Typically when you think of top prospects, you think of future aces, middle-of-the-order hitters, or just about any player who you would expect to make a big impact in the future.
Most of the time, relief pitching doesn't come to mind.
Who’s to blame? There isn't nearly as much exciting about a relief pitcher as there is a position player or starting pitching.
However, relief pitchers are just as vital to building a winning team as any other position.
It looks like the Chicago White Sox have done a great job of building a strong future relief core brimming with upside. Most of these guys aren't top-20 prospects or high draft picks. Despite being overlooked, they've done everything possible in 2018 to ensure that they'll be a big part of the Chicago White Sox future.
Ian Hamilton (MLB.com #16):
The highest-ranked reliever in the White Sox system, Ian Hamilton has had a huge 2018 season. Hamilton is a combined 3-2 with a 1.85 ERA in 48.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. With 59 strikeouts in those innings as a result of an upper-90s fastball and plus slider, Hamilton looks like the set-up man of the future on the South Side.
Colton Turner (Unranked):
Acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2016 Dioner Navarro trade, lefty Colton Turner was purely un-hittable in Double-A, going 7-2 with a 0.86 ERA in 27 appearances (42 innings). After being demoted to Double-A in May, Turner is ready for another trial before a potential call-up to the majors next season.
Caleb Frare (Unranked):
Acquired last month from the New York Yankees in exchange for International Bonus Pool Money, situational lefty Caleb Frare has been lights-out in 2018, going 5-1 with a 0.81 ERA in 41 appearances across two levels with two teams. Frare is a candidate to be among the White Sox call-ups once the rosters expand on September 1st.
Jose Ruiz (MLB.com #24):
Claimed off of waivers from the San Diego Padres last winter, Jose Ruiz is looking like a serious diamond in the rough for the White Sox. Across High-A and Double-A, Ruiz is 3-1 with a 2.96 ERA, striking out 75 in 54.2 innings, while saving 15 games.
Ryan Burr (Unranked):
Acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for international bonus pool money last summer, Ryan Burr has also emerged as a potential future piece of the ‘pen. In 37 appearances across Double-A and Triple-A, Burr was 4-3 with a 2.45 ERA, earning himself a call up to the majors on Wednesday. Burr struck out two in 1.1 hitless innings in relief in his debut on Thursday.
High-A Winston-Salem Dash:
Mike Morrison (Unranked):
Drafted in the 27th round in the 2016 draft out of Coastal Carolina, where he served as the closer on their National Championship team, Mike Morrison has put together a great season in High-A, going 5-3 with a 3.10 ERA in 36 appearances. Morrison has held opponents to an impressive .195 average on the season.
Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays at the trade deadline in exchange for international bonus pool money, Hunter Schryver has had a great debut professional season after being drafted in the seventh round out of Villanova last season. In 37 appearances, Schryver is 1-4 with a 2.03 ERA, striking out 71 in 57.2 innings.
Tyler Johnson (MLB.com #23):
Tyler Johnson has had easily the most impressive season out of all of the White Sox relief prospects. The 2017 fifth-rounder is 8-0 with a 1.36 ERA in 53 innings between Low-A and High-A. Johnson has saved 11 games, while striking out 84 in those 53 innings. Johnson has allowed just two home runs, while his WHIP sits at a stunning 0.8