Plenty of movement, as one would expect for the middle of the season. But there's added activity, as the major league club continues to pile up the injuries - Paul Konerko and Jesse Crain the most recent casualties. With the tumult of the trade deadline to come, things should stay hot down on the farm.
With another week seeing another pitcher sent to the majors, RHP Jake Petricka got the call to move up to Charlotte. The 2010 second round pick made the transition to the bullpen this season after a very poor 2012 season on the starting staffs of Winston-Salem and Birmingham. The 25-year-old showed better command out of the Barons' bullpen, increasing his strikeouts, reducing his walks a bit and reducing contact significantly. Last season at AA, batters made contact with 84% of his pitches inside the zone; this season, he reduced that to 74%. Much of that can be attributed to more consistent mechanics. One concern with him is that when batters do put a ball in play, it's often a hit. His BABIP the past two seasons was .329 and .344; this season it's up to .350. When he's on, his mid-90s fastball and sharp curve are both out pitches.
With Josh Phegley getting called up to the majors, C Miguel Gonzalez replaced him at Charlotte. The 22-year-old first popped up on the radar in 2009 after ripping apart Appalachian League pitching as an 18-year-old. The transition to full season ball was not kind and the past few seasons have been pretty poor offensively, even for a catcher and even for a player further weighed down by the typically aggressive White Sox treatment of prospects. The right-handed hitter and thrower generally backed-up other catcher prospects but, in a small sample size of 120 plate appearances, he did show something for Birmingham, batting .271/.350/.393 with a .346 wOBA. His peripherals don't show much difference, other than BABIP, so there's certainly reason to question his line. His defense is fine as a catcher and he still profiles as a possible back-up.
RHP Erik Johnson tweaked his right groin in his third start for the Knights. It doesn't appear to be anything serious but with the generous 7-day DL in the minors, some time off was inevitable. For Charlotte: 16.0 IP, 12 H, 6 BB, 18 K.
2B Micah Johnson moved up to the somewhat more age appropriate Carolina League. The 22-year-old's 62 stolen bases continue to the lead the minors, as do his 19 caught stealings. With speed being his only standout tool, he needs to get that stolen base percentage up closer to 80% and he also needs to avoid leg injuries. At some point they're going to have to try him in center field, not only to better utilize his speed but also because he's pretty awful at second base. Given that the White Sox system is stocked with center fielders who are far better prospects, that's going to be quite the juggling act so the team will continue to hope and pray that something clicks for him at the keystone. In 2013: .342/.420/.527 with a .429 wOBA.
A 5th round pick in 2012, 3B Nick Basto moved up from Great Falls to bolster Kannapolis' infield after the promotion of Johnson. The 19-year-old has solid tools across the board and is an interesting prospect.
2013 3rd round pick CF Jacob May wasn't having any trouble with the Pioneer League and moved up with Basto to the Intimidators. The Sally League should be a nice test for the switch-hitting speedster.