A lot has changed since my White Sox Top-50 list came out at the end of January. Some prospects have graduated to the big leagues, some have fallen off the map entirely, and some were just flat-out ranked incorrectly by me in the first place (hindsight is 20/20). So, following the addition of new White Sox prospects after the 2017 MLB draft, I figured now would be a perfect time to update my White Sox Top-50 Prospect Rankings (movement compared to January rankings listed in parenthesis).
1. Yoan Moncada, 2B/3B (ranking unchanged)
Age: 22 (DOB 05/27/1995)
The diamond in the Chris Sale trade, Moncada heads into 2017 as a near-consensus #1 overall prospect in baseball. Young Cuban should fit in well in the White Sox clubhouse, as it looks like the White Sox will keep around fellow Cuban and former teammate Jose Abreu. The Mike Trout comparisons are probably too optimistic, but he boasts power (.254 ISO at AA-Portland), patience (13% walk rate at AA), speed (45 steals in 57 attempts in 2016) and enough defense to stick at 2B. His propensity to strike-out is concerning, as evidenced by 12 Ks in 20 MLB at-bats during his brief sip of coffee for Boston last fall. But if he can improve on the contact rate, he’s a middle of the order hitter that can play the middle infield, and could be a perennial all-star.
Update: Moncada has done a little bit of everything at AAA this season, showing his 5-tool upside. He might be making his debut after the All-Star break.
2. Lucas Giolito, RHP (unchanged)
Age: 22 (DOB 07/14/1994)
The key piece to the Adam Eaton trade, Giolito is rated by some as the top pitching prospect in baseball. He’s a big, strong righty (6-6, 240) with as much upside as anyone. He tallied a 9.7 K/9 rate with a stellar 4.0 K/BB rate at AAA Syracuse last season. However, he struggled with a 6.82 ERA and 1.80 WHIP in a 21 inning stint with the Nationals. There are grumblings that his spin rate isn’t good enough to make it as an ace. (See http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/instagraphs/the-case-for-trading-lucas-giolito/) However, he’s easily the top White Sox pitching prospect in ages.
Update: I originally considered moving Giolito down the rankings, but something seems to have clicked for him at Charlotte recently. He’s been striking out the competition left and right, and has looked like a potential ace for the past month or so. I still think he has the most upside out of anyone in the system not named Moncada.
3. Luis Robert, OF (new addition via international free agency)
Age: 19 (DOB 08/03/1997)
The White Sox shocked me by coming up with the big money ($26 million signing bonus, plus equivalent in penalties) and locking in this Cuban phenom. The White Sox basically bought themselves a #1 draft pick. Robert (pronounced “ROBBER”) is a true 5-tool prospect, with foot speed and bat speed that should make dynasty owners drool. The thought of a Moncada-Robert 1-2 punch at the top of the batting order should White Sox fans tons of hope for the future. While he’s still young (only 19) and not a sure bet by any measure, the raw upside here is undeniable. Started his season in the Dominican Summer League with home run in his first at bat.
4. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP (down from #3)
Age: 23 (DOB 01/04/1994)
Another pitching prospect included in the Adam Eaton trade, Reynaldo Lopez could wind up being just as good as Lucas Giolito. Unlike Giolito, his movement is outstanding.
He’s got a ton of arm strength, a routinely mid-90s fastball with an easy delivery, a plus curveball, and a changeup that could become a plus pitch. Went 5-3 in his MLB debut last season, and should be starting games on the South Side very soon.
Update: Lopez looks like he’s got little left to prove at AAA (5-3, 3.91 ERA). I’m think we will see his White Sox debut later this summer.
5. Michael Kopech, RHP (unchanged)
Age: 21 (DOB 04/30/1996)
Came over with Yoan Moncada as part of the Chris Sale trade. He’s a tall righty who can light up the radar gun (here’s him hitting 110 (!) mph in a workout this offseason:
So he’s got tons of upside, but he’s also very risky. First, he was suspended for using the PED oxilofrine in the summer of 2015. Second, he doesn’t offer much outside of ‘throw hard and hope for the best’ at this point. If he can clean up his secondary offerings with the help of Don Cooper, he can turn into a front line starter. Or, he could wind up being another hard throwing reliever. Time will tell.
