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Pipeline Preview: Cubs, White Sox Double-A clubs clash

Matchup of speedster Johnson, slugger Bryant highlights Saturday's Minors slate

The Cubs and White Sox won't renew their crosstown rivalry until later this season. But their Double-A affiliates open a five-game series in Birmingham tonight. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on MiLB.TV.

Birmingham, the White Sox affiliate, is led by second baseman Micah Johnson. The club's No. 4 prospect enters the series with a hot bat. He has an eight-game hitting streak and has back-to-back three-hit games. Though Johnson is one of the fastest runners in the Minor Leagues and swiped 84 bases last year, he hasn't gotten on track on the bases yet this year, with three stolen bases through 15 games.

Shortstop Javier Baez, the Cubs No. 1 prospect and No. 7 overall, is still on the disabled list at Tennessee. But the Smokies do have third baseman Kris Bryant, the Cubs No. 2 prospect and No. 9 overall. He hit his fourth home run Thursday and enters the game with a 1.069 OPS.

Several teams' top pitching prospect are scheduled to start around the Minors on Saturday, including Top 100 prospects Kyle Crick (Giants No. 1), Noah Syndergaard (Mets No. 1) and Julio Urias (Dodgers No. 3). Fans can watch Crick and Syndergaard on MiLB.TV at 1 p.m. and 10:05 p.m., respectively.

Urias, meanwhile, is looking to bounce back from a pair of subpar starts when he starts for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga in Visalia. In his past two starts combined, he has allowed six runs in six innings. At just 17 years old, the left-hander is the youngest player in the California League.

Top prospect probables:

  • Eddie Butler (Rockies No. 2), Tulsa vs. Northwest Arkansas
  • Mauricio Cabrera (Braves No. 5), Lynchburg vs. Potomac
  • Kyle Crick (Giants No. 1), Richmond vs. Altoona
  • Anthony DeSclafani (Marlins No. 6), Jacksonville vs. Pensacola
  • Zach Eflin (Padres No. 11), Lake Elsinore vs. Modesto
  • Severino Gonzalez (Phillies No. 6), Reading vs. Harrisburg
  • Jake Johansen (Nationals No. 12), Hagerstown vs. Lakewood
  • Felix Jorge (Twins No. 10), Cedar Rapids vs. West Michigan
  • Cody Kukuk (Red Sox No. 17), Greenville at Savannah
  • Bryan Mitchell (Yankees No. 14), Trenton vs. Erie
  • Sean Nolin (Blue Jays No. 10), Buffalo at Pawtucket
  • Anthony Ranaudo (Red Sox No. 9), Pawtucket vs. Buffalo
  • Tom Robson (Blue Jays No. 14), Lansing at Beloit
  • Eduardo Rodriguez (Orioles No. 3), Bowie vs. Akron
  • Noah Syndergaard (Mets No. 1), Las Vegas vs. El Paso
  • Domingo Tapia (Mets No. 14), St. Lucie at Fort Myers
  • Julio Urias (Dodgers No. 3), Rancho Cucamonga at Visalia
  • Vincent Velasquez (Astros No. 9), Lancaster vs. High Desert
  • Trevor Williams (Marlins No. 10), Jupiter at Bradenton
Teddy Cahill is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill.