Michael Kopech became the second consecutive player acquired for Chris Sale to win a White Sox minor leaguer of the month award on Thursday.
Kopech posted his second double-digit strikeout performance of the season on Wednesday night at Double-A Birmingham to finish May with 47 whiffs in 35 innings. The right-hander went 3-1 with a 2.31 ERA in six starts, allowing 20 hits and walking 17 over 35 innings. He was named the organization’s pitcher of the month.
Single-A Kannapolis’ Micker Adolfo was named the player of the month for May after he slashed .333/.385/.531 with two home runs and 17 RBIs in 104 plate appearances. Adolfo, who received a $1.6-million signing bonus in 2013, finished May with 14 extra-base hits. The outfielder, who turns 21 in September, has already appeared in 40 games this season, 29 shy of the most he’s played in one campaign. Adolfo played 69 games in 2016, including 65 at Kannapolis.
Yoan Moncada, who was also acquired from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Sale, was named the organization’s minor league player of the month in April.
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Kopech is the No. 2-rated prospect in the organization and is ranked 12th overall in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. Toting a 100-mph-plus fastball, Kopech entered the season with plenty of optimism after a strong finish to the 2016 season. Despite early struggles with command, he’s has put together a very strong season with 75 strikeouts in 53 innings. Kopech reduced his walk-rate from 18.1 percent in April (14 in 77 batters) to 12.2 percent in May (17 in 139).
He and Moncada were the main pieces in a four-player package that sent Sale to the Red Sox in December. The White Sox also acquired Single-A Winston-Salem outfielder Luis Basabe and Single-A Kannapolis pitcher Victor Diaz in the deal.
The No. 21-prospect in the organization, Adolfo’s award arrives days after the White Sox spent a club-record $26 million to sign Cuban outfielder Luis Robert. At the time he signed, Adolfo’s bonus was the largest ever awarded by the White Sox to an international amateur.
Other May player nominees included: Triple-A Charlotte’s Danny Hayes and Nick Delmonico, Birmingham’s Hunter Jones, Single-A Winston-Salem’s Danny Mendick and Kannapolis’ Jameson Fisher.
Pitching nominees included: Charlotte’s Lucas Giolito, who threw a seven-inning no-hitter, Kannapolis’ Alec Hansen and Mike Morrison, and Winston-Salem’s Tanner Banks.