(Charlotte, NC) - RHP Erik Johnson, who posted a 4-1 record and an impressive 1.57 ERA in 10 starts for the Knights in 2013, has been named by Baseball America as the second-best prospect in the White Sox system. Johnson is second only to Jose Abreu, who the White Sox signed this offseason out of Cuba. The 24-year-old Johnson is one of two 2013 Knights players to crack the Top 10 list. Infielder Marcus Semien, who hit .264 over 32 games for the Knights last season, is ranked fifth.
Johnson, a product of the University of California Berkeley, began the season with Double-A Birmingham and posted an 8-2 mark with a 2.23 ERA in 14 starts with the Barons. On June 23, 2013, Johnson was promoted to the Knights and continued his stellar play. He combined to go 12-3 with a 1.96 ERA in 24 starts between Double-A Birmingham and Charlotte.
In his final start of the season with Charlotte on August 29, Johnson allowed just five hits over seven scoreless innings in a win over Norfolk. The 6'3" right-hander posted a 3-1 mark with a 1.15 ERA in six August starts with Charlotte.
On September 3, Johnson, along with three other Knights (Semien, Miguel Gonzalez, and Daniel Webb) were promoted to Chicago. In five starts with the South Siders, Johnson posted a 3-2 mark with a 3.25 ERA.
Semien hit .264 (33-for-125) with 20 runs scored, 11 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 17 RBIs, and four stolen bases in 32 games for Charlotte a season ago. Semien, Johnson's college roommate at the University of California Berkeley, combined to hit .284 (147-for-518) with 32 doubles, six triples, 19 home runs, 66 RBIs, 110 runs scored and 24 stolen bases over 137 games between Charlotte and Birmingham.
In 21 games for the White Sox in 2013, Semien batted .261 (18-for-69) with two home runs and seven RBIs. He also scored seven runs, ripped four doubles, and swiped two bases.
For his efforts, last season, the 23-year-old was named as the Southern League's Most Valuable Player. He ranked among the Southern League leaders in runs scored (1st, 90), on-base percentage (1st, .420), slugging percentage (2nd, .483), batting average (3rd, .290) and walks (3rd, 84).
Also on the list is Trayce Thompson, who came in at number eight on the list. Thompson appeared in six games for the Knights in 2012 and hit .167 (3-for-18). The 22-year-old compiled a .229 batting average with 15 home runs, 73 RBIs and 25 stolen bases last season for Birmingham. He has 72 home runs, 297 RBIs, and 63 stolen bases over parts of five Minor League seasons.
Abreu, 26, signed a six-year deal with the White Sox on October 29, 2013. The hard-hitting first baseman tore the cover off of the ball in Cuba -- especially in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, where he hit .383 with three home runs and nine RBIs over six games. Abreu was solid on a National Stage and will now take his talents to Chicago.
2014 WHITE SOX TOP PROSPECTS
1. Jose Abreu, 1b
2. Erik Johnson, rhp
3. Tim Anderson, ss
4. Matt Davidson, 3b
5. Marcus Semien, 2b/3b
6. Micah Johnson, 2b
7. Courtney Hawkins, of
8. Trayce Thompson, of
9. Chris Beck, rhp
10. Jacob May, of
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