White Sox

White Sox minor league report

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White Sox minor league report

The Chicago White Sox very well might be the hottest team in baseball right now but with a veteran roster the future may be coming faster than most fans would like. Lets take a look at how some of the White Sox prospects fared this past week in our White Sox minor league wrap up.

Dylan Axelrod got only one start last week in the second game of the Charlotte Knights double header on Thursday, May 24. He threw seven innings allowing two runs on four hits. Axelrod was flat out dealing and only threw two bad pitches all night but unfortunately both of them found their way into the seats. He also fanned five on the way to his fourth victory of the season. Axelrod is now 4-2 with 52 strikeouts and a 2.36 ERA.

Birmingham Barons shortstop and highly touted prospect Tyler Saladino has been struggling to find a groove as of late. In 28 at-bats last week, Saladino only recorded four hits (.143). He was held to one run and one extra base hit all week. In seven games Saladino struck out 10 times with three multiple K games. His recent struggles at the dish have lowered his season average to a less than desirable .232.

Simon Castro has been the top-pitching prospect for the Barons and quite possibly the entire minor league organization this season. He started two games and put forth two completely different performances. In his first appearance Castro was touched up for six runs on 10 hits in six innings of work and he was credited with the loss. Six days later the dominant Castro was back. He threw eight superb innings, surrendering only one run on three hits with a .111 batting average against on his way to recording the victory

Another chapter was added to the ever-changing story line of Jared Mitchell this week and it might be one that helped him turn the corner in his development. Mitchell went 10-for-20 (.500) last week with three runs scored, four RBIs, and two home runs. It appears as if Mitchell is finally getting comfortable at the plate again coming off an Achilles injury two springs ago. He is still battling with an over-eagerness at the plate. He walked nine times last week, which tells us, he is becoming more patient in his approach but he still has a high strikeout rate, which is something he needs to improve upon down the road.

Jacob Petricka has been a solid starter all season long and it appeared as if his Friday start would be another opportunity for him to grow. Plans were cut short when the fourth pitch of the game was turned around and lined directly off Petrickas throwing elbow. He left the game and later that night tweeted that it felt like he threw 200 pitches not four.

For some reason he tried coming back for his next start three days later on a sore elbow and short rest. Needless to say his outing did not go as planned and was once again cut short, this time due to poor performance. Petricka went 2 13 and gave up six runs on 11 hits.

The Kannapolis Intimidators sit 13.5 games back in the South Atlantic League Northern division but third baseman Rangel Ravelo is doing everything in his power to help his team climb back into contention. Ravelo went 7-for-19 (.368) last week with a .458 OBP. His run production may not be where he wants it to be yet but Ravelo is doing everything he can at the plate to find his way on base.

Joe Musso contributed to this report

In Astros' dominance, White Sox fans might catch a glimpse of their team's future

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USA TODAY

In Astros' dominance, White Sox fans might catch a glimpse of their team's future

It might end up an ugly week for the White Sox in Houston. But try to find some beauty in what this Astros team looks like. Because it's what the White Sox hope to look like, eventually.

While White Sox fans were likely staring with a frown at Brad Peacock mowing down their team's lineup and at a couple home runs absolutely blasted out of Minute Maid Park in the first of this four-game series Monday night, know that the inverse of that feeling is what the White Sox front office is hoping to deliver in the coming seasons.

The Astros, along with the Cubs on the North Side of Chicago, are the template for what the White Sox are trying to do with their ongoing rebuilding process. Houston experienced some hideous seasons on the way to becoming a perennial contender and a World Series champion in 2017, losing a combined 416 games in four seasons from 2011 to 2014. In 2015, the Astros made their first postseason appearance in a decade. Two years later, they were the world champs, and they remain an annual title contender and are currently the best team in baseball two years after that.

The first part of that should sound familiar, as the White Sox have lost a combined 195 games in the two seasons since this rebuild officially began. Things are better now than they were during last year's 100-loss campaign, but it's expected to be another season of more losses than wins and another season without a playoff berth on the South Side, which would be the franchise's 11th straight to end without a trip to the postseason.

