Prior to the Birmingham Barons taking a 2-0 lead in the Southern League championship series, manager Julio Vinas was one of three Barons to participate in a conference call with White Sox bloggers and beat writers.
Vinas is the first-year manager of the Barons, but it's his third year as a skipper in the White Sox system, leading the Kannapolis Intimidators in 2012, and the Winston-Salem Dash the year before that. The White Sox drafted him in the 33rd round of the 1991 draft, and he toiled in the minors from 1991 to 2001, including a year in Bimirngham under Terry Francona in 1995.
Baseball America named him the best managerial prospect in the Southern League this season, and here he is getting an ejection that earned him a three-game suspension.
Micah Johnson and Trayce Thompson followed Vinas on the line, and highlights from those calls will be posted later today.
On Micah Johnson
"Micah is a sparkplug. Right now, it's electric to see him play out there. He does so many things to help you win. Speed really is a huge factor. You see a routine ground ball hit to the infielder, and they panic and try to be much quicker. Just having that speed on the team and having him being that sparkplug for us is great. The defense has been incredible. He's made some plays in the hole that I haven't seen done all season. It really is impressive to see how much range this kid has."
"He's also a great kid on top of that. He responds to everything you tell him. He just wants information. He's a really great asset to us."
On Johnson's next step
"Now it's just consistency ... consistent with his approach. We're working on his double plays -- he's really improved turning double plays, all that type of stuff. Now it's just the little things that'll really make him a complete player, but the package is there. He's got a ton of tools and he shows it to you every day."
On Scott Snodgress' August slump
"He's thrown the ball really well. It's just like any other -- they're learning how to pitch, learning how to repeat their arm slot and repeat all the pitches that they're making. Sometimes it's tough for them to repeat it, and that's why they're down here in the minor leagues. But he's done a fantastic job for us, and we're very happy."
On Nestor Molina
"Moving to the bullpen I think helped him. His injuries did set him back a little bit, but he's throwing the ball really well right now. He's getting three quality pitches over for strikes and he's really dominating these hitters here at this level, so we're really excited seeing what we're seeing right now, especially this last month."
On the outfielders
"These are growing pains that these kids are going to have to go through. We all know that Double-A's, it's a tough league. In my opinion, it's that one league where you get to see who's going to be able to play in the big leagues, so it's real tough for some of these kids to make these adjustments. [Keenyn Walker] is a young hitter, and those are just growing pains he's going through."
"Walker's made giant strides, [Trayce] Thompson's done very well, especially this last month, [Jared] Mitchell's made his strides. The guys have really done well, especially towards the end of the season, you see that the adjustments are starting to get better and more consistent."
On helping players through roadblocks
"Mostly [by] staying positive. We've got to stay positive with them and give them the right information. Most of the guys get it on their own. We've got to give them the right information and a lot of work, and they're hard workers."
On Birmingham's league-leading steals total
"We knew going into it that we were going to have a team that had speed, so we're definitely going to use it to our advantage. We know Walker can run, Mitchell can run, Thompson can run -- all the guys we expected to run ran. [Tyler] Saladino had a nice season stealing bases as well, so basically it's what we expected."