‘No panic’ in White Sox shortstop prospect Colson Montgomery

Montgomery is expected to see his first Cactus League action Wednesday.

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White Sox shortstop prospect Colson Montgomery at spring training.

White Sox shortstop prospect Colson Montgomery fields ground balls at spring training.

Matt York/AP

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Waiting for the game to come to him and not forcing the action is one of shortstop Colson Montgomery’s strong suits. But it’s safe to say the White Sox’ top prospect can’t wait to play in his first Cactus League game Wednesday.

The 22nd pick in the 2021 draft and the Sox’ top-ranked prospect (38th) by MLB Pipeline, Montgomery has impressed in the first two weeks of spring training. He made headlines when he reached base in 50 consecutive games between Single-A Kannapolis and High-A Winston-Salem last season, and manager Pedro Grifol is seeing why.

‘‘There’s no panic to his game; everything flows into the play,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘He’s been pretty fun to watch. I’m looking forward to watching him play [Wednesday].’’

The streak gave Montgomery, 21, high marks for consistency and showed his knack for not chasing pitches out of the strike zone, using the whole field and demonstrating a collected demeanor that should help him as he navigates the next steps leading up to the majors.

‘‘Especially in the game of baseball, you try to stay consistent,’’ Montgomery said.

Be it the South Atlantic League or the major leagues, there is pressure with a streak of that magnitude.

‘‘It feels like there was pressure because all your teammates and coaches know, and there’s fans there that know about it and [are] saying something about it before a game,’’ Montgomery said.

Montgomery acted as though he didn’t know about it with fans, but he was all about keeping it going.

‘‘If you’re a competitor, you want to do it,’’ he said. ‘‘And it wasn’t all about the streak. If I get on base, I’m putting myself in a good position to help my team get a run.’’

The streak ended when the left-handed-hitting Montgomery uncharacteristically chased a pitch out of the strike zone with a 3-0 count and popped out in his first time up. In his last at-bat of that game, an outfielder made a game-ending diving catch to steal a hit from him.

‘‘It was tough,’’ Montgomery said. ‘‘Sooner or later, it was going to end. I couldn’t sulk on it.’’

Facing right-hander Mike Clevinger in live batting practice Tuesday, Montgomery impressed Grifol by taking four consecutive pitches ‘‘a half-inch or inch’’ off the plate, prompting pitching coach Ethan Katz to ask whether he merely was tracking pitches.

Then he fouled off a strike, answering the question.

‘‘He looks calm,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘It looks like the game comes to him at the right pace. A lot of guys that age, first year in camp, it speeds up quickly. But it doesn’t for him.”

A 6-4, 205-pounder drafted out of Huntingburg (Indiana) High School, Montgomery doesn’t want to hear talk about whether his future is at shortstop or at another spot in the infield.

‘‘I know I’m a shortstop,’’ said Montgomery, who often is compared to Rangers shortstop Corey Seager, who is also 6-4. ‘‘I’m playing short, right? That’s all you need to know.’’

In his first major-league camp, Montgomery is studying how big-leaguers such as Tim Anderson and Elvis Andrus ‘‘go about their business.’’

‘‘How they prep themselves for the games, their routines, it’s good for a young guy like myself to see how they do it,’’ Montgomery said.

‘‘I feel good. Especially around Tim, talking to some of the older guys about what it’s like being in ‘the show,’ pace of play, trying to pick their brains. I think I’m in a good spot.’’

Montgomery finished last season at Double-A Birmingham and figures to start there this season. The best bet for a major-league debut is 2024.

‘‘I’m always about when the time is right, it will happen,’’ Montgomery said.

No need to rush. It’s just not Montgomery’s style.

‘‘He slows the game down, and he’s extremely talented,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘He’s got good vision, not just at the plate, but good field awareness. He never panics.’’

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