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Chicago White Sox Top 20 prospect for 2018: mid-season review

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Reviewing the White Sox pre-season prospects list. . .

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago White Sox at Seattle Mariners
Eloy Jimenez
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing with our mid-season organization reviews, we turn our attention to Chicago White Sox farm system.

This list was originally published February 11th, 2018 and updated March 12th, 2018

*****THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST******

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE PRE-SEASON LIST

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES

1) Eloy Jimenez, OF, Grade A-/A: Age 21, signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Chicago Cubs in 2013, traded to White Sox last summer in Jose Quintana deal; outstanding 2018 season with .339/.386/.586 line between Double-A and Triple-A, 21 homers, 30 walks, just 64 strikeouts in 389 at-bats; pure Grade A prospect at this point and second-overall behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr; ready for a trial at any time.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox
Michael Kopech
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

2) Michael Kopech, RHP, Grade A-: Age 22, first round pick by Boston Red Sox in 2013, traded to White Sox in Chris Sale deal; 3.70 ERA in 126 innings in Triple-A with 170/60 K/BB, just 101 hits, promoted to majors recently, has fanned eight in first eight innings with zero walks, control is the key, his stuff is exceptional; Grade A prospect now.

3) Luis Robert, OF, Grade B+: Age 21 Cuban signed last summer for $26,000,000; hitting .280/.345/.380 between Low-A, High-A, and rookie ball rehab, 12 steals, 11 walks, 45 strikeouts in 150 at-bats; playing time limited by thumb ligament injury; showing expected athleticism/speed but power has been disappointing and needs work with the strike zone; injury may have caused some of this; still toolsy and young.

4) Dylan Cease, RHP, Grade B+: Age 22, sixth round pick in 2014 by Chicago Cubs, sent to White Sox in Quintana deal; 2.40 ERA in 124 innings between High-A and Double-A, 160/50 K/BB, just 82 hits; unhittable at times and command has improved, stock up another tick, elite prospect.

5) Alec Hansen, RHP, Grade B+: Age 23, second round pick in 2016 from University of Oklahoma; had a fine year in 2017 but has struggled in ’18, 5.84 ERA in 45 innings between High-A and Double-A, 46/49 K/BB; massive control problems and a sore forearm have ruined his year, stock down.

6) Dane Dunning, RHP, Grade B+: Age 23, first round pick in 2016 by the Washington Nationals from University of Florida, traded to Sox in Adam Eaton deal; 2.71 ERA in 86 innings between High-A and Double-A, 100/26 K/BB; was shut down in June with elbow sprain; when healthy his stuff is almost as good as Kopech and Cease and he uses it well.

7) Zack Collins, C, Grade B: Age 23, first round pick in 2016 from University of Miami Hurricanes; hitting .239/.388/.413 with 15 homers, 97 walks, 150 strikeouts in 397 at-bats in Double-A; power/patience type but whiffs, low batting average are concerns, though walks help boost OBP even when in a slump; 30% of runners caught, receiving has marginally improved, enough to stay behind the plate I think.

8) Carson Fulmer, RHP, Grade B-: Age 24, first round pick in 2015 from Vanderbilt; 5.40 ERA in 63 innings in Triple-A, 59/41 K/BB; 8.07 ERA in 32 innings in majors, 29/24 K/BB; the best news is that he is now past rookie limits with 67 major league innings, meaning I no longer have to worry about where to rank him; likely needs a change of scenery.

9) Blake Rutherford, OF, Grade B-: Age 21, first round pick by the New York Yankees in 2016, traded to White Sox in Todd Frazier deal; .291/.342/.427 with six homers, 14 steals, 31 walks, 83 strikeouts in 419 at-bats in High-A; stock holding but needs to show more isolated power to avoid tweener risk.

10) Jake Burger, 3B, Grade B-: Age 22, first round pick in 2017 from Missouri State University; torn Achilles tendon has cost him entire season.

11) Zack Burdi, RHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 22, first round pick in 2016 from University of Louisville, Tommy John in 2017, rehabbing now in rookie ball, has 2.84 ERA in 6.1 innings, 7/4 K/BB.

12) Micker Adolfo, OF, Grade C+: Age 21, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2013, hitting .282/.369/.464 with 11 homers, 34 walks, 92 strikeouts in 291 at-bats in High-A until being shut down for Tommy John surgery, expected to be ready to play by early 2019.

13) Gavin Sheets, 1B, Grade C+: Age 22, second round pick in 2017 from Wake Forest; hitting .292/.367/.400 with 48 walks, 74 strikeouts in 407 at-bats in High-A; good approach, also a reliable defender, not as much home run power as expected.

