- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Chicago White Sox promoted highly-regarded second base prospect Micah Johnson to Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday after the 23-year-old tore through the Double-A Southern League this season.
Johnson entered the season as the sixth-best prospect in the White Sox's system, according to Baseball America, and has shown he might be even better than that with his play at Birmingham. Johnson is leading the Southern League in hitting with a .329 batting average and in total hits with 48. The speedster also has 18 runs scored, nine doubles, 16 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
Johnson was a ninth-round pick in the 2012 draft out of Indiana University, but has raised his stock ever since. He was solid on two Single-A levels last season before an August promotion to Double-A. In last season's Southern League playoffs, Johnson batted .368 with seven steals in 10 playoff games as the Barons won the championship.
Johnson's rapid ascent suggests that he could be a regular in the White Sox's major league lineup as early as next season. Current White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham has one more season of arbitration-eligibility, but it's possible that the former first-round draft pick could be moved before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
The White Sox are flush with second base prospects in Johnson and Carlos Sanchez, who now will have to share time at Charlotte. Sanchez has played two games at shortstop this season and has 150 games of experience there in the minor leagues, but Johnson does not have any shortstop experience.
Also promoted to Charlotte on Tuesday was left-hander Nelvin Fuentes, who has a 1.06 ERA over 17 appearances at Birmingham and has not been scored upon in his last 16 trips to the mound. Fuentes, a former 16th-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2007, was signed by the White Sox in December as a minor-league free agent.