White Sox A (Adv) Player of July: 1B Keon Barnum
Keon Barnum was an interesting prospect to many when the Chicago White Sox drafted him out of high school in 2012. He was a compensatory selection with an abundance of raw power at a position that featured at the time a 36 year-old Paul Konerko and a 32 year-old Adam Dunn.
So far in four minor league seasons, Barnum has shown more of a tendency for doubles than the home runs that everyone expected. In the 276 games he has played, Barnum has just 22 home runs. He has never hit more than eight in a season.
Strikeouts have also been a huge problem but it was expected from Barnum. Last year was the first time he has remained healthy for a full season and punched out 163 times in 132 games.
This year his overall numbers look like much of the same. Last month however was one of the best stretches of his career.
In the 29 games he played in July, Barnum hit .299/.364/.437 with two home runs and a staggering 27 RBIs. He also struck out 31 times and scored just eight runs. But his performance as a run producer warrants maximum praise.
His best game of the month came in a win on July 24th against the Carolina Mudcats (Braves A Advanced affiliate). Barnum went 4-5 with two doubles and three RBIs.
Check out an example of Barnum’s power as he hits a line drive, opposite field home run in the video below.
He is now hitting .260/.320/.404 with six home runs, 51 RBIs and 22 doubles. He also has 84 strikeouts in 75 games.
When I first started doing these monthly recognition pieces, Adam Engel stood out right away at Winston-Salem. The speedy outfielder kicked off the month of April with a .316 average, 11 stolen bases and 17 runs scored.
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Since then, his numbers have tailed off quite a bit. In July however, Engel put together his best month of the season.
He hit .306/.395/.407 with 24 runs scored and 19 steals in 20 attempts. He also walked 16 times in the 28 games he played in last month. He has reached bases in 15 straight games.
Engel’s best game in July came on the 19th in a win against the Lynchburg Hillcats (Indians A Advanced affiliate). He went 2-4 with a double, two stolen bases and two runs scored.
For the season, he is now hitting .260/.344/.370 with five home runs, 36 RBIs and 73 runs scored. He is has seven triples, 51 walks and is 48-59 in steal attempts. His stolen base and runs scored outputs lead the Carolina League by a wide margin.
A Advanced notes
Dash catcher Omar Narvaez emerged out of nowhere in June behind a .349 average in 21 games. In July he hit just .206 in 21 games….. I named Jake Peter the Dash’s top player in June and he also saw a big drop off in production last month. The second baseman hit just .229 which is his lowest average in one month this season…. Trey Michalczewski, the Dash’s leader in homers and RBIs is currently in a slump. He is hitting just .189 in his last 10 games.
Next: Double-A pitcher of July, Frankie Montas