Update: I’m a bit lower on Kopech than most outlets, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t having a very strong season. He was voted an AA All-Star and is 4-4 with a 3.41 ERA for Birmingham. But he still needs to work on his control (6.00 BB/9) and secondary offerings before I’m ready to project him as our next top frontline starter.
6. Zack Collins, C (down from #4)
Age: 22 (DOB 02/06/1995)
The White Sox 1st round selection this summer was a polished college hitter with a questionable glove. Sounds like they are taking notes from Theo and the north siders (Kyle Schwarber, Cubs 2014 1st rounder). He’s now the 2nd best hitting prospect in the system. He’s been working extensively this offseason to try and become an everyday catcher. But even if he doesn’t stick behind the plate, any AL team can use a 1B/DH type who can get on base (.549 OBP for University of Miami in 2016) and displays power to all fields.
Update: Bumped down just because I probably was a little too over-zealous with my initial ranking. Collins has been great for Class-A Winston-Salem this season, making the All-Star game, hitting 10 home runs, and leading the Carolina League in throwing out base-stealers.
7. Carson Fulmer, RHP (down from #6, out of Tier 2)
Age: 23 (DOB 12/13/1993)
A borderline Tier 2/Tier 3 prospect, but I’m including him here because I think he has a very good shot at being a major league contributor for the White Sox. He’s got a strange, max effort delivery and had control problems at each stop in 2016. He debuted in the bullpen last season and that might be where he winds up permanently. But he’s got a great fastball, a plus curve, and a developing changeup. I’m still holding out hope that Coop can develop him into a starter, where he could fit in very well as a #3 or #4 in the Sox future rotation.
Update: He has not impressed at AAA this season. He’s still only 23, but it is looking less likely to me that he becomes a top of the rotation piece. More realistic upside is that of a back-end starter or reliever.
8. Dane Dunning, RHP (up from #9)
Age: 22 (DOB 12/20/1994)
2016 first round pick of the Washington Nationals was included as part of the Adam Eaton trade. His ceiling isn’t as high as Giolito or Reynaldo Lopez, but Dunning is a polished looking starter with a very good shot at pitching in the Show. Dunning has outstanding control, posting an absurd 7.3 K/BB rate for the University of Florida in 2016. Works low in the zone and throws strikes, generating plenty of ground balls. Easy to picture him as a future #3 starter.
Update: He’s advanced from Low-A to High-A, and he’s settled in nicely in the Winston-Salem rotation. There’s a chance that he gets bumped up another level this summer. He’s got all the tools to become an MLB-level starter.
9. Alec Hansen, RHP (down from #7)
Age: 22 (DOB 10/10/1994)
Another big (6-7, 235) right-hander with a big time fastball and nasty slider. Had a breakout 2016, posting huge K/9 rates in college at Oklahoma which carried over to his pro debut. His command is an issue. Still, a really smart second round pick by the White Sox front office with #2 starter upside. He was listed as a potential top overall pick heading into the 2016 season.
Update: He moved down slightly, but that’s only due to Robert being added and Dunning looking like he’s slightly ahead of Hansen at this point. Hansen was just promoted to High-A Winston-Salem as well. He dominated the Sally League (11.39 K/9, 2.63 FIP), and is looking every bit of a 2nd round steal.
10. Luis Alexander Basabe, OF (down from #8)
Age: 20 (DOB 08/26/1996)
Not to be confused with his twin brother, Luis Alejandro Basabe of the D’Backs organization, this switch-hitting Venezuelan outfielder was added to the Chris Sale trade when the Red Sox wouldn’t include Rafael Devers as part of the package. This is another high upside prospect for the White Sox, with enough athleticism to be a 20 HR/20 SB threat if he continues to mature. Still young (only 20), he’s got great range and a great arm, and could be a standout CF.
Update: I probably had him a little bit too high initially. His age just has him further away from the majors than the other top guys. However, he’s got the time and the tools to develop.
