Showing posts with label Michael Kopech. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Kopech. Show all posts

Friday, June 15, 2018

Perhaps Michael Kopech really does need more Triple-A time

Up until now, I've been a proponent of Michael Kopech getting an opportunity to continue his development at the major-league level.

However, the White Sox's top pitching prospect gave me pause with a poor performance Thursday night.

In Charlotte's 6-4 loss to the Norfolk Tides, Kopech walked eight, threw five wild pitches, hit two batters and threw only 35 of his 86 pitches for strikes. He struck out two and gave up two hits.

He only lasted three innings, and somehow, he only gave up five runs.

The control problems continue a trend for Kopech, who has had three uneven outings in row. Here is his composite pitching line from his past three starts:

11 IP, 12 H, 14 R, 14 ER, 17 BB, 14 K, 3 HBPs

OK, I'll relent and say general manager Rick Hahn is doing the right thing by keeping Kopech at Charlotte a little longer. However, I still believe Eloy Jimenez should have been promoted from Birmingham to Triple-A by now.

Indians 5, White Sox 2

I can't say Carlos Rodon's second start back from the disabled list Thursday was a bad one -- he didn't lose -- Chris Volstad took the loss in relief.

But Rodon was not sharp, so let's call the outing "laborious."

The left-hander went five innings, allowing two runs on two hits. He struck out four, walked three and hit two batters. A low point came in the third inning when he walked Yan Gomes with the bases loaded to force in the tying run.

We'd all like to see Rodon get deeper into games, but the score was tied at 2 when he left the game after five, so he gave the Sox a chance to win.

The Indians won, however, after Jose Ramirez broke the tie with a two-out, two-strike, two-run home run off Volstad in the top of the seventh. Volstad had a first base open, and he just got too much of the plate with his pitch.

I was frustrated with that outcome, because Edwin Encarnacion was the on-deck hitter for Cleveland in that situation. Although Encarnacion is an accomplished hitter, he is mired in a 2-for-19 slump.

I'd rather take my chances with him, righty-on-righty, than let Cleveland's most dangerous hitter (Ramirez) beat me.

Ramirez, in this case, burned the Sox, who settled for a split of the four-game series.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Latest statistics for notable White Sox prospects

I haven't checked in on the farm lately, so with the calendar turning to May, perhaps the timing is right to see how some notable White Sox prospects have fared through the first month of the season.

There has been one notable promotion so far, with right-handed pitcher Dane Dunning moving up from High-A Winston-Salem to Double-AA Birmingham, where he won his first start.

Also of note, former first-round draft pick Zack Collins was just named the Southern League Player of the Week. Thank goodness, because Collins had been really struggling at Birmingham. He raised his overall batting average from .054 to .206 in week that saw him post a .438 average with a homer, a stolen base, six RBIs and six walks.

So, while we await Michael Kopech's call to the big leagues, here's a look at some numbers (through games of April 30):

Charlotte Knights (10-13, 3rd place in International League South)
Charlie Tilson, OF: .224/.283/.282, 0 HRs, 4 RBIs, 5 SBs, 14 Ks, 7 BBs, 85 ABs
Eddy Alvarez, SS: .353/.455/.697, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 SBs, 3 Ks, 4 BBs, 17 ABs
Kevan Smith, C: .229/.308/.371, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 0 SBs, 5 Ks, 2 BBs, 35 ABs
Michael Kopech, RHP: 0-1, 2.14 ERA, 21 IP, 14 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 29 Ks, 7 BBs, 1.00 WHIP
Thyago Vieira, RHP: 0-0, 6.55 ERA, 11 IP, 13 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 20 Ks, 9 BBs, 2.00 WHIP
Jace Fry, LHP: 0-1, 1.59 ERA, 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 8 Ks, 0 BBs, 0.53 WHIP

Birmingham Barons (12-13, 4th place in Southern League North)
Eloy Jimenez, OF: .234/.269/.532, 4 HRs, 14 RBIs, 0 SBs, 7 Ks, 3 BBs, 47 ABs
Zack Collins, C: .206/.393/.365, 2 HRs, 9 RBIs, 1 SB, 25 Ks, 19 BBs, 63 ABs
Seby Zavala, C: .315/.411/.616, 6 HRs, 19 RBIs, 0 SB, 28 Ks, 13 BBs, 73 ABs
Tito Polo, OF: .237/.304/.344, 0 HRs, 3 RBIs, 8 SBs, 22 Ks, 7 BBs, 93 ABs
Dane Dunning, RHP: 1-0, 4.50 ERA, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 Ks, 2 BBs, 1.17 WHIP
Jordan Stephens, RHP: 2-3, 3.67 ERA, 27 IP, 27 H, 15 R, 11 ER, 24 Ks, 8 BBs, 1.30 WHIP
Ian Hamilton, RHP: 0-0, 0.96 ERA, 9.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 12 Ks, 3 BBs, 4 saves, 0.75 WHIP

