While the major league club is struggling to start the season, White Sox Triple-A affiliate Charlotte Knights are on a roll.
Don’t worry, White Sox fans, help is on the way. The Charlotte Knights are off to a solid 6-2 start thanks to some familiar names to most Sox fans.
The offense has been in midseason form the first week of the season. In their season-opening, seven-game homestand, the Knights scored a whopping 57 runs, helped by two 12 run affairs and two other 10 run games.
Zack Collins has led the way with four home runs, including a pair on opening night and nine RBIs. His dinger in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader went 393 feet and hit a building across the street over the right-field wall.
Danny Mendick is right behind Collins with two home runs, eight RBIs along with two stolen bases. Mendick has also shown his versatility in the field playing second base, third base, and shotrstop. Mendick was a late cut in spring training as he really showed his offensive skills during camp and hasn’t slowed down to start the season.
Outfielder Preston Tucker, whom the Sox signed as a free agent less than two months ago, is also off to a hot start. He has added seven RBIs with a homer, two doubles while hitting at a .318 clip. Previously, Tucker has played in the majors with the Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, and Cincinnati Reds.
A couple of former White Sox big leaguers are also off to hot starts. Charlie Tilson is leading the Knights with a .435 batting average with three doubles and a triple. Ryan Cordell, who was with the Sox for a couple of games earlier this year and hit a big homerun against the Cleveland Indians, hasn’t slowed down since being sent down. He’s second on the team, hitting at a .429 clip while adding a double, triple and home run to the early season hot streak.
Alcides Escobar, who has played 10 seasons in the majors, mostly with Kansas City, and was signed by the Sox on March 25, has been a force on the Knights roster early on. Batting .409 with six RBIs, he’s showing he may not be done with his major league career just yet.
First baseman Matt Skole, who had a decent spring this year is second on the team with two home runs while also sporting an OBP of .517.
Starting pitching wise for the Knights has been a tale of the Dylans. Both Dylan Covey and top Sox pitching prospect Dylan Cease pitched five innings of scoreless baseball in Tuesday’s doubleheader, giving up two hits and three hits. respectively.
Carson Fulmer has allowed only one run in two appearances over five innings and has looked much better this year.
Reliever Thyago Vieira has struck out three over three innings pitched and has not allowed a hit yet. The biggest stat in his line is that he has not walked a batter, which is remarkable considering the wildness he showed last season while called up to the Sox.
One other reliever that has been on fire to start is Evan Marshall. In four innings of work over three games, he has not allowed a run while striking out three. Marshall is quite a remarkable story in that it’s amazing he’s even walking around much less pitching in baseball games.
While pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks Triple-A team, Reno in 2015, he was hit in the right temple from a batted ball. He suffered a fractured skull and had immediate emergency surgery to relieve the pressure. Amazingly, he was back with the Diamondbacks the next year and pitched in 15 games for the major league club.
So, the White Sox have guys on the Triple-A roster that can, may and should be called up soon. With most of the big league club roster struggling, it should be sooner than later. Cordell would seem to be an upgrade over Daniel Palka right now and Mendick would be a better offensive second baseman than Yolmer Sanchez is right now. I don’t expect to see Collins up until September but Cease should get the call sometime mid-season if not earlier, depending on the continued struggles of the starting rotation.
Help is coming, Sox fans. Be patient and keep your eyes on the Sox minor league players. They should give you more hope than the current major league roster is right now.