Top Prospects Erik Johnson and Marcus Semien Make Big-League Debuts Tonight in The Bronx

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Today’s News

Tonight’s Game

White Sox vs Yankees at Yankee Stadium (6:05 p.m., CT, WGN) in the finale of the three-game series. Starters: RHP Erik Johnson–who will be making his first major-league appearance–for the Sox, LHP CC Sabathia (12-11, 4.91) for New York. This year’s Southern League MVP Marcus Semien, who finished the season at Class AAA Charlotte, also makes his big-league debut at third base.

As I posted yesterday, Johnson and Semien were teammates on the Cal-Berkeley team that made it to the 2011 College World Series. Now, both are playing their first games in the majors side-by-side with the Sox.

Johnson, 23, combined to go 12-3 with a 1.96 ERA (31 ER/142.0 IP), three complete games and 131 strikeouts over 24 starts between Charlotte and Class AA Birmingham this season.  The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Johnson was named to the Southern League All-Star Team after going 8-2 with a 2.23 ERA (21 ER/84.2 IP) and 74 strikeouts with the Barons.  He went 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA (10 ER/57.1 IP) and 57 strikeouts in 10 starts (seven quality) with the Knights.

The Mountain View, CA native limited righthanders to a .190 average (53-179) and just one home run in 2013.  Johnson entered the 2013 season rated by Baseball America as the No. 4 Prospect and possessing the Best Slider in the White Sox organization.  He originally was selected in the second round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

Semien (SIM-ee-in), 22, combined to hit .284 (147-518) with 32 doubles, six triples, 19 home runs, 66 RBI, 110 runs scored and 24 stolen bases over 137 games between Charlotte and Birmingham.  He appeared in 73 games at shortstop, 41 at second base and 23 at third.

The 6-foot-1,190-pound Semien was named Southern League Most Valuable Player after ranking among the league leaders in runs scored (1st, 90), on-base percentage (1st, .420), slugging percentage (2nd, .483), average (3rd, .290) and walks (3rd, 84).  He reached base in 26 consecutive games with the Barons from June 29-July 28, batting .372 (35-94) with seven home runs, 18 RBI and 28 runs scored during the streak.  Semien was promoted to Charlotte on July 31 and hit .264 (33-125) with four homers and 17 RBI.

The San Francisco native entered the 2013 season rated by Baseball America as the No. 14 Prospect in the Sox system.  Semien originally was selected in the sixth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

Sox Starting Lineup: DeAza, CF; Beckham, 2B; Ramirez, SS; Konerko, DH; Garcia, RF; Keppinger, 1B; Viciedo, LF; Phegley, C; Semien, 3B.

Happy Hawk Day

Happy Birthday to Hawk Harrelson, now in his 29th season as a Sox TV broadcaster. You can put it on the board…YESSS!!

Hector Visits Fan Cave

Here’s Hector Santiago having a ball on the Home Run Slide today at the MLB Fan Cave in New York.

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It’s Getting Closer to Zapata Time

The Sox made news in July by signing the righthanded-hitting Dominican Republic outfielder Micker Adolfo Zapata, MLB.com‘s No. 2 ranked international player.

Zapata, only 16, will begin his highly-anticipated career in earnest later this month during the instructional league at the Sox’s spring training facility at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona.

Sox Assistant GM Buddy Bell, in a story on whitesox.com by Scott Merkin, indicated that Zapata will play with the Sox’s Arizona Fall League team next year and will be assigned to Advanced Rookie Bristol or Great Falls the following season.

Quote(s) of the Day

Erik and Marcus on their big nights:

* Johnson on making his first start at Yankee Stadium: “If you ever wanted to start somewhere in your major league debut, this would be it.”

* Semien on being called up to the majors for the first time:  “I was really excited. It’s every ballplayer’s dream. Now you do what you can to try to stay here.”

Play(s) of the Day

Chris Sale went 7.1 innings, allowing just two earned runs and five hits with six strikeouts in last night’s 6-4 loss to the Yankees…Alejandro De Aza went 3-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored…Alexei Ramirez tripled in a pair of runs.

De Aza’s seventh-inning homer: 

http://atmlb.com/17LO0bk

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore (6:05 p.m., CT, CSN) in the opener of a four-game series. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (7-5, 3.69) for the Sox, RHP Miguel Gonzalez (8-7, 4.11) for the O’s.

Did You Know…

…that the Sox have played 49 one-run and 21 extra-inning games this season, both the highest totals in the major leagues?

Photo of the Day

Johnson and Semien: Two Cal Bears-turned-major-league-starters:

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