White Sox Baseball: Which Sox Prospect Fans Should Be Most Excited About

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White Sox Baseball: Which Sox Prospect Fans Should Be Most Excited About

If Ken Williams was still the general manager of the Chicago White Sox, Double-A shortstop Marcus Semien would probably be halfway to whatever 45-and-over men’s league Roberto Alomar is playing in right now.

After all, the trade deadline is upon us.

The White Sox made headlines yesterday, finally parting ways with veteran right-hander Jake Peavy in a three-way deal with the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers.

In a market where it’s becoming harder than ever to be sellers due to teams becoming increasingly aware of the importance of developing prospects, the Sox managed to pluck talented outfielder Avisail Garcia away from Detroit while also eating none of the remaining money owed to Peavy.

Acquiring Garcia, who was rated Detroit’s No. 2 prospect heading into the 2013 season by Baseball America, is a step in the right direction. But who is the best hitting prospect in Chicago’s system, you ask?

Look no further than the 22-year-old in Birmingham who's been doing his best Kevin Youkilis impression as of late.

Semien, the shortstop for the Birmingham Barons, was a sixth-round draft pick by the White Sox in 2011. Last year, the California Golden Bear product produced a respectable slash line of .273/.362/.471 for Single-A Winston Salem. Solid, but not particularly spectacular.

This year? Well, let’s just say if Moneyball were written ten years later, Michael Lewis would be compelled to write an entire chapter about this guy.

Semien leads the Southern League in walks and on-base percentage, sporting a monster slash line of .290/.420/.490 in 2013. In his last 10 games, he has an on base percentage of .680.

.680.

He has also clubbed five home runs in that span. And for good measure, keep in mind that Semien is a middle infielder. While these types of numbers would be impressive for your typical outfield or first base prospect, this sort of production coming from a middle infielder is almost unfathomable.

Seen as a toolsy player out of college, Semien can run as well. He has swiped 20 bags in 25 attempts this year for the Barons. Scoutingbook.com also praises Semien’s defensive prowess at shortstop:

A California boy with serious defensive chops at shortstop, White Sox prospect Marcus Semien slashed a tidy .273/.362/.471 with 14 homers in his first taste of high-A ball in 2012, stepping up his game from the year before. While the power surge was a pleasant surprise, Semien has long been known as a well-rounded athlete with a full toolbox, showing a soft glove and strong arm at shortstop, a patient eye at the plate and plus speed on the bases. Already a fast-riser, he'll be rocketing up prospect lists if that power increase turns out to be for real.

The term “five-tool player” is thrown a lot these days; sometimes justified, sometimes not. The thing that seems different here, however, is that Semien’s top attribute is his ability to get on base.

That is almost never said about the prototypical “five-tool-player.”

Yes, it may seem a bit premature to get so excited about a Double-A shortstop. Some may think the numbers don’t mean all that much. But it’s not as if Semien is older and more physically mature than his competition; a common explanation for such gaudy minor league numbers. At 22, he’s still very young and dominating what might be the best league in the country, besides Major League Baseball.

By most accounts, Double-A is where most of the talented prospects play. Triple-A, while certainly having its fair share of talent, generally consists of guys who have only had cups of coffee in the big leagues, never being able to stick anywhere.

Heck, current White Sox youngsters Chris Sale and Gordon Beckham never spent more than a month in Triple-A. While Beckham had his struggles early, they both seem to be fairing awfully well.

Still, if you are the White Sox, there is no need to rush Semien to the big leagues. At this point, all he’s going to do is lower the value of your 2014 first-round draft pick.

Kidding, of course. Still, with a deal for Alexei Ramirez seeming more and more unlikely as the trade deadline creeps closer, you would have to imagine Rick Hahn and the White Sox front office will be shopping Ramirez this winter if Semien continues to produce at a freakish level.

Let’s face it. “All in” was a ridiculous marketing campaign of the start.

It’s about time “let the kids play” made its comeback.

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