Showing posts with label Michael Taylor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Taylor. Show all posts

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.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Carlos Rodon not among White Sox's September roster additions

The White Sox added seven players to their roster before Tuesday night's 6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins as part of the annual Sept. 1 roster expansion. However, the players who were not included on that list are more notable than the players who were.

The team's No. 1 draft pick in June, left-hander Carlos Rodon, was conspicuous by his absence. Rodon made a quick rise through the Sox's minor-league system and finished the year at Triple-A Charlotte, where he had 18 strikeouts and a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings pitched. Rodon struck 38 hitters in 24.2 innings over three minor-league stops this season.

But, he also walked 13 batters over those innings, and all reports indicate his fastball command could use some improvement. Perhaps that's the reason the Sox have decided not to bring him up for the last month.

“We are absolutely thrilled with where he is and how quickly he has progressed through the system,” Sox GM Rick Hahn told CSN Chicago. “Fundamentally the decision came down to it just wasn’t the right time in his development to bring him to the big leagues to continue his development here and ask him to get big league hitters out. He has responded to all the challenges we’ve put in front of him. We’re very pleased with how he’s finished up his first several weeks as a pro and we fully expect him to come to big league camp next year and compete for a spot on the 2015 White Sox, that’s how far along he is in his development.”

Matt Davidson is another notable player who did not get a September call-up. The would-be third baseman of the future had a miserable year in Charlotte. He hit 20 home runs, but his .199/.283/.362 slash line is downright ugly, especially considering his 164 strikeouts in 539 plate appearances.

Davidson's poor performance ranks as one of the biggest disappointments for the Sox organization in 2014, and it's for the best that he was sent home to clear his head. There would be little or no benefit in bringing him to the majors for the final month. The Sox will go into the offseason with some decisions to make at third base. Conor Gillaspie hits right-handed pitching exceptionally well, but he struggles against lefties and is a question mark defensively. But at this point, Davidson is not a candidate to take Gillaspie's job.

Here are the seven guys who joined the Sox on Tuesday. Most are familiar names. Six have been in Chicago before:

Chris Bassitt, RHP: Bassitt made his big-league debut in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday against Detroit. He allowed five runs and took the loss in that game, but he pitched better than his line indicated. He had good life on his fastball and at one point struck out Detroit superstar Miguel Cabrera with a knee-buckling curveball. Some bad luck with BABIP doomed Bassitt in his first outing, as the Tigers blooped him to death with well-placed, softly hit singles. After being returned to Charlotte for a couple days, he's back with the Sox and will probably get a couple more starts before the year is over.

Scott Carroll, RHP: The less-than-mediocre right-hander has been in the Sox rotation for much of the year, compiling a 5-9 record with a 5.07 ERA in 22 games. He started a game for Chicago as recently as Friday, but he was sent to the minors briefly in a procedural move that ensured the Sox had enough available arms for the Saturday doubleheader. He has been brought right back with the roster expansion, but may be relegated to long-relief duty for the rest of the year.

Jordan Danks, OF: The 28-year-old veteran remains on the shuttle between Chicago and Charlotte. He played well in his last stint with the Sox while Adam Eaton was on the disabled list. His ceiling is that of a fourth outfielder, but it will be interesting to see if he gets more ABs in September now that Alejandro De Aza is off the roster. Will Danks' strong defense be enough to get him playing time ahead of Dayan Viciedo? We'll see.

Josh Phegley, C: The 38th overall pick in the 2009 draft is being rewarded for a strong season in Charlotte that saw him hit .274/.331/.530 with 23 home runs and 75 RBIs. Questions remain about Phegley's defense. Coaches and pitchers alike were not fond of his work as a receiver during his 2013 stint with the Sox. Phegley's pitch-calling received pointed criticism from Sox bench coach Mark Parent, a former catcher, and you wonder if Phegley's defense will ever progress enough to satisfy the Sox.

Marcus Semien, INF: The versatile, athletic Semien came on strong in August, hitting .345 over that span at Charlotte. In 83 games with the Knights, he posted a .267/.380/.502 slash line with 15 home runs and 52 RBIs. You can't help but wonder if Semien would be more useful than Leury Garcia as an all-purpose player, but the University of California product needs to cut down his strikeouts. He's fanned 58 times in the 170 plate appearances he's had with the Sox this season.

Eric Surkamp, LHP: The relief pitcher has joined Danks on the shuttle between Chicago and Charlotte over the past few months. He has a 6.46 ERA in 24 appearances with the Sox this year and will likely continue to receive situational work against left-handed batters late in games.

Michael Taylor, OF: The 28-year-old was once a top-100 prospect in the Oakland organization, but has failed to distinguish himself in the previous limited big-league opportunities he's received. The Sox acquired him from Oakland in June for some guy named Jake Sanchez, and Taylor hit .306 with six home runs and 38 RBIs in 64 games at Charlotte. Like Danks and Moises Sierra, he's likely competing for a spot as the Sox's fourth outfielder in 2015.