For the White Sox prospect team of the year, I considered prospects who have not yet broken the 130 AB, 50 IP rookie limit in the MLB. This means that some of the big prospects coming into the season, including Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer, and Nicky Delmonico, will not make the team. That being said, there were many strong performances in the system this season, with some performances coming from previously unheralded prospects. Here is my Chicago White Sox 2017 Prospects Team of the Year:
C – Seby Zavala
52 games for Kannapolis, 55 games for Winston Salem
.282/.353/.499, 21 HR, 72 RBI, 63 R, 1 SB
Zack Collins is the highest ranked catching prospect in the White Sox system, but it was Seby Zavala who had the best year. He led the offense for Kannapolis in the first half, leading the team to its first playoff appearance since 2009.
1B – Justin Yurchak
60 games for Great Falls
.345/.448/.520, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 46 R, 1 SB
Yurchak was the White Sox hottest hitter in Rookie Ball this season, finishing with a .968 OPS. We will see what he can do as he climbs up the organizational ladder next season, but we should keep our eyes on Yurchak. He was the White Sox 12th round pick this summer.
2B – Jake Peter
75 games for Birmingham, 45 games for Charlotte
.279/.344/.417, 13 HR, 49 RBI, 63 R, 11 SB
Peter had looked like a future utility player for a while, but something seemed to click this year playing primarily at 2B. His position flexibility might give him a shot to breaking through on the South Side sometime next year.
3B – Anthony Villa
63 games for Great Falls
.314/.453/.619, 16 HR, 57 RBI, 56 R, 0 SB
He’s old for rookie ball (23), but it is hard to deny the success that Villa had swinging the bat for the Voyagers this summer. Villa hasn’t really been on anybody’s radar, but he is sure to be after the numbers he put up this year. He was a well-deserved Pioneer League All-Star.
SS – Danny Mendick
84 games for Winston-Salem, 41 games for Birmingham
.256/.340/.405, 10 HR, 51 RBI, 59 R, 12 SB
Struggled a bit when he moved up to AA, but his work at Winston-Salem (.841 OPS) was fantastic. Mendick has some promise, and what else could you ask for out of a 22nd round draft pick.
LF – Jameson Fisher
60 games for Kannapolis, 64 games for Winston-Salem
.245/.342/.402, 10 HR, 68 RBI, 68 R, 5 SB
Fisher played very well in the first half, helping the Intimidators in their playoff run. In the second half move to Winston-Salem he faced some adjustment, but he played well enough to acquit himself as a possible regular player moving forward. Best mustache in the White Sox system.
CF – Luis Robert
28 games for the DSL White Sox
.310/.491/.536, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 17 R, 12 SB
The only hitter in the White Sox system with more upside than this 20 year old Cuban is Eloy Jimenez. Robert dealt with some nagging lower body injuries this summer, but when he played he dominated the competition in the DSL. It will be a lot of fun to see where he winds up starting the season in the White Sox system next summer.
RF – Eloy Jimenez
29 games for Winston-Salem, 18 games for Birmingham
.312/.379/.568, 18 HR, 65 RBI, 54 R, 1 SB
Eloy came over from the Cubs in the Jose Quintana trade, and he seemed to smell the opportunity in front of him with the rebuilding White Sox as he went bananas (1.092 OPS) when he arrived at Winston-Salem. Eloy has the look of a future star.
SP – Michael Kopech
22 games for Birmingham, 3 games for Charlotte
9-8, 2.88 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 172 K, 134.1 innings
21 year-old righty was dominant this year, collecting awards en route to a fantastic season. Kopech’s next step is to continue working on his control (65 BBs). It will be very interesting to see whether the White Sox will give him a shot at the rotation out of spring training next year.
SP – Alec Hansen
13 games for Kannapolis, 11 games for Winston-Salem, 2 games for Birmingham
11-8, 2.80 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 191 K, 141.1 innings
I keep saying this, but Hansen might wind up being the steal of the 2016 draft. He dropped to the 2nd round after struggling in college and being tried out as a reliever. But he was fantastic this year, flashing a plus fastball and a hammer curve to lead all of the minor leagues in strikeouts while rising 3 levels.
SP – Dane Dunning
4 games for Kannapolis, 22 games for Winston-Salem
8-8, 2.94 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 168K, 144.0 innings
If it weren’t for the incredible performances by Kopech and Hansen this year, we’d be hearing a lot more about this right hander that we acquired from the Nationals in the Adam Eaton trade. Dunning flashed a lot of potential and displayed a high pitching IQ this year in the minors. The big question going forward might be who was the better piece in the Eaton trade – Dunning or Lucas Giolito?
RP – Mike Morrison
23 games for Kannapolis, 19 games for Winston-Salem
3-3, 2.79 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 12 saves, 75 K, 67.2 innings
Morrison showed a lot of promise as a potential future closer this season, filling that role well for both Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. Morrison impressed by successfully closing out 12 of 13 save opportunities. We will keep an eye on Morrison as he climbs up the ladder, but if he turns into a useful bullpen piece that is a great return on a 27th round draft pick!
Article featured image of Jake Peter – courtesy Birmingham Barons Twitter