Winston-Salem Dash (12-12, 3rd place in Carolina League South)
Luis Alexander Basabe, OF: .313/.400/.614, 4 HRs, 17 RBIs, 3 SB, 20 Ks, 12 BBs, 83 ABs
Blake Rutherford, OF: .338/.372/.437, 0 HRs, 11 RBIs, 3 SBs, 16 Ks, 5 BBs, 71 ABs
Micker Adolfo, DH: .308/.369/.549, 5 HRs, 21 RBIs, 0 SBs, 31 Ks, 8 BBs, 91 ABs
Joel Booker, OF: .353/.421/.515, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, 7 SBs, 17 Ks, 6 BBs, 68 ABs
Gavin Sheets, 1B: .290/.430/.377, 0 HRs, 8 RBIs, 0 SBs, 11 Ks, 15 BBs, 69 ABs
Dylan Cease, RHP: 2-1, 2.79 ERA, 19.1 IP, 13 H, 12 R, 6 ER, 24 Ks, 12 BBs, 1.29 WHIP
Bernardo Flores, LHP: 1-2, 3.41 ERA, 29 IP, 31 H, 15 R, 11 ER, 20 Ks, 7 BBs, 1.31 WHIP

Kannapolis Intimidators (14-10, 3rd in South Atlantic League North)
Luis Gonzalez, OF: .310/.386/.448, 3 HRs, 9 RBIs, 3 SBs, 25 Ks, 12 BBs, 87 ABs
Carlos Perez, C: .281/.294/.438, 0 HRs, 5 RBIs, 0 SBs, 4 Ks, 1 BB, 32 ABs
Lincoln Henzman, RHP: 1-2, 2.88 ERA, 25 IP, 26 H, 16 R, 8 ER, 20 Ks, 3 BBs, 1.16 WHIP
John Parke, LHP: 3-1, 1.86  ERA, 29 IP, 22 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 23 K, 5 BBs, 0.93 WHIP
 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

'Team marketing experiment' looks like a failure for White Sox

A lot of people are wondering why Tuesday's game between the White Sox and Seattle Mariners started at 4:10 p.m. at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Honestly, I have no idea of the details, but I read in a story from The Associated Press that the Sox were conducting a "team marketing experiment."

The story also notes that about 2,000 fans were in the seats for the first pitch, on a sunny day with the temperature hovering about 60 degrees. The announced attendance was 10,761.

So, that's about par for the course for an April day game involving a bad, rebuilding Sox team and an opponent that does not have a national following.

There were a bunch of weird shadows on the field during the game. Hitters couldn't see the ball, pitchers dominated and the Mariners squeezed out a 1-0 victory, dropping the Sox to 5-15 -- their worst start since 1950.

But I'm more interested in what the nature of this marketing experiment was. Did the Sox think people who work in the city would want to come to the ballpark at 4 p.m. once they left the office? Do they think the usual matinee start time, 1:10 p.m., deters people from attending because the game ends between 4 and 5 p.m., sending fans home in the thick of Chicago's rush hour?

Obviously, this unorthodox start time failed to move the needle at the gate, and I hope the Sox don't do it again. I suppose they had nothing to lose for trying, but the bottom line is this team is 2-9 at home entering Wednesday's play.

This is not an exciting time to be a Sox fan, no matter what anyone tells you. Rebuilding is tough. There is a lot of bad, boring baseball being played by mediocre and bad players who, God willing, will not be on the Sox roster in two years.

I think the Sox will have more people in the seats if a top prospect, such as Michael Kopech or Eloy Jimenez, gets called up later in the season. Until then, however, the team isn't going to draw. The Sox are paying the price for years of subpar play, and they will continue to do so until major league results improve.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Following up: Carson Fulmer stays in race for fifth-starter spot

The White Sox offense produced 20 hits and five walks in a 15-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, but Carson Fulmer's performance still is the story coming out of this game.

Fulmer entered Monday's outing with an unsightly 18.90 Cactus League ERA, but this latest performance will help. The right-hander worked four scoreless, hitless innings. He struck out four and walked three.

Pretty good, right?

Yeah, in comparison to other outings this spring, Fulmer was spectacular. However, I still have reservations about putting him in the starting rotation when the regular season starts.

Fulmer threw 72 pitches Monday, and only 38 of them were for strikes -- a 52.8 percent strike percentage. Velocity was good -- 91 to 94 mph on the fastball -- movement was good -- there's a reason he gave up no hits -- but his command still leaves a lot to be desired.

At one point, spanning the second and third innings, Fulmer missed the strike zone on 15 out of 16 pitches.

After getting the first two outs of the second inning, Fulmer issued a four-pitch walk and fell behind 2-0 to Daniel Descalso before getting a fly out to end the inning.

He started the third inning with a pair of four-pitch walks. After Jarrod Dyson's deep flyout, Fulmer fell behind in the count 3-0 to A.J. Pollock before rallying to record a strikeout. Pollock was caught looking at a 3-2 fastball that might have been low, and given his wildness, Fulmer was fortunate to get a call for the second out. He then got Paul Goldschmidt to fly out to end the Arizona scoring opportunity.

Fulmer navigated a successful fourth inning. He might have come back out for the fifth had the Sox not scored seven runs in the top of that inning. That's too long for a pitcher to sit in a spring training game, so the Sox wisely went to the bullpen.

Fulmer's competition for the rotation spot, Hector Santiago, pitched two scoreless innings of relief in this game, which also featured three-hit performances from Adam Engel and Matt Davidson.

Both Engel and Davidson have hit over .300 this spring, so it appears both will hold their roster spots.

Michael Kopech, however, has been assigned to minor-league camp, as expected, in a roster move made Tuesday.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Carson Fulmer should not be in White Sox rotation when season starts

It's March 15. The regular season starts two weeks from today, and we've yet to see any reason why Carson Fulmer should begin the season in the White Sox starting rotation.

