Knights Knotes — August 4, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: knights knotesThe Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) return home to BB&T Ballpark tonight to open a 10-game homestand. Tonight’s opener features the start of a three-game series against the Buffalo Bisons (Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays). The Knights are coming off a 10-game road trip in which they posted a 2-8 record over that span. On their last homestand, the Knights won five of eight games and will look to continue their winning ways at home this season. The Knights are 33-19 at home this season. They are just 26-32 on the road. The Knights enter today’s matinee 6.0 games back of the first place Norfolk Tides (Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) in the IL South Division and 1.5-games out of the IL Wild Card race behind the Columbus Clippers.

KNIGHTS STARTING PITCHER: RHP Hector Noesi (1-1, 2.25) will make his fourth start of the season with the Knights tonight and appear in his fifth game with the team tonight. Noesi began the season with the White Sox and posted a 0-4 record with a 6.89 ERA for Chicago in 10 games. He was outrighted off Chicago’s roster on June 26 and assigned to Charlotte on June 28. Just a few days later (July 2), Noesi was placed on Charlotte’s Temporary Inactive List.

Photo credit: Laura Wolff

Photo credit: Laura Wolff

He was activated off the Temporary Inactive List and made his Charlotte debut on July 11 in Norfolk out of the team’s bullpen. He allowed two hits over two shutout innings, while striking out three batters. Since then, Noesi has started three consecutive games and is 1-1 with a 2.50 ERA in those three starts (18.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 20 SO). Noesi fanned a season-high nine batters in his last outing (7/29 @ LOU) over seven innings of work and has 16 strikeouts over his last two starts (13.0 IP). Originally signed by the New York Yankees as a free agent on December 3, 2004, Noesi owns a career major league record of 12-31 with a 5.30 ERA in 107 games (53 starts) over parts of five big league seasons. The White Sox claimed Noesi off waivers from the Texas Rangers on April 25, 2014. He went 8-11 with a 4.39 ERA in 28 games (27 starts) for Chicago last year.

LAST TIME VS. BUFFALO: Noesi has faced the Buffalo Bisons once in his career and did so in 2010 while with SWB. On September 1, 2010, he lost against Buffalo after allowing four runs on eight hits over six innings. He walked two and struck-out seven.

ROSTER MOVES: Yesterday, the Knights announced a handful of roster moves. Outfielder Trayce Thompson, a 2015 International League All-Star, was recalled to Chicago to take the roster spot of RHP Scott Carroll, who was optioned to Charlotte after Sunday’s White Sox game. In two other roster moves yesterday, catcher George Kottaras was released by Chicago, while catcher Rob Brantly was promoted from Birmingham. Earlier today, the Knights activated infielder Ethan Wilson off the disabled list, which put the team’s active roster at 25 players. Brantly, 26, has posted a .325 batting average with 13 runs scored, six doubles, one triple, four home runs, and 22 RBIs over 30 games with the Birmingham Barons this season.

FROM THE SOUTH TO THE SOUTH SIDE: Thompson became the ninth Charlotte Knights player promoted to Chicago this season. LHP Carlos Rodon (April 20), RHP Scott Carroll (April 26, June 18, & August 1), RHP Daniel Webb (April 26 & May 28), RHP Chris Beck (May 9 & May 28), infielder Carlos Sanchez (May 15), RHP Junior Guerra (June 7), infielder Tyler Saladino (July 10), and infielder/outfielder Leury Garcia (July 23 & July 29) are the others.

WITHOUT A TRAYCE: At the time of his promotion to Chicago – his first in his career –Trayce Thompson was hitting .260 (101-for-388) with 13 home runs and 39 RBIs. He currently ranks fourth in the International League in extra base hits (40), third in games played (104), and fifth in total bases (171).  Defensively, the 24-year-old is second among International League outfielders in games played (103), and ranks first in the IL in total chances (249), and first in putouts (243).

