Capra talks Hawkins, Danish, Johnson

I had the chance to talk with White Sox director of player development Nick Capra, who made a stopover in Chicago today. Here are his takes on a few prospects.

Courtney Hawkins struggled through his first season in the Carolina League last year, hitting just .178 with 160 strikeouts over 383 at-bats, albeit with 19 homers, 16 doubles and 62 RBIs.

The White Sox top pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft clearly has adjusted during his second season with Class A Winston-Salem. The left fielder is hitting .268 with seven homers and 30 RBIs.

On Hawkins solid ’14 start at Winston-Salem

“It’s just the experience of being around the league again and Courtney starting to learn himself a little bit more. He’s more patient. He’s not swinging the bat before the ball is out of the pitcher’s hand. He’s recognizing pitches. He’s just having a lot more quality at-bats.”

On Hawkins never doubting himself after last year’s struggles

“The kid has never failed before and I think he still has the mindset that he hasn’t failed but he’s been humbled a little bit by the fact that his numbers in certain areas weren’t very good last year. But I think he’s dedicating himself to make things better. To listen more, to learn more. He’s more mature than he was last year at this time.

“He’s still a work in progress. I’ll tell you what the kid has improved, he’s in left field now. He’s made some really nice plays in left field. He looks like an above average defender in the outfield. He’s doing many more things better this year.”

 

Tyler Danish, who doesn’t turn 20 until Sept. 12, has a 3-0 record with a 0.64 ERA over six starts for Class A Kannapolis. The right-hander has fanned 22 over 32 innings pitched and has limited the opposition to a .205 average. He was the White Sox second round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft and worked last year for Bristol and Kannapolis.

On Danish’s impressive 2014 start at Kannapolis

“What you see out of Tyler is what you get. He’s still learning. He’s still getting better. He’s got a lot of movement in the zone. He’s going to be a guy that we will have to challenge a little bit more. When that time comes, I’m sure he’ll be ready for it.”

On Danish getting promoted to a higher level this year

“That’s a possibility, yeah.”

On Danish’s composure

“You don’t see too many young kids like that even coming out of high school. I hate to use the analogy of (Mark) Buehrle, Buehrle had such a great mentality but this kid is pretty close to the same mentality. He doesn’t let things faze him. There are not a lot of highs and lows. He’s always that even keel player. I wish we had a bunch of them like that.”

 
Erik Johnson has made two starts for Triple-A Charlotte since being optioned to the Minors following a rough five-start stretch with the White Sox.

On Johnson trying to regain his form with Charlotte

“I saw his start yesterday and he looks good. Again, it’s just about pounding the strike zone with your pitches. Pound the strike zone with strikes with all your pitches. He’s getting a chance to go down and work on it now. Continue to get him better.”

On trying to figure out Johnson’s velocity drop

“We continue to talk about it. I don’t know if anyone ever really has that answer. We can speculate on what’s going on. Mechanically he doesn’t look much different than he has in the past. I don’t know if he’s feeling for pitches at times. I don’t know. I don’t have that answer.’

“He looked better yesterday. Velocity isn’t where it was last year. Hopefully it comes.

 

More to come from Capra over the next few days on whitesox.com

 

 

 

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