Many eyes are looking down at the White Sox High-A team early this season. There are a couple pretty big reasons why.
For a minor league team starting off below .500 a few weeks into the season, the White Sox High-A affiliate in the Winston-Salem Dash sure are getting a lot of attention from folks in the Chicago area code. The reason: Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal. Let’s start with those two names and then look at a few others that White Sox fans might want to keep an eye on as well.
Robert has been off to one of the hottest starts in recent memory. His current up to date batting line is as follows:
.475 avg .530 OBP .915 SLG 1.446 OPS 6 HR 18 RBI 54 TB
However, in game two of a doubleheader last night, the young star was pulled from the game before his second at-bat. At this time it appears to have been a precautionary move as he has been diagnosed with a contusion in his left hand according to Bruce Levine.
Meanwhile, the other big name playing for the Dash is last years first round draft pick Madrigal. While not off to anywhere near the start that Robert is, he is hitting a respectable .280 while also driving in 18 runs, which is second on the team. He’s made no errors in the field while playing second base in the 13 games he’s appeared in.
There are a few other names for White Sox fans to be looking at on the teams High-A affiliate. Alec Hansen has been used out of the bullpen to start the season, and looking very well doing it. In five appearances over six innings pitched, he’s allowed zero runs while striking out nine, walking only two and has an ERA of 0.00 obviously with a whip of 0.33. Whether he remains in the bullpen for most of the season or moves to the starting rotation remains to be seen.
The opposite of Hansen is Lincoln Henzman. Drafted out of Louisville in 2017, he was the Cardinals closer and won college baseball’s “Stopper of the year” award. However, since the Sox drafted him they have utilized him as a starter with variable results. In his first game this season he lasted only 1/3 of an inning while allowing three runs, one of them earned. In his second start, he pitched three full innings while not allowing a run, hit or walk and striking out three.
Other names that many fans won’t recognize but are off to good starts include LHP Kyle Kubat, who, in three games started and 17 IP, has a 1.39 ERA with 13 K’s and only four BB. He was acquired by the White Sox from the Royals in 2017 and has been up and down the minor league system both as a starter and a reliever.
He doesn’t have big power but has good control and command of his pitches. As a now 26-year-old, he’s a little older for a High-A team and may get promoted to Double-A Birmingham should he continue his good numbers. While not likely to be a future White Sox, left-handers always get extra looks.
Catcher Carlos Perez is also off to a pretty good start this year. In 11 games, he’s got an average of .341 with only three K’s while batting primarily in the seventh spot in the lineup. He has a cannon for an arm defensively but still needs work on his defense and managing of the staff. He hit .290 last year in Kannapolis and is continuing his offensive output at Winston Salem.
We will visit the Winston Salem Dash again in a couple of weeks to check on these players progress and hopefully others that have started to heat up. Next on the list of Minor League updates will be the Kannapolis Intimidators, where we will look at names like OF Steele Walker, SS Lenyn Sosa, C Evan Skoug, 3B Bryce Bush, LHP Konnor Pilkington, and RHP Jonathan Stiever.