SoxFest Interview #2: Micah Johnson

If Superman is “faster than a speeding bullet”, than just how fast is Micah Johnson? I should have thought of that question when I was interviewing him. I’m sure he would have had a great answer for that. Oh well, maybe next time.

As a 25-year-old, Johnson entered the 2014 season ranked by Baseball America as the “Fastest Baserunner” in the White Sox system. And, there was good reason for that.

Johnson taking a big lead in a game against the Durham Bulls in Durham, NC in 2014.

Johnson taking a big lead off of second base in a game against the Durham Bulls in Durham, NC in 2014.

In 2013, the Indianapolis native swiped 84 bases between Kannapolis (61), Winston-Salem (22), and Birmingham (1). A year after being drafted by the Sox in the ninth round of the 2012 draft, Johnson’s 2013 season was one for the ages.

He ranked first in all of Minor League Baseball in steals — nine more than speedster Billy Hamilton — who stole 75 in the minors in 2013. (By the way, Hamilton would go on to steal 56 bases for the Cincinnati Reds in 2014).

It was an impressive season for Johnson both on the basepaths and at the plate. He hit .342 (104-for-304) with Kannapolis before earning promotions to Winston-Salem and Birmingham. He ended the season by helping the Barons win the Southern League Championship. Johnson hit .368 over 10 playoff games en-route to the championship.

Last season, Johnson entered Spring Training as a non-roster invitee to White Sox camp. Ranked as the number six prospect in the White Sox system by Baseball America, Johnson opened the season with the Double-A Barons and excelled at the plate. He hit .329 (48-for-146) before earning a promotion to the Knights on May 13. Although he was placed on the disabled list with the Knights just 11 days later, he started strong. The Indiana University product hit safely in eight of his first 10 Triple-A games.

On June 8, 2014, Johnson was activated off the DL and quickly made an impact with the Knights. He went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, a double, and a triple in his first game back. He went on to rip four hits in a game twice, launch his first Triple-A home run on June 18, and rack up four RBIs in a game against the Gwinnett Braves on June 28.

Overall, it was a solid season, even if it was cut just short due to a strained hamstring in August. Still, he hit .275 in his first taste at the Triple-A level — adding 10 doubles, five triples, two home runs, and 12 stolen bases.

I caught up with Johnson and we talked about last year, a busy offseason — which includes yoga — and much more.

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