Midweek Minors Recap: AA Birmingham

Ok, Voyagers fans: we’re working through this thing as we go. Here’s your weekly/periodic/whenever-I-say-so update on the activities of the Birmingham Barons. AAA Charlotte is coming, I promise. I promise it will be before the next full-system recap. Maybe.

Birmingham Barons, AA (24-29)

The second rough week in a row for the Barons as a trip to Huntsville to Play the Stars treated the team very poorly and the struggles continued into the start of a home series with Chattanooga. Ultimately drawing a 2-6 record since the last post, Birmingham is now one more rough week away from reaching the cellar of a tight-packed, highly competitive Southern League.

Like the system’s lower level teams, discussed in this space on Tuesday, Birmingham saw its share of roster changes in the last 8 days. A pair of players had their injury status changed as Jon Gilmore went onto the 7-day DL and 1B Andy Wilkins was reactivated off it. Gilmore was eligible to return yesterday, though he hasn’t yet, so his problems were at least serious enough to warrant longer time out. Wilkins’ struggles before he hit the DL were documented here previously, and it will be interesting to see how he performs over the next few games.

The Barons swapped a few played with the AAA Charlotte Knights as well. Pitcher Matt Zaleski spent a single day on the Birmingham roster before he returned to Charlotte to play with the AAA squad. Zaleski has been struggling for Charlotte, but he didn’t join the rest of the Barons team, much less pitch in any games, so the White Sox may have simply changed their minds or decided Zaleski was still needed in AAA. Jose Quintana also earned the first AAA callup of his career. That seems to make sense as Quintana has spent two separate, successful stints in the majors this season – he has a 1.76 ERA in 15.1 major league innings – but had never pitched in AAA before. After middling performance in the low minors and two franchise changes while still a teenager in the Dominican summer leagues, the 23 year-old has built a bright future for himself. Don’t be surprised to see him getting more chances in the majors this year and getting included in the White Sox long term bullpen plans.

Another member of the White Sox recent rash of signings out of independent ball, 25 year-old outfielder Jon Gaston joined the team. He left the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the American Association, for whom he’d played in only 6 games (but mashed 10 hits). Gaston was a Houston Astros farmhand until this last offseason, but managed just .720 and .646 OPS’s over two years in AA Corpus Christi. Still, his big start in independent ball showed Gaston is fully capable of playing well enough in the mid minors to help a farm system, and he’s getting a well-deserved chance to try his luck in a different organization.

The Barons finish their series with Chatanooga tonight and tomorrow before visiting the 1st place Mobile BayBears for a 5-game series starting Saturday.

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