HOW HE DREW IT UP: Infielder Drew Garcia has been red-hot for the Charlotte Knights. Garcia has put together back-to-back three-hit games to extend his hit streak to five-straight games and has also scored a run in five-straight games. During that five-game stretch, Garcia is hitting .450 (9-for-20) which is tied for the highest batting average in the IL over that span (tied with Steven Moya of Toledo). Garcia has hit safely in 11 of his last 14 games and is hitting .308 (16-for-52) with eight runs scored, three doubles, one triple, one home run, and five RBIs after the All-Star Break. Since July 20 (13 games), Garcia has raised his average 30 points (.200 to .230). Back for his fourth season with the Knights in 2015, Garcia is ninth on the Knights all-time games played list with 277 career games – five away from moving into a tie for eighth place all-time with Josh Fields (282). He is also inching closer to another mark as he now has 967 career Knights at-bats – 31 away from a 10th place tie with Rusty Crockett.

TANK RETURNS: Dayan Viciedo was signed by Chicago on Saturday and assigned to the Knights. He went 2-for-6 in his 2015 debut on Saturday and went 1-for-4 on Sunday – combining to hit 300 (3-for-10) over his first two games. Viciedo hit .254 with 66 home runs and 211 RBIs over parts of five seasons with the Chicago White Sox from 2010 to 2014. The former Knights slugger mashed 20 home runs in back-to-back seasons for the club (2010-11) and was named to the All-Knights Stadium Team in 2013.

2015 IL LEADERBOARD (HITTERS): 3B Matt Davidson is tied for third in home runs (16), fourth in walks (50), tied for third in at-bats (402), and tied for first in games (107)… OF Jason Coats is third in the IL in RBIs (66). Coats is hitting .333 (7-for-21) with one home run and five RBIs over his last five games.… …. 1B/OF Matt Tuiasosopo has homered once every 20.77 at-bats, which is the fifth best HR/AB ratio in the IL… 2B Micah Johnson, who is currently on the DL, is batting .328 on the season in 66 games this year (2nd in IL) behind Buffalo’s Matt Hague (.343). He is also second in the IL in OBP (.383), second in slugging percentage (.487), and tied for fourth in stolen bases with 26… Infielder Leury Garcia, who is now with Chicago, is ninth in the IL in batting average with a .296 mark and tied for third in steals (28).
erik johnson
2015 IL LEADERBOARD (PITCHERS): RHP Erik Johnson (8-7, 2.49) currently leads the IL in strikeouts (110) and is averaging 9.44 strikeouts per nine innings, which is tops in the IL. His 2.49 ERA is second in the IL… RHP Kyle Drabek (5-6, 2.71) is fourth in the IL in ERA (2.71), second in WHIP (1.12), and opponents are batting just .221 against Drabek this season – the third lowest mark in the IL this season. Drabek has also allowed the second fewest baserunners per nine innings this season in the IL (10.37).

CHARLOTTE’S ‘PEN
: LHP Jarrett Casey (9-2, 4.11) is in a four-way second-place tie in the IL in wins with nine (Scott Diamond, Dylan Floro, and Brian Johnson)… Opposing batters are hitting .172 against RHP Maikel Cleto – the second lowest opponents’ batting average in the IL among relievers. Cleto, who is currently on the DL, also has the third highest strikeout per nine inning ratio (10.76) in the IL… LHP Zach Phillips has allowed the second fewest base runners per nine innings in the IL this season (10.07)… Chicago White Sox RHP Nate Jones, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, has not allowed a run in five rehab appearances with the Knights this season (5.0 IP).

D-E-F-E-N-S-E: 3B Matt Davidson leads IL third baseman in fielding percentage (.969), as well as all IL third baseman in assists (210) and double plays (18) … Catcher Kevan Smith leads all IL catchers in games (73), assists (46), total chances (570), and putouts (517)… As a team, the Knights are tied for the fourth best fielding percentage in the IL (.981) and are first in the IL in assists (1176) and tied for third in putouts (2922).

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