Showing posts with label Charlotte Knights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charlotte Knights. Show all posts

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Michael Kopech named Southern League's Most Outstanding Pitcher

White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech has been named the Southern League's Most Outstanding Pitcher for 2017.

Kopech, 21, recently was promoted to Triple-A Charlotte, but this recognition is for the right-hander's season-long dominance at Double-A Birmingham.

In 22 starts for the Barons, Kopech went 8-7 with a 2.87 ERA. Among qualified pitchers, he led the Southern League in strikeouts (155), batting average against (.184), hits allowed (77) and strikeouts per nine innings pitched (11.69).

Kopech becomes the first Sox farmhand to win this honor since Mark Buehrle in 2000. In that season, Buehrle went 8-4 with a 2.28 ERA before receiving a July promotion to the Sox. Buehrle never returned to the minor leagues after that. The following year, in 2001, he won 16 games for the Sox, and the rest is history. The Sox retired his No. 56 in June.

I doubt Kopech will be on any fast track to the major leagues. He's thrown 129.1 innings this season combined between Birmingham and Charlotte, and that is by far a career high.

So far for Charlotte, he's 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts. He's scheduled to pitch for the Knights on Friday night, and I'm guessing that will be it for his year, since the minor-league regular season ends within a week.

There have been rumblings that Kopech will compete for a rotation spot in spring training next year, but the smart money has him starting in Charlotte in 2018. Even if everything continues to go well, I can't see Kopech coming to Chicago until after the Super Two service time issues are no longer an issue.

Keep in mind, we didn't see Yoan Moncada or Reynaldo Lopez get a call to the majors until the second half this year. Kopech is one prospect we could see in the second half of next year, but most likely not before then.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Lucas Giolito throws seven-inning no-hitter; Tyler Danish recalled

Tyler Danish
It's been hard to find positives in Lucas Giolito's body of work this season. The right-hander at one point was the No. 1-ranked pitching prospect in all of baseball, and he was the biggest name acquired by the White Sox in the deal that sent outfielder Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals.

Unfortunately, it's been so far, so bad for Giolito since he joined the Sox organization. Entering his start Thursday for the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, Giolito had compiled a 1-5 record with an ugly 6.41 ERA in eight games.

But finally, something clicked Thursday night against the Syracuse Chiefs. Giolito threw a seven-inning no-hitter in a 4-0 victory in the first game of a doubleheader. He struck out only three, and he walked three, but he also needed only 87 pitches to record the 21 outs. Fifty of those 87 pitches were strikes, and the win lowered his ERA to a somewhat less unsightly 5.44.

The no-hitter is the first in the history of BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, which is a notorious hitters' park. It's the first no-hitter for the Knights since Andre Rienzo tossed a seven-inning gem in 2013.

The Sox have to hope this is a confidence boost and a turning point for Giolito.

Roster moves

The White Sox on Friday placed starting pitcher Dylan Covey on the 10-day disabled list with oblique soreness. In some ways, the time off might be merciful for Covey, who is 0-4 with an 8.12 ERA in eight starts.

Reliever Juan Minaya takes his place on the roster. The right-hander has a 1.23 ERA in 10 appearances and 14.2 innings at Charlotte since coming off the disabled list (abdominal strain). The addition of Minaya means the Sox are carrying nine relief pitchers for Friday's doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.

They might need the help, since the Sox's two scheduled starting pitchers are Mike Pelfrey and Tyler Danish. If the Sox get five decent innings out of both men, that would be considered a success.

Danish was recalled Friday to be the 26th man on the roster for the doubleheader. The 22-year-old right-hander made three relief appearances for the Sox last year, but this will be his first start in the major leagues.

He was 1-3 with a 3.15 ERA in eight starts and 45.2 innings for the Knights.

If you're going out to the ol' ballpark for the doubleheader Friday, you might see some offense. Detroit is basically doing the same thing the Sox are: starting one struggling pitcher (Matt Boyd) and one minor-league call-up (Buck Farmer). Top-of-the-rotation starters are nowhere to be found in these matchups.

Monday, May 8, 2017

White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada named International League Batter of the Week

Does anybody feel like breaking down the three-game series sweep the White Sox suffered in Baltimore over the weekend?

Me neither. That was a pitiful performance by a below-average team at the end of a 10-game road trip. So why make a Monday even gloomier by reliving it?

Instead, let's talk about White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada, who finished a triple short of the cycle Sunday in Charlotte's 7-1 victory over Gwinnett.

Moncada went 3 for 4 with a home run, a double, a walk and a stolen base. For the week of May 1 to 7, the second baseman hit .500 with two home runs and four RBIs. For his efforts, he has been named International League Batter of the Week.

That performance is an extension of a longer-term tear that Moncada has been on. Over his past 15 games, he is hitting .400/.464/.617 with 16 runs scored, three homers and seven RBIs in 69 plate appearances.

For those concerned about Moncada's strikeout rate, yes, he has struck out 26.7 percent of the time in his 124 plate appearances this season. But, that number is starting to come down. His K rate over the past 15 games? It's 21.7 percent. Still a little high, but a clear improvement. For the season, he's hitting .352 with six home runs and 11 RBIs.

When you're watching the Sox get shut out and go 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position -- as they did Sunday -- it's hard not to look forward to the day when Moncada gets called up. It won't happen until at least May 15. If the Sox want to keep Moncada for a seventh year of control -- and they do -- they can't call him up until then.

I'm not going to be the guy who calls for Moncada to be promoted as quickly as possible. He's ready whenever he's ready, and I can be patient. At the same time, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited to see what he can do against major league pitching.

And, also, Carson Fulmer is progressing at Triple-A Charlotte. He got the win in the aforementioned game against Gwinnett. He went six innings and allowed only four base runners (three hits, one walk) and one run. His season ERA is down to 2.88. He has held the opposition to two runs or less in five of his first six starts.

Amid all the hype about prospects who were acquired over the offseason, the best pitcher at Triple-A has been a guy who was in the organization last year -- that's Fulmer.