White Sox

On The Farm: Winston-Salem Completes Sweep

On The Farm: Winston-Salem Completes Sweep

Friday Sept. 10, 2010
11:00 PM

By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

WHITE SOXWinston-Salem A
It took a bit longer than the Dash would have liked but Jose Martinez punctuated a riveting affair at Grainger Stadium Friday with the 12th-inning homer, giving Winston-Salem a 10-5 victory and a series sweep of Kinston in the opening round of the Carolina League playoffs.

The Dash will now play for the Mills Cup Championship against the winner of the Potomac-Frederick series which Potomac leads, 2-1. The finals are set to begin Monday.

Jon Gilmores RBI single in the ninth inning tied the score at 5-5, where it stayed until the 12th. Gilmore got the winning rally started with a single and was followed by Seth Loman, who also singled. After Ozzie Lewis popped out to first, Martinez sent a Matt Langwell offering over the wall in left for the three-run blast that would put the Dash in position to win a record 12th Mills Cup crown.

T.J. House came on for the Indians and fared no better. He walked Luis Sierra and then allowed an Andrew Garcia double that put runners on second and third. Greg Paiml followed with a two-run double to cap the inning and complete the sweep. The Tribe went down in order in the bottom of the inning with Bo Greenwell flying out to Martinez to end the game.

Paiml finished with three hits and three RBIs while Gilmore had three hits, drew a pair of walks, drove in a run and scored twice. Brandon Short, who was activated off the disabled list earlier in the day, had two hits, including a homer, and two RBIs.

Jacob Rasner allowed one hit over four shutout innings to earn the victory. Nate Jones had started but after walking six was gone after 323 innings. Charlis Burdie pitched two scoreless innings before Taylor Thompson surrendered three eighth-inning runs. Brandon Kloess also allowed a run in the eighth and would have been on the hook for the loss had Gilmore not tied the score in the ninth.

Great Falls Rookie
The Voyagers were among the hottest teams in the minor leagues heading into Fridays Pioneer League playoff opener at Helena. But the Brewers quickly quieted Great Falls, earning a 5-3 victory at Kindrick Legion Field before the best-of-three series shifts back to Cetene Stadium Saturday night.

Great Falls had won six straight and 15 of 17 to close the regular season. It had won Northern Division titles in both halves of the regular season. The Voyagers had even won 10 of the 16 games played between the two clubs this year.

But Stephen McCray, a 16th-round pick out of Tennessee, allowed four runs on five hits in three innings, putting the Voyagers in a hole from which they wouldnt recover. He had a 0.87 ERA in 10 13 innings against the Brewers this season but was in trouble right from the outset.

Great Falls scrapped its way back, scoring single runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings but wasnt able to sustain anything against Erc Marzec, the Helena reliever who tossed one-hit ball over three shutout innings in relief of winner Matt Miller.

Mike Blanke had three hits and an RBI for the Voyagers.

CUBSTennessee AA
The Smokies struck back in a big way at visiting West Tenn Friday night, erupting for an 11-1 victory to even their Southern League playoff series at a game apiece. Game Three is slated for Saturday night at West Tenn. It will be the only game that the Diamond Jaxx will host.

Tennessee erupted for 16 hits and scored nine of their runs in the sixth through eighth innings. The fifth through ninth hitters in the Smokies lineup accounted for most of the damage, going 14-for-23 with three homers and nine RBIs. Tennessee hit four homers in the game.

Russ Canzler led the hit parade with four hits and an RBI. Robinson Chirinos had three hits, including a homer, two RBIs and three runs scored. Tony Thomas had three hits, including a homer and three RBIs while Matt Spencer had two hits, including a homer and three RBIs. Brett Jackson added a solo homer.

Chris Carpenter earned the victory, allowing a run on four hits over six innings while the game was still a nail-biter. He tied a season high with eight strikeouts, picking up his first win since Aug. 7.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Nick Madrigal left out of Keith Law's top 100 prospect list

1001_nick_madrigal.jpg
Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights

Nick Madrigal left out of Keith Law's top 100 prospect list

There are plenty of prospect rankings in the baseball world and typically some level of consensus is formed among where prospects fall.

As far as the White Sox are concerned, Luis Robert is a top 10 prospect in baseball by just about everyone, Michael Kopech is usually in the top 20 or 30 and Andrew Vaughn and Nick Madrigal aren’t too far behind.

Keith Law of The Athletic sees it differently for one of those four. Law released his top 100 prospects on Monday and featured just three White Sox prospects.

Robert came in at No. 6, Kopech was at No. 16 and Vaughn was ranked 28th. There was no Madrigal though.

Madrigal is ranked 40 by MLB Pipeline, 48 by Baseball America, 41 by Fangraphs and even as high as 13 on Baseball Prospectus. Law is the outlier here and he got plenty of questions about it.


The argument against Madrigal is fairly obvious. He has almost no power. The question is can he overcome that and still bring value to a team? Most scouts have said yes.

Madrigal’s notable skill is his elite contact rate. He almost never strikes out, which tends to lead to a high batting average. Madrigal is also a good defender who is noted as a smart baserunner. Throw those things together and you have a solid contributor to a big league team, but far from a star.

Offensively, Madrigal will have to consistently hit for a high average to overcome his lack of power. He has four home runs in 163 games in the minors. He won’t be an OPS hero by any stretch. That said, he hit .311 across three levels of the minors in 2019, including a .331 batting average in 29 games in Triple-A.

