Monday Minors Recap Week 3

Kannapolis Intimidators, A-ball (6-11)

The last week didn’t go so well for the Intimidators and their stable of former Voyagers. After a good week 2 that put them back above .500, week 3 saw the Intimidators get whipped 6 times in a row, free-falling down to 6-11 overall. The only thing that saved Kannapolis from losing every day last week was Wednesday’s getaway day game in Hickory being mercifully rained out. Still, they lost the first two in Hickory and were then swept at home by the Lexington Legends.

The Intimidators, who have already started the season by firing off some of the earliest roster moves in the system, saw another change this week as 2011 Voyager Kyle Eveland was sent ahead to Winston-Salem. 2010 Voyager Ross Wilson falls into Eveland’s spot as he was moved down from the Dash. Eveland, you may recall, was involved in one of the two moves last week as he was called to Kannapolis from extended spring training. The stats he accrued during his short Kannapolis stint weren’t impressive – only 1 hit in 8 at bats – but whether he impressed the eye of White Sox scouts or the organization planned to push him quickly all along, Eveland is getting his shot at the higher level.

[editors note: There is a great comment below giving more insight into the history of Kyle Eveland and further explaining this move. Thanks Felds!]

This week marks the third in a row that forces me to mention Rangel Ravelo. In addition to his .393 batting average and .975 OPS in 16 games, Ravelo is riding a 13 game hitting streak. With 34 total bases, Ravelo is averaging a sensational 2 bases a game – picture that as either two singles or a double every day – and is second on the team with 8 RBI. He’s having a great run in his second go-around in Kannapolis, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see his name involved in the next Intimidator transaction.

Kannapolis is already 6 games out of first place in their division, and their upcoming schedule doesn’t scream “comeback.” After a travel day today, the Intimidators go on a 7-day road trip. They start with 3 games in Augusta against the GreenJackets and follow that up with 4 games visiting the Rome Braves.

Winston-Salem Dash, High-A (7-8)

Winston-Salem fared a bit better than Kannapolis, but only just, as the Dash’s pair of well-played wins on Wednesday and Thursday were surrounded by four losses. With Sunday’s game suspended due to rain, that left Winston-Salem with a 2-4 record for the week, losing 2 of 3 against both the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and the Wilmington Blue Rocks.

Andre Rienzo again had the performance of the week as he pitched 7 innings while allowing only 1 run and striking out 9 in the Dash’s 3-1 Wednesday win. Incredibly, the performance actually increased Rienzo’s ERA, though it still sits at a tiny 1.00. The Brazilian righty also has 23 K’s in 18 innings.

Brady Shoemaker provided an RBI in the Wednesday win, but that was nothing compared to his heavy lifting on Thursday. Shoemaker drove in all 3 Dash runs in the 3-2 win, hit a pair of solo homers along with an RBI double, and raised his season batting average to .347.

Winston-Salem continues their 8-game homestand tonight as they host the Potomac Nationals for 4 games. They then match up with the Blue Rocks this weekend, this time traveling to Wilmington.

Birmingham Barons, AA (8-10)

Birmingham started the week on one of the Southern League’s patented 5-game, single-series road trips before they returned home to start a set with the Mississippi Braves. The Barons split the final 4 games with Chattanooga and lost 2 of the first 3 with Mississippi, leaving the team 3-4 for the week and 2 games under .500 overall.

SS Drew Garcia has seen his hitting numbers climb up in the last week as he collected 2 multi-hit games and had 5 games with at least 1 hit. The 6-1 El Cajon, California native has his average up to .294 along with a nice .377 OBP. He has also shown good gap power for a middle infielder with 7 extra base hits on the season. Switch-hitting middle infielders with patience and a little pop are valuable commodities, and he’s certainly proving a useful player for the Barons so far.

The Barons had excellent pitching performances in a pair of games against Mississippi that unfortunately still ended in a split. Nestor Molina – universally ranked as one of the top few prospects in the White Sox system – got the start on Friday in a 10-0 blowout win. Molina went 7 shutout innings while striking out 5 and allowing only 7 base runners. After a shakier start to the season, the effort stabilized Molina’s numbers as the converted outfielder now sits with a 3.80 ERA and a 16/2 K/BB ratio in 23.2 innings.

The next day the Barons got into an intense pitchers’ duel with the Braves. Baron starter Jose Quintana allowed 3 of his 5 hits and his lone run in the 2nd inning, and that was unfortunately all Braves starter Zeke Spruill would need, as he put in 7 shutout innings to earn his 2nd win. Quintana has arguably been the staff ace in Birmingham with a 2.66 ERA in 23.2 innings. Quintana also has 21 strikeouts. Despite those excellent numbers, Quintana has failed to get any run support and sits at 0-2 on the season.

The Barons finish up their 5-game set with 2 more games against Mississippi starting tonight, then get a travel day before heading to Montgomery for 5 games with the Biscuits. Games 1 and 2 of that series are on Thursday in a day/night doubleheader.

Charlotte Knights, AAA (10-8)

After a slow first 2 weeks, Charlotte bucked the trend from the rest of the system and took off in week 3 as they won 6 of their 7 games. A 4-game sweep of the Durham Bulls and 2 out of 3 against the Gwinnett Braves put Charlotte as the only White Sox affiliate with a winning record and only 2 games out of first place in their division.

Several Knights who started slow are getting things going with the bat.  2009 first-round pick Josh Phegley is getting hot as he splits catching time with Hector Gimenez, hitting .373 on the season with 6 doubles and a home run. Any player on the AAA roster is always one big-league injury from the phone call of their life, but that’s especially true at the volatile catcher position. Phegley has never had a full season anything like his current numbers before, so some correction is likely, but if he is able to maintain anything remotely like his current pace he’s bound to be the first emergency option if something goes wrong in Chicago.

Former LA Angel Dallas McPherson also heated up this week and now has his OPS raised to .862. Though he has struck out 24 times already, McPherson’s 7 doubles and 2 home runs have led to a strong .500 slugging percentage. McPherson hasn’t spent more than token time in the bigs since 2006, so he’s likely viewed as an emergency option by White Sox brass, but the potential upside of cheap pop is definitely the kind of things GM’s go for when picking out new, in-house bench options.

After an off-day today, the Knights continue their play against Gwinnett as they head on the road for 3 with the Braves starting Tuesday. The long road trip continues over the weekend as the Knights start a 3-game set in Syracuse on Friday. The Knights had better get used to the road: they won’t be back in Charlotte again until May 7.

1 Comment

The Wilson/Eveland move seemed to be more about getting Ross Wilson more consistent playing time rather than moving Eveland up to see much action in High-A. Last season, Wilson started off as the Intimidators No. 2 hitter and earned a spot in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game before suffering an injury a week before the break (thus a rehab stint in Bristol and a week close to home with Birmingham). Wilson, who has primarily been an infielder is getting chances in the outfield now too. He wasn’t getting much playing time behind Carlos Sanchez at second base in Winston-Salem. Transferring Wilson to Kannapolis gives him a chance to stay sharp as an everyday player, and it provides a young Kannapolis club (more than half the roster is comprises players in their first full season) with some leadership.

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