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White Sox Minor League Update: June 15, 2017 (and midseason, too)

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Where the top five White Sox prospects stand after the first 2+ months

Yoan Moncada
Jim Margalus / South Side Sox

With minor league depth charts on the verge of being shifted by recently signed draft picks, here’s Larry with his midseason evaluation of the preseason South Side Sox Top 10 White Sox Prospects list, starting with the top five today and the rest on Saturday.

1. Yoan Moncada

I guess he could not be having a slump right now that coincidentally (or not) can be easily linked to his hand injury. It certainly has muted the calls for his immediate call-up. His overall line — .271/.372/.424 — is now merely good for a 22-year-old in Triple-A. I don't really see any cause for concern, though. He wouldn’t be playing if the White Sox thought the hand itself was still a problem and on Wednesday Rick Hahn said as much. Right now, we’re probably just seeing one of the valleys that inevitably occur over the course of a season. He’s shown signs of breaking out, although he still hasn’t been able to tie together strong games.

2. Lucas Giolito

Giolito illustrates the perils of overanalyzing every start by a minor leaguer. Or perhaps I should say over-covering, as cogent analysis often seems to be missing. Before the season, it was recognized that he needed to work on his mechanics. He then struggled with his mechanics for a month. Hands were wrung. Disaster declared. This probably would’ve still happened writ small on the backwaters of message boards and blogs. But the advent of live tweeting minor league games and visiting minor league affiliates for stories certainly put him in the microscope of major media. A month ago, a general consensus would have been that Giolito’s status and ranking declined significantly. Today, it’s back to where it was at the start of the season. Coverage often requires narrative and, in the minors, the only true narrative is usually development is uneven. You ordinarily don’t get much insight even from major league players, who generally already know what success looks like for them and how to reach it. Minor leaguers might know what success should look like at a given level but a lot of times aren’t sure what exactly it will take for them to reach it. Because, you know, they’re still developing. Giolito sounded like he was grasping for straws in interviews because, well, he sorta was. That probably contributed to the panic since people are used to hearing confident major leaguers not uncertain prospects unsure whether the changes they’re making will work.

3. Michael Kopech

Kopech is doing about what we’d expect. Lots of strikeouts but still lots of walks. The length of his outings had been trending in the right direction but in his last four starts he hasn’t managed one longer than 523 IP. And he’s seen the strikeouts slip and the walks creep back up in his two June starts. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he was experiencing a bit of fatigue as he’s already eclipsed his innings total from his injury-shortened 2016 and he’s had to throw more pitches in those innings, too.

4. Reynaldo Lopez

Lopez is also doing about what we’d expect. He had some rough outings early in the season but has largely been on cruise control the last month and a half. By performance and ability, he probably should’ve gotten the spot start that Tyler Danish did. The White Sox, though, have suggested that when they bring their top guys up, they intend for them to stay. As a guy who got yo-yoed quite a bit with the Nationals last season, it may well have been prudent to not replicate that. The less favorable things in his season line – like the 9.8 percent walk rate and 9.5 percent HR/FB – can largely be attributed to the poor April starts. The rehabbing major leaguers have also given the White Sox an opportunity to limit Lopez’ innings, so he should be good to go through September.

5. Alec Hansen

It’s now a running theme: Hansen, too, is doing about what we’d expect. He’s toying with Low-A hitters, as a pitcher from a big-time college should. The upshot of that is piling up innings, an important goal for his first full professional season. The downside is that he’s probably not being appropriately challenged. I’d bet that he’s getting moved up to High-A soon, perhaps as soon as after his next start.

— Larry

Top prospects at a glance

  • Yoan Moncada: 0-for-3, BB, 2 K
  • Carson Fulmer: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER. 2 BB, 0 K
  • Zack Burdi: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K
  • Jordan Stephens: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
  • Zack Collins: 0-for-4, 3 K
  • Alec Hansen: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 1 HR
  • Luis Robert: 0-for-3, BB

Charlotte 6, Louisville 4

  • Yoan Moncada went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
  • Jacob May was 2-for-4 with a triple.
  • Nicky Delmonico, 1-for-4.
  • Adam Engel was activated and went 0-for-4 with his strikeout.
  • Carson Fulmer: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER. 2 BB, 0 K before a rain delay.
  • Zack Burdi: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K

Jackson 2, Birmingham 1

  • Eddy Alvarez went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Jake Peter was 0-for-2 with a sac bunt and walk.
  • Nick Basto went 1-for-4 with a double.
  • Trey Michalczewski homered, walked and struck out.
  • Alfredo Gonzalez went 1-for-3 and was caught stealing.
  • Jordan Stephens: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K

Buies Creek 4, Winston-Salem 1

  • Zack Collins wore the collar and silver sombrero.
  • Johan Cruz struck out in all three plate appearances.
  • Courtney Hawkins went 0-for-4, but did not strike out.

Kannapolis 5, Hagerstown 4 (Game 1, 7 innings)

  • Joel Booker went 3-for-4 with a double.
  • Jameson Fisher was 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Micker Adolfo struck out twice, but he homered and hit the walk-off single in his other trips.
  • Yosmer Solorzano: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR

Kannapolis 9, Hagerstown 1 (Game 2, 7 innings)

  • Joel Booker again went 3-for-4.
  • Jameson Fisher was 1-for-3 with a sac fly.
  • Micker Adolfo doubled, singled and struck out twice.
  • Holy hell, Alec Hansen: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 1 HR

DSL Reds 8, DSL White Sox 7

  • Luis Robert was 0-for-3 with a walk.
  • Anderson Comas replaced him and went 0-for-1.
  • Brayant Nova went 2-for-3 with a walk.
  • Luis Mieses, 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Harvin Mendoza went 2-for-4 with a walk.
  • Josue Guerrero, 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and an HBP, but he stole a base.
  • Anthony Coronado went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Kleyder Sanchez went 0-for-3 with a sac fly.
  • Jendersson Caraballo: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP