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Davis Martin, averaging five innings per start and pitching a dandy in Saturday’s win, is angling back toward the South Side.
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White Sox Minor League Update: April 8, 2023

Three games are washed away, but Charlotte dries out with a win

Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to brettballantini@yahoo.com

Before we even get to Charlotte’s stirring and decisive win, behind starter Davis Martin who is plum tired of the disses and smells an opening coming soon on the South Side, let’s take another look at the state of the Knights rotation.

I have been kicking the crap out of the White Sox front office for leaving its MLB club woefully short on starter depth. Last year, I looked up the numbers and have been quoting that 67% of starts in 2022 were by non-starters (not necessarily bullpen days/openers, but for lack of a better term, non-starters). Was that true? A quick look back at Charlotte’s 150 starts:

Technically, though a pitcher’s role can change in the course of a season, starter to finisher or vice-versa ain’t usually it. So in terms of pure starters in 2022, there’s Martin (13), Wes Benjamin (seven), Tobias Myers (seven), Mike Wright Jr. (seven), Jason Bilous (five), Jimmy Lambert (five), Emilio Vargas (five), Johnny Cueto (four), Scott Blewett (three), Lance Lynn (three), Steve Moyers (three), Sean Burke (two), Johan Dominguez (two), and, though he was coming back from injury and clearly not throwing starters’ innings, Jonathan Stiever (two).

That’s 68 starts of 150 games, just 45%. Perhaps a little sunnier than my 33% claim, but we can manipulate numbers however we want, right?

Now, clearly, John Parke was a starter last year, so that’s another 25. Kyle Kubat threw 101 innings, so he was a starter for 17 as well. Though he didn’t finish games, Lambert was an opener for his five starts, as was Myers for his seven, so we’ll subtract those starts. Tanner Banks was essentially a starter in Charlotte, so that’s two more.

Add and subtract everything up, and that is 100 starts by actual starting pitchers. Just two-thirds of games were started by ... starters. Not as pathetic as one-third, but still, not great, Rick.

How about this year? So far, amazingly, all eight starts have been by (arguably) starting pitchers. A.J. Alexy got rocked, but is a “starter.” Jonathan Stiever is the only starter who is (again, for obvious rehab reasons) being used as essentially an opener this year. Now, the starters are averaging just 3 2⁄3 innings per start through Saturday, so it’s a liberal use of “starter.” But hey, Charlotte is off to a much better beginning in 2023.

And on to Martin on Saturday, as he threw the best start of the season for Charlotte and is averaging five innings per start this season. It was a much better outing for him this time around, getting touched for just three hits (two of which stayed in the park).

However, Martin was denied the win, leaving the game after an inefficient 94 pitches and the score knotted, 1-1. The good news for Charlotte fans, Columbus would score just once more, while Charlotte feasted late. Lenyn Sosa, now hitting .462 with a 1.448 OPS, was the main driver, knocking in four with two doubles. Sosa now has an RBI per game, in case you think he doesn’t have his sights set on the South Side, and quick.

No other Knight had multiple hits, but traffic was congested for Charlotte thanks to 11 walks (including three apiece by Zach Remillard and Adam Haseley, two by Libertyville High School’s Evan Skoug). Also something to keep an eye on: Justin Jirschele teams tend to run wild, and Charlotte swiped 4-of-5 bags tonight, the lone CS being at third base.

Charlotte sits at 4-4 despite already being outscored by 18 runs (OK, a 17-0 pasting will put the thumb on the scale), translating to a 2-6 Pythagorean W-L.

Poll

Charlotte crushed Columbus, 8-2. Who was the MVP?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Davis Martin: 5 IP, 3 H, ER, HR, 3 BB, 5 K, E
    (11 votes)
  • 71%
    Lenyn Sosa: 2-for-4, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 2B, BB, 2 K, 2 LOB, E
    (30 votes)
  • 2%
    Adam Haseley: 1-for-2, 2 R, 2 BB, SB
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Zach Remillard: 0-for-3, R, 3 BB, K, 2 LOB, SB
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Jake Marisnick: 1-for-3, 2 R, 2B, BB, K, LOB, 2-of-3 SB
    (0 votes)
42 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Big wins still reveal Cold Cats. Who is yours for Charlotte tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 90%
    Carlos Pérez: 0-for-5, K, 6 LOB, 1-for-1 CS
    (28 votes)
  • 6%
    Yolbert Sánchez: 1-for-5, RBI, 2 K, 3 LOB
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    Victor Reyes: 1-for-5, 2B, 3 K, 2 LOB
    (1 vote)
31 votes total Vote Now

A little less about the Double-A game, because, well, one hit, c’mon.

Cristian Mena has a slight amount of MLB in 2023 hype going, and tonight’s start, though seemingly ugly, will not cool those jets. Sure, three earned in four innings is not great, but nine of 12 outs coming via K sure is. There were some wildness (two wild pitches) and composure (balk, disengagement violation) issues, but lighten up, kid’s 20.

Yoelqui Céspedes continues his solid start to the season, getting on base twice in four PAs and swiping his second base in three games.

Otherwise, rough night for Birmingham.

Poll

One-hitter from the Smokies, did the Barons have an MVP tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 91%
    Yoelqui Céspedes: 1-for-2, BB, K, SB
    (21 votes)
  • 0%
    Edgar Navarro: IP
    (0 votes)
  • 8%
    Alejandro Mateo: IP, 2 K
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Taylor Snyder: 0-for-1, 2 BB
    (0 votes)
23 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How’s about a one-hitter Cold Cat?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Duke Ellis: 0-for-4, 4 K, 2 LOB
    (17 votes)
  • 0%
    Luis Mieses: 0-for-3, 2 K
    (0 votes)
  • 8%
    Moisés Castillo: 0-for-4, K, 2 LOB
    (2 votes)
  • 20%
    Haylen Green: 2⁄3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, BB, 2 K, HR
    (5 votes)
24 votes total Vote Now

Winston-Salem, rained out on Friday, was banged twice, clearing the doubleheader. No makeup scheduled, unsure whether they try to play two on Sunday.


Kannapolis also banged. Wet day in Single-A.


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