I hate overreactions to spring training numbers. I try to remind myself they don't matter, but Fulmer has pitched so poorly in the Cactus League that his struggles are impossible to ignore. Even if a pitcher's numbers stink, he has to stay on the mound long enough to get his work in, and start climbing toward being able to pitch six or seven innings in a game in order to stick in the starting rotation.

Right now, Fulmer can't make it out of the second inning.

He was shelled for the third time in four spring starts Wednesday in an 11-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. Fulmer lasted 1.2 innings, allowing seven runs on five hits -- including three home runs. He walked three, did not record a strikeout, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.

His numbers for the spring: 6.2 IP, 18 hits, 17 runs -- 14 earned -- five strikeouts, 10 walks, seven home runs allowed.

Brutal.

Fulmer cannot command his fastball. He can't repeat his delivery. He's extremely wild, both in and out of the strike zone. This is a guy who doesn't look as though he belongs in the major leagues in any role right now.

So, what do you do with him? He's less than three years removed from being a first-round draft pick, so you don't want to give up on him, but it looks as though it's time to lower expectations. There's nothing about Fulmer that says "future starting pitcher" to me.

That's especially true when you see what's going on in the organization as a whole. Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez have arrived in the majors and are ready for their first full season as big-league starters. Carlos Rodon still is hanging around as a potential top-of-the-rotation guy, if he can get healthy. Michael Kopech and Alec Hansen are on the way. There's another potential wave of pitchers behind them in the minor leagues that includes Dane Dunning and Dylan Cease.

Do we see a long-term scenario in which Fulmer wins a spot as one of the five Sox starters? I do not.

So, I think the time has come to send him to Triple-A Charlotte and convert him into a reliever. Fulmer should focus on commanding two pitches and repeating his mechanics. If he can do that, perhaps he can contribute in the majors as a late-inning reliever somewhere down the line.

Certainly, the Sox have room for Fulmer in their bullpen, if he's willing to make the adjustment.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Jake Burger done for the season; injuries to prospects a buzzkill for White Sox

First the good news: White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech's fastball-changeup combination looked good in his spring debut Monday, when he tossed two scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics. The Sox are 3-1 this spring after their 7-6 win over the A's.

Too bad that wasn't the story of the day.

Jake Burger, the Sox's first-round draft pick in 2017, was lost for the season Monday with a ruptured Achilles in his left leg. Burger was running out a routine grounder when he collapsed in pain about 15 feet before reaching first base.

Injuries to prospects have become an alarming trend for the Sox, and we're not even to March yet. Micker Adolfo, who has one of the best outfield arms in the farm system, is going to be relegated to DH duty this season because of a sprained UCL and a strain in his flexor tendon.

The Sox don't want Adolfo to lose at-bats, so he's going to try to play through it, but midseason surgery still is an option.

We already know Zack Burdi, a 2016 first-round draft pick, is out after having Tommy John surgery last summer. And top hitting prospect Eloy Jimenez is not playing right now because of a sore knee.

The injury to Jimenez is not severe, but it's hard to maintain optimism for the coming season when bad news is being piled on top of bad news on the injury front.

Burger's injury has led to increased speculation that the Sox might sign veteran third baseman Mike Moustakas, who incredibly remains a free agent after hitting 38 home runs for the Kansas City Royals last season.

My position on Moustakas hasn't changed: If you can get him on a two- or three-year deal at reasonable money, you have to consider it. Before the injury, Burger's projected timeline for arriving in the big leagues was about 2020. Now, you have to back that up to 2021, and questions only will increase in terms of his ability to stick at third base.

So, the Sox need somebody to man that position for the next three years, at least, and there are no other obvious solutions within the system. Time to look outside the organization? Perhaps, but I wouldn't go handing out a five- or six-year contract to the 29-year-old Moustakas as a result of this.

If the Sox want to sign a shorter-term stopgap, I'm cool with that. I would argue they needed a stopgap at third base even before this Burger injury occurred, so nothing has really changed.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

First spring training game matchup: Dylan Covey vs. Wilmer Font

Camelback Ranch
The White Sox typically open Cactus League play against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It makes sense, after all, because both teams train at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona.

This year is no different.

The two teams will get spring ball underway at 2 p.m. Friday. You can listen to the game on WGN AM-720.

In the past, this has meant that the first live ABs of the spring for Sox hitters come against the best pitcher in the world -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

This year is different.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, 27-year-old right-hander Wilmer Font will get the start for the Dodgers on Friday. Font posted a 3.48 ERA in 25 starts at Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2017, and he had an unsuccessful September call-up to the Dodgers in which he had a 17.18 ERA in three appearances.

Might be a slight downgrade from Kershaw, huh?

And, hey, it makes the game a little more of a fair fight. The Sox are starting right-hander Dylan Covey, who went 0-7 in the major leagues in 2017 and already got designated for assignment this spring.

In case you were wondering who is pitching the first few spring games for the Sox, there's a tweet for that. And here's what it says:

Friday: Covey
Saturday: Hector Santiago
Sunday: Jordan Guerrero
Monday: Michael Kopech

I'm guessing Monday's game might get more media attention that some of these others ...

Monday, January 22, 2018

5 White Sox prospects make Baseball America's top 100 list

White Sox farmhands occupy five spots on Baseball America's list of top 100 prospects, which was released Monday morning.

