White Sox Minor League Update: Charlotte Knights Early Season Review

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Zack Collins #86 of the Chicago White Sox poses during MLB Photo Day on February 21, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Zack Collins #86 of the Chicago White Sox poses during MLB Photo Day on February 21, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

As the White Sox has its ups and downs, let’s take a look to Charlotte and see how some future Southsiders are doing.

The White Sox Triple-A affiliate Charlotte Knights are off to a nice 15 – 9 record and are in first place in the International League’s South Division. However, most White Sox fans are more interested in individual performances rather than team success, so I’ll concentrate on the top prospects and a couple of surprises that may find themselves in Chicago soon.

Zack Collins, the 2016 first round draft choice of the White Sox is off to a reasonably successful start. He began the season hitting two home runs on opening night, one of which was a mammoth shot that left the ballpark and landed across the street. His average fell to a low of .188 but he has batted .333 over his last 10 games and raised his average to .277 with an OBP of .390 and an OPS of 1.021. This weekend he went 6-for-12 with some extremely good at-bats, getting a few nice solid line drive hits with two strikes on him.

Dylan Cease looked unhittable his first two starts of the season but has fallen off in his last two outings. He went five innings in each of his first two starts without allowing an earned run. However, the last two starts have not been as successful. In just 8 1/3 innings, he has allowed seven earned runs and hasn’t gotten out of the fifth inning in either start. His K: BB ratio is still pretty good but he has given up 11 hits along with those seven runs. His next start is scheduled for Tuesday night against Gwinnett. I’ll have a first hand report on his performance.

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Seby Zavala is currently on the 7-day injured list with an inflamed left wrist. He has not carried last years success over to this year yet as he’s hitting at a .203 clip with three HR’s over 14 games total. He is eligible to come off the IL this coming week provided his wrist is healed fully.

Before he was injured he seemed to be coming around as he hit .307 over a three-game stretch. Hopefully, he can continue that streak when he returns.

Ian Hamilton, the future back end of the Sox bullpen piece, had an extremely rocky start to his season, where he allowed nine earned runs over just 3 1/3 innings, including five runs in only 1/3 of an inning against Durham. Up until Saturday night, he had not allowed an earned run over four innings pitched and four appearances. Saturday night, however, he simply didn’t have it and was rocked for two earned runs, three hits, a walk and a strikeout. Even the outs were hit hard as Indianapolis was not overwhelmed at all with Hamilton’s fastball.

Others that deserve some recognition are 1B Matt Skole, who was signed as a free agent in November of 2017. He was impressive in Spring Training and was one of the last cuts but it was a numbers game as the Sox didn’t have room for another 1B/DH on the major league team. He is hitting .284 with an OPS of 1.079 and leads the team in home runs with seven.

Evan Marshall, who the Sox signed to a minor league deal last October is definitely making the most of his opportunity. The 29-year-old, who has played with the Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Cleveland Indians organizations prior to joining the Sox, has not been scored upon in nine total appearances over 10 total innings. His strikeout to walk ratio is an unbelievable 13:1. He’s finished four games and has two saves to his credit. While he is a little older than most prospects, if he continues his dominance, it won’t be a surprise to see him in Chicago later this year.

Charlie Tilson was Sox acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Zach Duke deal. Injuries seemed to derail his career since he made his big league debut in August of 2016 just a week after the Sox traded for him. Up until this year, it seemed it was not to be for Tilson, but, he also made a nice splash during Spring Training and he has continued his offensive production in Charlotte.

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As the Knights leadoff hitter, he’s amassed a batting average of .353 with seven doubles, two triples and 18 RBIs. He looks healed of his previous leg injuries and might finally be the leadoff hitter the Sox were hoping they were getting when they traded for him three years ago.

Thyago Vieira, Aaron Bummer and Carson Fulmer have made their way to Chicago and there will be more on that same route coming soon.