Amidst the buzz of the draft (stay with us throughout day two of the draft for frequent updates) some focus will still be given to the players already in the system. Two months are in the books, which means the first half of the minor league season is heading into its final stretch and rookie ball is just around the corner.
Two White Sox affiliates are in playoff contention. Charlotte (17-13 in May, 33-26 overall) is a half game out of first while Winston-Salem (16-13 in May, 33-23 overall) has a half game lead. Birmingham went 11-18 in May to fall out of contention and Kannapolis went 15-14, but dug itself into a hole in April.
May’s prospects of the month are both what most would call fringe prospects. Neither is fitting on a lot of prospect rankings, but both have shown production throughout their pro careers. The one difference is that our hitter is in his first full season while the pitcher is a five-year veteran.
Hitter of the Month: Mark Haddow
Stats: .383/.441/.551, 16 RBI, 24 R, 8 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR with 9 BB and 16 K in 107 AB
Haddow is 24 and only in Low-A Kannapolis so calling him a prospect is currently a minor stretch. The only reason he can get some consideration is because it’s his first full season of professional baseball and he’s done nothing but produce. The 24th round pick posted a .903 OPS for Great Falls and has done a little better than that with Kanny. Haddow will need to be pushed up the levels quickly due to his age and could see his chance if Brady Shoemaker or Michael Earley bumps up from Winston-Salem.
Dan Johnson (AAA): .288/.452/.529 with 7 HR, 30 BB and 20 K in 104 AB
Brady Shoemaker (High-A): .317/.400/.519 with 4 HR, 11 BB and 19 K in 104 AB
Jordan Danks (AAA): .299/.419/.495 with 4 HR, 20 BB and 33 K in 97 AB
Shoemaker and Johnson make this list for the second month in a row, which probably means they could move up a level. In Johnson’s case that means finding a spot for him on the Major League roster. Danks’ resurgence could be a sign that he is worthy of consideration for the big league roster this year or next. He still strikes out a lot, but the production might be enough to match his plus defense in the outfield.
Pitcher of the Month: Terry Doyle
Stats: 2.72 ERA, 33 K, 10 BB, 26 H in 39.2 IP
After being selected by the Twins in the Rule V Draft Doyle returned to the Sox before the season even started and hasn’t missed a beat. Doyle has had little trouble in his first year in AAA. At 26, it’s difficult to figure out what his upside is, but he seems like he deserves a shot at the Majors though that may not come with the Sox. His recent flirtation and ultimate end with the Twins was a bad sign that they didn’t think he was a MLB ready pitcher, but his AAA numbers are giving hope to the contrary.
Charlie Leesman (AAA): 30.2 IP, 1.47 ERA, 21 K, 9 BB, 23 H
Simon Castro (AA): 34 IP, 2.91 ERA, 28 K, 6 BB, 30 H
Blair Walters (Low-A): 26.1 IP, 1.37 ERA, 21 K, 5 BB, 20 H
Walters stays on this list for the second month in a row. He’s pushing for a promotion. Castro is building momentum to a very strong season and could surpass Nestor Molina as the top pitching prospect in the system. Leesman quietly continues his march towards the Majors, where he more likely winds up as a reliever.