White Sox Minor League Report: Micker Adolfo tapping into power potential

White Sox Minor League Report: Micker Adolfo tapping into power potential

As part of a weekly series, presented by Ozinga, CSNChicago.com will highlight the top performances of several prospects in a weekly minor league report.

White Sox Blueprint Player of the Week: Micker Adolfo (OF), Kannapolis Intimidators

The White Sox are finally seeing the player they envisioned when they signed the No. 2 ranked international prospect in 2013.

As he still grows into his 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame, Micker Adolfo has put his power potential on display in Kannapolis this season.

Adolfo has been on a tear throughout his last 10 games as he's hit .368 to go along with three home runs, seven RBI and four walks. 

On the season, Adolfo is slashing .286/.347/.493 and has already set career-highs in several categories, including home runs (8), RBI (35), hits (65), doubles (21) and runs (37).

Charlotte Knights

It looks like that nagging thumb injury is finally behind MLB's No. 1 prospect.

In his last 10 games at Charlotte, Moncada is batting .282 with a home run, six RBI and a stolen base. Moncada has also shown an impressive eye at the plate during that span, as he had a 12/11 BB/K ratio.

Birmingham Barons

It's spelled trouble for opposing hitters when Jordan Stephens has been on the mound in 2017.

The Texas-native has started three games since coming off the DL and carries an 0.98 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 18.1 innings pitched.

Stephens is currently MLB Pipeline's No. 14 White Sox prospect.

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Winston-Salem Dash

After a slow start following a promotion to Winston-Salem, the forgotten piece from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton trade has been on a tear.

In three June starts, Dane Dunning has allowed just three earned runs on 13 hits and has 23 strikeouts in 17.2 innings pitched.

DSL White Sox

Although he hasn't homered since his first game in the Dominican Summer League, Cuban outfielder Luis Robert has shown tremendous discipline in the batter's box. 

Robert has averaged one walk per game and has a .258 batting average in 10 games. He's also added four stolen bases on the season.

Great Falls Voyagers

A pair of players from the White Sox 2016 draft class have gotten off to hot starts in the Rookie League.

Anthony Villa, a 19th rounder out of St. Mary's, has a robust 1.777 OPS in his first four games and has belted two home runs and six RBI.

Infielder Luis Curbello, a sixth-round selection out of Cocoa High School in Florida, has a .429/.529/.714 slash line with a home run and two RBI.

Why White Sox roster should keep Rick Hahn busy through trade deadline

Why White Sox roster should keep Rick Hahn busy through trade deadline

The draft is done, the trade deadline is on approach and the vultures are surely about to start circling the White Sox.

Whereas certain teams are still unsure about what direction they’ll head this season before the Aug. 1 nonwaiver trade deadline, the White Sox are not. They made it crystal clear to the baseball world that they would entertain selling anything that isn’t nailed down when they traded Chris Sale and Adam Eaton last December. So with this week’s amateur draft finally over, general manager Rick Hahn suspects an influx of phone calls will arrive shortly for his team and any others considered to be sellers.  

“Over the next few weeks you're going to see more trade activity,” Hahn said on Tuesday. “Certainly, it's been fairly quiet here leading up to the draft. I expect it to be fairly rampant here over the next several weeks, throughout the game, not necessarily just here. We're certainly looking forward to continuing to engage with clubs and see where that leads.”

Hahn will likely have to keep his phone charger handy given the White Sox have a roster full of interesting pieces. While they’re less likely to pull off a Sale or Eaton-esque blockbuster with their best chip (Jose Quintana) underperforming, the White Sox still have enough assets for Hahn to stay busy.

Key among the White Sox most attractive pieces are closer David Robertson setup man Tommy Kahnle. Robertson has struck out 12.7 batters per nine innings this season and with 40 percent of the schedule complete, he’s owed $20.2 million, including $13 million in 2018. Arbitration eligible for the first time after this season, Kahnle has been even better than Robertson. He has struck out 44 and walked six in 25 1/3 innings.

After enduring injuries for the past three seasons, free-agent-to-be Derek Holland has postseason experience and looks to be healthy again. While his FIP is 5.37, Holland has increased his strikeout rate to 19 percent and offers good depth to a team in need of rotation help.