The five players are:

4. Eloy Jimenez
11. Michael Kopech
57. Alec Hansen
58. Luis Robert
82. Dane Dunning

It's a good sign for the Sox to still have five players in the top 100, considering three of their guys who were on the list at this time last year are no longer eligible because they are now in the big leagues -- Yoan Moncada (No. 2), Lucas Giolito (No. 25) and Reynaldo Lopez (No. 31).

Zack Collins was No. 56 last year, but he has fallen off the list after struggling at Class-A Winston-Salem in 2017 (.223 average with 118 strikeouts).

The other bad news? Fernando Tatis Jr. is No. 9 in these rankings. In case you've forgotten, Tatis Jr. is the shortstop the Sox traded the San Diego Padres in 2016 in exchange for James Shields.

We said at the time of the Shields deal that it was the sort of trade that gets GMs fired. Rick Hahn can thank his lucky stars that some of the young players he's acquired since the Shields deal have masked the loss of Tatis Jr.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

White Sox bring back Miguel Gonzalez on one-year deal

Miguel Gonzalez
The White Sox moved to improve their starting pitching depth Thursday by signing Miguel Gonzalez to a one-year contract worth $4.75 million.

With Carlos Rodon likely to start the 2018 season on the DL, the Sox needed a stopgap veteran to eat some innings and at least get them through the first half of the year. They are turning to a pitcher they are familiar with in Gonzalez.

The 33-year-old veteran spent most of the 2016 and 2017 seasons on the South Side. He made 45 starts with the Sox and went 12-18 with a 4.02 ERA over that span.

Gonzalez was traded to the Texas Rangers for infielder Ti'Quan Forbes on Aug. 31. He made five September starts in Texas and went 1-3 with a 6.45 ERA before becoming a free agent.

Best guess on the Opening Day rotation as of now: 
James Shields
Gonzalez
Lucas Giolito
Reynaldo Lopez
Carson Fulmer

Presumably, Rodon will return at some point. Prospects Michael Kopech and Alec Hansen could make their big-league debuts sometime this season. Until then, somebody has to pitch. Might as well be Gonzalez.

The Sox designated outfielder Jacob May for assignment in order to make room for Gonzalez on the 40-man roster.

And as always, we would be remiss if we didn't include this number in a blog post such as this:

Monday, January 8, 2018

Baseball America releases list of top-10 White Sox prospects

Eloy Jimenez
For those who enjoy lists, Baseball America has released its latest list of top-10 White Sox prospects. You would need to buy a subscription from that publication to get full details, but here is its ranking:

1. Eloy Jimenez, OF
2. Michael Kopech, RHP
3. Alec Hansen, RHP
4. Luis Robert, OF
5. Dane Dunning, RHP
6. Zack Collins, C
7. Jake Burger, 3B
8. Blake Rutherford, OF
9. Gavin Sheets, 1B
10. Dylan Cease, RHP

Notable graduations from last year's Baseball America list at this same time include the guys who were ranked 1, 2 and 3: Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. All received call-ups to the big leagues during the 2017 season.

Baseball America says the top of the Sox's farm system ranks among the best in the game, and the top 10 could get stronger if Burger and Sheets -- both members of the 2017 draft class -- play well in their first full seasons as professionals.

The publication also notes that there is a bit of a dropoff in the Sox's system once you get past the first 15 prospects. The depth could be better if more fringe prospects such as Luis Alexander Basabe and Alex Call bounce back from disappointing 2017 seasons.

Here's the best-of list for the Sox's farm system provided by Baseball America:
Best hitter for average: Jimenez
Best power hitter: Jimenez
Best plate discipline: Collins
Fastest base runner: Logan Taylor
Best athlete: Robert
Best fastball: Kopech
Best curve: Hansen
Best slider: Zack Burdi
Best changeup: A.J. Puckett
Best control: Dunning
Best defensive catcher: Nate Nolan
Best defensive infielder: Yeyson Yrizarri
Best infield arm: Zach Remillard
Best defensive outfielder: Basabe
Best outfield arm: Micker Adolfo

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.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Baseball America updates list of top White Sox prospects

With the Jose Quintana trade in the past and the White Sox getting swept at home by the Seattle Mariners over the weekend, the 2017 season is starting to feel even more rebuild-y.

I'm not one to get overly enthusiastic about prospects, but if you're so inclined, Baseball America has updated its list of top-10 Sox prospects:

1. Yoan Moncada, 2B
2. Eloy Jimenez, OF
3. Michael Kopech, RHP
4. Luis Robert, OF
5. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP
6. Lucas Giolito, RHP
7. Dylan Cease, RHP
8. Jake Burger, 3B
9. Dane Dunning, RHP
10. Alec Hansen, RHP

Of note, only Hansen was a member of the Sox organization before last December. Moncada and Kopech were acquired in the Chris Sale deal. Jimenez and Cease were acquired in the Quintana deal. Robert was an international free agent signing earlier this spring. Lopez, Giolito and Dunning all were acquired in the Adam Eaton deal. Burger was the Sox's No. 1 pick in the June draft.

There have been some changes since December. Here's how the list looked then:

1. Moncada, 2B/3B
2. Giolito, RHP
3. Lopez, RHP
4. Zack Collins, C
5. Kopech, RHP
6. Zack Burdi, RHP
7. Luis Alexander Basabe, OF
8. Carson Fulmer, RHP
9. Spencer Adams, RHP
10. Dunning, RHP

Burdi fell off the list because he had Tommy John surgery and is out until 2019. Collins has seen his stock fall with the .216/.366/.414 slash line he's posted at Class-A Winston-Salem this season.