The second half of the Astros rags-to-riches story is yet to come for the White Sox, who are still waiting for young players to develop at both the major league and minor league levels, still waiting for the entire core to assemble in the big leagues. That includes, right now, waiting for certain players to recover from serious injuries. That includes watching growing pains up and down the organization. It's not unexpected for such things to happen in the middle of a rebuild. But when mired in the losing years, they become constant sources of frustration for fans.

Just like no one in Houston looks back fondly on the 100-loss seasons of 2011, 2012 and 2013, it's unlikely South Side baseball fans will look back fondly on these loss-heavy campaigns. But it's part of the process, as maddening as that might be to keep hearing.

Fortunately, there are examples of what the end of the tunnel looks like, and the White Sox are up against one of those examples this week. The Astros are dominating the competition so far this season, their young core of sluggers and a few overpowering starting pitchers fueling the best team in baseball. George Springer and Jose Altuve might have been out of the lineup Monday night, but Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman were still on display. And none of those guys were the ones to blast home runs halfway to Oklahoma off the White Sox on Rick Renteria's otherwise successful bullpen day. Peacock was traded a few times before landing in Houston, and Justin Verlander and Geritt Cole were trade acquisitions, as well. All of those guys have made the Astros a formidable force once again.

The White Sox are likely going to have to make a few outside acquisitions, too, before they can finally reach baseball's mountaintop. General manager Rick Hahn says that's the plan. But the homegrown portion of those rosters of the future could resemble what the Astros have put together in recent seasons. Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Nick Madrigal, Zack Collins. That's the planned core on the South Side. And Hahn has a number of young pitchers who could make up a fearsome rotation, too, in Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease, Dane Dunning, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito. There are more names White Sox fans are familiar with who could play big roles, too.

That's a lot of talent, and while White Sox fans might remain skeptical until the wins start coming at an increased rate, the blueprint is there for those pieces to come together and create something special. The blueprint is what's across the field from the White Sox this week in Houston.

The Astros might cause some bad feelings for the White Sox and their fans over the next few nights. But if they look closely, they might catch a glimpse of the White Sox future if this rebuild goes where Hahn & Co. envision it going.

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Eloy Jimenez returns to White Sox a little more than three weeks after spraining ankle

Eloy Jimenez returns to White Sox a little more than three weeks after spraining ankle

Things looked grim when Eloy Jimenez, the White Sox top-ranked prospect and a centerpiece of the South Side rebuilding plans, was down in pain on the warning track.

But a little more than three weeks later, Jimenez is back in the lineup, returned from his stay on the injured list for the start of a four-game series against the Houston Astros.

Jimenez made a leaping attempt to catch a home-run ball in the April 26 game against the Detroit Tigers. In the process, his foot got stuck in the padding of the left-field wall, and the 22-year-old suffered a high ankle sprain. He limped off the field and needed help getting into the dugout and clubhouse. Thoughts of "here we go again" flashed through a fan base that's watched top prospects suffer one significant injury after another in recent seasons.

The White Sox said Jimenez would be reevaluated in a couple weeks, while cursory Google searches revealed recovery times of more than a month for this type of injury.

But Jimenez seems to have healed quickly. He went on a minor league rehab assignment last week, playing in five games with Triple-A Charlotte before being deemed ready to return Monday.

This is phenomenal news for the White Sox and their fans, of course, who in the time Jimenez has been sidelined have seen another key piece go down with Carlos Rodon's Tommy John surgery. Jimenez hasn't got off to the rip-roaring start some predicted — he's slashed .241/.294/.380 with a trio of home runs in his first 21 major league games — but all playing time for the youngster is good playing time as he continues his development in his first big league season. Throw in Jimenez's four-game stay on the bereavement list prior to that game against Detroit, and he's had just one at-bat since April 21.

So maybe expect some rust, and manager Rick Renteria said Jimenez could perhaps be eased back with a game at DH here and there as he continues to work on improving his defense in left field.

Jimenez did go 7-for-22 (a .318 batting average) with a homer and a double in his rehab stint in Charlotte. Now he's back in the major league outfield, a good thing for everyone following along with this rebuild.

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