By Kyle Johansen @kylejohansen on April 24, 2014
The Chicago White Sox’ top two prospects heading into the season, Jose Abreu and Erik Johnson, have both graduated to the Majors with encouraging results so far. The hulking Cuban Abreu appears to be a steal as he is second overall in MLB with seven home runs, while Johnson has shown flashes with a nine strikeout performance against the Boston Red Sox. Top five prospect Marcus Semien has also graduated to the Majors and may hold down a job.
While Trayce Thompson is repeating a level for the Birmingham Barons, he has excelled so far with a 14.5 percent walk rate and a line of .310/.410/.408 in 83 plate appearances. While his power has not shown up yet (one home run, .099 ISO), he does have four stolen bases and has cut his strikeout rate from 23.6 percent to 21.7 percent.
Micah Johnson is one of the best base-stealers in the minor leagues, with 86 combined steals across three levels in 2013. Through 20 games this season, Johnson is doing exactly what he needs to in order to take advantage of his speed by walking as much as he strikes out (14.3 percent) and hitting for a high average (.342). Johnson also has two home runs to go along with his seven steals.
Courtney Hawkins had a miserable 2013 season, hitting .178/.249/.384, so improving his stock doesn’t mean a whole lot. With that said, Hawkins has cut his strikeout rate down from 37.6 percent to 29.5 percent and already has five home runs through 19 games. Although he is repeating low-A ball, his line is encouraging at .296/.333/.577 in 78 plate appearances.
Matt Davidson was on the verge of making the Major League roster after being acquired for Addison Reed, but was sent back to the minors to work on his defense. Davidson apparently also needed to work on his offense, as he has struggled mightily with an obscene strikeout rate of 41.3 percent. Overall, Davidson is hitting .181/.263/.306 for Charlotte in 80 plate appearances.
In his second full season in the minor leagues, 2013 first round pick Tim Anderson has struggled at the plate in his first taste of high-A ball. Anderson is walking in just 2.6 percent of his plate appearances and is striking out at a rate of 28.6 percent. Anderson has one home run, one steal and an overall line of .250/.286/.458 in 77 plate appearances.
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