11. Zack Burdi, RHP (down from #10)
Age: 22 (DOB 03/09/1995)
Local kid (Downers Grove South, IL) was the White Sox second first round selection in 2016. Profiles as a future closer who might see time in the White Sox bullpen as early as this summer. He throws really hard, and can hit triple digits with his fastball. He’s also got a plus slider that can generate strikeouts. He’s also raw, and can be downright wild at times. However if he can harness his pitches he has the potential to be the White Sox closer of the future.
Update: Although his ERA is high (5.00), his skills have also been great at AAA (14.00 K/9). I think he’s ready to get a shot for the big club.
12. Jordan Stephens, RHP (up from #14)
Age: 24 (DOB 09/12/1992)
Stephens dropped to the 5th round in 2015 because he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014. However, he had an outstanding 2016, leading the Carolina League in strikeouts with 155 Ks in 141 IP for High-A Winston-Salem. Throws a nice four-pitch mix which is lead by a good sinking fastball. He can generate strikeouts, but he also knows how to pitch as evidenced by his 3.2 K/BB rate. He’s one to watch out for as he projects to be a future #3 or #4 starter if he continues to develop.
Update: He’s been outstanding in 3 starts for AA Birmingham since coming back from injury, posting a 0.98 ERA, 7.36 K/9, and 2.95 BB/9.
13. Spencer Adams, RHP (down from #12)
Age: 21 (DOB 04/13/1996)
Adams held his own as a 20-year old at AA Birmingham last season. He finished the year with a 3.92 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 55 IP. He’s a ground ball specialist who pitches to contact. Needs to develop his changeup as a third pitch. Doesn’t throw really hard (low-90s), and it is troublesome to see his K/9 rate plunge to 4.2/9 when he hit AA. But he’s still really young for his level and has the athletic ability to improve (was also a basketball star in high school).
Update: He’s been quiet good for a really talented Birmingham Barons rotation, posting an excellent 1.21 BB/9 rate.
14. Micker Adolfo, OF (down from #13)
Age: 20 (DOB 09/11/1996)
A young Dominican that fits the “toolsy outfielder” profile that was so favored by the Kenny Williams front office. He is tall (6-3) and oozing with tools, but he also slashed .219/.261/.340 at A-level Kannapolis. He’s got a big arm that would make him a prototypical right fielder. However, if he can’t hit he will wind up as just another athletic project languishing in the White Sox farm system.
Update: Found some of that power this season (8 HR, .207 ISO), and he’s still only 20 years old so he’s at 14 with the potential to keep rising.
15. Bernardo Flores, LHP (up from #16)
Age: 21 (DOB 08/23/1995)
Flores was a great find by the White Sox, who drafted him out of the University of Southern California in the 7th round in 2016. He’s got a nice four-pitch mix and he knows how to use it to fool hitters. He’s also got good movement on his cut fastball. He transitioned well to rookie ball out of college last season. He’s got a shot at reaching the majors as a mid-rotation starter if he continues to develop.
Update: He’s looking great at Kannapolis so far this season. 8-4 with a 3.00 ERA, 8.08 K/9, and 1.50 BB/9.
16. Nicky Delmonico, 1B/3B (up from #37)
Age: 24 (DOB 07/12/1992)
Corner infield prospect who saw time at 1B/3B/RF last season. Power is his best tool, and he slugged an impressive .676 at AA Birmingham last season. Has deficient speed and glove, meaning his bat will have to work out for him to make it in the majors. Life of organized crime in his future if baseball doesn’t work out, based solely on his name.
Update: Here’s one of those initial projections that I was way off on. He’s hit for power (10 HR) with a nice plate approach (11.6 BB%, 15.8 K%) at AAA Charlotte. I’m hoping to see him get a cup of coffee this season to see if his plate approach can translate to the Majors.
17. Adam Engel, OF (up from #18)
Age: 25 (DOB 12/09/1991)
Commence with the toolsy outfielders. The White Sox system is full of them, and while several are likely to see time in the majors, few are likely to make a huge impact. Engel is a nice prospect because of his ability to use his plus speed once he gets on base. In 2015 he stole 65 bags for High-A Winston-Salem. Engel is a very good defender as well, with enough range to play CF and enough arm strength to play the corners. However, he will never hit for much power or average, and as he ages it looks increasingly likely that he winds up as a 4th-OF type.
