MINNEAPOLIS — White Sox Triple-A pitcher Erik Johnson is doing his best to recapture the organization’s attention.
In the midst of an outstanding comeback season, the right-hander was named the International League player of the week on Monday.
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Johnson — who entered 2014 as the No. 2 prospect in the organization but was sent to Triple-A after a rough April — struck out 20 batters in 14 scoreless innings over his last two starts.
The right-hander saw an increase in velocity over 2014 in February and looked good early in spring training only to have a rib cage injury sideline him for the start of the season. But Johnson has picked it up of late and is 6-5 with a 3.00 ERA in 14 games (13 starts). Over his last five starts, Johnson has a 1.03 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 35 innings. He has allowed 26 hits and walked five batters.
Pitchers and catchers report in just over three weeks and the White Sox announced the list of spring training invitees on Monday.
The White Sox signed six players to minor-league contracts to get them to camp, but, as has been the case for the past year-plus with the White Sox, all eyes will be on the prospects.
Pitchers Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Dylan Cease and position players Luis Robert, Zack Collins and 2017 first-round pick Jake Burger are among the top prospects the White Sox invited to spring training. The team’s top prospect, Eloy Jimenez, is already on the 40-man roster so he was already set to be included. Jimenez, Kopech, Hansen, Robert and Dunning were just included on Baseball America's top 100 prospects.
Kopech and Collins were in spring training last year and Jimenez was in spring training with the Cubs in 2017 so it’s not an entirely new experience for them, but White Sox fans will be able to get a more extended and accessible look at Jimenez for the first time. Robert will likely have extra attention on him due to this being his first professional baseball in the U.S. Robert played in the Dominican Summer League after signing with the White Sox last summer.
The other non-roster invitees are pitchers Chris Beck, Tyler Danish, Jordan Stephens, Connor Walsh, Brian Clark and Jordan Guerrero and position players Alfredo Gonzalez, Seby Zavala and Jacob May.
The players signed on minor-league contracts are Rob Scahill, Chris Volstad, Michael Ynoa, T.J. House, Patrick Leonard and Matt Skole. Volstad and Ynoa both pitched with the White Sox in 2017, but have since been removed from the 40-man roster. Scahill is a Chicagoland product who graduated from Willowbrook High School and pitched at Bradley in college.
The White Sox rebuild is in full swing. While it might still be a year or two before the big league team is expected to start competing for championships, the minor leagues are stocked with highly touted talent fans will be eagerly following in 2018. With that in mind, it's time to Meet the Prospects and get to know the future of the South Side.
Fisher, the 24-year-old outfielder, was a fourth-round pick of the White Sox in the 2016 draft.
A Louisiana native, Fisher slashed .342/.436/.487 in 50 rookie-ball games after being drafted in 2016.
Last year, Fisher split time between Class A Kannapolis and Class A Winston-Salem, playing 124 combined games. On the season, he slashed .245/.342/.402 with 30 doubles, 10 home runs, six triples and 68 RBIs to go along with 58 walks and 114 strikeouts.
As of their most recent rankings, MLB Pipeline had Fisher rated as the No. 25 prospect in the White Sox organization.
Get to know Fisher in the video above.