Third baseman Todd Frazier’s bat has heated up in June, which could make the future free agent an interesting option for teams in need at the hot corner. Headed into Thursday, Frazier’s wRC+ for June was 157, 60 points above his season mark. Same as Robertson, Frazier is also owed $7.2 million.

Also a free agent after 2017, Melky Cabrera has shown improvement in June. However, opposing teams may find the $9 million Cabrera is owed prohibitive.

Pitcher Miguel Gonzalez has had a rough run in his last seven starts but could provide depth to a team in contention if he gets back on track. Veteran reliever Anthony Swarzak, a free agent like Gonzalez, has performed well in high-leverage spots and is averaging and has struck out 29 in 30 innings.

Now that he’s figured it out at the plate, Leury Garcia could be a valuable utility man, capable of playing anywhere in the outfield, shortstop and second base. A career .460 OPS before this season, Garcia, who has three years of team control left after 2017, has an .810 OPS this season, including six home runs. Yolmer Sanchez, who has a .760 OPS and can play multiple positions, also could be made available to open up a spot for the arrival of top prospect Yoan Moncada.

While Jose Abreu has proven to be dangerous again at the plate, the Cuban may hold more value to the White Sox than they’d fetch given he could potentially mentor his countrymen, Moncada and Luis Robert.

Were they to deal Quintana, who is 2-8 with a 5.30 ERA, the White Sox might have to sell low, which it’s doubtful they would, given he potentially has three years left on his current deal.

Even though they might not have as high of a chance of pulling off another blockbuster, Hahn should stay busy through the Aug. 1 deadline.

“Every team is looking to improve themselves,” Hahn said. 

Why top prospect Yoan Moncada has struggled to rebound after thumb injury

Why top prospect Yoan Moncada has struggled to rebound after thumb injury

After returning from a thumb injury, Yoan Moncada is still working to rediscover the form that got him off to an outstanding start at Triple-A Charlotte.

The team’s top prospect has struggled since he returned to the Knights’ lineup on May 26. Moncada’s hitting just .153/.311/.271 with four extra-base hits and four RBIs in 74 plate appearances since he returned. The health of the No. 1 overall prospect in baseball is one of many players whose wellness general manager Rick Hahn discussed on Tuesday.

“It took a little bit,” Hahn said. “He was a little rusty when he got back. He’s fortunately pain-free, and we think with some padding issues with the batting glove, we’ve been able to resolve that from recurring. Although he initially was a little bit rusty, he has gotten back to form now in the last few days.”

In the 22 games leading up to his stint on the disabled list, Moncada hit .352/.412/.505 in 102 plate appearances. He didn’t play from May 16-26 and has only rediscovered his eye the last four games, walking seven times and striking out five.

Reliever Nate Jones will continue to be shut down for a few more days as symptoms of his right elbow neuritis still haven’t disappeared. Jones hopes to resume throwing in the next five days, though Hahn said he wouldn’t ramp up activity until after that. Shutdown since before the team began its last three-city road trip, Jones had a second MRI, which showed his previously repaired tendon is clean and strong, the reliever said. Still, Jones is being cautious after symptoms returned several weeks ago in his rehab.

“It started creeping back,” Jones said. “We decided it was better to get me back and not get halfway back and have to deal with it the whole season. We got out in front of it and got shut down for a little bit and hoping that helps and that works.

“We had thrown four or five, six bullpens and the symptoms weren’t going away.”

Hahn said Zach Putnam (right elbow inflammation) has had trouble becoming pain-free but is “climbing.” If everything works out, Putnam could throw again starting this weekend, Hahn said.

Tyler Saladino’s sore back has improved — he took grounders on Tuesday — and the hope is he could head to Arizona while the team is on its upcoming road trip to continue his rehab.

Outfielder Charlie Tilson (torn hamstring, sore foot) has made steady progress as he rehabs at the club’s Arizona facility. Tilson has appeared in “controlled environment intrasquad games” with the belief he could start a rehab assignment at the end of June or by early July.

Late June could also see the return of Carlos Rodon, who is scheduled for a third rehab start later this week at Charlotte. Hahn made it sound as if Rodon could be headed for a fourth rehab start after which the White Sox would determine the left-hander’s next course of action. Rodon also started in a pair of simulated games in Arizona before he began his assignment.

“He’ll certainly have the one that is coming up here, and there may well be another one after that,” Hahn said. “Then we’ll decide what’s next for him.”