The White Sox Top 10 Prospects

By JONATHAN McAFOOS

After writing Monday about how the Chicago White Sox retooled their big-league roster to compete as soon as this season, it’s time to take a look toward the future. Every year, as the offseason winds down and the pool of available free agents shrinks, baseball fans turn their attention to the comprehensive prospect lists coming out. Every publication that covers baseball has their own top 10 list, so for this post I combined three lists – Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and MLB.com – into one aggregate list.

The Top 10 Prospects

1. Carlos Rodon, LHP (BA #1, BP #2, MLB #1)

2. Tim Anderson, SS (BA #2, BP #1, MLB #2)

3. Spencer Adams, RHP (BA #3, BP #4, MLB #6)

4. Francellis Montas, RHP (BA #5, BP #5, MLB #3)

5. Micah Johnson, 2B (BA #4, BP #9, MLB #4)

6. Tyler Danish, RHP (BA #7, BP #3, MLB #7)

7. Courtney Hawkins, OF (BA #9, BP #7, MLB #5)

8. Trey Michalczewski, 3B (BA #8, BP NR, MLB #9)

9. Carlos Sanchez, 2B (BA NR, BP #8, MLB #10)

10. Jacob May, OF (BA #10, BP #10, MLB NR)

So, there’s the list. The top seven prospects were named in all three lists, while the bottom three made two of them. Each of the three lists also included one prospect that the other two did not, and although those three didn’t make my custom Top 10, I didn’t want to completely exclude them, so I’ve given them their own section below. For now, we’ll start at the top.

#1. Carlos Rodon, LHP (BA #1, BP #2, MLB #1)

Not only is Rodon an easy choice as the White Sox number-one prospect, he’s also a consensus Top-20 prospect in all of baseball. Drafted in the first round (3rd overall) last June, Rodon was seen as somebody who was nearly big-league ready coming out of North Carolina State. It didn’t take him long to impress in the professional ranks, as he quickly moved from the Rookie League AZL White Sox, to High Class-A Winston-Salem, and finally to Triple-A Charlotte, skipping Birmingham altogether. He finished the season with a 2.92 ERA over 24.2 IP across the three levels, while striking out an astounding 13.86 batters-per-nine. He did, however, show some struggles with control, especially in Charlotte where he walked six batter-per-nine. Rodon, who MLB.com declared “the best college left-hander since David Price,” will certainly be in Chicago at some point this season, and the consensus is that his ceiling is that of a number-one starter. His slider is considered to be his best pitch, and his fastball can run up to 95-97 mph. With the injury to Chris Sale, Rodon should have a legitimate chance of cracking Chicago’s opening day rotation. In fact, he’s already taken Sale’s spot in the team’s Cactus League rotation, and has reportedly impressed so far this spring. Whether or not Rodon cracks the White Sox roster to start the season remains to be seen, but he’s certainly going to get plenty of opportunities to prove himself this month.

#2. Tim Anderson, SS (BA #2, BP #1, MLB #2)

Perhaps the biggest surprise here is that Baseball Prospectus actually ranked Anderson ahead of Rodon. Anderson, far and away the best positional prospect in the White Sox organization right now, is in big-league camp for the first time this spring. The Tuscaloosa native, who didn’t begin playing baseball until his junior year of high school, has looked like he belongs at every level he’s played at, and is on the fast-track to the Major Leagues. Although a broken wrist slowed down his 2014 season, he did rebound nicely, posting a .364/.364/.500 line over 10 games for the Barons at the end of the season. Still just 21, Anderson will almost certainly return to Birmingham to begin the 2015 season, but a mid-season promotion to Charlotte is very possible, if not likely. With Alexei Ramirez only under contract with the White Sox for one more year (plus a team option for 2016), Anderson could find himself in the big leagues by next season.

 #3. Spencer Adams, RHP (BA #3, BP #4, MLB #6)

After taking Rodon with the first pick of the 2014 draft, the White Sox didn’t waste any time taking another pitcher who they believe can be a front-line starter, grabbing Adams in the second round (44th overall). Adams pitched in 10 games for the Arizona League White Sox last season, starting nine of them, and finishing with a 3.67 ERA over 41.2 IP. He also struck out 59 batters while walking just four. Drafted out of White County High School (Ga.), Adams is only 18, and is most likely a long way from the Majors, but the potential is certainly there. He was a three-sport star in high school, and his fastball can already consistently reach the low to mid-90s, with his velocity expected to increase as he gets stronger. Adams hasn’t pitched above Rookie League, so starting the season with Class-A Kannapolis seems likely. Adams is a name for Barons fans to remember, as they’ll probably be seeing him by next year.

#4. Francellis Montas, RHP (BA #5, BP #5, MLB #3)

I mentioned Montas on Monday when talking about the White Sox offseason, as he was added to the 40-man roster in November. Montas was acquired by Chicago in the July 2013 trade that sent Jake Peavy to the Red Sox, and his stock has slowly risen ever since. Though he missed some time due to knee injuries, Montas turned in a dominant 2014 season, establishing himself as one of the organization’s best pitching prospects by recording a 1.44 ERA over 15 games at three different levels. One of those levels was Birmingham, where he made one late-season start, tossing five innings of one-hit ball. Montas has already proven he can dominate in the lower minors, so a return to the Barons to begin the 2015 season is almost assured.

