Mar 10, 2015; Surprise, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox infielder Micah Johnson (7) at bat in the first inning during a spring training baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports
For the second consecutive game, Chicago White Sox prospect Micah Johnson added to his case of being the new starting second baseman for the White Sox, finishing the day with four hits against the American League champion Kansas City Royals in their spring training meeting.
In fact, Johnson went 4-for-4 with two runs and one RBI in the White Sox 6-2 victory over the Royals.
Johnson improved his spring average to .500, with his four hits on Tuesday being a double and three singles. For the spring, in 14 at-bats, the second baseman has seven hits with three RBIs and five runs scored.
Feb 28, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox infielder Carlos Sanchez poses for a portrait during photo day at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
His counterpart and competition in the battle for the starting second baseman job, Carlos Sanchez was 0-for-1 on Tuesday. This spring, Sanchez is batting .273 with two RBIs and three hits in 11 at-bats.
Like we wrote on Tuesday morning at Southside Showdown, after the first week of spring training, Johnson is most likely in front in the race for the starter’s job, but these two players will have a good battle all spring.
I believe Johnson has the ability to be a solid starter at the second base position, and there won’t be a lot of pressure on him to produce at the plate to begin with because of all the other solid hitters already in the batting order.
With Sanchez, he just hasn’t shown what he can do with the bat at a consistent basis yet. Granted, Sanchez had just 100 at-bats with the White Sox last season, so there is a lot still to be shown by him as well. In ’14 with the White Sox, Sanchez batted .250 with five RBIs.
Johnson has yet to make his MLB debut, but being the No. 2 batter in the lineup Tuesday, his double came in the first inning against Jeremy Guthrie, so that’s a quality way to get the attention on manager Robin Ventura.
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According to Jeffery Flanagan of MLB.com, Johnson made plays with his glove as well:
"“Johnson also made a sensational defensive play in the third inning as he ranged to his right, made a glove stop and flipped the ball to second with his glove for a forecourt.”"
This is a good thing to read, as Flanagan described just how productive Johnson can be with his glove as well.
I’m not rooting for Johnson or Sanchez, but as of this writing, it seems Johnson has out-played Sanchez this first week of spring training, and that’s fine. For White Sox fans, the hope should be (or is) the team ends up with two very solid outfielders, one being called upon this season, and the other getting the nod when needed.
This battle is my “must-watch” battle of the entire spring training, and may the best player win.