South Side Hit Pen Top Prospect 71: Johnabiell Laureano

J.L. is not pictured: But this is a field he indeed played on in the DSL.

Johnabiell Laureano
Center Fielder
180 pounds
Age: 19
SSHP rank among all center fielders in the system: 7

A native of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, which is arguably the most famous baseball community in the world, Johnabiell Laureano received an international signing bonus from the White Sox in February 2018. In his first taste of baseball in 2018, at about nine months younger than his average competitor, Laureano slashed just .220/.329/.262 in 65 games with nine doubles, 13 RBIs, four stolen bases, 31 walks (12.3%) and 54 strikeouts (21.4%).

The 2019 season was a much different story in his return to the DSL, as Laureano slashed an impressive .357/.437/.543 in 59 games with 15 doubles, three triples, six homers, 36 RBIs, six stolen bases, 28 walks (11.4%) and 43 strikeouts (17.5%). His OPS this year was better than everyone in the Sox organization not named Luis Robert, and he did it while performing in the shadow of the highly-esteemed Benyamin Bailey.

Certainly there are some red flags, as Laureano’s strikeout-to-walk ratio will likely get worse with each new level he advances into. Also, he was a tad bit older (three months) than his competition this year, which doesn’t sound like much but it can make a big difference in how he’s viewed by scouts. It’s quite possible that Laureano may prove to have more polish than some of his DSL counterparts. We should find out more next year, as he’s expected to begin the season with the AZL Sox.      

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Despite my entire family being Cub fans, I grew up listening to Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall on the radio as I listened to the entire season of the South Side Hit Men of '77. While it's true I have a myriad of other interests (American history, classic literature, classic rock, classic country, blues, jazz, gardening, family,etc.--not all in that order), few things aside from family surpass my interest in all things baseball--especially the White Sox.

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