#5. Micah Johnson, 2B (BA #4, BP #9, MLB #4)

Tim Anderson may be the best positional prospect for the White Sox, but Micah Johnson is certainly closer to reaching the big leagues. Barons fans should know Johnson well, as he made a brief five-game cameo in 2013, and then played in 37 games for the team last year before being called up to Charlotte. With the Barons in 2014, Johnson slashed .329/.414/.466. His numbers regressed in Charlotte, but at age 23 he was about four years younger than the average Triple-A player. Speed is Johnson’s biggest asset, as scouts rank him at a perfect 80 (on a 20-to-80 scale), and he stole 84 bases in 2013 to lead the Minor Leagues. He’ll be back in Charlotte to begin the 2015 season, but a September call-up to the White Sox is realistic.

#6. Tyler Danish, RHP (BA #7, BP #3, MLB #7)

Like Spencer Adams, Danish is a right-handed pitcher who the White Sox drafted in the second round out of high school, only a year earlier. Danish has quickly impressed over his two professional seasons, recording a 1.20 ERA over 30 innings in 2013 across Bristol and Kannapolis, and a 2.08 ERA over 129.2 IP in 2014 with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. Danish is another example of the young power arms that the White Sox have accumulated, and in his senior season at Durant High School (Fl.), he tossed 94 innings without allowing a single earned run. Scouts appear to be divided on Danish, with some worrying about his delivery and others thinking he could rush through the minors. After impressing in 18 starts at Winston-Salem last season, Danish will most likely make his way to Birmingham to start the 2015 season.

#7. Courtney Hawkins, OF (BA #9, BP #7, MLB #5)

Hawkins was the first-round pick of the White Sox in 2012, selecting the outfielder out of Mary Carroll High School (Tx.) with the 13th overall pick. After a strong start to his career, Hawkins’ stock has faded slightly over the past two seasons, as he struggled to adapt in Winston-Salem. In 2013, he hit just .178 (last in the league) with a .249 on-base percentage. He did improve greatly at the plate last season, upping his average to .249 and his on-base to .331. One thing Hawkins has done consistently well is hit for power, as he’s hit 19 homers in each of the past two seasons. Hawkins also didn’t turn 21 until after the 2014 season, so time is still on his side. He’s been in Winston-Salem since the end of 2012, and it’s likely time to see how he responds at higher level, so expect him to start the season with the Barons.

#8. Trey Michalczewski, 3B (BA #8, BP NR, MLB #9)

Michalczewski, a switch-hitting third baseman, was selected by the White Sox in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. The 19-year-old spent most of last season in Kannapolis, but finished the season in Winston-Salem, finishing with a .262 average across the two teams, although he hit just .194 with the Dash. Michalczewski is a big guy at 6’3″, 210, and projects to have a lot of power going forward. He’ll likely appear in Birmingham in the near future, although he’ll begin the season back in Winston-Salem.

#9. Carlos Sanchez, 2B (BA NR, BP #8, MLB #10)

Sanchez is the only player on this list to have already appeared in the Major Leagues, as he played in 28 games for the White Sox last season. Sanchez, who signed with Chicago as an amateur free agent in 2009, has produced very good numbers at every level of the minors. He had a brief stint with the Barons in 2012, where he raked to a .370 average over 30 games before quickly being called up to Charlotte. His high level of production continued in Charlotte, as he hit .293 last season before heading to Chicago. Sanchez can also play shortstop, but is considered to have elite defensive potential at second. He’ll compete for the everyday second base job with the White Sox this spring.

#10. Jacob May, OF (BA #10, BP #10, MLB NR)

May was drafted by the White Sox in the third round of the 2013 draft, and is seen as a very athletic outfielder with plus-speed. Drafted out of Coastal Carolina, May spent his 2013 season between Great Falls and Kannapolis, before spending last season in Winston-Salem, where he finished with a line of .258/.326/.395, and stole 37 bases. He projects to be a defense-first outfielder, and if his offense evolves, he could move even quicker. May has a good chance of beginning the 2015 season in Birmingham, but at the very least should be in a Barons uniform by mid-season.

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That’s the White Sox Top 10, according to a combination of lists from Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and MLB.com. At least half of them will probably play for Birmingham at some point this season, giving Barons fans a lot to look forward to. On top of that, here are three other prospects who, as I mentioned above, were each named in one of the three prospect lists.

Micker Adolfo, OF (BA #6, BP NR, MLB NR)

Adolfo was one of the top international prospects when the White Sox signed him in 2013 as a 16-year-old. Although still very raw, he has the potential to develop some major power. In 2014, his first professional season, he struggled to a .218/.279/.380 line with the AZL White Sox in the Rookie League. His struggles shouldn’t be considered alarming considering he was only 17, but his contact rate was a major cause for concern, as he struck out 85 times in 179 at-bats. Adolfo will almost certainly return to the AZL White Sox for a second straight season, so although Barons fans can expect to see him at some point in the future, it won’t be anytime soon.