Update: The first of the triumvirate of not-quite-ready for primetime CF prospects in the system. I think Engel has shown that he has the glove and speed to play everyday as a major leaguer. He just doesn’t have the bat.
18. Charlie Tilson, OF (up from #19)
Age: 24 (DOB 12/02/1992)
Another toolsy OF, Tilson is a local product (New Trier HS, IL). Similar to Engel, he brings plenty of speed to go with some on-base skills and a very good glove. Doesn’t hit for much power, but a 85% contact rate at AAA Memphis last season bodes well for future batting average potential. He’s got a shot at seeing some extended playing time in the majors this summer.
Update: The question now is whether he will play this season. He’s got some kind of foot issue that won’t resolve, with the team pushing back his rehab ETA to July now.
19. Trey Michalczewski, 3B (down from #11)
Age: 22 (DOB 02/27/1995)
Switch-hitting third baseman was a nice find in the 7th round of the 2013 draft by the Pale Hose. He’s got good size and power (6-3, 210). He’s also a patient hitter, routinely posting a walk-rate over 10%. He’s also got above-average power. Still hasn’t made enough contact and put everything together. Defense at 3B is also an issue, as he might lack the range to stick there in the big leagues. But he’s young for his level and has the potential to improve.
Update: He’s been bumped down to High-A after striking out a ton at AA. I was probably too high on him off the bat, but I still think he has upside.
20. Jake Burger, 3B (new addition via draft)
Age: 21 (DOB 04/10/1996)
The White Sox first-round pick in the 2017 draft is another advanced college bat. Burger is a power hitter from Missouri State University with legitimate pop to all fields. In 2017 he posted an excellent 1.091 OPS with 22 HR in 63 games. His fielding and speed are below-average. However, he’s got a very high ceiling due to his power stroke, and he could develop into a middle of the order hitter for the ChiSox in the near future.
21. Jordan Guerrero, LHP (up from #31, up to Tier 3)
Age: 22 (05/31/1994)
Lefty mixes fastball, slider, and changeup in starting role. Had the dubious distinction of leading the Southern League in walks last season. But he also flashed a 7.1 K/9 rate, holding out hope that he could develop into a back-end starter.
Update: He’s really put it together at AA this season, posting a 10.03 K/9 and 2.03 BB/9 rate for the Barons.
22. Gavin Sheets, 1B (new addition via draft)
Age: 21 (04/23/1996)
Picked by the White Sox in the second-round of the 2017 draft, Sheets is another power hitter in a similar mold to first-round pick Jake Burger. Sheets posted a 1.063 OPS for Wake Forest this season, launching 20 HR in 60 games for the Demon Deacons. He’s big (6-5, 235), and showed excellent plate discipline in his 2017 season (33:44 K:BB ratio). An interesting pick that hits for power and doesn’t strike out much.
23. Jacob May, OF (down from #20, down from Tier 3)
Age: 25 (DOB 01/23/1992)
Look at that, another toolsy athletic OF prospect! Kenny Williams loved these types of players, but I can’t think of one that came through the White Sox system and made a dent at the big league level. May probably has more raw speed than Engel or Tilson, but it he still hasn’t flashed the same high SB numbers. Low OBP hampers those numbers because, as we all know, you can’t steal first base. He’s got great range in CF but a weak arm. Little-to-no power profile caps his upside.
Update: We saw what he can do in the majors, and it was not impressive. His upside is now a 4th-OF.
24. Chris Beck, RHP (up from #25)
Age: 26 (DOB 09/04/1990)
His age puts him close to that “failed prospect” range. Beck had a couple of poor stints with the big club in 2015 and 2016. His season at AAA Charlotte wasn’t much better (4.22 ERA, 1.54 WHIP). He probably winds up as a long reliever, but he’s got three average pitches and might wind up with a back end rotation spot if he can figure it out.
Update: He’s appeared in 25 games for the White Sox this season in a ‘mop-up’ role.
25. Juan Minaya, RHP (up from #26)
Age: 26 (DOB 09/18/1990)
Throws hard (93-97 fastball) and has a solid slider, but he’s also 26 and has yet to prove anything. He’s showed the ability to strike out batters at AAA, but those skills haven’t translated to the Show. Back end bullpen filler for now.
