As it stands right now, the Chicago White Sox sit at 4th in the AL Central with a record of 25-26. Realistically speaking, they are unlikely to get into the playoffs. The season is too long for them to hang around in their loaded division.
So far, we have seen some younger players getting a lot of action in Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton, Leury Garcia, Marcus Semien, Daniel Webb, Jake Petricka, and Zach Putnam. Abreu, Eaton, and Semien have all shown flashes of brilliance this season.
With all these players already having MLB experience this season, there arises a question of who is still in the minors that could have an impact on the team this season, or in the future. There are two players that stand out in my mind: Tommy Hanson and Micah Johnson.
Tommy Hanson is a 27-year-old pitcher who the White Sox signed on April 7th of this year. Hanson pitched in spring training with the Rangers but was released in March. Hanson spent 2009-2012 with the Atlanta Braves and was long considered the team’s best prospect. He was the “ace” of their future. However, back in 2011, he tore his rotator cuff and has not seemed the same since. He lost 2-3 mph on his fastball. He once was a big strikeout guy, but since this injury, hitters have been able to hit all over.
In seven starts this year at Triple-A Charlotte, Hanson has a 3.96 ERA and 21 strikeouts. He has not looked dominant, but Hanson has the potential to make an impact this year. The White Sox team has struggled with staying healthy this year, and so they have had to tap into the minor league teams. Given Hanson’s potential from earlier in his career, and the skills of White Sox pitching coaches, I am going to say he works out his kinks and that by the end of the year, he is of some use for the White Sox.
My other player to watch is Micah Johnson. He may not make it to the majors this year, but he will, and it’s going to happen soon. Johnson is a 23-year-old second baseman who was promoted to Triple-A Charlotte in mid May. According to MLB.com, he is the team’s third-best prospect.
Johnson will get a chance at the MLB level soon because the White Sox infield is getting older and over the past year, both Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez have been rumored to be on the move. According to scouts, Johnson’s defense needs to improve, and if he can’t figure it out, he may have to switch to being an outfielder. Though his lack of defense limits how soon he can reach the majors, it expands what positions he can play, which increases his chances of taking over someone else’s role in the future.
In Double-A this year, Johnson hit .329 and had 10 stolen bases. The White Sox are not a quick team, and so his speed will be deeply appreciated. The White Sox will want him as soon as he is ready.
Like I said before, due to injuries by White Sox players, there have already been a lot of guys getting called up to the big league. Johnson and Hanson both need to grow a little bit, but I believe they have the skills to make a difference this year. Whether they will make an impact remains to be seen, but if they do, you heard it here first!