Fulmer has had a bad season, too. The former first-round draft pick is 1-5 with a 7.90 ERA over the past two months at Triple-A Charlotte. He was 5-1 with a 2.72 ERA in April, but not much has gone right since. It might be time to abandon the "Fulmer is a starter" experiment and move him to the role a lot of people believe is his future: high-leverage reliever.

Adams and Basabe dropped off the list, as well, but I don't know that I ever saw them as anything more than midlevel prospects anyway. It stands to reason they would drop on these lists with the Sox adding Jimenez, Robert and Burger in recent months.

Friday, June 30, 2017

White Sox likely to have more representation in Futures Game than All-Star Game

Yoan Moncada
White Sox fans will have a reason to watch this year's Futures Game. The rosters were announced Thursday for the annual midsummer showcase, and three Sox prospects made the list: second baseman Yoan Moncada, pitcher Michael Kopech and catcher Zack Collins.

It appears likely the Sox will have more representation in the Futures Game than they will in the All-Star Game itself, with right fielder Avisail Garcia and first baseman Jose Abreu the only two legitimate All-Star candidates on the big-league roster.

Moncada will play for the World team, and will try to defend the MVP honor he won in the Futures Game last season when he still was a member of the Boston Red Sox organization.

This season, Moncada has hit .281/.381/.454 with 10 home runs, 29 RBIs and 15 stolen bases for Triple-A Charlotte. He spent some time on the disabled list with a thumb injury about a month ago, and struggled when he first returned, but he's had a solid season overall and has lived up to the billing as the Sox's No. 1-ranked prospect.

Kopech, the fireballing right-hander who was acquired along with Moncada in the Chris Sale trade, is 4-5 with a 3.72 ERA in 15 starts at Double-A Birmingham. Kopech has demonstrated that he has the raw ability to be an elite pitcher -- he's fanned 97 hitters and allowed only 51 hits in 75 innings for the Barons. However, his control remains a work in progress. He's walked 49, and that's what has prevented him from earning a promotion to Charlotte, despite being selected to the Double-A All-Star Game, and now, Team USA in the Futures Game.

Collins also is on the Team USA roster, and his selection is a little more of a surprise. He's a had a rough season at Class-A Winston-Salem, although he has 10 home runs and leads the league with 56 walks. But his.206/.362/.399 slash line qualifies as a disappointment, and so do the 82 strikeouts in 233 at-bats. However, they say catching is the fastest path to the big leagues, and perhaps there aren't many good catching prospects out there. This is Collins' first full year in pro ball, so there's plenty of time for him to get his career on right track.

Sox salvage split with Yankees

Thanks to the rainy conditions here in Chicago, Thursday night's game didn't end until after 1 a.m. local time, but it ended happily, with the Sox picking up a 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees.

I've been critical of James Shields (2-1), so let's give credit to him for a respectable outing. He fired 6.1 innings of three-run ball and left the mound with the 4-3 lead intact. The big hit of the game came from Willy Garcia, whose two-out, two-run double in the fourth inning put the Sox ahead for good at 4-2.

The Sox bullpen combined to throw 2.2 innings of shutout ball. Closer David Robertson earned his 12th save, striking out New York slugger Aaron Judge with a man on base for the final out.

It's been a tough homestand so far, even with Thursday's win. The Sox are 2-5 with three games to come this weekend against the Texas Rangers.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Latest statistics for notable White Sox prospects

I didn't have time Monday to break down the White Sox's three losses to the Detroit Tigers over the weekend. And really, what is there to say? They got outscored, 32-10, in the series, and got beaten in embarrassing fashion.

So, let's move on to other things that stink, such Yoan Moncada's 5-for-40 tailspin since coming off the disabled list May 26. The Sox's top prospect is 2 for 22 in June with seven strikeouts.

The combination of the injury and this slump has slowed down the drumbeat for him to be called up to the majors. That's for sure.

Since the last time we did that exercise, I've determined that none of the hitters at Birmingham are worth following. Trey Michalczewski was demoted to Class-A Winston-Salem, and Courtney Hawkins doesn't qualify as a prospect for me anymore.

I've also knocked Alex Call off the Winston-Salem list, since he is hurt and hasn't played since April.

All statistics are through games of June 5:

Charlotte Knights (26-30, 3rd place in International League South)

Moncada, 2B: .285/.366/.436, 6 HRs, 18 RBIs, 57 Ks, 24 BBs, 12 SBs, 179 ABs
Jacob May, OF:.290/.362/.427, 3 HRs, 9 RBIs, 32 Ks, 12 BBs, 4 SBs, 124 ABs
Nick Delmonico, 3B: .282/.362/.491, 9 HRs, 32 RBIs, 40 Ks, 25 BBs, 2 SBs, 216 ABs
Reynaldo Lopez, RHP: 5-2, 3.81 ERA, 59 IP, 52 H, 30 R, 25 ER, 60 Ks, 27 BBs, 1.34 WHIP
Carson Fulmer, RHP: 5-3, 4.63 ERA, 58.1 IP, 55 H, 36 R, 30 ER, 44 Ks, 27 BBs, 1.41 WHIP
Lucas Giolito, RHP: 2-5, 4.95 ERA, 56.1 IP 55 H , 33 ER, 31 ER, 57 Ks, 27 BBs, 1.46 WHIP
Zack Burdi, RHP:  0-4, 4.64 ERA, 21.1 IP, 21 H, 13 R, 11 ER, 32 Ks, 10 BBs, 1.45 WHIP, 5 saves

