White Sox

Erik Johnson has been as good as anyone at Triple-A

erikjohnson072615.png

Erik Johnson has been as good as anyone at Triple-A

CLEVELAND -- If Erik Johnson reaches the majors this season, the White Sox feel as if their former top-pitching prospect has turned a corner.

Not only has Johnson regained fastball velocity at Triple-A Charlotte this season, it has been accompanied by command. Whereas Johnson gave away bases at an unprecedented rate for him in a poor 2014 season, he has only issued 30 free passes in 94 frames in 2015. The improved command led Johnson, who entered 2014 as the No. 2 prospect in the White Sox farm system, to a starting nod in the International League All-Star Game earlier this month.

“He’s been outstanding,” White Sox assistant general manager Buddy Bell said. “Fastball command, breaking ball. I mean, I think we all know the kind of competitor he is. I have no idea what he went through last year or what he did over the winter.

“He knows where he’s throwing the ball.”

“He’s been as good as anybody.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Johnson struggled with the best of them in 2014.

Starting the season in the White Sox rotation, he lasted six starts as he walked 15 batters in 23 2/3 innings. Johnson never returned, either, issuing 54 more free passes in 105 2/3 innings at Charlotte, where he finished 5-7 with a 6.73 ERA in 20 starts.

Johnson arrived at spring training in February with a goal to “make moves” even though the White Sox rotation was nearly set. He threw well early on before he was suffered an injury but has been outstanding this season. Over his last eight games, Johnson has a 0.88 ERA with 56 strikeouts and nine walks in 51 innings.

The White Sox have backed off Johnson’s workload of late in case he’s needed in Chicago for whatever reason, whether it’s a September promotion or if he replaces Jeff Samardzija, if he’s traded. They’re curious to see how the former second-rounder pick would handle another chance in the big leagues.

“You get in a situation where you are not really sure where your fastball is going, you start to guide it a little bit,” Bell said. “His has been there all year.

“We think he’s found something, but you would have to ask him what that is. We don’t really ask what it is. We just let him go. He’s actually better than when we called him up the first time. He’s that much better.”

“We’ll have to see what happens if he gets called up at some point.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

hahn-pod.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Chris Bleck (ESPN 1000) and Scott King (WGN Radio) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Ryan Pace’s offseason begins. Josh Sitton and Jerrell Freeman are gone, but what will he do with Kyle Fuller?

Plus, Rick Hahn joins Kap from Glendale, Ariz., to discuss the state of the White Sox rebuild, how tough it is to keep their best prospects in the minors and why Jose Abreu is so important for his young team?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

eloy-pod.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

The White Sox three outfield prospects are creating a lot of buzz at spring training.

On this edition of the podcast, Micker Adolfo tells Chuck Garfien about a conversation they all had about one day becoming the starting outfield for the White Sox. Adolfo talks about his longtime friendship with Eloy Jimenez, his impressions of Luis Robert, Luis Basabe and the White Sox future.

But first, it's a conversation with MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez who has great insight on many of the White Sox players: Jimenez, Robert, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu. He tells an amazing story about why Jimenez decided to sign with the Cubs when he was a teenager, how much Abreu is revered in Cuba and much more.

Listen to the full episode at this link (iOS users can go here) or in the embedded player below. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.