Chris Beck, RHP (BA NR, BP #6, MLB NR)

After a five-start stint in Birmingham to end 2013, Barons fans got a closer look at Beck last season, as he started 20 games for the team, recording a 3.39 ERA over 116.2 IP. He made the move to Charlotte near the end of June and spent the last two months of the season with the Knights, registering a 4.05 ERA over seven starts. Although he doesn’t miss a lot of bats (5.3 career K/9 in the minors), he does induce a lot of weak ground balls. Beck will return to Charlotte this season and might get a shot in the big leagues sooner rather than later.

Matt Davidson, 3B (BA NR, BP NR, MLB #8)

Davidson was originally a first-round draft pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks back in 2009, and remained in the organization until December 2013, when he was traded to the White Sox for Addison Reed. Davidson flashed a lot of power while in the Diamondbacks’ system, hitting at least 17 home runs in four straight seasons (’10-’13), and even earned a big league call-up at the end of 2013, where he hit .237 in 31 games. Unfortunately, in his first season in the White Sox organization, Davidson struggled greatly at Charlotte, slashing just .199/.283/.362. The power was still there, as he hit 20 homers, but he also struck out 164 times. Although the White Sox likely hoped for Davidson to take over the everyday third base job following the trade, last year’s strong season from Conor Gillaspie may have changed that outlook, and Davidson will be almost certainly be returning to Charlotte this season.

A look at the White Sox offseason

By JONATHAN McAFOOS

With the arrival of March, baseball has finally returned. All 30 Major League camps are well underway, with Cactus and Grapefruit League games beginning tomorrow. And with that, it’s time for the return of Barons Beat. Once April arrives and the season gets started, I’ll do my best to post daily features, including game previews, recaps, player profiles, interviews, etc. For now, I’ll try to post two or three entries a week.

It’s been a wild offseason in Major League Baseball – one of the most entertaining and transaction-heavy winters the sport has witnessed in years – and right at the forefront of all the action have been the Chicago White Sox. So what better way to jump back into the blog than with a recap of their hectic offseason.

While a lot of the moves likely won’t have a direct effect on the 2015 Barons season (barring an injury and possible rehab appearance in Birmingham), several of them do, including the blockbuster Jeff Samardzija trade with Oakland. With that said, I’ll start at the beginning of November and run through the transactions, with a few thoughts on each.

  • 11/3/14 – Claimed OF JB Shuck off waivers from Cleveland

Chicago will be the fourth organization in the past four years for Shuck. He split the 2014 season between the Angels and Indians organizations, with most of his playing time coming at Triple-A Salt Lake. Shuck did play 38 games at the Major League level last season, but slashed just .145/.168/.209. Despite that output, he’s expected to have a strong chance of winning a spot on the bench for the White Sox when opening day rolls around.

  • 11/4/14 – Lost RP Taylor Thompson off waivers to Oakland

Barons fans will remember Thompson from the 2013 championship season. Thompson began the season in Birmingham and remained there until mid-July, when he was called up to Triple-A Charlotte. With the Barons in ’13, Thompson pitched in 32 games, recording a 2.15 ERA over 50.1 innings. He made a brief cameo for the White Sox in 2014, pitching in five games. Thompson is likely to start his tenure in Oakland on the disabled list with a strained shoulder.

  • 11/18/14 – Signed RP Zach Duke for 3 years/$15M

Duke was the first big move for the Sox, and one of the first big signings in all of baseball this winter. The White Sox were in dire need of a reliable left-handed reliever, and they believe in Duke enough to spend $5 million annually. Duke is coming off the best season of his career since he became a full-time reliever, finishing the 2014 season in Milwaukee with a 2.45 ERA and an even better FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) of 2.14. He also struck out 11.4 batter-per-nine, and issued only 17 walks all season. Relievers, of course, can be extremely volatile and often see their statistics fluctuate greatly from year to year, so there’s no guarantee that the White Sox will get the Zach Duke they’re hoping for. Regardless, he’s going to be a big part of their bullpen, and one of only two projected lefty relievers (Dan Jennings) to start the season in Chicago.

  • 11/20/14 – Claimed RP Onelki Garcia off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers; Designated RP Ronald Belisario for assignment; Outrighted OF Jared Mitchell to minors; Added SP Francellis Montas, SS Tyler Saladino, 3B/1B Rangel Ravelo, and C Kevan Smith to 40-man roster

A lot to look at here, but we’ll start with Garcia. Garcia is a 25-year-old reliever who was drafted in the third round by Los Angeles in 2012 and has since appeared at every level of the minors, and even made a brief three-game appearance with the Dodgers. Garcia pitched in just one game in 2014 after undergoing elbow surgery, and a spot in the White Sox bullpen on Opening Day seems unlikely. He’ll most likely end up in Charlotte, but Birmingham is at least a slight possibility. To make room for Garcia, the White Sox designated Belisario for assignment, and he later signed with Tampa Bay.

