The end of the minor league regular season is just a few weeks away, and recently, the White Sox made the unprecedented move to send all of their top prospects – regardless of readiness – to AA Birmingham in what they called “Project Birmingham.” This initiative will allow all of the top prospects to work and train together over the last few weeks of the minor league season.
Before September comes and goes, however, let’s take a look back at some of the top risers and fallers in the system based on their August performances. Some familiar names had incredible months that will hopefully set them up for long-term success.
Jose Rodriguez, 2B/SS (.319/.413/.768, 9 HR, 17 RBI, 12.5 BB%, 15.0 K%)
Jose Rodriguez’s season came to an abrupt end after suffering a broken hamate bone. Even with the injury, however, he finds himself trending up with the way he finished his 2022 season. In just 17 games in August, Rodriguez hit nine home runs and posted a .317 batting average. He had high expectations coming into this season, and despite a slow start, looked every bit like the prospect he appeared to be in 2021.
Rodriguez will be able to heal up and come back with the momentum of a strong 2022 finish. He will likely see AAA for the first time in 2023.
Luis Mieses, OF (.303/.330/.449, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 0.0 BB%, 9.6 K%)
Luis Mieses was called up to Double-A Birmingham as part of the “Project Birmingham” initiative. He appears to have been up for the challenge, as he currently holds an OPS above 1.000 with a home run since the call-up. Mieses has the tools and profile to be a team’s everyday right fielder someday, and he is putting together a solid end to the best season of his minor league career. That 0.0% walk rate in August is not a mistake, however, and some plate discipline will likely do him some good at the more advanced levels.
Tyler Osik, C/1B/DH (.353/.430/.676, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 10.1 BB%, 19.0 K%)
Osik has been overlooked for much of the season due to his advanced age compared to the High-A level and a lack of power production. He has been a hit machine all season, however, and has hit an even higher gear in the month of August. Before his call up to Double-A Birmingham, Osik held a .382 batting average with 4 home runs and an eye-popping 1.172 OPS in August. He is now at a more age-appropriate level, where he has already hit a home run and appears to be ready for this latest challenge.
Oscar Colas, OF (.288/.351/.490, 6 HR, 15 RBI, 6.1 BB%, 24.6 K%)
The calls are getting louder and louder for the White Sox to make Colas part of their 2023 plans in the outfield, and after another stellar month, you can understand why. Colas has been crushing it all season as part of his first state-side action, and he has shown that he is still able to handle CF despite doubts about his outfield abilities. While the club would likely like to see him cut down on his current strikeout rate of nearly 24%, his .579 SLG in Birmingham across 161 plate appearances certainly gives the team plenty to be excited about at such a difficult level.
Andrew Dalquist, SP (4 GS, 11.05 ERA, 8.14 FIP, 17.8 K%, 12.3 BB%)
Dalquist has had a rough season altogether, and August hasn’t exactly allowed him to redeem himself. In four August starts, including one as a part of the “Project Birmingham” initiative, he holds an unsightly 11.05 ERA with nine walks and 14 strikeouts in 14.2 innings. He showed a lot of promise as a high upside 3rd round pick in 2019, but time is running out for him to realize his potential.
Erick Hernandez, OF (.100/.182/.150, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 9.1 BB%, 13.6 K%)
Erick Hernandez still has plenty of time and potential to turn into the type of prospect the White Sox envisioned when they signed him to a $1 million signing bonus in January. His first season as a professional, however, has been a bit underwhelming. He hasn’t played since August 11, and on the season, he has a .624 OPS and has yet to hit a home run. He has shown patience at the plate with a walk rate over 10%, but he has not shown the dangerous bat that led some to compare him to Juan Soto.
When you’re 17 years old, however, you’ve earned yourself the benefit of some time to get things right.
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