Update: 7 games out of the pen for the White Sox have been ugly (8.10 ERA), but he’s also posted a 13.50 K/9 rate
26. Jake Peter, IF (down from #23)
Age: 24 (DOB 04/05/1993)
Another super-utility type of prospect. Played his college ball at Creighton. Peter played every infield position, LF, and RF last season. He’s got the ability to get on base, as he posted a .380 OBP at AA Birmingham last season. Steals (and speed?) tapered off in 2016, limiting his value.
Update: Hasn’t done much of note at AA this season. The clock is ticking…
27. Amado Nunez, IF (down from #22)
Age: 19 (DOB 10/10/1997)
Lanky infield prospect from the Dominican Republic. He’s not great at anything yet, but he’s got some power potential and could also hit for average if he continues to develop. His defense isn’t good enough to play shortstop in the bigs, leaving him with the upside of a super-utility player with the ability to hit for some average and power.
28. Brian Clark, LHP (down from #24)
Age: 24 (DOB 04/27/1993)
Big (6-3, 225) lefty reliever who flashed good K/9 (8.0) at AA last season, but couldn’t carry it over to AAA Charlotte (6.0). He’s likely going to wind up being a LOOGY if he makes it to the bigs, but his slider has potential to turn him into something more. Still young.
Update: He’s been doing really good work as a left-handed RP specialist at Charlotte (2.53 ERA). He might get a shot on the South Side soon.
29. Connor Walsh, RHP (down from #28)
Age: 24 (DOB 10/18/1992)
Relief-pitching prospect with a good fastball/curveball combo. He’s flashed a high K/9 rate at every level he’s pitched. He’s also good at limiting homeruns. Had issues with his control when he hit AA Birmingham last season, but keep your eyes on him for a future bullpen role.
Update: Has walked way too many batters (7.71 BB/9) this year to be effective in any role.
30. Jameson Fisher, OF (unchanged)
Age: 23 (DOB 12/18/1993)
2016 4th round pick out of SE Louisiana University. Fisher has a nice swing and displayed great patience in Rookie ball last season, leading to a 13% walk rate. He has the potential to hit for high average if he can maintain those skills as he moves up the levels. Which is good, as he doesn’t have plus power, speed, or glove to make it to the majors any other way.
Update: He got moved up to High-A Winston-Salem after putting together a solid all-around performance at Kannapolis.
31. Alex Call, OF (down from #28)
Age: 22 (DOB 09/27/1994)
2016 third round pick by the Pale Hose. Posted nice .358/.426/.667 slash line at Ball State last season. He’s got a strong arm but probably not enough range to make it as a CF. As opposed to the usual Kenny Williams “toolsy” OF prospect, this is a Rick Hahn “grindy” OF prospect.
Update: Hasn’t done much of note this season at High-A.
32. Danny Hayes, 1B (up from #41)
Age: 26 (DOB 09/21/1990)
Posted a nice .489 slugging percentage at AAA Charlotte last season. He’s got power upside, but he’s also 26 and a likely a career AAA player at this point.
Update: Mashed 13 HR so far this season for Charlotte, still waiting for him to get a DH shot in the majors.
33. Aaron Bummer, LHP (up from #50)
Age: 23 (DOB 09/21/1993)
Lefty starter who played his college ball for Nebraska. He’s got good size and a mid-90s fastball. He got a non-roster spring training invite this season, so we will get a chance to see if he’s got enough talent to develop into a back-end starter.
Update: He’s proven very-effective as a reliever for AA Birmingham, posting a 2.19 ERA and 9.49 K/9 rate in 24 innings.
34. Luis Curbelo, 2B/SS (down from #29)
Age: 19 (DOB 11/10/1997)
Tall (6-3), skinny middle infield prospect from Puerto Rico. White Sox 6th round pick in 2016. He’s got some power potential but needs to fill out his frame to realize it going forward. He could wind up being an average everyday player if he develops.
Update: His rookie ball season is just getting started.