If Law thinks Madrigal’s contact skills are very good as opposed to elite and doesn’t believe in growth in other parts of his game, it’s reasonable to think he’s not a top 100 prospect. Still, this is the minority opinion at this point.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

Yasmani Grandal hard at work molding pitching staff that drew him to White Sox

0224_yasmani_grandal.jpg
AP

Yasmani Grandal hard at work molding pitching staff that drew him to White Sox

It should come as no surprise that Yasmani Grandal is already making a big impact, even in the early weeks of spring training.

After all, his impact was being felt before anyone even showed up to Camelback Ranch.

But the team’s new No. 1 catcher — perhaps its most important acquisition during a busy offseason — has expectedly gotten to work with a White Sox pitching staff that helped draw him to the South Side.

“I don't care where I'm going as long as I see a future in the pitching staff,” he said back in November, after he signed his team-record contract. “If I see that I can help that pitching staff, for me, that's pretty much No. 1. So their sales pitch was that: ‘Look at the young arms we have, look at the guys we have coming up. We have an opportunity here to win, and we think you can help them out.’”

Certainly there’s a ton of promise with these young pitchers. Lucas Giolito already morphed himself from the pitcher with the worst statistics in baseball to an All Star last season. Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez all have front-of-the-rotation potential, as well.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t question marks. Giolito has to show his transformation was a permanent one. Kopech is finally returning from Tommy John surgery, and though he’s still ranked as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, he’s got just four big league starts under his belt. Cease and Lopez could be the White Sox biggest mysteries heading into the 2020 campaign after they put up some ugly numbers in 2019.

Grandal should be able to help move all those guys in positive directions, and he’s started on that work early this spring. After catching bullpen sessions from Kopech and Lopez, he stuck around for lengthy chats to discuss what he saw. The same was true after Cease threw live batting practice last week, sitting in the dugout for an extended talk.

This might not be incredibly unusual behavior, especially for a catcher who hasn’t caught any of these guys before, getting to know his pitching staff ahead of the regular season. But Grandal’s desire to help develop these pitchers into the type of hurlers the White Sox believe they can be has been evident.

For him, that’s business as usual.

“We’re as strong as our weakest link, right?” he said in the early days of White Sox camp. “I feel like we need to make everybody better, it doesn’t matter if you’re a reliever or a position player. I’m going to do my homework on everybody and make sure everybody is on the same page and then we’ll go from there. We’ll make adjustments as the year goes on.

“The quicker we can do it, the better.”

Grandal figures to help these White Sox in a lot of different ways, hence why they handed him a four-year deal that, until options are exercised on some of the other contracts the team gave out this winter, is the richest in club history. He’s fresh off a career year at the dish that could land him right in the thick of Rick Renteria’s lineup. After ranking in the top five in baseball with 109 walks in 2019, he’s hoping some of his on-base skills might catch on with his new teammates. There’s the pitch-framing, a skill which is still valuable as we await baseball’s robot revolution. Grandal’s one of the best in the game at it. And his work ethic and love of baseball-related homework leaps out at anyone who talks with him.

It all adds up to a guy who can’t help but make his presence felt right away.

“I could tell right off the bat that it was going to be great for us,” Giolito said. “Obviously, he’s proving that to be true, even in these early days of spring training. Very in-depth conversations with each pitcher that he’s working with. … He’s kind of introducing us to some things that he’s learned along the way, which is exactly what we need for an organization trying to turn that page. He’s coming from winning organizations. He knows what it takes, and he’s implementing that whole-heartedly.”

“The conversations he has with the coaches, the conversations he has with some of the young starters, in terms of preparation, in terms of adjustments, in terms of game-planning, he’s just a pleasure to have around and an outstanding baseball guy who’s going to help this team not just with what he does offensively or even from the defensive-metrics standpoint, but just from an all-around culture and environment standpoint, as well,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “And that’s come through early.”

As Giolito mentioned, Grandal’s winning experience could prove one of his bigger contributions as the White Sox look to snap a playoff drought that’s lasted more than a decade. A talented roster has legitimate postseason expectations in 2020, and considering Grandal’s played in the last five postseasons, that’s a valuable asset to have in the fold.

Making a team-wide jump from rebuilding mode to contenting mode happens on a day-by-day basis, sometimes an inning-by-inning or pitch-by-pitch basis. That’s the kind of work Grandal can help the White Sox do and do well.

“He’s been around the block,” Renteria said. “He’s got a lot of high-impact, high-leverage type experiences in his major league career, and that helps, in many instances, slow things down a lot. So right now, when we’re focusing on trying to clean up and do things that will help our pitchers and any other aspect of the game get better, he’s able to step in and do certain things that allow us to do that.”

“Stuff at game speed goes a little bit quicker,” Kopech said. “It can kind of get away from you if you don’t take control of it. And I think that’s what he’s going to be able to help us with, at game speed, because he’s been there at game speed for a long time. He’s going to help be able to slow the game down for us and stuff like that.”

Considering Grandal is under contract for the next four seasons and that he is set for a prominent role both at and behind the plate, his signing could be the biggest deal among a ton of big deals during the just completed White Sox offseason. His part in the big league portion of development for these young pitchers — and remember, there’s more of them on the way, like Dane Dunning, Jimmy Lambert and Jonathan Stiever — will be just as crucial.

Grandal will touch much of the final stage of this rebuilding project. And if the results are as positive as his first impression has been at Camelback Ranch, then the White Sox will probably consider that team-record contract well worth it.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.