Mitchell is well-known to Barons fans, having spent parts of the past three seasons in Birmingham. By being outrighted to the minors, Mitchell lost his spot on the 40-man Major League roster, but remains in the White Sox organization, and is likely to stay at Charlotte in 2015.

The four players added to the 40-man roster should also be familiar to Barons fans. Ravelo was the Barons’ MVP in 2014, and was a part of the blockbuster Jeff Samardzija trade, so I’ll touch more on him in a bit. Montas spent the majority of the 2014 season at Class-A Winston-Salem, and did make one appearance in Birmingham at the end of the season. He’ll turn 22 in late March, so seeing him start the 2015 season in Birmingham would not be a surprise. Smith spent all of 2014 with the Barons, putting together a strong slash-line of .290/.376/.437, which came on the heels of two good seasons in Winston-Salem. Smith is already 26 and has never been seen as a big prospect, but he does have a career average of .296 over four Minor League seasons, and will likely see his first look at Charlotte this season. Saladino spent 2013 with the Barons, struggling to the tune of a .229 average, but took off in Charlotte last season, hitting .310 with an .850 OPS. He’ll likely return to Charlotte this season.

  • 11/21/14 – Signed 1B Adam LaRoche for 2 years/$25M

At age 35, LaRoche quickly becomes the elder statesman in the White Sox clubhouse. Although he’s past his prime years, he still brings consistent 20-home run power with him. His time in Washington had clearly run its course with Ryan Zimmerman’s switch from third to first base, and the White Sox jumped at the chance to get a left-handed power bat in their lineup to hit behind budding superstar Jose Abreu. Considering the amount of money floating around baseball and the ludicrous contracts that league-average players are being handed, 2 years/$25M should be an absolute steal, unless LaRoche’s production completely falls off a cliff.

  • 12/8/14 – Claimed C Rob Brantly off waivers from Miami

Brantly has spent his career between the Detroit and Miami organizations, and received some big-league playing time with the Marlins in both 2012 and 2013. Brantly is purely a depth move for the White Sox (they have Tyler Flowers and Geovany Soto at the Major League level), and will likely compete with Kevan Smith in Charlotte for time at catcher.

  • 12/9/14 – Signed RP David Robertson for 4 years/$46M; Traded SP Chris Bassitt, IF Marcus Semien, 3B/1B Rangel Ravelo, C Josh Phegley to Oakland for SP Jeff Samardzija, RP Michael Ynoa

This was clearly the landmark day in Chicago’s offseason. You don’t see too many teams make a major signing and a blockbuster trade on the same day. We’ll start with Robertson, and Chicago’s continued investment into its bullpen. Robertson was one of two front-line relievers on the market this winter, and he was never going to come cheap. Although investing $46 million in a relief pitcher is extremely risky business, the White Sox clearly didn’t feel they had much of a choice. In 2014, Chicago’s bullpen ERA was 4.38, which was 28th in the Majors, with only Colorado and Houston finishing worse. The White Sox also finished with the league’s worst BB/9 rate, and second-worst K/9 rate. In fact, the only thing that the White Sox bullpen did well last season was induce ground balls, where they led the Majors with a 52.1 GB%. So it’s no wonder the White Sox shelled out big money for Robertson, who has been remarkably consistent over the course of his career. Robertson finished 2014 with a 3.08 ERA, 2.68 FIP, and 1.4 WAR for the Yankees. In comparison, the entirety of the White Sox bullpen finished with a combined 0.7 WAR, or half of Robertson’s production.

Now, on to the big trade. We’ll start with the players that Chicago traded away, most of who should be very familiar to Barons fans. Bassitt dominated for the Barons last season after returning in July from a broken hand, striking out 36 batters in just 34.2 IP, and finishing with a 1.56 ERA. His impressive showing made him a late-August call-up for the White Sox, where he appeared in six games, starting five of them. Bassitt became the 44th player to jump straight from Birmingham to Chicago, skipping Charlotte altogether. Bassitt has a lot of competition in Oakland to crack the Major League roster, and is more likely to begin the season as a starter for Triple-A Nashville. Semien is also a familiar face for Barons and White Sox fans, having spent part of 2013 in Birmingham, and making appearances in Chicago in both 2013 and 2014. He’s considered the front-runner to land the starting shortstop job in Oakland, forming a brand-new middle infield with Ben Zobrist. Semien is the exact kind of role-player that Oakland typically maximizes productivity out of, so don’t be surprised if he thrives with the A’s. Ravelo is a name that Barons fans will remember for a long time, after his superb 2014 season. Spending the entire season in Birmingham, Ravelo slashed .309/.386/.473, was named to the Southern League Postseason All-Star team, and was also named the Barons’ team MVP. His 26-game hitting streak from June 9 through July 11 was the longest streak of the season in the minor leagues, and the third-longest in Barons history. Ravelo may not see the majors this season, but he will certainly start at the Triple-A level. Phegley, the final player the Sox traded, also spent time in Birmingham back in 2011. He spent the majority of 2014 with Charlotte, but appeared in 11 games for the White Sox. Phegley is projected to be the backup catcher to Stephen Vogt in Oakland this season.

