White Sox: The rising prospect nobody is talking about
With all of the big names on the current top White Sox prospect lists, some of the lesser talked about players are trying to make a name for themselves.
One of those names that White Sox fans should start paying attention to is Joel Booker.
He is an outfielder who was just promoted to AA Birmingham. He is making it harder and harder to be ignored by fans.
Everyone knows exactly what guys like Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, Luis Robert, and Dylan Cease are doing in the system. But rarely do fans ask about Joel Booker. That, however, may be about to end. Booker’s anonymity among prospect names may well be over.
Representing in a big way
First of all, he’s one of many White Sox All Star representatives at the SAL All-Star game last week. Not only was he a representative, he went 3-4, with a home run. He also drove in four runs, thus earning the well-deserved MVP award. This after slashing .297/.389/.468 with 21 XBH and 14 steals in just 53 games at Winston-Salem.
So, how has he handled his first taste of AA ball, you ask? How does 7 for 9 with 2 doubles and 4 runs scored sound? I’d say he’s handling the promotion well.
It’s fairly reasonable that nobody really had Booker on their radar when it came to looking at potential future White Sox. He was, after all, just a 22nd round pick out of Iowa in 2016. However, Booker has rocketed through the system in just 2 short years all the way to AA Birmingham.
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Booker hit a combined .312 with an. 804 OBP with 41 stolen bases and 51 runs scored in just 65 rookie league games. Next stop was single A Kannapolis at the start of 2017. There he averaged .301 with 14 stolen bases and 53 runs scored in 71 games. That earned him a promotion to High A Winston-Salem in the 2nd half of 2017. He struggled a little when he got there as he only managed a .233 average in 52 games to end his season there.
In 2018, he came back fresh and started hitting like he had in his previous stops. In 53 games he hit .297 with an OPS of .858 with 14 stolen bases and 39 runs scored. This performance got him his most recent promotion this past week to AA Birmingham. And he seems to just keep on hitting and getting on base.
Movin’ on up
While fans are keeping their eyes on names like Jimenez, Robert, and Blake Rutherford, there are a few other outfield prospects in the system trying to break through. Most noteworthy of those right now is Joel Booker. Regardless of his previous prospect ranking, or lack thereof, he’s starting to catch the eyes and ears of fans.
Next: Eloy Jimenez promoted to Triple-A
In a rebuild, things don’t always pan out the way you think they will. Some of the higher profile prospects will just not make it. For every one of those that miss, there’s a 22nd round pick out there that is making some noise. You just never know where or who the future left fielder, 2nd baseman or pitcher that becomes a core piece of a championship team will rise from. Joel Booker is trying to become that guy. And, so far, he’s doing a heck of a job and starting to make fans take notice