2 K
Cristian Mena: 6 IP, 4.50 ERA, 0 BB, 6 K

Before we get to Terrell Tatum, Wilfred Veras had a great week as well, but his was more about power, with two homers and an OBP near 40%. So he was pretty good, but Tatum was better, even without as much pop.

This was his Tatum’s real action with Kannapolis after he was demoted from Winston-Salem. He obviously took it in stride, given his very weird early-season numbers: He has a 30% BB-rate and a 35% K-rate, so there are no balls in play for about two-thirds of his plate appearances. When a ball is in play, he has a .875 batting average— so Tatum is getting on base a lot. Obviously, this is not going to stick, but he did show high walk and strikeout rates in limited time last season, so maybe this is what he is: A two true-outcome player who will need a high BABIP to be successful. Maybe not one at .875, but higher than normal.