35. Evan Skoug, C (new addition via draft)
Age: 21 (DOB 10/21/1995)
Skoug fits the pattern of the White Sox 2017 draft, which was to target developed college power bats and ignore fielding and baserunning deficiencies. It think it is a sound plan, as the White Sox system was full of ‘toolsy’ position players but lacked these type of advanced college bats. Skoug’s TCU Horned Frogs are still alive in the College World Series, but he’s posted a .929 OPS with 20 HR so far this season. His K/BB rate has risen to 2.40 this season though, as he’s looked to tap into more power.
36. Aaron Schnurbusch, OF (up from #45)
Age: 23 (DOB 01/21/1994)
2016’s 28th round (!) draft pick was a nice find by Rick Hahn’s crew. He’s big (6-5, 235), can hit for some power, can run well, and totes a decent glove. Posted a 1.013 OPS in 238 Pioneer League at-bats in 2016. Nice find that could lead somewhere.
Update: Dropped to Low-A Kannapolis after looking lost in High-A. Still holding out hope.
37. Matt Cooper, RHP (up from #47)
Age: 25 (DOB 09/30/1991)
Interesting prospect because he developed additional velocity once he made it to AA Birmingham last season, where he posted a 3.07 ERA and 1.02 WHIP working out of the bullpen. A future bullpen role on the south side is not totally out of the question.
Update: Don’t let his surface stats (1-6, 4.10 ERA) fool you, Cooper has a 2.24 FIP in 13 starts for Birmingham this year. He’s still an intriguing prospect in my book.
38. Seby Zavala, C (previously unranked)
Age: 23 (DOB 08/28/1993)
He’s a really deep catching prospect, but he’s handled Sally League pitching with aplomb this season, flashing plenty of power (13 HR in 207 PA) in the process. His .374 wOBA shows how well his bat has been playing.
39. Mike Morrison, RHP (previously unranked)
Age: 23 (DOB 09/22/1993)
He’s been outstanding in the closer role for Kannapolis this season, leading the team with 10 saves in 23 appearances. He’s combined an 11.23 K/9 rate with a 1.60 BB/9 rate to post a phenomenal 0.53 ERA this season. He’s definitely a potential bullpen piece for the club in the future.
40. Tyler Danish, RHP (previously unranked)
Age: 22 (09/12/1994)
I had him just outside the Top-50 in my initial rankings, but that looks like it was a mistake. Danish acquitted himself fairly well in a spot start for the big club this year, and has posted a 3.84 ERA for AAA Charlotte this season. He’s never going to be an ace, but he could figure out how to pitch and become a back-end piece for the White Sox at some point. He’s still only 22.
41. Corey Zangari, 1B/DH (down from #17)
Age: 20 (DOB 05/07/1997)
He’s very young, but Zangari has a lot of power potential which pushes him up the list of White Sox prospects. He struggled to make contact after being pushed to A-level Kannapolis last season, finishing with an abysmal .166 BA in 223 at-bats. He’s got very poor defensive skills as well, which will limit him to 1B/DH duties. But when he’s on, he can mash, with power to all fields. If he can harness his 6-4, 240 frame and raw power, he’s got the potential to make it to the Show.
Update: I was way too high on him in the first place, and now he’s had Tommy John Surgery so he’s unlikely to play this year.
42. Brandon Dulin, 1B (previously unranked)
Age: 24 (DOB 12/29/1992)
A cast-off from the Kansas City Royals season, Dulin has found some power since joining the Kannapolis Intimidators. Dulin has stroked 12 home runs so far this year, putting him near the top of the Sally League. An outside shot at heading anywhere, but Dulin is worth keeping our eyes on.
43. Luis Martinez, RHP (down from #32)
Age: 22 (DOB 01/29/1995)
Tall (6-6) Venezuelan is an intriguing prospect. Showed a 9.3 K/9 rate in 137 IP at A-level Kannapolis last season. He’s got upside, but he needs to develop a third pitch to make it as a starter.
Update: Beat up in 4 starts at High-A Winston-Salem this season.
44. Victor Diaz, RHP (down from #33)
Age: 23 (DOB 05/24/1994)
Dominican pitching prospect that came over from Boston in the Chris Sale deal. His fastball can touch 100 mph, but he’s a very raw prospect. Taking the “throw hard and pray” route to the majors at this point.
