Chicago White Sox Baseball – White Sox prospect Micah Johnson is on the fast track (literally) to the majors, but will his speed alone earn him a roster position? The base-stealing second baseman is a non-roster invite to the White Sox’ training camp a one of the hottest prospects in the organization.
Johnson is a 23-year-old youngster who has already stolen media attention just by sitting in the dugout during a White Sox vs Minnesota Twins game last year. Why? Well, primarily because he stole a MILB high 84 bases, also because Baseball America has him ranked 6th in their prospect watch and lastly because he represents a change for the Sox to a younger, more athletic and more versatile club.
Johnson moved up quite a lot last year, starting out in Kannapolis (A), then moving on to Winston-Salem (A+) and finishing off the season with the Birmingham Barons, the clubs AA team. Recent Hall of Famer Frank Thomas also made the jump from Birmingham to the Sox lineup, and Johnson could too if he keeps improving the way he has been.
Minor surgery no set back
Micah Johnson had been participating in the Arizona Fall League but stepped back to have a minor surgical procedure to reposition a nerve in his right elbow. This surgery had been done once before at his alma mater, Indiana University, but this time it will be done by the White Sox specialist. He should be completely recovered by the start of spring training.
Great lines matched with great speed
Johnson had a .312 Batting Average, a .373 On Base Percentage and a .451 Slugging Percentage and 46 extra base hits in the minors last year and looking good in the fall league with a .320/.379/.520 line in six games. That’s not all he does though, he also steals a lot of bases. Ok, not a lot of dingers over the wall, but he gets on and speeds his way into scoring position.
With that speed comes a lesser seen positive, his range on the field. Range is very important to pitchers. Starting ace Chris Sale maintains a career 51.7% ground ball percentage, closer Nate Jones a 45.5%. With Gordon Beckham barely holding in there last year with a gimp leg and busted hand, De Aza in center and Dunn staying on the bag at first last year, the White Sox did far too little to help their pitching staff out. This team needs more range. Johnson did commit too many errors last season but player development coordinator Nick Capra says he has improved a lot.
Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Glendale, Arizona next Saturday, February 15, and the position players on the 20th. The White Sox have invited 21 non-roster players; Johnson and part-time teammate last season pitcher Chris Beck are top 10 prospects. It is quite possible that a few of the Sox players will be sent down to work out the kinks after spring training. I don’t know about you readers, but I’m pumped for White Sox baseball this year.
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