It's rare that I've spent more time talking to a player than watching him, but Daniel Webb fell into that category thanks to the conference call earlier this month. After seeing him throw the ninth inning in Syracuse on Sunday, it's about even now.
Webb threw a 1-2-3 inning, and you can see all his pitches in the video. The radar gun readings are on the video board behind him.
Based on that inning alone, you might get the idea that he's tougher on righties than lefties. That holds up, but not to a noteworthy degree in the minors:
- vs. LHB: .204/.308/.290
- vs. RHP: .188/.268/.258
I can see that split widening in the majors, mostly because he's had a few ugly appearances at Triple-A where his control abandoned him, and he'll get even less help from big-league hitters. But he should also have a few games where he overmatches righties like he did on Sunday, so his games should be worth watching if and when he gets the call.
Erik Johnson started the day before, so I didn't get to see him in action. I did talk to him for a few minutes.
With one start left remaining in the Triple-A season, Johnson says he feels fresh, with no ill effects from the groin strain, which he downplayed as "just feeling a little different." Even though the injury cost him a month, he's still 40 innings ahead of his previous pro-ball season high (135 in 2013, up from 92 in 2012).
As is usually the case with players on the cusp of the big leagues, he's trying to stay focused on the task at hand. He has seen teammates make the jump and come back, there isn't anything they've said that has reshaped his outlook. "What everyone knows, whether you're sent up or sent down, you want to be in the big leagues," Johnson said. "It goes unsaid."
The standard White Sox mechanical refinements (which he described as "standing tall, staying closed and staying back") have given him a strong base off which to attack hitters, and he said that he's worked with coaches to figure out a five-day routine to help him maintain his adjustments.
If the schedule holds, Johnson will make a start on Thursday against Norfolk during the final homestand in Knights Stadium history for his final turn. He figures to be one of a handful of September call-ups, with a six-man rotation a possibility to ease the starters to the finish line.
|Marcus Semien makes a play to his left. (Jim Margalus / South Side Sox)|
Marcus Semien had an uneventful day at the plate, going 0-for-4. He beat three pitches into the ground and struck out looking at three pitches once. On the other hand, he received quite a bit of action at short -- a couple to his right, one to his left, one charging -- and his hands looked fluid. There was one grounder that got through the hole on the left side that a better shortstop might've have gloved, but with the speed of the runner, there wouldn't have been a play either way.
We also talked to Semien on a conference call, and CSN Chicago had a nice video feature on him during Tuesday night's game against the Astros. We'll see if that makes it online somehow.
If you want to see more video of guys you might not have seen before, Matt Cassidy of FutureSox went out to North Carolina and came away with interviews and footage of numerous prospects at Kannapolis.