Now, on to the players the Sox got in return. The headliner is obviously Samardzija, who will slide in to the number-two slot in the rotation behind ace Chris Sale. Samardzija, of course, spent the entirety of his baseball career with the crosstown Cubs before being traded last season to Oakland. He finished the 2014 season with a 2.99 ERA between the two teams, and has thrown over 200 innings for the past two seasons. Samardzija, who grew up a White Sox fan, helps give Chicago a strong front of the rotation along with Sale and Jose Quintana. The White Sox have already publicly stated that they’re interested in an extension, but it appears unlikely that anything will happen until after the season when Samardzija is set to reach free agency. The other player the Sox received, Michael Ynoa, is a strong candidate to begin the season with the Barons. Ynoa pitched all of 2014 for the Stockton Ports (Oakland’s High Class-A team), but struggled to a 5.52 ERA over 45.2 IP. Still just 23, Ynoa was once ranked by Baseball Prospectus as a top-20 prospect. Although his stock has since faded, he’s a virtual lock to pitch for Birmingham at some point in the 2015 season.

  • 12/11/14 – Traded SP/RP Andre Rienzo to Miami for RP Dan Jennings

Rienzo started 13 games for Birmingham in 2012, finishing with a 4-3 record and 3.27 ERA over 71.2 IP. He spent part of the past two seasons in Chicago, but struggled with his command, walking 4.5 batters-per-nine. Rienzo will likely begin the 2015 season as a starter for Triple-A New Orleans. Jennings is coming off a fantastic season for the Marlins, finishing with a 1.34 ERA and a 287 ERA+ (Park-adjusted ERA, with 100 being league average). He’ll slot immediately into Chicago’s bullpen as one of their two lefties, along with the aforementioned Zach Duke.

  • 12/14/14 – Signed OF Melky Cabrera for 3 years/$42M

Cabrera was the last major move of the winter for the White Sox. Despite being in the league for ten years, Cabrera is still just 30, and is coming off a very productive season with Toronto. Cabrera previously spent time with the New York Yankees, Atlanta, Kansas City, and San Francisco. He had his best year in 2012 with the Giants, hitting .346 and being named the All-Star Game MVP, but his season was marred when he received a 50-game PED suspension over the summer. Although he was eligible to return for the Giants’ playoff (and eventual World Series) run, they elected to keep him off the roster. Chicago is hoping he can duplicate his numbers from last season (.301/.351/.458) and will most likely put him in the number-two spot, ahead of Abreu and behind leadoff hitter Adam Eaton.

  • 1/5/15 – Signed IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio for 1 year/$4M

Bonifacio, who is joining his eighth team in nine seasons, will most likely function as a super utility-man for the White Sox. He can be plugged into any position other than catcher, and is a good fit to fill in when a starter needs a day off or gets injured.

That, in a nutshell, was the White Sox offseason. Other players were lost in free agency (Matt Lindstrom to the Los Angeles Angels, Felipe Paulino to Boston), on waivers (Jordan Danks to Philadelphia), and retirement (franchise cornerstone Paul Konerko), but these were the core moves made by Chicago as they aim to contend immediately in what should be a very entertaining AL Central division.

Later this week, I’ll take a look at the Top 10 prospects in the White Sox farm system.

 

 

The Road to Chicago

The Road to Chicago is an update on former and current Barons players and their attempt to reach the Majors.

Marcus Semien – In 70 games with the Charlotte Knights, Semien is hitting .241 with 41 RBI, 46 runs scored, 10 home runs, and 16 doubles. Semien is looking to get back to where he started the season with the Chicago White sox, where he hit .231, batted in 25 runs, scored 29 runs, and hit 5 home runs to go along with 11 doubles.

Micah Johnson – After starting the year off in Birmingham, Johnson is playing just as well since being called up to Charlotte. He is batting .275 with 25 runs batted in, 30 runs scored, 10 doubles, and 12 stolen bases. Johnson, the White Sox no. 2 prospect, also played in the 2014 MLB Futures Game.

Tyler Saladino – After spending all of 2013 with the Barons, Saladino began the year in Charlotte where he had an outstanding season. He hit .310 with 43 RBI, 41 runs scored, 9 home runs, and 16 doubles. Saladino’s season came to an early end after he required season ending Tommy John surgery.

Dan Black – Since being sent back to Birmingham after suffering an oblique injury, Black is looking a lot like the player we saw in 2013. He is hitting .293 with 17 RBI, 15 runs scored, 4 homers, and 8 doubles in just 30 games with the Barons.

Andy Wilkins – Wilkins continues to add on to his stellar season in Charlotte. He is among the league leaders in many stats including: home runs (1st, 28), RBI (T-1st, 77), doubles (T-2nd, 34), and runs scored (3rd, 74) to go along with a .297 batting average. Wilkins was also named the International Player of the Month in July.

