White Sox minor league report

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White Sox minor league report

The White Sox are looking forward to adding some young talent in the draft this June. Big league potential is spread pretty thin in the Sox farm system, but a number of minor league prospects are starting to raise some eyebrows. Here is your White Sox minor league update for the first week of May.

AAA Charlotte Knights

Sox prospect Nestor Molina was called up to Charlotte from Double A Birmingham this past week. While with the Barons, Molina accumulated an impressive 3-1 record in six starts. He helped his cause with 25 strikeouts and only five base-on-balls in 36 13 pitched. His solid performances warranted a call from Triple A Charlotte. Molina saw his first action with the new club on Monday, but things did not exactly go as planned. He surrendered six runs (all earned) on nine hits in only four innings pitched. Molina was having trouble locating his pitches and this was evident in the box score. He was credited with the loss but I dont think there is any need for panic. Molina has shown that he is capable of some great things in the first weeks of the season, he now needs to translate them to the next level.

Top 20 prospect Josh Phegley has accounted for a large portion of the runs scored by the Knights this season. The 24-year-old catcher got off to a blisteringly hot start early this summer, but has since cooled off. In the first week of May, Phegley is 4-for-23 (.173) with just 3 RBIs. One positive that can be taken away from a generally poor week is that Phegley only Ked 3 times, which means he is still making contact with the ball. Despite his recent slide, Phegley still leads the Knights in batting average (.333). Another small issue is he has only walked four times in 99 at bats this season. If Phegley wants to have consistent success at the dish, he must be more patient.

AA Birmingham Barons

As we already know, the 2009 first round pick Jared Mitchells early career has been a roller coaster of athleticism, potential, and injury. Mitchell has shown some reassuring signs for Sox fans early in the 2012 season. This past week Mitchell was 3-for-22 (.136), but still had 8 RBIs. Back-to-back 0-4 nights on Monday and Tuesday did not help his average, but timely hitting has kept Mitchell afloat. He is currently batting .394 with runners in scoring position.

Hard-throwing right-hander Simon Castro only saw one start this past week, but it was by far his most productive of the season. He hurled seven quality innings, surrendering only two runs on six hits, and struck out five. Despite a slow start to the season, Castros last outing was a confidence booster for himself and scouts alike.

A Winston-Salem Dash

Dash shortstop Marcus Semien has been one of the pleasant surprises early for the White Sox organization. During the first week of May he went 8-for-24 (.333) with two home runs, two doubles, four RBIs and a 1.016 OPS. The UC Berkley product will only continue to climb the ranks if he continues to produce runs at a high level.

Starting pitcher Andre Rienzo has been by far the most dominant hurler for the Dash thus far. Manager Tommy Thompson gave Rienzo some well-deserved rest this week, but his four April performances were outstanding to say the least. He is 3-0 with 31 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched. His impressive 1.08 ERA is currently the lowest on the team and he has only surrendered 3 runs all season.

Joe Musso contributed to this article.

Three keys and prediction: Notre Dame - Syracuse

Three keys and prediction: Notre Dame - Syracuse

Here are three keys and a prediction for Saturday's Notre Dame-Syracuse game in New Jersey.

1. Make a play on Amba Etta-Tawo: Orange quarterback Eric Dungey targets Etta-Tawo, college football’s leading receiver through four weeks, an average of 13 times a game. Covering Etta-Tawo well is one thing, but that won’t necessarily mean Dungey will look elsewhere to throw the ball. Senior Cole Luke will probably get the first crack at guarding Etta-Tawo, and he’ll have to make a few plays on the ball (a tipped pass, an interception, etc.) to force Dungey out of his comfort zone. If Luke can’t do it, look for an underclassmen — Donte Vaughn, who picked off a pass against Duke, would have to lead that next group — to step in. Stopping Etta-Tawo would go a long way toward keeping the points down against Syracuse’s going-to-plaid offense. 

2. Meet “the standard” on offense. DeShone Kizer has been somewhere between very good and great this season, but it hasn’t been enough for Notre Dame to avoid any of their three losses. Syracuse’s defense is prone to allowing explosive plays and has struggled against the run, so triggering Josh Adams, Dexter Williams and/or Tarean Folston on the ground could allow Kizer to pick apart the Orange secondary as the game goes on. Most importantly, Kizer and his teammates need to avoid carelessly turning the ball over, as they did a few times against Michigan State and Syracuse. 

3. Effective play from the young guys. Kelly said one of the defensive changes we’ll see going forward is a lot more younger, talented players getting on the field in situations in which they weren’t equipped to in Brian VanGorder’s complex defense. Maybe that means defensive end Daelin Hayes using his elite pass rushing trait to pressure Dungey, or linebacker Asmar Bilal using his excellent speed trait to run with a crossing route and break up a pass. No matter how it happens, it has to happen — with that “it” being making defensive plays. Without sacks, TFLs, fumbles and/or interceptions, all that talk of Notre Dame having more “fun” this week will ring hollow on Saturday.

 

Prediction: Notre Dame 45, Syracuse 42. Adams and Williams both have big games on the ground and Kizer leads an offensive oscillating between explosive and efficient to, for the first time this year, enough points to overcome a shaky defensive performance. 

Cubs make it official: Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod extended

Cubs make it official: Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod extended

It was no secret after Theo Epstein's contract extension on Wednesday, but the Cubs officially announced extensions for general manager Jed Hoyer and senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod on Friday.

The new contracts run through the 2021 season.

Both Hoyer and McLeod joined the Cubs on Nov. 1, 2011. The team is set for its second straight postseason appearance this October.

CSN Chicago's Cubs Insider Patrick Mooney had more on Epstein keeping the band together when Epstein's deal was first announced on Wednesday.