Birmingham Barons (19-36, 4th place in Southern League North)

Michael Kopech, RHP: 4-3, 2.93 ERA, 58.1 IP, 33 H, 22 R, 19 ER, 80 Ks, 36 BBs, 1.18 WHIP
Spencer Adams, RHP: 3-6, 3.93 ERA, 66.1 IP, 77 H, 32 R, 29 ER, 50 Ks, 7 BBs, 1.27 WHIP
Jordan Stephens, RHP: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 6 Ks, 1 BB, 0.33 WHIP

Winston-Salem Dash (19-38, 4th place in Carolina League South)

Michalczewski, 3B: .311.343/607, 4 HRs, 12 RBIs, 16 Ks, 4 BBs, 1 SB, 61 ABs
Zack Collins, C: ..230/.392/.455, 8 HRs, 26 RBIs, 56 Ks, 43 BBs, 0 SBs, 165 ABS
Luis Alexander Basabe, CF:.224/.322/317, 2 HRs, 14 RBIs, 54 Ks, 23 BBs, 10 SBs, 182 ABs
Dane Dunning, RHP: 2-0, 4.79 ERA, 20.2 IP, 20 H, 12 R, 11 ERs, 22 Ks, 11 BBs, 1.50 WHIP

Kannapolis Intimidators (30-25, 4th place in South Atlantic League North)

Jameson Fisher, OF: .290/.376/.455, 2 HRs, 29 RBIs, 49 Ks, 22 BBs, 2 SBs, 176 ABs
Micker Adolfo, OF:.277/.332/.434, 3 HRs, 23 RBIs, 54 Ks, 6 BBs, 0 SBs, 173 ABs
Mitch Roman, 2B: .267/.323/.320, 1 HR, 23 RBIs, 43 Ks, 14 BBs, 2 SBs, 206 ABs
Alec Hansen, RHP: 5-3, 2.82 ERA, 60.2 IP, 50 H, 26 R, 19 ERs, 74 Ks, 21 BBs, 1.17 WHIP

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Latest statistics for notable White Sox prospects

Since we last took at look at the numbers for notable White Sox prospects, there was one promotion of significance made.

Right-hander Dane Dunning, who was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal, was promoted from Low-A Kannapolis to High-A Winston-Salem. He went 2-0 with a 0.35 ERA in four starts at Kannapolis, so now we'll see if he can carry that success over to Winston-Salem.

These numbers are through games of May 8.

Charlotte Knights (14-15, 3rd place in International League South)

Yoan Moncada, 2B: .345/.419/.549, 6 HRs, 11 RBIs, 8 SBs, 34 Ks, 15 BBs, 113 ABs
Nick Delmonico, 3B: .295/.378/.446, 2 HRs, 14 RBIs, 1 SB, 16 Ks, 14 BBs, 112 ABs
Jacob May, OF: .227/.261/.273, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs, 1 SB, 4 Ks, 1 BB, 22 ABs
Adam Engel, OF: .213/.304/.427, 4 HRs, 10 RBIs, 1 SB, 26 Ks, 11 BBs, 89 ABs
Carson Fulmer, RHP: 4-1, 2.88 ERA, 34.1 IP, 28 H, 12 R, 11 ER, 25 Ks, 11 BBs, 1.136 WHIP
Reynaldo Lopez, RHP: 3-1, 3.94 ERA, 32 IP, 25 H, 16 R, 14 ER, 35 Ks, 19 BBs, 1.375 WHIP
Lucas Giolito, RHP: 0-5, 7.31 ERA, 28.1 IP, 32 H, 25 R, 23 ER, 31 Ks, 18 BBs, 1.765 WHIP
Zack Burdi, RHP: 0-1, 2.31 ERA, 11.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 19 Ks, 4 BBs, 1.029 WHIP

Birmingham Barons (11-20, 4th place in Southern League North)

Trey Michalczewski, 3B: .200/.314/.280, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 SBs, 35 Ks, 15 BBs, 100 ABs
Courtney Hawkins, OF: .127/.146/.291, 4 HRs, 8 RBIs, 0 SBs, 47 Ks, 2 BBs, 79 ABs
Michael Kopech, RHP: 1-2, 3.00 ERA, 24 IP, 13 H, 10 R, 8 ER, 36Ks, 16 BBs, 1.208 WHIP
Spencer Adams, RHP: 1-5, 3.65 ERA, 37 IP, 43 H, 18 R, 15 ERs, 31 Ks, 4 BBs, 1.270 WHIP

Winston-Salem Dash (11-20, 5th place in Carolina League South)

Zack Collins, C: .233/.393/.384 2 HRs, 10 RBIs, 0 SBs, 27 Ks, 23 BBs, 86 ABs
Luis Alexander Basabe, CF: .242/337/363, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 5 SBs, 25 Ks, 13 BBs, 91 ABs
Alex Call, OF: .244/.311/.366, 0 HRs, 5 RBIs, 2 SBs, 11 Ks, 3 BBs, 41 ABs
Dunning, RHP: 1-0, 3.52 ERA, 7.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 11 Ks, 4 BBs, 1.565 WHIP

Kannapolis Intimidators (15-15, 4th in South Atlantic League North)

