Pre-Season Sox Stock: 2nd Basemen

Micah Johnson

Is it Micah Johnson’s time in 2015?

White Sox fans have grown accustomed to seeing Gordon Beckham at second base over the past half-decade. The Sox dealt Beckham to the Angels last year, but then re-acquired him through free agency this past off-season. This time around, however, Beckham’s starting job at 2nd base is not at all guaranteed. The Sox are now equipped with other adequate options at the position. For the first time since 2008, we may not be seeing number 15 trot out to 2nd base every day this year.

Major League Stock: Up and Rising

As Beckham enters his age 28 season, we all basically know what to expect from him – very good defensive play and sub par hitting. When the Sox selected Beckham with the 8th overall pick in the 2008 draft, the team had much higher aspirations for him. After 5+ years of offensive struggles, the team appears ready to move on; or at least consider other options.

Micah Johnson looks to be Beckham’s greatest competition at 2nd base this season. The 24-year-old is yet to register a big league at bat, but he is well on his way to crack the Opening Day roster this year at the very least. Johnson stole 84 bases in the minor leagues during the 2013 season. Yes, you read that correctly – 84 bases. The 2014 season was a setback on the basepaths for Johnson as he was only able to swipe 22 bags, but he did have to spend a lot of time last year battling through injury. This spring, he is completely healthy, and he is leading the team in hitting at a clip of .455 as I write this story.

Also in the mix for playing time at 2nd base this season will be utility specialist Emilio Bonifacio. The Sox offered Bonifacio a contract this past off-season that features a lengthy job description. When Bonifacio isn’t subbing for any of the team’s three starting outfielders, filling in for Conor Gillaspie at 3rd base, or giving Alexei Ramirez a day off at shortstop, he will likely be getting some reps at 2nd base. At this point of Spring Training, it is still relatively unknown as to how much manager Robin Ventura plans to use the crafty veteran at 2nd base this year, but it’s safe to say that he will get a fair share of opportunities at the position throughout the season.

Minor League Stock: Undetermined

Since we don’t know what the Opening Day roster will look like for this position quite yet, it is undetermined which players will be asked to continue their development in the farm system in 2015. Carlos Sanchez is a name that has also been thrown around quite a bit recently as a possible option at 2nd base this season. Sanchez was the primary 2nd baseman last fall after the Beckham trade. He didn’t set the world on fire in that stint, but he was still serviceable both in the field and at the plate. In 28 games a year ago at the big league level, he hit .250. He is also capable of playing multiple infield positions, which could help his case to make the Opening Day roster this year. At 22 years of age, he still has plenty of time to polish his game.

All in all, the Sox should have plenty of viable options at 2nd base in 2015. It will be interesting to see how Ventura handles not only the spring roster cuts, but also how he fills out the lineup cards throughout the season.