Here is your update on everything you need to know about the White Sox' minor league system through Sunday, May 12th, 2013 …
AAA Charlotte Knights (13-25)
While the Knights have started to play better, the real story with this team is the rehab of John Danks. In his three minor league starts (one with Birmingham, two with Charlotte), Danks is 2-0 with an even 3.00 ERA. That’s including this afternoon’s start against Pawtucket, where Danks went six innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits, three walks, and five strikeouts.
White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper noted earlier this week that the team would like to see Danks get his velocity up a bit more and have a bit better control before calling him up, and today’s outing was an improvement (haven’t seen any report on his velocity, but the five strikeouts equal his total from the previous two starts combined).
Danks could be getting close, and may just need one more rehab start.
Speaking of Danks, his brother Jordan helped him out today with two hits and three RBIs. Jordan, who was recently demoted when Dayan Viciedo was activated, was hitting well over .300 before his call-up. Also at the plate, Josh Phegley (pictured above) continues to produce, as the Indiana product is hitting .306 with seven home runs, 18 RBIs and a .974 OPS as the team’s main catcher.
With Tyler Flowers continuing to struggle, what Phegley does for Charlotte could become more and more important. Also offensively, the team released Spring Training non-roster invitee Josh Bell and signed Michael McDade, who has been handling the DH duties like Bell was.
Charlotte’s struggles on the mound have been well documented in my past farm reports, but one guy who has begun to turn it around is Simon Castro. While Castro is 0-3 over his past four starts, his ERA is just 2.87 over that stretch. Reliever Ramon Troncoso has settled in as well, having not allowed an earned run since the first week of Charlotte’s season.
However, Andre Rienzo has continued to struggle, as after not getting out of the first inning in his last start, opponents are hitting .308 against him, and his ERA has risen to 8.72.
AA Birmingham Barons (24-11)
Despite Jared Mitchell still out with a strained left oblique, the Barons have played extremely well. Six members of the Barons are hitting at or above .300: Dan Black (.341), Michael Earley (.338), Marcus Semien (.315), Miguel Gonzalez (.310), Daniel Wagner (.304), and Andy Wilkins (.300). In addition, Joe De Pinto is hitting .444 in his three games since being promoted from Single-A Winston-Salem.
Top prospect Trayce Thompson (whose brother Klay is currently draining threes for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA playoffs) has begun to turn it around as well, having hit safely in seven of his last eight games.
On the mound, the team’s top four starters of Scott Snodgress (5-1, 3.98), Erik Johnson (2-1, 2.52), Spencer Arroyo (3-1, 2.06), and Stephen McCray (4-2, 3.16) continue to impress. Johnson has been near unhittable at times, striking out 39 in just 39.1 innings, holding opposing hitters to a .174 average, and recording a whip of 0.97. Nestor Molina is still sidelined with a shoulder injury.
A+ Winston-Salem Dash (16-19)
Whenever talking about the Dash, the main point of emphasis will be on the team’s most coveted prospect: Courtney Hawkins.
Last year’s first round pick has yet to figure things out, as he’s hitting just .177 and getting on base at just a .247 clip. There isn’t really much to brag about when it comes to the Dash offense, but reserve infielder Brett Tanner has done well in limited time. In 33 at-bats, the lefty has 13 hits, three home runs, a .371 average and a .990 OPS.
The Dash have been much better on the mound, and no one has stood out more than 2011 16th round draft choice Chris Bassitt. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his last five starts and is 4-0 with a 1.71 ERA on the season. Also, Christopher Beck continues to pitch well despite not having the wins to show for it. In seven starts, he’s 2-5 with a 2.25 ERA.
A- Kannapolis Intimidators (14-19)
Micah Johnson (pictured below) continues to just tear things up for Kannapolis, both at the plate and on the base paths. The second baseman is hitting at a .313 clip with a .411 OBP and 32 steals in just 31 games. However, his nine errors in the field mean he probably will have to work on his defense a bit before he gets a promotion. Also, outfielder Jason Coats has hit well, as he’s raised his average to .315 with a .797 OPS.
On the mound, the team’s top two starters have been very effective. 21-year old Myles Jaye is 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA on the season, but has given up 10 runs (seven earned) in his last two outings. Jake Cose has lowered his ERA to 2.14 by giving up just one earned run in his last 18.2 innings.