Dylan Cease enjoyed a successful big-league debut, pitching five innings July 3 in a win against the Detroit Tigers.
Which prospects are next in line to make an impact for the Chicago White Sox?
Outfielder Luis Robert and infielder Nick Madrigal are making their way through the system. Both represented the White Sox last weekend in the All-Star Futures Game in Cleveland.
Robert, the top prospect in the organization according to MLB.com, hit two home runs, including a grand slam, in his Class AAA debut with the Charlotte Knights on Thursday night. The Cuba native went 3 for 5 with seven RBI in the Knights’ 15-12 win over the Gwinnett Stripers at BB&T Ballpark.
Before arriving in Charlotte, Robert was tearing it up at Class A Winston-Salem (.453 in 19 games) and Double-A Birmingham (.314 in 56 games). He entered Thursday night hitting .349 with 16 home runs and 53 RBIs.
“Speaking to scouts that have covered the Southern League for the last 10 years, I’ve heard some guys say they haven’t see a player like this come through there in some time,” Chris Getz, White Sox director of player development, said during a recent conference call. “He’s very talented, can impact a game in a lot of different ways.”
Robert is just one of the players making waves in the minors. Here’s the latest on some White Sox prospects who could make a stop in Charlotte on their way to Chicago:
Nick Madrigal, second baseman, Birmingham: Madrigal, the No. 4 prospect in the organization, is batting .313 with 15 doubles and 38 RBIs with stops at Winston-Salem and Birmingham. The No. 4 overall pick in last year’s draft, he is hitting .377 in 27 games at Birmingham and has struck out only three times in 106 at-bats.
“It’s always been a part of my game, trying not to strike out, especially hitting toward the top of the order,” Madrigal said during the conference call
Kade McClure, pitcher, Winston-Salem: McClure threw 20 consecutive scoreless innings in four starts from June 2 to June 25. He went 1-1 with a 2.12 ERA and 20 strikeouts for the month. Overall, he is 3-4 with a 2.66 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 17 starts between Class A Kannapolis and Winston-Salem.
“I’m just trying to really attack the zone and cut down on the number of walks,” McClure said last week during a conference call. “You obviously can’t control everything, but put the ball in the zone and trust the defense behind me.”
Blake Rutherford, outfielder, Birmingham: Rutherford hit .156 in April and .216 in May. But the No. 8 prospect in the organization had a big June, hitting .365 with 12 RBIs.
Rutherford, a New York Yankees first-round pick in 2016, is hitting .262 with five home runs and 33 RBIs.
Gavin Sheets, first baseman, Birmingham: Sheets leads the Barons in homers (11) and RBIs (60).
Like Rutherford, Sheets started slowly. He hit .207 in April before turning it on in June, hitting .304 with four homers and 25 RBIs.
Sheets, the No. 17 prospect in the organization, was a second-round pick in 2017.
Steele Walker, outfielder, Winston-Salem: Walker, a second-round pick in 2018 and the No. 10 prospect in the system, is hitting .292 with 21 doubles, six homers and 42 RBIs in 75 games between Winston-Salem and Kannapolis.
Andrew Vaughn, first baseman, Kannapolis: The No. 3 pick in this year’s draft had nine hits in 15 at-bats (.600 average) in three games for the Arizona League White Sox. He hit one home run and drove in four.
The White Sox moved him to Kannapolis, where he had four hits in his first 13 at-bats, including a home run Tuesday.
“You kind of just look at his swing, this is what made him attractive in the draft,” Getz said. “He has a natural sense of timing.”
Seby Zavala, catcher, Charlotte: The White Sox promoted Zavala to the majors on May 25. He appeared in three games and had one hit in nine at-bats before being optioned back to Charlotte on May 31.
He hit .270 with six homers and 14 RBIs in 21 games in June for Charlotte. The No. 21 prospect in the organization, Zavala is batting .230 with 12 homers and 32 RBIs.
Observer News Services contributed to this report.