Knights Knotes: May 14, 2017
KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) will conclude a lengthy seven-game road trip this afternoon with a 2:05 p.m. game. The Knights opened the seven-game road trip on Monday night at Victory Field in Indianapolis, IN against the Indianapolis Indians (Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates). The Knights traveled to Victory Field in Indianapolis, IN with a two-game winning streak, but dropped all three games in the series. On Thursday, the Knights continued the road trip and opened a four-game series against the Louisville Bats (Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds) from Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, KY. The Knights (17–17) snapped their three-game losing streak on Thursday with a 7–4 win in the opener and have continued their winning ways with a 5–2 win in game two and a 4–2 win last night in game three. After starting 0–3 on the trip, the Knights have won three-straight games and have a chance to win the road trip with a win in today’s finale. After this four-game trip wrap up today, the Knights will return home on Monday for a three-game series. The Knights are 10–5 this season at BB&T Ballpark.
ABOUT LAST KNIGHT: RHP Lucas Giolito fanned five over six sharp innings, OF Jacob May ripped three hits, and the Charlotte Knights beat the Louisville Bats by a score of 4–2 on Saturday in game three of the four-game series from Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, KY. Charlotte’s young right-hander was also backed by a solid offensive showing from his teammates, who combined to tally 10 hits on the night. In three games in the series, the Knights have totaled 31 hits against the Bats. All three games have resulted in wins.
RETURN TO LOUISVILLE: RHP Zack Burdi and outfielder Adam Engel, are both products of the University of Louisville, and both have shined during this series. Burdi has put together a solid overall season with the Knights this year and that continued last night. Burdi tossed another scoreless inning — striking out two batters — en route to his fourth save of the season. He has not allowed a run over his last eight appearances (10.0 IP) and has 17 strikeouts over that stretch. For the season, he is 0–1 with a 1.98 ERA in 12 games (13.IP with 23 strikeouts). Burdi is back in Louisville, where he compiled an 8–4 record with a 2.44 ERA and 20 saves over 60 appearances for the Cardinals over three seasons (2014–2016). Engel continued his solid month of May last night with two more hits — both doubles. Engel is hitting .333 (12-for-36) over his last 10 games and .302 (13-for-43) with four home runs and six RBIs in the month of May (12 games) with the Knights. Engel was named Third Team All-Big East in 2013 and Second Team All-Big East in 2012 with the Cardinals.
MONCADA MANIA: Charlotte second baseman Yoan Moncada, who hit .500 (11-for-22) with eight runs scored, two home runs, and four RBIs over six games last week, was named as the International League’s Batter of the Week for the period of May 1–7, as announced by the International League of Professional Baseball Clubs, Inc. on Monday. Moncada is currently hitting .338 (44-for-130) with 27 runs scored, six home runs, 12 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases. Ranked as the number one prospect in Major League Baseball by MLB.com, Moncada is in the top five in the League in batting average (5th), hits (2nd), total bases (4th), and stolen bases (3rd). Moncada became the second player this season to earn IL Batter of the Week honors for the Knights. Outfielder Willy Garcia, who is now a member of the Chicago White Sox, was named as the IL Batter of the Week during the first week of the season (April 6–9). The Knights are the only team in the IL with multiple batters of the week so far this season. Earlier this season (May 1), the Chicago White Sox named Moncada as their Minor League Player of the Month for the month of April. During the first month of the season, Moncada hit .314 (27-for-86) with 16 runs scored, four home runs, seven RBIs, and six stolen bases in 21 games for the Charlotte Knights.
MONTH OF MAY: OF Jacob May continued his hot hitting last night with three hits in a 3-for-4 game with a triple. May started the season with the Chicago White Sox and was optioned down to the Knights on May 1st and active on Charlotte’s roster on May 4. Since then (nine games), May has hit safely in every game he’s played for the Knights and overall now has an 12-game hit-streak (dating back to 9/3/16). Over that 12-game stretch, May is hitting .340 (14-for-46) with a home run and five RBIs. For the season with the Knights, May is hitting .308 (12-for-39) with one home run and three RBIs.
FIRST WIN: RHP Lucas Giolito (1–5, 6.55) earned his first win of the season and first in the Chicago White Sox organization last night after tossing six solid innings for the Knights in their 4–2 win. Giolito, who along with Knights teammate Reynaldo Lopez, were acquired from the Washington Nationals at the Winter Meetings in exchange for Adam Eaton, allowed two runs and struck-out five batters last night. The 22-year-old right-hander, who appeared in six games with the Nationals last season (four starts), entered 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 26–20 record with a 3.06 ERA in 82 games (80 starts) over parts of six seasons in the minors.
KNIGHTS STARTING PITCHER: RHP Tyler Danish (1–3, 3.38) will get the start for the Knights today against the Indianapolis Indians. Danish has dropped his last two starts and will look to get back in the win column today for the first time since April 9. He entered the season ranked as the number 18 prospect in the Chicago White Sox system by Baseball America. Last season, Danish pitched over three levels, including in Birmingham (Double-A), Charlotte, and Chicago. He posted a 3–7 record with a 4.42 ERA in 12 starts for Birmingham before a promotion to Chicago and Charlotte. He went 0–0 with a 10.80 ERA in three games with the Sox and 1–3 with a 5.83 ERA in seven games (five starts ) with the Knights. Danish was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2013 draft. Danish was ranked as the ninth-best prospect in Chicago’s system heading into the 2016 season.
LOUISVILLE STARTING PITCHER: RHP Rookie Davis (NR) will make his first start of the season with the Bats today. Davis, a native of Sneads Ferry, NC, began the season 1–2 with a 7.58 ERA in five games (all starts) with the Cincinnati Reds. Originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 14th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft, Davis went 10–3 with a 2.94 ERA in 19 games (19 starts) with Double-A Pensacola. He was 0–2 with a 7.50 ERA in eight games (four starts) with Louisville last year.
DEFENSIVE LEADERS: 1B Danny Hayes leads all International League first basemen in most total chances (288), most putouts (266), most double plays (34), and assists (21). He is also tied for first in games played (33)… 2B Yoan Moncada leads all International League second basemen in nearly all defensive categories including games (32), most total chances (146), most assists (93), and most double plays (28)… 3B Nicky Delmonico leads all International League third basemen in most putouts (22) and is tied for first in games (32).
LIGHTS OUT: LHP Matt Purke (1–0, 1.50) continued his solid stretch out of the Charlotte bullpen with another scoreless inning last night. Purke fanned one batter over a scoreless eighth inning for his fourth hold of the season. The Charlotte lefty has not allowed a run in nine consecutive appearances (14.0 IP) and has 15 strikeouts over that span, including 11 over his last three games (7.0 IP). Lefties are hitting just .176 (4-for-24) against him this season. When ahead in the count, Purke has limited opposing batters to a .042 batting average (1-for-24).
PEN PALS RHP Juan Minaya (0–0, 2.08) pitched 1.2 scoreless innings on Friday and has now had six scoreless appearances in seven games this season… RHP Brad Goldberg (1–1, 3.14) earned his second save of the season after a scoreless ninth inning on Thursday. Goldberg allowed one hit and struck out one for his second consecutive scoreless appearance. Goldberg has not allowed a run on the road this season in five appearances out of the bullpen (6.0 IP). Both of his saves have come on the road… LHP Brian Clark tossed another scoreless inning on Thursday and has not allowed a run in any of his five appearances this season (4.2 IP). Dating back to last year with the Knights, Clark has not allowed an earned run in six straight Triple-A games.