White Sox callups likely to be familiar faces
Righties Johnson, Montas among those who may be promoted
CHICAGO -- The biggest news concerning the players who are added by the White Sox when rosters expand Tuesday will likely center upon who is not coming, as opposed to those earning a promotion to the Majors.
Many of the players who figure to earn a September callup already have been with the White Sox at some point this season or in 2014. That list should include right-handed pitchers Erik Johnson and Frankie Montas, utility man Leury Garcia and second baseman Micah Johnson. A third catcher also will be added, with left-handed-hitting Rob Brantly and homegrown product Kevan Smith in the mix.
But Tim Anderson and Carson Fulmer, ranked as the White Sox top two prospects by MLBPipeline.com, almost certainly won't be getting the call in 2015. Anderson, 22, has turned in a stellar season for Double-A Birmingham, with a .309 average, 48 stolen bases, 20 doubles, 11 triples and 77 runs scored. He also has proven himself defensively as a shortstop, although he's certainly not a finished product. Anderson could be ready by 2016 or could even force the issue out of Spring Training, depending on Chicago's offseason moves regarding the position.
Fulmer, 21, was the White Sox top pick in the 2015 MLB Draft and eighth overall. Some believed the right-hander could help the White Sox out of the bullpen this season, as Chris Sale did the year he was drafted in 2010. But the Vanderbilt product is on an innings limit, and with the White Sox below .500 and seven games out of the American League's second Wild Card spot, Fulmer finds himself in a similar situation to Carlos Rodon last September.
As for the callups, Erik Johnson has the opportunity to work his way into the rotation in the next couple of weeks. He has bounced back from a dismal 2014 campaign at the Major and Minor League levels by posting a 2.37 ERA and 136 strikeouts over 132 2/3 innings for Triple-A Charlotte. The hard-throwing Montas served as an effective starter for Birmingham, but he will most likely flash his 100-mph fastball out of the White Sox bullpen.
Micah Johnson broke camp with the White Sox as the team's starting second baseman, but he was replaced by Carlos Sanchez, who was more defensively advanced. Johnson has hit .318 with 27 stolen bases for Charlotte, but he has also been working his way back from a left hamstring issue.
Others who would have been potential callups -- such as Sanchez, Tyler Saladino, Daniel Webb and Trayce Thompson -- have already been making significant impacts with the White Sox. Manager Robin Ventura now has a chance to see which young player will be the next one to make a similar contribution.
"You're going to play them in September and then have a whole offseason to see them again," Ventura said. "It's not like you're making rash judgments or you're betting the farm on them for next year.
"Again, you get to see them and you get to see that improvement. Then you get to see them again in Spring Training and see what this has done for them."