The White Sox are currently in the midst of another hot streak going into the Midsummer Classic. They have taken five of seven from the two best teams in baseball, including a convincing sweep of the Rangers. Lets take a look at how the rest of the organization fared last week.
Prospect Nestor Molina has seen action at the Double-A and Triple-A levels this season and he is 7-7 with a 4.61 ERA. His stats do not exactly jump off the page at you, but he has shown signs of growth and maturation. Unfortunately, Molina was placed on the seven-day disabled list last week. Apparently it's only a minor case of right elbow tendinitis, but it raised enough concern for the club to send him to Chicago for further examination. Molina has recorded 88 innings of work this season and this could simply be a result of fatigue. Never the less, anytime the word tendinitis is thrown into the conversation there is cause for concern.
They say when it rains it pours, and in the case of the case of the Sox minor league system it poured a little bit last week. Top pitching prospect Simon Castro was also assigned to the seven-day DL after pitching lights out in his last start. Castros success in Birmingham has not gone unnoticed, as he was awarded a promotion to Charlotte a couple weeks ago. In his second Triple-A appearance he went seven innings, gave up no runs on four hits and fanned nine. In short, he was dominant. Unfortunately his pitching efforts reaped no offensive support and he was slapped with the no decision, as the Knights fell 1-0 in 11 innings.
As mind-numbingly repetitive as it is to say, Jared Mitchell struggled at the plate this week. The LSU product went 3-for-21 (.143) with eight K's. He did drive in six, and scored five times but as his strikeout total creeps closer to the century mark, his chances at being in the big leagues in the relatively near future diminish. Mitchell has gone down on strikes 98 times (35 percent of plate appearances) already this season, which is second-worst in the entire Southern League. Needless to say, his production is nowhere near where it needs to be and with each unsuccessful hack I am more convinced that we are driving down a road with a possible dead end. Jared Mitchell may be falling out of the picture fast.
Birmingham shortstop Tyler Saladino had the type of week every up and coming prospect loves to have. He went 9-for 25 (.360) at the dish with two doubles, a homer, five RBIs, six runs scored and four swiped bags. Those four stolen bases take his season total to the top of the Southern League with 29. His memorable week at the plate (.995 OPS) was backed up by a solid defensive performance. Its weeks like these that move a youngster very quickly through the system.
Winston-Salem slugger Trayce Thompson saw similar levels of production as Saladino. He also went 9-for-25 (.360) with five RBIs, five runs, and three doubles. On Monday, Thompson went yard twice, boosting his total to 16 on the year. The talented prospects successful week led to a ridiculous 1.233 OPS. Thompson got off to a slow start this season, but he is taking the proper steps to raise his .232 average to where it needs to be.
Rangel Ravelo has been tabbed the man to watch out of the Class-A Kannapolis Intimidators clubhouse. Unfortunately last week he did not fit the bill. Ravelo was 3-for-22 (.136) with no extra base hits, no runs, two RBIs and three strikeouts. One plus is that Ravelo is putting the ball in play and not striking out much. He simply has to find some holes in the defense and if he continues to hit the ball he is bound to break through.
While the White Sox system is not very deep there are some power arms in the organization as evidenced by the number of youngsters who have assumed roles in the big clubs bullpen and rotation. With injuries to Jesse Crain, John Danks, Phil Humber and Brian Bruney, the White Sox needed to find help and with players like Addison Reed, Nate Jones and Jose Quintana doing the job, the drop-off has been non-existent.
Joe Musso contributed to this report.