Jared Mitchell – Mitchell is hitting .251 with 43 runs batted in, 61 runs scored, 17 home runs, 11 doubles, and 5 doubles between Triple-A Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham.

Chris Beck – In 5 starts with Charlotte since being promoted, Beck is 1-2 with a 3.25 ERA to go along with 22 strikeouts over 27.2 innings pitched.

Keenyn Walker – After being demoted to Advanced-A Winston-Salem, Walker still continues to struggle. He is hitting just .203 with 18 RBI, 21 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases.

Up and Coming

Courtney Hawkins – Hawkins is still putting up solid numbers for Winston-Salem. His average is only .251 but he has 61 runs scored, 18 home runs, 25 doubles, and a league-leading 79 runs batted in.

Tim Anderson – Anderson was having a great season before being placed on the DL after fracturing his wrist. Anderson was hitting .297 with 31 RBI, 48 runs scored, 6 home runs, 18 doubles, 7 triples and 10 stolen bases. Anderson, the no. 3 prospect in the White Sox organization, is currently on a rehab assignment in the Arizona League.

Who’s Hot For The Barons

Rangel Ravelo – Ravelo has had a fantastic season. He is among the league leaders in hits (1st, 135), batting average (T-1st, .318), and doubles (1st, 36) to go along with 11 home runs and 68 runs scored. Ravelo also owns the longest hitting streak in minor-league baseball this season at 26.

 Chris Bassitt – After being on the disabled list for most of the season, Bassitt has been lights out since returning to the starting rotation. He is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in 4 starts to go along with 26 strikeouts over 24.0 innings pitched. Bassitt was also named the Southern League Pitcher of the week for the week of August 4-10. 

Series Preview: Smokies @ Barons

Game4PreviewBraves@BaronsjpegSeries Preview

The Smokies come into tonight’s a half-game behind the Barons for first place in the North Division second half standings. The Smokies return to Birmingham following a home series win over the M-Braves.

The Barons come off a split of a six game road series with the Jacksonville Suns. The Barons won last night by a 5-1 score with Myles Jaye picking up his second win of the season.

Who’s Hot

Smokies

LF Jonathan Mota: Has hit safely in 5 of his last 6 games including three multi-hit games.

1B Lars Anderson: Has 3 hits in his first two games for the Smokies. He was added from Triple-A after batting .287 in Iowa.

Barons

OF Jared Mitchell: Since returning to the Barons around the All-star break Mitchell is hitting .282 with 7 Homeruns and 16 Runs Batted In. Mitchell has also made a handful of great catches in the outfield.

Catcher Kevan Smith: Hit .438 in the 4 games he played on the road trip. He is still batting over .300 on the season.

Live Coverage

Tonight’s game will be broadcast on 105.5 WERC, http://www.wercfm.com & also available on I-Heart Radio. Live video coverage is also available with a subscription to MILB TV. You can follow live stats online though the “Gameday” feature on Barons.com or by downloading the free MILB “First Pitch” App for tablets or smart phones. Additional news and notes are available through the Barons social media pages. Links are located on Barons.com and also on the right column of the Barons Beat Blog.

On Deck

Following this five game series with the Smokies, the Barons will travel to Chattanooga to take on the Lookouts. The Barons will return home on Wednesday August 6th following a league off day on the 5th.

Game 5 Preview: M-Braves @ Barons

Game4PreviewBraves@Baronsjpeg

Last Night

The Barons held off a late inning rally by Mississippi to hold on to a 5-4 win from Regions Field. Chris Beck pitched into the ninth inning and earned his fifth win of the season. With the win, the Barons remain in 1st place , now by a game over Huntsville.

Today’s Matchup

The M-Braves will send RHP Mitch Atkins to the mound. Atkins is 4-0 with a 4.69 ERA on the season. Atkins has split time between Mississippi and Gwinnett in Triple-A. He was moved to a relief for a short time before being transferred to Mississippi. Atkins pitched against the Barons on June 28th allowing 4 earned runs in 6 innings.

The Barons will counter with RHP Myles Jaye. He earned his 1st win of the season against the on July 7th against the Generals but followed up with a loss in his last outing July 13th. He last pitched against the M-Braves on June 27th going 6 innings and allowing 4 runs in a no decision.

Live Coverage

Tonight’s game will be broadcast on 105.5 WERC, http://www.wercfm.com & also available on I-Heart Radio. Live video coverage is also available with a subscription to MILB TV. You can follow live stats online though the “Gameday” feature on Barons.com or by downloading the free MILB “First Pitch” App for tablets or smart phones. Additional news and notes are available through the Barons social media pages. Links are located on Barons.com and also on the right column of the Barons Beat Blog.

On Deck

The Barons will travel to Jacksonville Florida following tonight’s game for a six games series against the Suns. Tuesday will be a double header making up a postponed game from June 22nd. Following the Suns series the Barons will return home to take on the Tennessee. The Smokies are currently two games behind the Barons for 1st place in the North Division.