Mitch Roman, 2B: .343/.408/.389, 0 HRs, 10 RBIs, 2 SBs, 21 Ks, 10 BBs, 108 ABs
Jameson Fisher, OF: .248/.345/.347, 1 HR, 16 RBIs, 2 SBs, 30 Ks, 14 BBs, 101 ABs
Micker Adolfo, OF: .310/.375/.437, 1 HR, 11 RBIs, 0 SB, 24 Ks, 3 BBs, 87 ABs
Alec Hansen, RHP:1-3, 3.56 ERA, 30.1 IP, 27 H, 18 R, 12 ER, 31 Ks, 12 BBs, 1.286 WHIP

Friday, April 28, 2017

Latest statistics for notable White Sox prospects

As we come to the end of April, let's take a look at how some notable White Sox prospects have started the season. All statistics are through games of April 27.

Charlotte Knights (9-10, 3rd place in International League South)

Yoan Moncada, 2B: .297/.373./.500, 4 HRs, 5 RBIs, 5 SBs, 27 Ks, 9 BBs, 74 ABs
Nick Delmonico, 3B: .320/.386/.453, 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 0 SBs, 12 Ks, 7 BBs, 75 ABs
Adam Engel, OF: .143/.234/.214, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 SB, 19 Ks, 7 BBs, 56 ABs
Carson Fulmer, RHP: 2-1, 3.52 ERA, 23 IP, 23 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 19 Ks, 5 BBs, 1.22 WHIP
Reynaldo Lopez, RHP: 1-1, 4.87 ERA, 20.1 IP, 20 H, 13 R, 11 ER, 22 Ks, 13 BBs, 1.62 WHIP
Lucas Giolito, RHP: 0-3, 6.63 ERA, 19 IP, 18 H, 15 R, 14 ER, 23 Ks, 11 BBs, 1.53 WHIP
Zack Burdi, RHP: 0-1 with 2 SVs, 3.52 ERA, 7.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 13 Ks, 3 BB, 1.30 WHIP

Birmingham Barons (8-13, 4th place in Southern League North)

Trey Michalczewski, 3B: .222/.309/.333, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 SB, 21 Ks, 9 BBs, 72 ABs
Courtney Hawkins, OF: .143/.167/.333, 4 HRs, 8 RBIs, 0 SBs, 35 Ks, 2 BBs, 63 ABs
Michael Kopech, RHP: 1-1, 2.50 ERA, 18 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 28 Ks, 14 BBs, 1.28 WHIP
Spencer Adams, RHP: 0-4, 3.65 ERA, 24.2 IP, 26 H, 12 R, 10 ER, 20Ks, 3 BBs, 1.18 WHIP

Winston-Salem Dash (7-14, 5th place in Carolina League South)

Zack Collins, C: .172/.372/.293, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 SBs, 22 Ks, 19 BBs, 58 ABs
Luis Alexander Basabe, CF: .245/.333/.377, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 SBs, 14Ks, 7 BBs, 53 ABs
Alex Call, OF: .244/.311/.366, 0 HRs, 5 RBIs, 2 SBs, 11 Ks, 3 BBs, 41 ABs

Kannapolis Intimidators (10-10, 4th in South Atlantic League North)

Jameson Fisher, OF: .261/.329/.362, 1 HR, 10 RBIs, 2 SBs, 18 Ks, 6 BBs, 69 ABs
Micker Adolfo, OF: .234/.308/.277, 0 HRs, 1 RBI, 0 SBs, 16 Ks, 1 BB, 47 ABs
Dane Dunning, RHP: 2-0, 0.35 ERA, 26 IP, 13 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 33 Ks, 2 BBs, 0.58 WHIP
Alec Hansen, RHP: 1-1, 4.42 ERA, 18.1 IP, 21 H, 14 R, 9 ER, 21 Ks, 10 BBs, 1.69 WHIP

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The White Sox's big pitching prospects have all made their first spring starts ...

As of Wednesday morning, the White Sox have played five spring training games. They've gone 2-2-1, and each of the four big pitching prospects in the organization has made one start.

Here are the results for each man:

Carson Fulmer: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K 
Lucas Giolito: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR 
Reynaldo Lopez: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR 
Michael Kopech: 1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Isn't it interesting that the guy who is ranked the lowest on the prospect lists and is getting the least amount of hype did the best?

Fulmer started Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers and struck three consecutive batters out swinging in his two scoreless innings.

It's foolish to draw any sort of conclusion on anybody from one spring start, but Fulmer's performance was at least enough to remind people that, hey, he's still around. And he might be closer to making the major leagues than the three newcomers to the organization that were acquired this offseason.

Giolito faced the Cubs and gave up a solo home run to Addison Russell on a four-seam fastball that wasn't very well located. He was somewhat fortunate to escape damage in the first inning, when a diving stop by second baseman Yoan Moncada produced a 4-6-3 double play that helped Giolito work out of a first-and-second, no-outs jam. The Cubs had seven of their nine regulars in the lineup, and Giolito was able to avoid getting lit up and post a respectable line -- so at least there's that.

Kopech and Lopez did get lit up, which stinks, but isn't necessarily a sign of bad things to come. Kopech was on the verge of getting out of the first inning with only one run allowed, but he made a bad mistake on an 0-2 pitch, giving up a 3-run homer to Seattle's Mitch Haniger. Tough start. We'll see how the 20-year-old responds next time out.

