Pipeline preview: Johnson raring to go for Charlotte
Recently promoted second baseman, rehabbing Sale to face Rays prospect Romero
Second baseman Micah Johnson, the White Sox No. 3 prospect, gave Triple-A Charlotte a jolt of electricity earlier this week when he was promoted from Double-A Birmingham. Thursday, the Knights' pitching staff will get a boost as left-hander Chris Sale makes a rehab start for the club.
Sale, a two-time All-Star, has been on the disabled list since April 18 with a flexor muscle strain in his left arm. His opponent will be left-hander Enny Romero, the Rays' No. 4 prospect, as Charlotte takes on Durham at 7:05 p.m. ET in a game that can be seen on MiLB.TV.
Romero pitched for the World Team in the Futures Game and made his Major League debut in 2013. He has returned to Durham, where he has a 5.02 ERA in seven starts this season. Romero has struck out 36 batters and walked 19 in 37 2/3 innings.
Johnson, ranked as the No. 8 second-base prospect in baseball by MLBPipeline.com, has top-of-the-scale speed and was immediately inserted at the top of the Knights' lineup. He led the Minor Leagues with 84 stolen bases last year and swiped 10 in 37 games at Birmingham. After two games with Charlotte, Johnson is 2-for-9 and is still looking for his first stolen base in Triple-A.
Johnson joins third baseman Matt Davidson, ranked No. 70 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, in the Knights' lineup. Davidson was acquired from the D-backs during the offseason in exchange for Addison Reed, but he has struggled in his first season with his new club. The White Sox No. 1 prospect is hitting .172 with a .544 OPS in 32 games this season.
Elsewhere in the Minor Leagues, a few pitchers ranked in the Top 100 are scheduled to start Thursday, including Kyle Crick (No. 29) and Anthony Ranaudo (No. 99). Fans can watch Ranaudo and Triple-A Pawtucket take on Pirates' No. 1 prospect Gregory Polanco and Indianapolis at 11:05 a.m. on MiLB.TV.
Top prospect probables
Jeff Ames (Rays' No. 15), Charlotte at Daytona
Chris Anderson (Dodgers' No. 5), Rancho Cucamonga vs. Modesto
Corey Black (Cubs' No. 16), Tennessee at Jackson
Jamie Callahan (Red Sox's No. 18), Greenville at Savannah
Daniel Corcino (Reds' No. 10), Pensacola vs. Jacksonville
Kyle Crick (Giants' No. 1), Richmond vs. Bowie
Chase De Jong (Blue Jays' No. 13), Lansing vs. Dayton
Rafael De Paula (Yankees' No. 16), Tampa at St. Lucie
Edwin Diaz (Mariners' No. 4), Clinton vs. Beloit
Amir Garrett (Reds' No. 19), Dayton at Lansing
Brian Johnson (Red Sox's No. 12), Portland at New Britain
Mike Kickham (Giants' No. 17), Fresno vs. Albuquerque
Jorge Lopez (Brewers' No. 19), Brevard County vs. Fort Myers
Francelis Montas (White Sox No. 16), Winston-Salem vs. Frederick
Ariel Pena (Brewers' No. 17), Nashville vs. Oklahoma City
Anthony Ranaudo (Red Sox's No. 8), Pawtucket at Indianapolis
Cody Reed (Royals' No. 14), Lexington at Asheville
Enny Romero (Rays' No. 4), Durham vs. Charlotte
Sam Selman (Royals' No. 12), Northwest Arkansas at Arkansas
Kyle Smith (Astros' No. 19), Corpus Christi at San Antonio
Zeke Spruill (D-backs' No. 10), Reno vs. Salt Lake
Domingo Tapia (Mets' No. 14), St. Lucie vs. Tampa
Jake Thompson (Tigers' No. 4), Lakeland at Bradenton
Nick Tropeano (Astros' No. 17), Oklahoma City at Nashville
Duane Underwood (Cubs' No. 20), Kane County vs. Quad Cities
Jose Urena (Marlins' No. 8), Jacksonville at Pensacola
Drew VerHagen (Tigers' No. 12), Toledo vs. Syracuse
Kevin Ziomek (Tigers' No. 13), West Michigan vs. Lake County