Ryan Bukowiecki is a student at the Illinois Media School and a contributor to The D & Davis Show and WARR where he follows the White Sox
This week in Chicago, the Crosstown Cup was the talk of the town, baseball-wise.
After four years of safe keeping fans of the White Sox got used to seeing the Cup trophy on the South Side but they were not pleased by Thursday night with the results of this series, a 3-1 Cubs win, ensuring the Cup’s return to the North Side.
It is always preferable to win out in a blood feud such as the Cubs-White Sox, but its universally accepted among Pale Hose Nation that losing games helps the cause for the Sox rebuild, so que sera sera..
Another forward looking treats for Sox fans this week: seeing Yoan Moncada’s first major league HR, the front office continuing to be active in the trade market by executing a couple more deals to acquire assets and continuing development of the young stars in the minor leagues.
The Moncada Show
Fans were delighted to see Moncada’s first homer on Wednesday. Thus far, Moncada hasn’t set the world on fire but he’s existed in a very limited sample size, in only 32 plate appearances, his slash line is a .111 AVG/.250 OBP/.296 SLG for an OPS of .546.
Again, this is a small sample size and growing pains are to be expected for Moncada. Digging into some other analytics, his contact percentage of all pitches is at 78.9 percent with only an 8.1% swinging strike percentage.
Moncada’s swinging percentage of pitches outside the strike zone is 28.3% but his contact percentage for pitches hit in the strike zone is at 88.6%. All of these numbers show a trend to Moncada’s hitting. He is showing that he is a contact guy that doesn’t miss pitches and he shows a good eye by not swinging too much at pitches outside the zone. Moncada will improve a lot at the plate with more plate appearances but there are already signs of a good hitter despite the low slash line.
Race for #1
If any Sox fan hasn’t heard, the Sox are in a race for the top draft pick in next year’s amateur draft. In their last 10 games, the Sox are 1-9.
The Phillies and Giants are slightly ahead of the Sox, going 6-4 and 5-5 respectively in their last 10. These teams are part of a group with the Reds, Athletics and Padres that will be battling for the top draft pick honors in 2018.
Currently the Sox are four games back of the last place Phillies with 63 games left on the schedule. Any losses should be welcomed with open arms until the Sox start the calling up process of their top prospects.
Front office keeping busy
On Wednesday the Sox traded Anthony Swarzak to the Brewers for OF prospect Ryan Cordell. The following day, another bullpen arm was traded by the Sox, this time Dan Jennings was shipped to the Rays for 1B prospect Casey Gillaspie. The front office will be active all the way through the trade deadline as clearly the Sox are in sell mode. In the meantime, here is a look at the two prospects acquired in these deals.
OF Ryan Cordell — Ranked #19 in the Sox system on MLB Pipeline. Scouts go back and forth on Cordell. He has some bat speed and power but also has swing and miss tendencies — he is a versatile defender, playing all three outfield spots as well as 3B, SS and 1B. He also has solid speed to be a threat on the bases. Some view him as an everyday outfielder or just a 4th outfielder. Currently in AAA, expect Cordell to be called up in September when rosters expand.
1B Casey Gillaspie — Ranked #14 in the Sox system on MLB Pipeline. Gillaspie is a switch hitter that throws left. Strengths are his power, feel/knowledge of the strike zone and his base running instincts. Weaknesses are his below average foot speed and doesn’t posses ideal bat speed. Many scouts believe he has the ability to be an everyday player at 1B. Currently in AAA, expect Gillaspie to be called up in September when rosters expand.
News around the farm
Outside of the big league club, prospects are hard at work developing. It will take time before more big names join Moncada on the major league club. As fans wait with patient excitement, here are some news and notes throughout the Sox system.
OF Eloy Jimenez — Jimenez has continued his dominance in the Sox system since being traded by the Cubs. In his first 13 games with the Winston-Salem Dash his slash line is an insanely impressive .400 AVG/.471 OBP/.733 SLG for an OPS of 1.204 (fire!!).
RHP Michael Kopech — Kopech’s biggest problem is being able to control his pitches so that he knows where they are going. If he figures that out, look out because he has everything else when it comes to movement, deception and velocity.
In his first 78 innings this season at AA, Kopech walked 53 batters. In his last 20 innings the number is just 4, nothing to ride home about but progress that is worth keeping an eye on. Kopech’s last start on Wednesday was pretty great (6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 K, 1 WP, 1 HBP).
Other notables from this week:
RHP Dylan Cease (7/23) — 4.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K at low A.
LHP Ian Clarkin (Winston-Salem Dash debut) (7/23) –5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 4 K, 1 HR
RHP Carson Fulmer (7/24) — 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 5 K at AAA.
RHP Lucas Giolito (7/25) — 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K, 61 of 104 pitches for strikes at AAA.
RHP Reynaldo Lopez (7/26) — 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 1 HR at AAA.
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