Lopez? Well, now we know he's a true White Sox. He gave up a two-run homer to Ryan Raburn in his outing against the Cincinnati Reds. As we've noted before, Raburn has basically built a career out of beating up on Sox pitching. I'll probably throw a party the day Raburn retires.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Baseball Prospectus releases Top 101 prospects list; six White Sox included

As White Sox pitchers and catchers report to Glendale, Arizona, today, any optimism surrounding the team has to do with the future and the Sox's much-improved farm system.

Baseball Prospectus on Monday released its list of Top 101 prospects, and the Sox have six players listed. That's significant, because I can't remember the Sox ever having more than two or three players named.

Here's how BP lines 'em up:

5. Yoan Moncada, INF
10. Lucas Giolito, RHP
30. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP
36. Michael Kopech, RHP
89. Zack Collins, C
97. Alec Hansen, RHP

In case you're interested but too lazy to click the link, the four guys ranked ahead of Moncada are St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Alex Reyes, Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi and Philadelphia Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford.

Moncada ranked second (behind Benintendi) in Baseball America's Top 100, which was released Friday. BA was not as high on Giolito, however, ranking him 25th. The publication liked Collins better, ranking him 56th. Lopez (31st) and Kopech (32nd) were in similar territory on BA's list, which did not include Hansen.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Baseball America's revised list of top 10 White Sox prospects

The White Sox's recent trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton netted them seven new players -- all of whom are minor-league prospects. So, it stands to reason the organization's list of top 10 prospects looks far different now than it did at this time last month.

Here's the latest look from Baseball America:

1. Yoan Moncada, 2B/3B
2. Lucas Giolito, RHP
3. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP
4. Zack Collins, C
5. Michael Kopech, RHP
6. Zack Burdi, RHP
7. Luis Alexander Basabe, OF
8. Carson Fulmer, RHP
9. Spencer Adams, RHP
10. Dane Dunning, RHP

Moncada, Kopech and Basabe all were acquired from the Boston Red Sox in the Sale trade. Giolito, Lopez and Dunning all were acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Eaton trade. Collins and Burdi were 2016 Sox draft picks.

That means eight of these 10 players have joined the Sox organization within the past six months. I'm sure this will do a lot for the Sox in terms of where their farm system ranks, although each of the next two seasons likely will feature 90-plus losses on the South Side of Chicago.

It will be interesting to come back to this list in 2019 and see how many of these players panned out.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

White Sox make underwhelming trade of Chris Sale to the Red Sox

Chris Sale
Four consecutive losing seasons -- and five losing seasons out of seven -- would lead to front office changes in most organizations around baseball.

But not the ever-loyal White Sox.

General manager Rick Hahn and executive vice president Ken Williams are still here, and despite total failure in recent years, they are being allowed to embark on a long-term rebuilding project.

They started that process Tuesday by trading ace pitcher Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox for infielder Yoan Moncada, pitcher Michael Kopech, pitcher Victor Diaz and outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe.

In other words, the Sox did exactly what I hoped they wouldn't do -- trade the best pitcher in the American League, the crown jewel of the organization, the face of the franchise, for a package of ifs and maybes.

Make no mistake about it, the Red Sox made a great trade. Consider these facts:

  • Sale is a five-time All-Star. 
  • He's placed in the top six in the AL Cy Young voting for five consecutive years, and he probably would have won the award twice by now if he had been pitching for a good team. 
  • Sale's 3.04 ERA over the past five seasons is the lowest of any American Leaguer with at least 500 innings pitched during that same period.
  • Sale was 6-0 with a 1.55 ERA and 0.82 WHIP against Boston's AL East rivals -- New York, Toronto, Baltimore and Tampa Bay -- in 2016.
  • With the acquisition of Sale, Boston's odds of winning the 2017 World Series went from 10-1 to 5-1 in the blink of an eye. 
  • Sale is under team control for three more years, at the bargain rate of $38 million for the life of his contract.
So, that's what Boston got today.

What did the White Sox get? Your opinion is as good as mine.

Moncada is the No. 1 ranked prospect in all of baseball, so there's that. He's a switch-hitter, but it's unclear whether he'll be a second baseman, a third baseman or a center fielder moving forward. He hit .294/.407/.511 with 15 home runs, 62 RBIs and 45 stolen bases over a combined 491 plate appearances in High-A Salem and Double-A Portland in 2016.

He went 4 for 19 in eight games in a cup of tea with Boston at the end of the season, and those are the only ABs he's had above Double A so far.

Kopech, 20, has a 100 mph fastball and a temper to match. He sidelined himself for three months last year after breaking his hand in a fight with a teammate. He pitched only 56.1 innings in 2016, going 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two stops in A-ball. He had 86 strikeouts, but also 33 walks. He is not close to the major leagues.

The same is true for Diaz, 22, who has never pitched above A-ball. He went 2-5 with a 3.88 ERA and 10 saves in 37 games at that level in 2016.

Basabe, 20, also has never played above A-ball. He played at two Class A levels in 2016, playing 110 games and hitting .264/.328/.452 with 12 home runs and 53 RBIs.

Bottom line: Moncada is the only one of these four guys we're going to see in the major leagues in the next two years. Kopech is a good prospect, but with his control problems, he's got some work to do.

The other two guys, well, they are long shots.

If you feel like this is an underwhelming return for the best pitcher in the league, you're not alone. I was hoping for a MLB-ready position player, plus two other legit prospects.

This trade is not that.