Based on all of the inside looks at prospects we’ve given you over the past few months, it’s easy to see that GSB is paying closer attention to the Minor Leagues now than we were during our inaugural season a year ago.
Hey, with the way this season has gone for the big league club, can you blame us?
In fact, it’s time to pay attention to the farm system more than ever, as recent acquisitions are making headlines in Charlotte and Birmingham, while prospects who have been in the system for a while are continuing to impress.
Here’s some happenings in the minor leagues that Sox fans should take note of:
Garcia, Jacobs Making Great First Impressions
When you come over in a trade for guys who have been mainstays with a team for a long time like Jake Peavy and Matt Thornton were for the White Sox, there’s a bit more pressure on you to fulfill your potential.
If the starts Avisail Garcia and Brandon Jacobs have gotten off to are any indication, Sox fans should be plenty excited.
Since coming over in the Jake Peavy trade, Garcia is hitting .417 (10-for-24) with one home run and nine RBI in seven games while manning center field. He’s also recorded a triple, four walks, six runs, a .517 OBP and 1.142 OPS in that span. It’s a small sample size, but since Garcia’s hitting .380 in 40 International League games this season, his numbers aren’t far from his norm anyways. He’s not far from the Major Leagues, folks.
Many Sox fans complained when the team acquired another “toolsy” outfielder like Jacobs for Matt Thornton, but so far, Jacobs is outshining all of his “toolsy” brethren currently with AA Birmingham. On a team that includes Top 20 system prospects Trayce Thompson, Jared Mitchell, and Keenyn Walker, Jacobs looks like a cut above the rest, as he’s hitting .299 in 20 games for the Barons. Of his 23 hits, seven have gone for extra-bases (five doubles, two home runs).
However, he does just have four walks, and plate discipline has been something he’s struggled with in the past. As we’ve pointed out before, he walked at a much higher rate for Single-A Portland in the Red Sox system this year, so it appears that AA has a bit of a learning curve for Jacobs. He’s learning while hitting .299 though, so that’s pretty encouraging.
Infielders Semien, Johnson Have Success Upon Promotions
Recently, infielders Marcus Semien and Micah Johnson were promoted a level: Semien to AAA Charlotte and Johnson to High-A Winston-Salem. Both have picked up right where they left off with the new clubs.
Semien, who was recently highlighted on this site by Zach, has slid right into the starting shortstop and lead-off role since joining the Knights last week. In seven games, Semien is 9-for-29 (.310) with one home run, five doubles, and a .586 slugging percentage. While his defense hasn’t been the greatest (21 errors between Birmingham and Charlotte this year), it doesn’t appear there’s much more Semien has left to prove in the minors at the plate.
Second baseman Micah Johnson absolutely tore up Single-A Kannapolis in his 77 games there, hitting .342 with six home runs, 42 RBI, and swiping 61 bags for the Intimidators. While his success at High-A Winston-Salem has been a bit more modest, Johnson is still contributing in a nice way for the Dash. He’s hitting .296 in 31 games with 13 steals, five doubles, and three triples. Defense is even more of an issue for Johnson than it has been for Semien (27 combined errors), but it’s hard to ignore the success the 22-year-old has had at the plate.
Pitching Notes: Erik Johnson, Scott Snodgress
Erik Johnson and Scott Snodgress have been two of the more highly regarded arms in the White Sox system for a while now. This season, they are proving why.
Johnson was bumped up to Charlotte back in June after dominating in Birmingham (8-2, 2.23 ERA in 14 starts). He’s made just five starts since joining the Knights, as he’s spent time on the shelf with a groin injury. However, the right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.85 ERA in those starts, and has allowed just one earned run in 8.1 innings of work in his two starts since returning from the disabled list.
Snodgress was in the news recently, as the left-hander just missed tossing a no-hitter for AA Birmingham. His July 22nd outing wasn’t the only good one lately though, as the 23-year-old has been dominant over his last six starts. Since the beginning of the July, Snodgress is 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA over 41.1 innings. He’s also allowed just 23 hits and 13 walks in that span, giving him a 0.87 WHIP. This is despite not being a high strikeout guy, as he’s K’d just 22 in that span and 78 in 130 innings on the year. Overall, he’s 11-7 with a 3.67 ERA.
Other News and Notes
- When the White Sox signed Travis Ishikawa to a minor league deal a few weeks back, it created a logjam at first base for AAA Charlotte. Andy Wilkins has emerged as the guys most worthy of playing time, hitting .288 with six home runs in 36 games since being promoted from Birmingham. Ishikawa has been playing some outfield.
- What’s a farm report without looking at the club’s last two first round draft choices? Courtney Hawkins went 2-for-4 with a home run last night for Winston-Salem, but his average still sits at .194 on the year. Tim Anderson has struggled quite a bit since his hot start, hitting .171 over his last 10 games. He’s hitting .266 with 50 strikeouts and 16 errors in 44 games since joining Kannapolis.
- Jacob May, this year’s third round draft pick, tore up Rookie-Level Great Falls in his 13 games there (.378). However, he’s struggled since moving up to Kannapolis, hitting just .204 in 30 games.
- The other three players the Sox acquired in the Jake Peavy trade are all in Kannapolis. Infielder Cleuluis Rondon is hitting .261 with a home run, three RBI, and a steal, Jeffrey Wendelken has allowed five runs in three innings (all of those coming in one appearance, though), and Francellis Montas has yet to pitch.