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Jacob Burke is off to a very hot start to 2023.
Tiffany Wintz/South Side Sox

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White Sox Minor League Player of the Week (May 22-28): Jacob Burke

He is only 16 games in, but what a 16 games it has been

White Sox Minor League Player of the Week

Jacob Burke .412/.474/.706, 1 HR, 4 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 SB

Talk about having a great start to a season, sheesh Jacob Burke. He has a 172 wRC+ in the first 16 games after spending some time in extended spring training recovering from injury. He is hitting almost everything right now, and everything seems to be falling (.463 BABIP). I don’t want to get too bogged down in walk and strikeout rates, but they obviously aren’t bad, with his numbers being 72% better than average. Overall, if you take Burke’s limited professional time last year after getting drafted, there are definitely things to like here in 2023. He doesn’t strike out too often, and hits the ball in the air a good amount. There seems to be OK pop in his bat, and maybe with some more time, that ISO can stay around .200 for a season. He is one to watch, and will be on White Sox Top 30 prospect lists soon.

Charlotte Knights

Sean Burke 4 1⁄3 IP, 4.15 ERA, 3 BB, 4 K
Tanner Banks 3 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 BB, 7 K
Sammy Peralta 4 2⁄3 IP, 9.64 ERA, 2 BB, 4 K
Lenyn Sosa .280/.333/.600, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K
Oscar Colás .167/.318/.222, 2 R, 4 BB, 6 K, 1 SB
Victor Reyes .467/.600/.867, 2 HR, 6 R, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 2 K
Stephen Piscotty .353/.400/.824, 2 HR, 4 R, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K

Another former major-leaguer in the outfield for Charlotte had a pretty good week from the plate. Stephen Piscotty has not been good in MLB since 2018, but the Sox seem to be collecting these types of players lately. He has been passed over because of his 83 wRC+ for Charlotte. This past week he showed more pop, and his BABIP was much higher. His current Triple-A BABIP is .261, so he is getting unlucky over the 78 plate appearances so far. Piscotty also wasn’t showing much pop in his bat until this past week. What he has been doing is walking more than he did with Oakland in 2022, and significantly cutting down on his strikeouts. That, at least, spells well for him, the hits just need to fall. If they do, he could be in MLB before anybody knows it. The Sox seem to be giving all of Charlotte’s outfielders a chance, anyway.

Birmingham Barons

Matt Thompson 4 1⁄3 IP, 16.62 ERA, 3 BB, 6 K
Cristian Mena 6 IP, 4.50 ERA, 2 BB, 5 K
Caleb Freeman 3 IP, 0.00 ERA, 4 BB, 5 K
Adam Hackenberg .400/.471/.467, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K
Bryan Ramos (on rehab assignment in Low-A)
José Rodríguez .353/.393/.538, 1 HR, 5 R, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 SB
Yoelqui Céspedes .158/.238/.316, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. 1 BB, 6 K, 1 SB
Luis Mieses .200/.227/.400, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K

José Rodríguez finally had himself a completely good week. He has been mostly bad this year, with a 76 wRC+, but has put together some weeks with good power numbers. This past week was one where the hits were falling, and he had a homer. There is some great cause for concern, however, with Rodríguez. His walk rate is still low, and because he only walked once last week, it didn’t improve the current 4.3% clip. Most depressing are the strikeouts, though. This would be, by far and away, the worst K-rate of Rodríguez’s professional career, at 27.3%. There just has to be something wrong here, because this is not the hitter we saw last year, and especially not the one we saw at his height in 2021. He is on pace for a new high in homers in a season, so it’s possible he is selling out to show more pop. Strikeout numbers don’t usually double when that happens, though, at least from hitters who aspire to the major leagues. José struggled early in 2022 as well, so hopefully as this season progresses his wRC+ steadily climbs. Maybe this past week was the start.

Winston-Salem Dash

Jonathan Cannon 4 2⁄3 IP, 1.93 ERA, 2 BB, 8 K
Drew Dalquist 1 2⁄3 IP, 16.20 ERA, 4 BB, 1 K
Jared Kelley 3 IP, 12.00 ERA, 2 BB, 5 K
Kohl Simas 5 IP, 1.80 ERA, 1 BB, 7 K
Norge Vera IL
Loidel Chapelli Jr. .211/.360/.350, 2 R, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K, 2 SB
Wes Kath .313/.376/.375, 5 R, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 6 K, 1 SB
Colson Montgomery IL
Wilfred Veras .292/.320/.333, 2 R, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 10 K, 4 SB
Terrell Tatum .111/.238/.278, 5 R, 3 BB, 9 K, 1 SB

Kohl Simas is a really interesting case this season. He had a very good start this past week, but has had an up-and-down season. He sports a 4.55 ERA, versus a 3.91 FIP. The strikeouts are up to 30.8%, while his walks are also higher than last season (12.8%). That walk rate plays a big role in his 1.58 WHIP, which is really bad. However, it is playing off of a .394 BABIP which is certainly too high and will come down as the season goes on. However, again, he only has a 31.5% ground ball rate with a 19.2% oppo rate, so it appears he is giving up really good contact. Basically, you can pick and choose whatever you want, and be optimistic or pessimistic on Simas’ future. His first 29 2⁄3 innings are definitely disappointing, but I am choosing to look at that ungodly high BABIP and an ERA continuing to fall. Will Simas’ end of the season feel as good as last? Not sure, but he is still playing at a level much higher than his status as an undrafted free agent.

Kannapolis Cannon Ballers

Shane Murphy 5 IP, 1.80 ERA, 1 BB, 5 K
Tanner McDougal 4 IP, 4.50 ERA, 2 BB, 8 K
Peyton Pallette 4 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 BB, 4 K
Tyler Schweitzer 5 IP, 9.00 ERA, 1 BB, 5 K
Jordan Sprinkle .217/.296/.217, 2 R, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, 5 SB
Brooks Baldwin .000/.000/.000, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 8 K
Jacob Burke Weekly MVP

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