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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 51: Michael Turner

This summer will be a big test of his catching ability

No doubt, the White Sox love Michael Turner’s hitting profile; it’s his ability to stick at catcher that might have come into question.
| Salina Rae Silver/South Side Sox
Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to brettballantini@yahoo.com

Michael Turner

Catcher
6´2´´
205 pounds
Age: 25
2023 SSS Top Prospect Rank 59
2023 High Level Winston-Salem (High-A)
Age relative to high level +1.8 years
SSS rank among all catchers in the system 5
Overall 2023 stats 92 games ⚾️ 4 HR ⚾️ 41 RBI ⚾️ .309/.430/.441 ⚾️ 64 BB ⚾️ 58 K ⚾️ 26-of-128 (20.3%) CS

Ninth-round choice in 2022, University of Arkansas catcher Michael Turner, is an older prospect, but brings a solid set of skills to the White Sox: solid lefty bat, good defense, receiving and arm. Turner is also a bit of a hoss, so there could be some James McCann upside.

Jim Callis on the MLB Network particularly lauded Turner for really stepping up his overall game in the Razorbacks’ summer run to the College World Series — where, as you can see above, Turner played in some high-pressure CWS games, facing Tim Elko and Ole Miss.

In 2022 after his drafting, Turner played in two games at Kannapolis, going hitless but — a theme emerges — getting on base and scoring three times via free passes.

With a full offseason to prepare, Turner spent all of 2023 at High-A Winston-Salem, frankly a bit low a full-year assignment given his age. There, he fulfilled most of his offensive promise by hitting better than .300 and walking more often than striking out. On the defensive end, Turner had nine passed balls and eight errors, and coming within one base-runner caught stealing of failing to reach the 20% CS mark.

Turner’s Baseball Cube player ratings
Contact 85 (+1 from last season)
Hitting 83 (+3)
RBIs 67 (-6)
Durability 65 (-4)
Power 60 (-1)
XBH 54 (-1)
Speed 34 (-6)
Runs 30 (-7)

Turner’s hope in 2023 would have been to see Birmingham by summer’s end, and perhaps he was held up simply due to an influx of catching prospects coming into the system at the trade deadline (Korey Lee, Edgar Quero). But he also raised questions about his ability to stick at backstop with some shaky work behind the plate.

Age alone pushes Turner to Birmingham in 2024, and his future prospects with the organization hinge on how well he handles the defensive side of the game.


[Note: The makeup of the White Sox minors changes over the long course of this project, shifting ratings. The February 3 trades with Seattle and Arizona have added three highly-rated prospects to our list, sliding players down a couple of spots. The list below represents our updated rankings, although the stories they link to will retain original rankings (example, No. 56 Troy Claunch originally was our No. 55 prospect).]

2024 South Side Sox Top 100 White Sox Prospects

51. Michael Turner, C
52. Tristan Stivors, RHRP
53. Caleb Freeman, RHRP
54. Jake Peppers, RHSP
55. Shane Murphy, LHRP
56. Troy Claunch, C
57. Edrick Felix, 2B
58. Gabriel Rodríguez, RHSP
59. Edgar Navarro, RHRP
60. Lucas Gordon, LHSP
61. Andrew Pérez, LHRP
62. Javier Mogollon, 2B
63. Aldrin Batista, RHSP
64. Ryan Castillo, 1B
65. Bryce Willits, 3B
66. Colby Smelley, C
67. Wes Kath, 3B
68. Alsander Womack, 2B
69. Jordan Sprinkle, SS
70. Connor McCullough, RHSP
71. Luis Rodriguez, RHRP
72. Jonah Scolaro, LHRP
73. Ben Beutel, LHRP
74. Stiven Flores, C
75. Adrian Gil, 1B
76. Yohemy Nolasco, RHRP
77. Ben Norman, LF
78. Josimar Cousín, RHSP
79. Juan Gonzalez, C
80. Chris Lanzilli, LF
81. Alex Speas, RHRP
82. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
83. Garrett Wright, RHRP
84. Duke Ellis, CF
85. Mathias LaCombe, RHRP
86. Godwin Bennett, RF
87. Rikuu Nishida, LF
88. Caden Connor, LF
89. Zach Franklin, RHRP
90. Jeremy González, LHSP
91. Jerry Burke, RHRP
92. Frankeli Arias, LHSP
93. Mikey Kane, 3B
94. Carlton Perkins, RHSP
95. Tyler Neslony, LF
96. Drew Dalquist, RHSP
97. Jason Matthews, SS
98. Jonathan Stiever, RHSP
99. Tommy Sommer, LHSP
100. Daniel González, LHRP


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