Knights Knotes: April 13, 2017
KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) continue their seven-game road trip and conclude their four-game series against the Durham Bulls (Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays) tonight with game four of the four-game set. Charlotte is in search of its first road win of the season tonight after having dropped each of the first three games of this series. The team’s last road win came on August 28, 2016 at Norfolk. Overall, the Knights are 2–9 over their last 10 road games dating back to August 19, 2016 at Gwinnett.
ABOUT LAST KNIGHT: 2B Yoan Moncada continued his hot hitting, but the Charlotte Knights dropped game three of their four-game series to the Durham Bulls by a score of 6–2 on Wednesday from the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC. The first place Bulls increased their lead in the International League South Division to two games over the Knights. RHP Carson Fulmer (1–1, 5.73) allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits over five innings and was saddled with the game three loss for the Knights. Fulmer walked one batter, fanned three, and allowed a three-run home run to Mike Marjama in the fourth inning.
SMITH PROMOTED: Catcher Kevan Smith, who is hitting a team-high .438 (7-for-16) with nine RBIs in four games this season for the Charlotte Knights, had his contract purchased by the Chicago White Sox today. Smith takes the place of catcher Geovany Soto, who was placed on Chicago’s 10-day disabled list (retroactive to April 12). Currently, Smith is ranked eighth in the International League in batting average and tied for second in RBIs. Charlotte’s roster now features 24 active players. Smith, 28, is the second Charlotte player this season to earn a promotion to Chicago. Earlier this year, RHP Tommy Kahnle became the first player to earn a promotion when he was recalled on April 6th by the White Sox. Last season, Smith appeared in 49 games with the Knights and hit .219 (40-for-183) with eight home runs and 24 RBIs. The Pittsburgh, PA native made his major league debut with the White Sox on September 1, 2016. Originally drafted by the White Sox in the seventh round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Smith is a .283 career hitter over parts of seven minor league seasons.
BLAIR ACTIVATED: Taking Smith’s place on the active Knights roster will be catcher Carson Blair, who was activated off the disabled list today. Blair, 27, was signed by the White Sox as a free agent on January 11, 2017. The Carrollton, TX native was a member of both the Texas Rangers and Oakland A’s system last season. He has appeared in 406 games over the course of nine minor league seasons.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Knights opened the 2017 season at BB&T Ballpark on April 6th and went 4–0 on their opening homestand against the Norfolk Tides (Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles). Over that stretch, the team hit .375 (60-for-160), swatted seven home runs, scored 39 runs, and had a .442 on base percentage.
LEADING KNIGHTS: The Knights have recorded an International League high 77 hits in seven games this season. Saturday’s 15-run output was a season-high, which also included a season-high of six home runs in the game. The Knights have scored a total of 48 runs in seven games, which is also tops in the IL this season. In addition, the Knights also are first in the IL in batting average (.304), tied for second in the IL in home runs (9), first in RBIs (44), and first in on base percentage (.390).
REIGNING BATTER OF THE WEEK: Charlotte outfielder Willy Garcia, who hit .533 (8-for-15) with two home runs, nine runs scored, and four RBIs over four games last week, was named as the International League’s Batter of the Week for the period of April 6–9, as announced by the International League of Professional Baseball Clubs, Inc. on Monday morning. In seven games this season, Garcia is now batting .423 (11-for-26) with two home runs and six RBIs. He’s ninth in the IL in batting average this season — one behind Kevan Smith, who was promoted today. Claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates on January 6, 2017, Garcia is in his first season in the Chicago White Sox organization. The 24-year-old spent the entire 2016 season with the Indianapolis Indians (Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates) and hit .245 with six home runs and 43 RBIs in 129 games. He led all IL outfielders in games played (128) and assists (17). For his efforts in the field last season, he was named as the Indianapolis Indians Defensive Player of the Year.
TOKNIGHTS STARTING PITCHER: RHP Lucas Giolito (0–0, 8.31) will make his second start of the season tonight as he takes the ball for the Charlotte Knights in game four of their four-game series from Durham, NC. He made his 2017 debut on April 8th at BB&T Ballpark against the Norfolk Tides and allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits over 4.1 innings and did not factor in the decision. He walked two and struck-out four. Giolito, along with Knights teammate Reynaldo Lopez, were acquired from the Washington Nationals at the Winter Meetings in exchange for Adam Eaton. The 22-year-old right-hander, who appeared in six games with the Nationals last season (four starts), enters the 2017 ranked as Chicago’s number two prospect by Baseball America. A first round pick (16th overall) of the Nats in the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft, Giolito has combined to compile a 25–15 record with a 2.73 ERA in 75 games (73 starts) over parts of five seasons in the minors. Tonight’s start will be Giolito’s second Triple-A start since September 2, 2016 when he threw eight shutout innings against the Pawtucket Red Sox while pitching for Syracuse.
TONIGHT’S BULLS STARTING PITCHER: RHP Taylor Guerrieri (1–0, 4.76) gets the start in tonight’s finale for the Bulls — his second of the 2017 season. A native of Augusta, GA, Guerrieri gave up three runs on five hits over 5.2 innings on April 8th against the Gwinnett Braves to earn the win — his first start and win at the Triple-A level. He struck-out seven batters in the game that day and walked just one. He was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round of the 2011 draft (24th overall) out of Spring Valley High School in Columbia, SC. The 24-year-old right-hander entered this season ranked by Baseball America as the 17th best prospect in Tampa Bay’s system.