Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tuesday thoughts: Micah Johnson, John Danks, Michael Taylor

So far, so good for White Sox prospect Micah Johnson this spring.

Johnson, the organization's preferred candidate to start at second base this season, raised his Cactus League average to .500 with a 4-for-4 performance in Tuesday's 6-2 win over the Kansas City Royals. The left-handed batter has hits in each of his last six at-bats, dating back to Monday.

Here's what I like about Johnson's four-hit game: The hits came against four different pitchers, and all four of those Kansas City pitchers are big leaguers: Jeremy Guthrie, Greg Holland, Jason Frasor and Brandon Finnegan. Johnson wasn't just padding his stats against pitchers we're never going to hear from again.

I still have a healthy amount of skepticism with regard to Johnson's readiness to play second base in the majors every day -- he's never played in a regular-season game and still has to prove to me that he can stay healthy -- but it's nice to see him taking the early lead in the competition for the position.

I think all Sox fans would agree they'd rather see Johnson win the job than default to the fallback options at the position (Gordon Beckham, Emilio Bonifacio).

Sox keep Danks away from Kansas City hitters

Tuesday would have been John Danks normal day to pitch, but the Sox instead had the veteran left-hander pitch four innings in a simulated game. Prospect Tyler Danish got the start on the mound against the Royals.

This is smart because Danks' first start of the season will likely be against Kansas City. Why give Royals hitters any edge by letting them get a look at Danks' pitches in the spring?

In fact, Sox used nothing but minor leaguers and fringe roster pitchers in Tuesday's game -- Danish, Zach Phillips, Raul Fernandez, Scott Carroll and Eric Surkamp.

When you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. The Royals are a Central Division foe, one the Sox face all the time. There's no reason to let them see the better pitchers on the team when the games don't count.

You look for any little edge you can find in what is likely to be a balanced, competitive division race this summer.

Outfielder Taylor retires

The Sox announced on Tuesday that outfielder Michael Taylor has retired from baseball.

The 29-year-old former top prospect was a longshot to make the roster, and after 3,765 career plate appearances in the minor leagues, perhaps he had tired of long bus rides.

Taylor hit .306 at Triple-A Charlotte last year, and the Sox promoted him to the majors in September. Still, he had appeared in just 37 major league games with the A's and Sox over the past four years.

In 2010, Taylor was a highly regarded player in the Oakland organization, ranked as the 20th best prospect in the game by Baseball Prospectus. It never panned out for him.

Let Taylor's story be a reminder that prospects are only prospects, and most don't make it big, even those who are ranked highly on these lists by various publications.

No comments:

Post a Comment