Game 4 Preview: M-Braves @ Barons 6:30 CT

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Last Night

The Barons scored 5 runs in the first inning and held on to a 7-1 victory in game two of the series. The Barons had 13 hits in the game and the  M-Braves committed four errors in the loss. With the win the Barons now lead Tennessee by a half-game in the North Division. The Smokies were rained out last night.

Tonight’s Matchup

The M-Braves have activated starting pitcher J.R. Graham from the DL and he will start tonight.Graham is 1-3 with a 5.18 ERA this season. He last pitched on June 22nd.

Chris Beck will make the start for Birmingham. Beck is 4-8 with a 3.73 ERA. Beck has received losses in his last two starts. He last win was against Chattanooga on July 1st. Beck has only allowed more than 3 runs in a game only twice in his last 9 starts.

Live Coverage

Tonight’s game will be broadcast on 105.5 WERC, http://www.wercfm.com & also available on I-Heart Radio. Live video coverage is also available with a subscription to MILB TV. You can follow live stats online though the “Gameday” feature on Barons.com or by downloading the free MILB “First Pitch” App for tablets or smart phones. Additional news and notes are available through the Barons social media pages. Links are located on Barons.com and also on the right column of the Barons Beat Blog.

On Deck

Following this home stand the Barons will travel to Jacksonville Florida to take on the Suns. The Barons will return home to Region Field  following that series to match up with the Tennessee Smokies July 26th-30th. Both of these teams are in the second half playoff hunt.

Game 2 Preview: Braves @ Barons 7:05CT

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Last Night

The M-Braves took game one of the series by a final score of 8-4. The Barons were able to produce 10 hits in a loosing effort. Trayce Thompson and Micheal Early both had multi-hit games.  The Barons led the M-Braves through six innings but the M-Braves were able to score 6 runs in the 7th inning  and held on to the lead.

Tonight’s Starting Pitchers

The M-Braves (15-11, 54-41) will send RHP Gregg Ross to the mound tonight. Ross 3-1 with a 0.98 ERA in four Double-A starts this season.  Ross was previously 5-3 with a 3.50 ERA in the (High-A) Carolina League.  He pitched against the Barons June 25th and allowed only 2 runs on 5 hits in the win.

The Barons (12-12, 54-42) will counter with RHP Mike Recchia. He is 5-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 10 Double-A start this season. Recchia is 3-0 in his last 4 starts. He last pitched against the M-Braves on June 24th going 6.1 innings and allowing three earned runs on five hits in the a win.

Live Coverage

Tonight’s game will be broadcast on 105.5 WERC, http://www.wercfm.com & also available on I-Heart Radio. Live video coverage is also available with a subscription to MILB TV. You can follow live stats online though the “Gameday” feature on Barons.com or by downloading the free MILB “First Pitch” App for tablets or smart phones. Additional news and notes are available through the Barons social media pages. Links are located on Barons.com and also on the right column of the Barons Beat Blog.

Three Way Tie

With last night’s loss, the Barons are now in a three way tie with Huntsville and Tennessee for 1st place in the second half North Division. Huntsville won the 1st half. The Barons have played 2 less games so far due to rain outs. The Barons will meet up with Tennesse later this month, and Huntsville the first full week in August.

On Deck

Following this home stand the Barons will travel to Jacksonville Florida to take on the Suns. The Barons will return home to Region Field  following that series to match up with the Tennessee Smokies July 26th-30th. Both of these teams are in the second half playoff hunt.

Preview: Braves @ Barons July 16th-20th

SeriesPreview

Recently

The M-Braves (14-11, 53-41) are coming off  a 3-2 series lost to the Mobile BayBears. The Braves have lost 6 of their last 10 games. They are currently in 3rd place in the North Division but only two games behind Mobile. Mobile won the 1st half so the Braves could finish in second place and still make the playoffs.

The Barons (12-11, 41-51) lost 3 of 4 games in Jackson. The final game of the series was rained out and will be made up later this year. The Barons were able to gain ground and over take Tennessee for 1st place in the North Division.

The Braves and Barons matched up a couple weeks ago at Regions. The Barons dropped 3 of 5 games to the M-Braves in that series.

Who’s Hot?

Mississippi

#7 2B Jose Perazza: Batting .348 over his last 10 games, including 12 hits in his last 4 games.

#39 3B Kyle Kubitza: Batting .324 with a .477 On Base Percentage over his last 10 games. He has 11 hits to go with 8 hits over that stretch.

Birmingham

#29 CF Jared Mitchell: Has hit safely in 8 of his last 10 games including 3 Home Runs. His average on the season in now .315 with the Barons.

#25 1B/DH Rangel Revelo: Although his hitting streak has came to an end, Revelo has 14 hits in his last 10 games . The first half All-Star is current batting .315 with a .429 On Base Percentage.

Tonight’s Starters

The Barons will send LHP Scott Snogress to the mound. Scott is 5-7 with a 4.21 ERA. He was scheduled to start game 5 in the Generals series but the game was rained out.

