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Luis Pineda (right) caught Connor McCullough’s no-hitter, giving him dibs on initiating the postgame shower.
Kannapolis Cannon Ballers

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White Sox Minor League Player of the Month (May 2023): Connor McCullough

He threw a no-hitter and had a 1.13 ERA in Low-A to earn a much-deserved promotion to the Dash

White Sox Minor League Player of the Month

Connor McCullough Low-A 24 IP, 1.13 ERA, 2 BB, 27 K ▪️ High-A 4 IP, 9.00 ERA, 3 BB, 6 K

Connor McCullough threw a remarkable seven-inning no-hitter, highlighting his great May. Throughout the month, he logged 24 innings with a stellar 1.13 ERA, demonstrating consistent effectiveness on the mound. McCullough’s control and command are evident from his low walk totals. In May, he issued just two walks over the 24 innings pitched. McCullough displayed an impressive strikeout ability as well. He recorded 27 strikeouts in May, showcasing his knack for generating swings-and-misses. With a strikeout rate of 31.7%

Following his strong performances, McCullough was promoted to the Dash. In his first start with them, he pitched four innings and allowed four runs. Looking at McCullough’s performance in Low-A overall and why he earned that promotion, he maintained an impressive 2.17 ERA. That 31.7% K-rate was coupled with a miniscule 5% BB-rate: A 26.6% rate difference was definitely a clear sign Low-A was a little too easy for him.

If the no-hitter wasn’t any indication already!

Charlotte Knights

Sean Burke 21 IP, 6.00 ERA, 16 BB, 21 K
Tanner Banks 14 2⁄3 IP, 3.07 ERA, 0 BB, 21 K
Sammy Peralta 13 2⁄3 IP, 5.27 ERA, 6 BB, 14 K
Lenyn Sosa .299/.325/.584, 6 HR, 11 R, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 22 K
Oscar Colás .301/.377/.441, 1 HR, 16 R, 14 RBI, 11 BB, 21 K, 2 SB
Victor Reyes .341/.396/.614, 6 HR, 20 R, 24 RBI, 8 BB, 15 K, 1 SB

The real Charlotte MVP was Clint Frazier — but he already received his reward, a promotion to the White Sox. For now, it is Victor Reyes trying to keep everything going for the Knights. It is pretty surprising that he’s been getting passed up with an OPS better than 1.000 in May. He is showing good power right now, and with his ISO better than .200, it would be his best power season ever. Some of this makes sense, playing in Charlotte and all. His home run per fly ball rate is extremely high, more than 20%. Under normal circumstances, Reyes’ power should fall, but again, it’s Charlotte, where anything can happen offensively. Part of the reason Reyes isn’t getting a chance with the White Sox is because he isn’t playing center field, but splitting his time in the corners. He has six outfield assists so far. I am still convinced he will make it to the South Side one day, but for now, the Knights love him.

Birmingham Barons

Matt Thompson 22 2⁄3 IP, 7.94 ERA, 15 BB, 23 K
Cristian Mena 20 IP, 7.65 ERA, 8 BB, 26 K
Caleb Freeman 10 1⁄3 IP, 1.74 ERA, 9 BB, 12 K
Adam Hackenberg .295/.403/.443, 2 HR, 9 R, 8 RBI, 10 BB, 16 K
Bryan Ramos .429/.556/.429, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K
José Rodríguez .227/.240/.423, 5 HR, 12 R, 15 RBI, 2 BB, 30 K, 5 SB
Yoelqui Céspedes .202/.304/.404, 4 HR, 11 R, 8 RBI. 8 BB, 30 K, 2 SB
Luis Mieses .156/.192/.260, 2 HR, 9 R, 9 RBI, 4 BB, 22 K, 1 SB
Chris Shaw .234/.329/.578, 7 HR, 16 R, 13 RBI, 8 BB, 23 K

The top two levels took all the homers, and Chris Shaw had the most in May. He currently has a wRC+ just worse than average, but he has a big May to work off of. This is the type of player he is: He won’t have a high batting average and doesn’t walk the amount you would expect from a power-hitting first baseman. What Shaw does do well, really well, is hit homers. He hit the same number of homers last month as singles, and only added one extra-base hit after that. Unfortunately, Shaw also strikes out, a lot. Even in his really good May, he struck out over 30% of the time. At this point, there’s not really much he can do. He is 29 and has been in the pros since 2015. The odds of him seeing the majors again are low.

Winston-Salem Dash

Jonathan Cannon 23 2⁄3 IP, 1.52 ERA, 6 BB, 19 K
Drew Dalquist 15 1⁄3 IP, 5.87 ERA, 11 BB, 12 K
Jared Kelley 15 1⁄3 IP, 9.39 ERA, 13 BB, 18 K
Kohl Simas 16 2⁄3 IP, 5.94 ERA, 10 BB, 24 K
Norge Vera IL
Loidel Chapelli Jr. .212/.350/.341, 2 HR, 13 R, 14 RBI, 16 BB, 23 K, 6 SB
Wes Kath .222/.293/.311, 1 HR, 12 R, 11 RBI, 9 BB, 38 K, 1 SB
Colson Montgomery IL
Wilfred Veras .327/.361/.475, 1 HR, 14 R, 18 RBI, 5 BB, 28 K, 9 SB
Terrell Tatum .271/.436/.400, 1 HR, 22 R, 12 RBI, 24 BB, 31 K, 12 SB

This 2022 draft class might be pretty good, and right now, the best performer of all the top bonus-getters is Jonathan Cannon. I am not entirely sure when he gets a promotion; his assignment to High-A to start 2023 wasn’t aggressive per se, but Double-A innings for a 2022 draft pick at this time might be too much. Cannon is just doing really well against High-A bats, and that cannot be ignored. In May, he had a 1.52 ERA with great command and OK strikeout numbers. Cannon has a lot of pitches, and he will use them to get outs — mostly via the ground ball, which is happening 56.7% of the time right now on batted balls. He already has 50 2⁄3 innings on the year, but he doesn’t seem like the pitcher to have a strict innings limit. Once Cannon does get that promotion to Double-A, though, his K-rate will probably fall from the current 20.5%. Will those strikeouts become hits and runs, or will the ground ball rate go even higher?

Kannapolis Cannon Ballers

Connor McCullough May MVP
Shane Murphy 23 IP, 1.57 ERA, 5 BB, 24 K
Tanner McDougal 12 1⁄3 IP, 5.84 ERA, 15 BB, 18 K
Peyton Pallette 12 2⁄3 IP, 3.55 ERA, 7 BB, 13 K
Tyler Schweitzer 21 IP, 5.57 ERA, 7 BB, 19 K
Jordan Sprinkle .170/.259/.170, 5 R, 5 RBI, 12 BB, 30 K, 9 SB
Brooks Baldwin .200/.273/.378, 3 HR, 10 R, 14 RBI, 9 BB, 28 K, 7 SB
Jacob Burke .351/.431/.526, 1 HR, 12 R, 8 RBI, 6 BB, 15 K, 3 SB

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