Remember when everyone was all up on the jock of Micah Johnson? Seems like just yesterday White Sox fans were salivating over his stolen bases, while blissfully dismissing silly details like age for league and no defensive position. The 22-year-old (rightly) got a promotion from Kannapolis to Winston-Salem after hitting .339/.420/.526 and stealing 61 bases in 80 tries for the Intimidators. The switch-hitter is still doing pretty well on offense for the Dash - .326/.347/.411 and 10 stolen bases in 14 tries - as he adjusts to the level of competition.
While people were fixing their gaze on Johnson, I tried to divert their attention to another 22-year-old who was doing pretty well for himself two levels higher at Birmingham. And it seems like it worked too well. Marcus Semien went on a tear and now he's got beat writers talking him up. That's generally at least the sign of the end of a streak and, occasionally, is the death knell for a prospect. In any event, he's up to .289/.416/.478 and his .410 wOBA is at the top of the leaderboard of (qualified) batters.
Perhaps in an expression of organization needs, Semien has been playing a lot of third base recently. He never was going to be a shortstop in the long-term, except in a pinch, and adding a third infield position will help him at least attain his projection of a solid utilityman, if not opening up a potential starting position in the majors. The right handed hitter has solid hit skills, with his 17.2% walk rate outpacing his 13.5% strikeout rate. He's matched his home run total of 14 from last season at Winston-Salem, though his doubles are down, in almost the same number of plate appearances. We'll see if the power continues to play at higher levels. He'll also steal a bag or two, swiping 17 in 22 tries. Theoretically, Brent Morel is blocking him at Charlotte, but whatever impediment that may be could be removed shortly, depending upon what happens at the trade deadline, and arguably shouldn't matter anyway.
Erik Johnson was activated off of the DL today and the righty will start this afternoon for the Knights.
Brandon Brennan, 2012 4th round pick, had Tommy John surgery and is likely out until 2015. The results hadn't been nice this season - 15 GS, 81.1 IP, 99 H, 27 BB, 54 K - but at least some of that probably can be chalked up to his right elbow.
Andy Wilkins hasn't had much trouble adjusting to Triple-A: .291/.339/.505. The left-handed hitter needs to tighten up his plate discipline but is on track for at least a September call-up. And first base is certainly open for 2014.