The M-Braves will counter with RHP Jason Hursh. He is 6-6 with a 3.88 ERA in 18 starts with the Braves this season. Hursh is 0-2 in his last 4 starts. He last pitched against the Barons on June 24th, pitching 7 Inning & allowing 6 Runs on 10 Hits in a loss to the Barons.

Live Coverage

Tonight’s game will be broadcast on 105.5 WERC, http://www.wercfm.com & also available on I-Heart Radio. Live video coverage is also available with a subscription to MILB TV. You can follow live stats online though the “Gameday” feature on Barons.com or by downloading the free MILB “First Pitch” App for tablets or smart phones. Additional news and notes are available through the Barons social media pages. Links are located on Barons.com and also on the right column of the Barons Beat Blog.

 On Deck

Following this home stand the Barons will travel to Jacksonville Florida to take on the Suns. The Barons will return home to Region Field  following that series to match up with the Tennessee Smokies July 26th-30th. Both of these teams are in the second half playoff hunt.

Barons @ Generals Game 5 Preview

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This Series

After an opening series win on Thursday the Barons have dropped their last 3 games to the Generals. The Generals have outscored the Barons 21-6 the last 3 games. The Barons will try to salvage game 5 tonight from Jackson. The Barons are still only one half-game behind Tennessee for 1st place in the North Division.

Tonight’s Starters

The Barons will Send LHP Scott Snodgress to the mound. Snodgress is 5-7 with a 4.21 ERA this season. He has pitched well his last 4 starts going 2-1 and allowing only 8 runs over that stretch. Each of those games he was able to pitch 6 or more innings.

The Generals will counter with RHP Matt Anderson. He is 3-3 with a 4.37  ERA in 10 starts at the Double-A level this season. Anderson has split time at High Desert(A+) where he was 3-2 with a 5.23 ERA. Anderson last pitched against the Barons on June 6 pitching 5 solid innings & allowing only 1 run on 8 hits.

On Deck

The Barons have an off day tomorrow before returning home to Regions Field to take on the Mississippi Braves.  The Braves are currently 14-10 in the second half. They are only one game behind Mobile for first place in the South Division. The Barons will return to the road following the Braves series to take on the Jacksonville Suns. July 22nd-25th.

Live Coverage

Tonight’s game will be broadcast on 105.5 WERC, http://www.wercfm.com & also available on I-Heart Radio. Live video coverage is also available with a subscription to MILB TV. You can follow live stats online though the “Gameday” feature on Barons.com or by downloading the free MILB “First Pitch” App for tablets or smart phones. Additional news and notes are available through the Barons social media pages. Links are located on Barons.com and also on the right column of the Barons Beat Blog.

 

Barons @ Generals Series Preview:

SeriesPreview

Last Series

The Barons were able to take 3 out of 5 games from the Smokies. The Barons finish the series only a half-game behind the Smokies for second place in the North Division. The two teams will meet up again at Regions Field later this month.

Tonight’s Starters

The Generals (38-51, 7-13) will send LHP Tyler Olson to the mound. Olsen is 3-4 with a 4.22 ERA in the Southern League this season. He has split time between the Generals and  High Desert in High-A ball. He went 2-1 with a 3.13 for the Mavericks in 5 starts. Olson pitched well his last start against the Barons allowing only 3 earned runs on 8 hits in 8 innings pitched. Since that game, he has allowed only 13 runs in his last 5 starts.

The Barons(40-49, 11-8) will counter with RHP Mike Recchia. He has pitched well this season with a record of 4-2 and a 2.83 ERA. Recchia  has allowed two or fewer runs in 3 of his last 4 starts and 6 of his last 9. Recchia has split time between Double-A Birmingham and High-A Winston-Salem. He was 4-3 with a 2.90 ERA for the Dash.

Who’s Hot

Birmingham Barons

#22 RHP Mike Recchia: Has not lost a game since June 15th.

#25 1B/DH Rangel Ravelo: He is currently on a 25 game hitting streak. He has hit safely in 29 of his last 30 and is currently second in the Southern League in Batting Average.

#4 INF Chris Curley: He is hitting .441 over his last 9 games and has 17 multi-hit games this season.

Jackson Generals

#19 LF Julio Morban: Batting .297 with a .357 On Base Percentage in his last 10 games. Four of those ten games have been multi-hit games.

#41 2B Jack Marder: Batting .310 with a .406 On Base Percentage over his last 10 games. Had 4 hits two games ago against the Suns

On Deck

After completing the Jackson series the Barons will enjoy an off day before hosting a 5 game series with the Mississippi Braves. The Barons will return to the road following the Braves series.

Live Coverage

Tonight’s game will be broadcast on 105.5 WERC, http://www.wercfm.com & also available on I-Heart Radio. Live video coverage is also available with a subscription to MILB TV. You can follow live stats online though the “Gameday” feature on Barons.com or by downloading the free MILB “First Pitch” App for tablets or smart phones. Additional news and notes are available through the Barons social media pages. Links are located on Barons.com and also on the right column of the Barons Beat Blog.

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