14) Spencer Adams, RHP, Grade C+: Age 21, second round pick in 2014 from high school in Georgia; 3.85 ERA in 145 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 87/58 K/BB, 145 hits; fastball has declined since high school, though he’s proven he can eat innings; I think he could take a step forward if moved to bullpen.

15) Ryan Cordell, OF, Grade C+: Age 26, traded from Milwaukee Brewers to White Sox in 2017; playing time limited this year by broken clavicle; hitting .232/.277/.358 with two homers, six steals, 11 walks, 41 strikeouts in 151 at-bats in Triple-A; has the tools to be much better than that, but getting old for a prospect and polish has never been his forte.

16) Jordan Stephens, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, fifth round pick in 2015 out of Rice University; 4.10 ERA in 136 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 130/49 K/BB, 140 hits; good curveball, throws strikes, back-end of the rotation or (more probably) long relief type.

17) Jordan Guerrero, LHP, Grade C+: Age 24, 15th round pick in 2012 from high school in California; 4.78 ERA in 124 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 111/45 K/BB, another fifth starter/long relief option.

18) Bernardo Flores, LHP, Grade C+: Age 23, seventh round pick in 2016 from Southern Cal, 2.75 ERA in 144 innings between High-A and Double-A, 99/31 K/BB; best pitch is change-up, throws strikes, another efficiency type.

19) Ian Clarkin, LHP, Grade C+: Age 23, first round pick by the Yankees in 2013, traded to White Sox in Todd Frazier deal; missed time with a groin injury; 5.19 ERA in 78 innings in High-A, Double-A, and rookie ball injury rehab; 44/36 K/BB, 81 hits; hasn’t lived up to potential he showed in high school, could improve in bullpen.

20) Seby Zavala, C, Grade C+: Age 24, 12th round pick in 2015 from San Diego State University; hitting .269/.329/.433 with 13 homers, 32 walks, 103 strikeouts in 353 at-bats in Double-A/Triple-A; 32% of runners caught, stock holding.

21) Yermin Mercedes, C, Grade C+: Age 25, originally signed by Baltimore Orioles out of Dominican Republic in 2010, acquired by White Sox in minor league portion of 2017 Rule 5 draft, hitting .291/.367/.483 with 13 homers, 39 walks, 65 strikeouts in 333 at-bats in High-A; 45% of runners caught; multi-year track record of strong performance but very old for this level, clearly deserves a chance to move up.

OTHER GRADE C+

Luis Alexander Basabe, OF; Hitting .261/.353/.453 between High-A and Double-A, 58 walks, 134 strikeouts in 417 at-bats

Ryan Burr, RHP; 2.45 ERA in 51 innings in AA/AAA, 51/25 K/BB, 34 hits, just promoted to majors, fanned two in 1.1 innings in first game, solid bullpen type.

Casey Gillaspie, 1B; Hitting .220/.285/.325 with three homers in 255 at-bats in Triple-A; power and patience have both evaporated, currently on DL.

Luis Gonzalez, OF; Hitting .305/.364/.499 with 14 homers, 10 steals between Low-A and High-A, stock moving upward.

Lincoln Henzman, RHP; 2.51 ERA in 100 innings between Low-A and High-A, 78/17 K/BB, tons of ground balls.

Kade McClure, RHP; 3.02 ERA in 42 innings in Low-A, 42/14 K/BB, pitching well until hurting knee, out rest of the season with surgery.

Jose Rondon, INF; .249/.290/.495 with 18 homers in 313 at-bats in Triple-A, .263/.311/.544 with four homers in 57 at-bats in the majors; massive power surge, previous career-high in homers was seven.

Tito Polo, OF; Missed much of season with injuries, hitting .245/.313/.337 in 163 at-bats in Double-A.

Evan Skoug, C; Disappointing season at .189/.281/.299 in Low-A, defense has been good.

Thyago Vieria, RHP 5.05 ERA in 41 innings in Triple-A, 50/24 K/BB, 7.27 ERA in 8.2 MLB innings, 6/4 K/BB, impressive arm but needs better control.

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A difficult season in the majors, but Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech give some hope for the immediate future.

Thinking ahead for the 2019 list, look for 2018 draftees Nick Madrigal and Steele Walker, a higher ranking for Luis Alexander Basabe and trade acquisition Kodi Medeiros all candidates for the top ten. Relief sleepers Jose Ruiz, Ian Hamilton, and Tyler Johnson will also bear watching.