Down on the Farm Report: Bueller? … Bueller?

It’s been a long time since the White Sox have had a scheduled off day (plenty of rained out days though), which means it’s been a while since we’ve posted a “Down On the Farm” report here on GSB! Unfortunately, that might be a good thing, as a lot of the team’s top prospects have had rough starts to the season.

AAA Charlotte Knights

As a team, the Knights have struggled mightily thus far, holding the International League’s second worst record at 7-16.

With the bad record comes poor individual statistics, and the Knights have plenty of examples of that. Top infield prospect Carlos Sanchez is hitting just .211, while highly touted Jared Mitchell was demoted after hitting just .132 through his first 14 games.

Both of those guys, along with Brent Morel who isn’t doing much better at .240, could still get looked at as potential call-ups later in the year if they can get their acts together, but the slow starts are certainly not promising.

It’s not much better on the bump, as Andre Rienzo (1-2, 7.71 ERA) and Simon Castro (0-3, 5.48 ERA) haven’t performed well in the rotation. Leyson Septimo, currently on the DL for the big league club, began his rehab on Friday, but was charged with three runs over just one-third of an inning. If he bounces back over the next few weeks, though, he may be called up to replace the struggling Donnie Veal in the Sox bullpen.

However, there have been a few bright spots in Charlotte. One of them is catcher Josh Phegley, as the Indiana University product has a .281/.370/.531 line and leads the team in home runs to start the season.

If the catching struggles at the big league level continue, don’t be surprised to see Phegley up at some point. With Phegley being 25 years old, there probably won’t be much hesitation to promote him. Also, minor league lifer Jim Gallagher is hitting a team-high .346.

AA Birmingham Barons

The Barons have fared a bit better than the Knights, sitting at 14-10. With the demotion, a lot of attention is on Jared Mitchell, but he’s currently on the DL after straining his oblique.

In Birmingham, he’s just 3-for-14 in five games. The two other top outfield prospects, Keenyn Walker and Trayce Thompson, are both below .200 with over 20 strikeouts. However, Walker has still managed to steal 11 bases in 13 attempts and holds a .324 OBP, as he’s worked 14 walks on the year.

On a more positive note, Marcus Semien has picked up where he left off in Spring Training. The infielder is at .319 with a .426 OBP for the Barons, but has made six errors in the field. Once he gets his defense in order, the 22 year old could be in line for a promotion in Charlotte.

Also, Erik Johnson (pictured above, H/T is 2-1 with a 1.44 ERA in five starts on the mound, while Steven McCray (3-1, 2.57) and Scott Snodgress (4-1, 4.66) have also performed well. The Sox like Johnson and Snodgress as future starters for the big league club, so the fact that both guys have done well is pretty promising.

A Winston-Salem Dash

The Dash are just a game out of first place in the Southern Division of the Carolina League, sitting at 13-10. All eyes are on top prospect Courtney Hawkins, and he’s struggled mightily, hitting just .162 with 43 strikeouts in just 20 games. However, the Texas native also leads the team with six home runs.

Another promising prospect, second baseman Joey DeMichele, is at just .163 to start the year. One positive surprise has been third baseman Chris Curely, as the 25 year old is hitting .304 with four home runs.

On the mound, 2011 16th round draftee Chris Bassitt is 2-0 with a 2.74 ERA in five starts, while 22 year old Christopher Beck is 2-2 with a 0.73 ERA in four starts. Beck gave up his first earned runs of the season on Thursday against Lynchburg.

In the bullpen, Daniel Webb is unscored upon in seven appearances, while Jason Van Skike holds a 0.96 ERA and 0.75 WHIP since being promoted from Kannapolis.

A Kannapolis Intimidators

Kannapolis is at 10-14 to start the season, but outfielder Adam Heisler has just been promoted from Kannapolis to Winston-Salem.

The lefty was at .324 with one home run, nine RBI, and nine steals for the club. If nine steals seems like a lot, that’s nothing compared to what second baseman Micah Johnson has done. Last year’s ninth round draftee has already swiped 20 bags while hitting .305.

The team has been led by Myles Jaye on the mound, as the 21 year old is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA. Reliever Brandon Hardin has a 0.71 ERA in seven appearances, walking just two hitters in 12.2 innings.