Down On The Farm Report: Top Prospects Off To Encouraging Starts

Now that we are a few weeks into the minor league season, let’s see how each team is doing and what players are off to hot starts and who are not.  We came up with our Chicago White Sox top 20 prospects a while back (Part 1, Part 2) and we will check in on how some of them are doing down on the farm.

Charlotte Knights

The Knights are off to a 6-11 start and the offense has been a big reason for that.  They take on the Gwinnett Braves tonight as the struggling Eric Surkamp takes the mound.

Who’s Hot

Tyler Saladino, SS/2B: The infielder has been very good through his first 56 plate appearances.  He is hitting .339/.406/.518 with 5 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run and 8 RBI.  He also has a nice 11/7 K/BB.

Saladino used to be a highly-touted guy within the organization, so after a couple dreadful years he’s trying to save his career at just 24 years old.

Scott Carroll, SP: The 29 year-old starter was outstanding through his first 3 starts, not giving up a single run while allowing 18 hits and a 13/9 K/BB rate in 23 innings. He struggled in his most recent outing, but still boasts a 1.57 ERA.

He’s a spot start candidate.

Who’s Not

Matt Davidson, 3B: One of the big acquisitions of the offseason, Davidson is struggling hitting just .203/.292/.344 with 6 doubles, one home run and four RBI.

He has only has made two errors in 43 chances at the hot corner, which is encouraging to see. Many figured it would be his defense that needed the most seasoning before he gets called up.

Birmingham Barons

The Barons are currently 9-8 in the Southern League and have gotten good offense and pitching.  White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham has been rehabbing with the Barons and has hit .167/.242/.300 with one homer in 37 plate appearances.

Who’s Hot

Micah Johnson, 2B: The second baseman was rated by GSB! as the #5 prospect in the White Sox system and hasn’t disappointed in his first 68 plate appearances.  He is hitting .354/.447/.523 with 3 doubles, one triple, two home runs and seven RBI with six stolen bases.  He also has a very nice 11/10 K/BB rate. Micah should see big league action in September at the latest.

Myles Jaye, SP: The 22 year-old has a 3.94 ERA in 16 innings while giving up 12 hits and has a 11/6 K/BB rate.

Trayce Thompson, OF: Thompson fell off many’s radars, but he’s as toolsy as they come and is finally finding results at the plate. His line so far is .322/.420/.441 with four doubles, four stolen bases and most importantly just 12 walks to ten walks.

Honorable Mentions: Kevan Smith (C), Chris Curley (3B)

Who’s Not

Scott Snodgress, SP: Snodgress just continues to struggle on the mound with a brutal 10.50 ERA. It continues to get more likely we see him moved to the ‘pen.

Winston-Salem Dash

The Dash are off to a 5-12 start and it’s mostly due to the offensive woes.  As a team the Dash are just hitting .237/.289/.356, but have a team ERA of 3.19.  This offense has a lot of talent, but they just have to put it all together. White Sox #3 prospect Tim Anderson is off to a decent start with a .824 OPS.

Who’s Hot

Courtney Hawkins, OF: Hawkins came it at #4 on our top 20 prospects list and has shown that last year was an anomaly.  He is currently hitting .313/.357/.625 with five doubles, five home runs and 19 RBI.  He still is striking out a little too much (20 times in 70 PA), but if the power is legit, you can live with it.

Here’s his most recent bomb …

Jeffery Wendelken, SP: Acquired last year in the Peavy deal, Wendelken in 4 starts has a 3.63 ERA with 17 Ks and 2 BBs in 22.1 innings. He has me intrigued.

Honorable Mentions: Most of the pitchers could go here, but I will point out Jefferson Olacio and Euclides Leyer, who at just 20 and 21 respectively could be very interesting bullpen options in a couple years.

Who’s Not

Keon Barnum, 1B: The White Sox’ 1st comp. round pick in 2012, Barnum is hitting a putrid .164/.227/.230.

Jacob May, OF: Checked in at #8 on the top 20 list, May is off to a .136/.239/.203 start with just 4 doubles.

Kannapolis Intimidators

Kanny is off to a 6-9 start with a lot of similarities to the WS Dash.  Offense hasn’t been good at all with a slash line of .232/.320/.328 while the pitching staff has a nice 3.68 ERA.

Who’s Hot

Trey Michalczewski, 3B: The 19 year-old 7th round draft pick from last season has been the best hitter for Kanny with a .275/.387/.373 line with one triple, one home run and five RBI.  He needs to show the power a little more, but does have ten walks already.

Tyler Danish, SP: The 2nd round pick in 2013 has been great through 3 starts and 14 innings pitched.  He has a very nice 1.29 ERA with 14 hits allowed and a 13/5 K/BB rate. He’s legit and should continue to succeed in the lower levels of the minors. Expect a promotion before the year is up.

Who’s Not

Storm Throne, RP: Some in the White Sox’ organization think Throne could be a fast riser through the system, but he is just to raw.  He has a 11.57 ERA in his 7 innings pitched this year.

So as you see the teams are all right around .500 with the exception of the Dash, but they have the talent be very good very soon.  If there is one player that is going under the radar that you should keep your eye on, that is Jeffrey Wendelken, who I’m quickly becoming a huge fan of.

*Statistics updated through Sunday, April 20

About Adam Sager

I'm currently a Sports Producer with Fox Sports Radio and WBIG where I produce the radio broadcasts for the Cubs' Single A affiliate Kane County Cougars. I was an intern at WSCR 670 The Score with the Boers and Bernstein Show and am a graduate of the Illinois Center for Broadcasting.