FutureSox Prospect of the Month: April 2012

The first month of the baseball season is in the books and three White Sox farm teams have winning records, Charlotte (13-12), Birmingham (14-11) and Winston-Salem (15-8), while Kannapolis comes in at 10-14. However, the lead storyline comes from a pair of bounce back prospects. Let's look at them and the rest of the hot starters from April.

Hitter of the Month: Jared Mitchell
Stats: .341/.471/.561, 20 RBI, 19 R, 5 2B, 5 3B, 1 HR with 19 BB and 21 K in 82 AB

Mitchell has endured a long road to recovery from his injury suffered in spring training of 2010. A missed 2010 and a forgettable 2011 painted a grim picture for Mitchell's prospect status. However, finally, there's reason to be excited about Mitchell again. He has thrived in what seemed like a somewhat aggressive assignment to AA Birmingham. He's still striking out, but not at an outrageous rate and he's hitting enough power to make up for it. Five triples and six stolen bases in seven tries show that his speed appears to be back as well.

Honorable mentions
Dan Johnson (AAA): .297/.448/.568 with 4 HR, 19 BB and 15 K in 74 AB
Brady Shoemaker (High-A): .345/.415/.607 with 5 HR, 4 BB and 12 K in 84 AB
Josh Phegley (AAA): .382/.405/.539 with 1 HR, 3 BB and 7 K in 76 AB

Phegley is the other surprise comeback player. His story is similar to Mitchell's with a medical condition and not an injury. Catchers are always hard to come by and who knows what the catching situation will look like a year from now for the Sox so Phegley's strong start is a very welcome surprise. Johnson could be a bench option for the Sox at some point this year. Shoemaker is a old for high-A, but at least he's performing like it.

Pitcher of the Month: Dylan Axelrod
Stats: 1.08 ERA, 26 K, 4 BB, 19 H in 25 IP

Axelrod's four dominant starts in AAA earned him a call up to the big league club when Jesse Crain went down. He came on in relief in mop up duty against Boston on Sunday and gave up a solo homer to Darnell McDonald in 2.1 innings of work. The bullpen may not be the best fit for his skill set, but Axelrod is good enough to pitch in the bigs in some capacity because he throws strikes. This current stint with the Sox is likely temporary, but it's not likely to be his last.

Honorable mentions
Terry Doyle (AAA): 22.1 IP, 3.63 ERA, 23 K, 5 BB, 22 H
Jose Quintana (AA): 29.1 IP, 2.76 ERA, 22 K, 8 BB, 27 H
Blair Walters (Low-A): 26 IP, 3.46 ERA, 30 K, 11 BB, 18 H

Doyle has pitched well since returning to the White Sox organization after his Rule V stint with Minnesota. Like Axelrod, he's not a top prospect, but could have a future in some role in the Majors. Quintana has proven to be a nice pickup with a solid start for Birmingham. Walters is continuing his rookie ball success from last summer.

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