CHICAGO -- Blake Battenfield knows the plethora of pitching talent throwing throughout the White Sox Minor League system. He has watched some of them first-hand during Spring Training and with his South Atlantic Northern Division-leading Class A Kannapolis squad.So being selected from this talent pool as the White Sox Minor
CHICAGO -- Blake Battenfield knows the plethora of pitching talent throwing throughout the White Sox Minor League system. He has watched some of them first-hand during Spring Training and with his South Atlantic Northern Division-leading Class A Kannapolis squad.
So being selected from this talent pool as the White Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May means a great deal to the right-hander. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez was named Position Player of the Month for May, with the award voted on by a panel of Chicago area media members.
"I'm just glad that I could be recognized for what I did this past month," Battenfield said on Sunday. "Hopefully I can continue to produce."
Battenfield, 23, went 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA, 35 strikeouts and a .173 opponents average over five starts and 31 innings in May with Class A Kannapolis. He set career highs in innings (eight scoreless) and strikeouts (10) on May 10 at Greenville. Battenfield tossed a season-high 14.0 consecutive scoreless frames from April 28 to May 10. The 17th-round pick in the 2017 Draft is 5-2 with a 1.59 ERA, 62 strikeouts and a .180 opponents average over 11 starts this season.
His success takes root in work done last year with Rookie-level Great Falls pitching coach John Ely and a change in his repertoire.
"When I first got to Great Falls last year after I got drafted, I was mainly sinker, slider, just really two pitches. And I learned really quickly that that wasn't really going to fly. It really didn't work for me," Battenfield said. "Since then, I worked a lot with John Ely in developing my changeup and getting a more consistent pitch with that.
"Adding a curveball and staying primarily with a four-seam fastball, letting it ride. So really, the four-pitch mix has been a big reason why I've had success here lately."
Jimenez, 21, hit .374 with 11 doubles, six home runs, 25 RBIs and 17 runs over 26 games in May with Double-A Birmingham. He put together a 15-game hitting streak from April 26-May 11, the longest in the Southern League this season, and has hit safely in each of his last 12 games entering Sunday. Jiménez hit a game-winning grand slam in the Barons' 8-5 victory on May 26 at Jackson.
It shouldn't be too long before the White Sox No. 1 prospect and No. 3 overall per MLB Pipeline earns a promotion to Triple-A Charlotte. Jimenez enters Sunday with a .333 average, 10 homers, 39 RBIs, 13 doubles and 1.000 OPS.
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Hostetler doesn't forget Draft picks
The connection to the player selected by White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler at No. 4 Monday night in the 2018 Draft won't end with the announcement. Hostetler remains in frequent contact with many of his recent selections.
"I'm on a text thread with Jake [Burger], Gavin Sheets, Blake Rutherford and Zack Collins, which I'm not sure why I'm on it," Hostetler said with a laugh. "Somebody added me to it, and some of the stuff that's on it is completely ridiculous that I don't understand. There's a definite generation gap.
"But I do keep in contact with them all. They're great kids, they're unbelievable kids. I say kids, but they're men. I mean these kids are men at this point, and their personalities are so unique."
Hostetler has talked to Burger, the team's top selection in 2017, after his second surgery to repair a torn left Achilles and said he's in great spirits. He also got a special interview request via text earlier this past week to talk about the '18 Draft. It came from Zack Collins of the Birmingham Herald, who also happens to be the Barons catcher.
"They're good people coming from good homes," Hostetler said. "They understand the game, and they're great teammates. They're teammates that really enjoy being around each other."
Third to first
• The White Sox traded right-handed pitcher Brad Goldberg to Arizona for cash considerations. Goldberg, 28, has 31 career Minor League saves for the White Sox since joining the organization in 2013 as a 10th-round Draft pick. He has an 8.25 ERA over 11 games at the big league level with all of them coming in '17.
• Miguel Gonzalez played catch from 115 feet on Sunday and had 75 tosses. The right-handed starter is on the 60-day disabled list with right rotator cuff inflammation.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.