Thursday, June 20 - 7:05 p.m.
Kannapolis Intimidators (0-0, 27-41)
Euclides Leyer (67.1 IP, 5.21 ERA, 4.37 FIP, 18 K%, 9.2 BB%, .322 BABIP)
Augusta GreenJackets (0-0, 38-31)
Kendry Flores (69 IP, 2.87 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 21.1 K%, 4.7 BB%, .245 BABIP)
For Augusta, the second half begins against a team it had little trouble against in the first half, going 5-2 vs. Kannapolis. But the Intimidators benefited from moves at the break, including the addition of the highest 2013 draft pick to reach the South Atlantic League so far this season.
The Chicago White Sox assigned shortstop Tim Anderson to Kannapolis. Anderson was selected 17th overall by the White Sox in the June 6 draft out of East Central Community College in Mississippi. Reports indicate Anderson's best tool is his speed, giving Kannapolis a dangerous combination with minor league steals leader Micah Johnson at second base. Anderson is a raw and unpolished player with questions about his ability to pick up spin and his hit tool, so the move to Kannapolis seems fairly aggressive. But he also projects for above-average to plus tools across the board while sticking at shortstop. Time will tell how he takes to the assignment.
The Intimidators also received first baseman Keon Barnum, a supplemental first-rounder by the White Sox in 2012 out of a Florida high school. Barnum is a big left-handed slugger with plus-plus raw power and big loft in the swing. With it comes a lot of work to reach his ceiling, as he struggles picking up spin and has miss in his swing. He's ranked eighth in the White Sox system by Baseball America for the power, but he needs to develop some sort of discipline and improve his defense at first base.
As mentioned earlier, Johnson is the minor league steals leader with 54. He was also named the All-Star Game MVP, going 1-2 with two stolen bases and scoring one of his team's two runs. His stolen base total is sparked by a .339 average and .422 on-base percentage, recording a .425 wOBA. Johnson also has surprising pop for his 5-foot-11 frame, recording 15 doubles, nine triples and five home runs in the first half.
The San Francisco Giants have remained quiet with moves involving the GreenJackets so far, keeping the same roster as the second half begins. Flores takes the mound looking to build off two strong outings to end his half, including the last one against Kannapolis on June 11, allowing one run with no walks and seven strikeouts over six innings. The right-hander has six or more strikeouts in five of his past six starts. Flores has the third-best ERA in the Augusta rotation.