Update: He’s only pitched 4 innings for Low-A Kannapolis this year, so time will tell if his live arm leads him anywhere.
45. Thaddius Lowry, RHP (down from #39)
Age: 22 (DOB 10/04/1994)
Tall (6-4) righty from Texas. Has a three-pitch mix and isn’t afraid to pitch to contact. Also shows good control, limiting walks. However, he lacks the stuff to get strikeouts. His upside is a back-end starter, which basically tells you all you need to know.
Update: 7.11 ERA for AA Birmingham this year.
46. Zach Thompson, RHP (down from #40)
Age: 23 (DOB 10/23/1993)
Another right-handed Texan, Thompson was excellent at Class A Kannapolis (2.62 ERA, 1.13 WHIP), but got knocked around at High-A Winston-Salem (5.65 ERA, 1.49 WHIP). He’s got bad mechanics and a below-average changeup, which might explain it. But Thompson is big enough (6-7, 230) and can throw hard enough to develop into something more.
Update: 1-7 with a 5.63 ERA for Winston-Salem this year. Control has really been an issue.
47. Courtney Hawkins, OF (down from #36)
Age: 23 (DOB 11/12/1993)
A Ken Williams toolsy OF flop. Had a brutal .203/.253/.349 slash line while repeating AA Birmingham last season. Projectable power has stalled out. But hey, he looks like a big time athlete when he puts that uniform on.
Update: Batted .132 for AA Birmingham. Went down as far as Kannapolis to work on his swing. Wonder if he will even make it back to AA again.
48. Keon Barnum, 1B (unchanged)
Age: 24 (DOB 01/16/1993)
Once projected to be a big-league power hitter, Barnum still hasn’t been able to figure it out past A-ball. Hit a dismal .194 for AA-Birmingham last season
Update: Only batting .196, but he’s flashed some power, hitting 9 HR for the Barons this season.
49. Louie Lechich, LHP (down from #46)
Age: 25 (DOB 11/19/1991)
25 year-old converted OF. He’s very athletic and has an above average change-up, but at this point the Sox can’t expect much from Lechich.
Update: 2.33 ERA in 18 appearances for Winston-Salem this season. It looks like the conversion attempt might pay off.
50. Jhoandro Alfaro, C (down from #15, down from Tier 3)
Age: 19 (DOB 11/04/1997)
Colombian backstop is an advanced prospect for his young age. He’s a switch-hitter with good skills behind the plate, meaning he should advance levels quickly as his career progresses. Posted a strong 85% contact rate combined with an excellent 13% walk rate in Rookie ball last season. There’s a lot to like, but it is unlikely that he will make the big club until 2020 at the earliest.
Update: Not sure what I was thinking ranking him so high. He’s a long way off from the big leagues.
Graduates (previous ranking in parenthesis):
A few players made the jump from Prospect status to big league regular so far this season:
Matt Davidson, 3B (35)
Man was I way off on this guy. He’s got major-league power, leading the club with 17 HR so far this season and posting an impressive .311 ISO! His 39% strikeout rate is obviously still very concerning though. He’s a bad BABIP run from becoming Todd Frazier with a worse glove. But Davidson proved that 1) he can play in The Show and 2) Terry McGuffage was right, I had him ranked way too low.
Michael Ynoa, RP (21)
He’s got control issues (5.18 BB), but it looks like the club is content to let him work them out in the Majors. Beware the ERA/FIP split (3.70 ERA/5.28 FIP), and note regression could come soon.
Dylan Covey, SP (38)
The ChiSox gave him a shot in the starting rotation, but he was terrible (0-4 in 8 starts, 8.12 ERA). It is possible that his oblique injury was to blame, but either way, Covey can no longer be considered a prospect at this point.O
Omar Narvaez, C (44)
He’s stuck with the big club, but his pitiful slash line (.243/.344/.270) really makes you wonder why.
Dropouts (previous ranking in parenthesis):
Several prospects have fallen completely off the radar this season:
Johan Cruz, SS (34)
Yosmer Solorzano, SP (42)
Robin Leyer, RP (45)
Keenyn Walker, OF (49)