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2021 South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 62: Johnabiell Laureano

Although so far overshadowed by teammate Benyamin Bailey, don’t sleep on this fleet center fielder

Oakland Athletics Workout
No, this is not Johnabiell Laureano, it’s Ramón Laureano. But Johnabiell likely will be doing a ton of bunting drills at Camelback Ranch this summer.

Johnabiell Laureano

Center Fielder
180 pounds
Age: 20
SSS rank among all center fielders in the system: 4
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Rank: 71

A native of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, which is arguably the most famous baseball community in the world, Johnabiell Laureano received an international signing bonus from the White Sox in February 2018. In his first taste of baseball in 2018, at about nine months younger than his average competitor, Laureano slashed just .220/.329/.262 in 65 games with nine doubles, 13 RBIs, four stolen bases, 31 walks (12.3%) and 54 strikeouts (21.4%).

The 2019 season was a much different story in Laureano’s return to the DSL, as he slashed an impressive .357/.437/.543 in 59 games with 15 doubles, three triples, six homers, 36 RBIs, six stolen bases, 28 walks (11.4%) and 43 strikeouts (17.5%). His OPS was better than everyone in the Sox organization not named Luis Robert, and he did it while performing in the shadow of the highly-esteemed Benyamin Bailey.

Certainly there are some red flags, as Laureano’s strikeout-to-walk ratio will likely get worse with each new level he advances into. Also, he was a tad bit older (three months) than his competition in 2019, which doesn’t sound like much but it can make a big difference in how he’s viewed by scouts.

It’s quite possible that Laureano may prove to have more polish than some of his DSL counterparts. We should find out more this summer as he’s expected to begin the season with the AZL Sox.