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Chicago White Sox Top 20 Prospects

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Brandon McCarthy (AP)

  1. Brandon McCarthy, RHP, A-
  2. Gio Gonzalez, LHP, B+
  3. Brian Anderson, OF, B
  4. Ryan Sweeney, OF, B
  5. Josh D. Fields, 3B, B
  6. Francisco Hernandez, C, B
  7. Tyler Lumsden, LHP, B-
  8. Chris Young, OF, B-
  9. Ray Liotta, LHP, B-
  10. Sean Tracey, RHP, B-
  11. Jeremy Owens, OF, C+
  12. Casey Rogowski, 1B, C+
  13. Kris Honel, RHP, C+
  14. Wes Whisler, LHP, C+
  15. Mike Spidale, OF, C+
  16. Pedro Lopez, SS, C
  17. Adam Ricks, C-2B, C
  18. Paulino Reynoso, LHP, C
  19. Dennis Ulacia, LHP, C
  20. Antoin Gray, 2B, C
Some good quality at the top, but the system thins out quickly.

Brandon McCarthy doesn't get the same sort of attention as other pitching prospects. But he should. The guy posted a 202/30 K/BB ratio last year, and he isn't a soft-tosser.

Gio Gonzalez is a risky high school guy. He also posted a 3.03 ERA and 27/13 K/BB in 33 innings in the South Atlantic League three months out of high school. He needs to sharpen up his control, but his pro debut was very impressive and I think he will emerge as a top prospect this year.

I'm less impressed with Brian Anderson than some people are. I mean, I think he's a good solid prospect. Has some power, some speed, has hit .307/.386/.494 through his first 130 pro games, although his production did tail off after his promotion to Double-A. The White Sox are high enough on him that they were more willing to trade Jeremy Reed. But there's just something about Anderson that makes me think he's as good now as he's ever going to get. I can't prove that, of course. But the feeling is there, and sometimes these "intuitive feelings" are actually subconscious pattern recognition. Sometimes.

Ryan Sweeney held his own in the Carolina League at age 19. He hit .283/.342/.379, which isn't that hot. But he was VERY young for the competition, and I think he will improve significantly with more experience.

Josh Fields needs to cut down on his strikeouts (74 in 66 pro games) but he has good power, and enough athleticism to be a fine defensive third baseman with more experience. I don't think he'll be ready until 2007, but by that time the Sox should be thoroughly tired of Joe Crede.

Francisco Hernandez is another overlooked prospect, a Dominican catcher with a career .311/.393/.465 line in the low minors. If he continues to develop, he will be among the elite prospects in the game a year from now.

Ray Liotta and Tyler Lumsden are 2004 draftees, power-armed lefties who will move quickly if their command holds up. Chris Young is a tools outfielder, producer of 24 home runs and 31 stolen bases last year in the Sally League. He also struck out 145 times in 135 games, so he is far from a sure thing.

Sean Tracey owns a 95 MPH power sinker, but has struggled with his command and control. He made progress last year, but Double-A will be a challenge for him.

After that you get into a big group of C+/C guys. Jeremy Owens, recently acquired from the Nationals, has potential as a leadoff man due to his speed and surprisingly good plate discipline. Rogowski has big power and plate discipline, but was a league-repeater last year and has to prove himself in Double-A. Honel was a major disappointment last season, and has to prove that he is 1) healthy and 2) confident. Both are questions. Whisler has a great arm but no refinement. Spidale projects as a useful fourth outfielder. Lefties Ulacia and Reynoso could earn LOOGY spots eventually. Lopez, Ricks, and Gray all have potential but are too far away from the Majors to be sure of at this point. Ricks has the best bat of the trio.