Mar 28, 2014; Birmingham, Al, USA; Chicago White Sox second baseman Micah Johnson (83) turns a double play as Birmingham Barons short stop Jaime Pedroza (3) slides at Regions Field. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
2015: Micah Johnson (ESPN Projections: .252 Avg./3 HR/13 RBI/8 SB)*
2005: Tadahito Iguchi (2005 Stats: .278 Avg./15 HR/71 RBIS/15 SB)
I’m comparing Tadahito Iguchi and Micah Johnson because I think Johnson will ultimately win the second base job out of camp this spring due to his elite speed, especially after Tony Campana was lost to an ACL injury earlier this month.
Johnson will bring speed to the table in ’15, and he’ll make his own mark on the Windy City by adding a breeze via the basepaths. The issue with Johnson is that it’s hard to project how his bat will play in the majors.
The projected second baseman hit .275 with Triple-A Charlotte last year, showing a little pop with 10 doubles and five triples over 65 games. Johnson’s best hitting tool is probably in his contact skills, which has enabled him to post a .366 career minor league OBP.
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Combine an OBP in that range and his elite speed, and you have a valuable player that can set the table in front of Adam Eaton in the No. 9 spot.
However, Iguchi was a complete player in ’05, which happened to be his first MLB season. The second baseman flourished in the two-hole, and hit 15 home runs along with 25 doubles.
Expecting those types of numbers out of Johnson this year is unrealistic, and Iguchi has an upperhand defensively as well. He formed a solid double play combo with shortstop Juan Uribe that season, and one of the concerns with Johnson is if his arm is strong enough to turn quick double plays.
Johnson has a chance to be a solid regular in the MLB, especially if he can exploit his speed tool, but Iguchi’s 2005 production at second base would look very nice in ’15.
*Micah Johnson’s ESPN projections do not account for him playing a full season.
Edge: Tadahito Iguchi
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