Top 10 Prospects for the Chicago White Sox
Chicago White Sox Top 10 Prospects
I wanted to take a look at the future for the Chicago White Sox. That means looking at their best prospects. Now it is true that most of these prospects may not turn into the greatest players. Remember Joe Borchard and Brian Anderson? Not every prospect can turn into a stud player.
It is true that the White Sox farm system isn’t the best in the MLB. It is easy to blame former General Manager Kenny Williams for why the farm system hasn’t been the greatest. He should take most of the blame. When he wanted a player via trade he never stopped to think about the future. He would trade good prospects and other keys to the farm system.
In 2012, the White Sox were helped by some rookies that they developed. For example, take a look at closer Addison Reed. Reed advanced pretty far in the farm system for the White Sox, and then became the closer for the big club. While Reed still looks raw, he does seem to have what it takes to be a closer.
It isn’t all doom and gloom for the farm system for the White Sox, though. They do have some great prospects that other clubs would want in their organization. With that being said, let’s look into the top prospects for the White Sox in no particular order.
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Trayce Thompson is still a raw talent, but he has a lot of potential. Thompson plays centerfield but seems more confident in right. He is still working on cutting down his strikeouts. In 2011, he struck out 172 times and in 2012, he cut that down to 166. In 2012, he played in high A ball, Double A and Triple A. With all three he hit .253, drove in 96 runs and hit 25 home runs. In the Arizona Fall League, Thompson hit .208, drove in seven runs and hit two home runs in 48 games. I don’t expect to see him with the White Sox in 2013 but he will be with the club in the future.
Courtney Hawkins was drafted by the White Sox in the first round with the 13th pick. He is already showing why the White Sox drafted him so high. In his first year in the minors he advanced from Rookie ball to high A ball. Hawkins batted .284, drove in 33 runs and hit eight home runs. He had a .324 on base percentage, as well. Scouts say that Hawkins can hit any fastball and has power to all parts of the field. Hawkins still needs to cut down on his swing, as he struck out 56 times. He's a centerfielder, but I expect him to play in left or right. Hawkins is another young player who will be with the club in the near future.
Carlos Sanchez was the talk of the Arizona Fall League for the White Sox, and for good reason. He hit .299 there with 16 runs batted in. Sanchez has breezed through the minors. In 2012, he hit .323, drove in 56 runs and stole 26 bases. More importantly is the fact that Sanchez is great defensively. He is considered one of the top second base prospects in the MLB, though the White Sox have been toying with the idea of moving him to third base. Sanchez might be up with the big club in 2013, but if I were the White Sox, I would give him one more year in the minors. Let him mature, and don’t jump the gun.
Andre Rienzo is a young right-handed Brazilian who started to turn heads in the Arizona Fall League. Down in Arizona, he was 1-1 with a 4.74 ERA and 24 strikeouts. In 2012, Rienzo was 7-3 with a great 2.53 ERA and 113 strikeouts. He's still turning heads in Winter Ball in Venezuela. General Manager Rick Hahn has already said that they plan on keeping Rienzo as a starter. He's going to try and make the roster for Team Brazil for the World Baseball Classic, so don’t expect to see him break Spring Training with the White Sox. I do expect Rienzo to be with the White Sox sooner than other pitchers they have in the minors, more likely in the bullpen to start.
Scott Snodgress is a tall lefty that the White Sox drafted out of Stanford University. In 2012, Snodgress was 7-3 with a 3.00 ERA and had 128 strikeouts in 141 innings. Scouts say he has a great fastball and breaking ball that might put him on a fast track as a reliever. The White Sox might want to develop him into a starter. Regardless of what they do, it’s still nice to have another good lefty in the farm system.
Keenyn Walker is turning into a valuable player for the White Sox. First off, he is a switch hitter and he already has 252 plate appearances in the minors. More importantly, he is incredibly fast, which the White Sox love. It allows for him to make up ground in center and to be a menace when he gets on base. In 2012, Walker hit .267 and had an on base percentage of .378. He also stole 56 bases. He is still raw, and will take time to develop, but remember his name as he will be the White Sox sooner rather than later.
I have written about Josh Phegley before. I like him a lot, and with good reason. He is a very talented young catcher. Phegley was an All-Star, and won a Gold Glove for the Charlotte Knights. He is great defensively with a .966 fielding percentage, which is why he won the Gold Glove. He batted .266, drove in 43 runs and hit six home runs, which are not bad numbers for a catcher. If the White Sox don’t re-sign A.J. Pierzynski and go with Tyler Flowers, then Phegley will compete for a backup role. It's his time and if he doesn’t play in 2013, he will be up no later than 2014 with the White Sox.
Jared Mitchell seemed to be on the fast track with the White Sox, but then he had to have ankle surgery after a gruesome injury. He is starting to show signs of improvement. In 2012, he hit .237 and drove in 67 runs as well. While .237 doesn’t sounds amazing, in 2011, he hit .222, so he is starting to improve. He is starting to run the bases better as well. It might still take some time, but at least Mitchell seems to be improving, thus why he is one of the top prospects with the White Sox. It’s a good thing that the White Sox haven’t given up with him yet, but Mitchell does have to do a little more to make the big club.
Charlie Leesman is another valuable lefty that the White Sox have in the minors. In 2012, Leesman was 12-10 with a sparkling ERA of 2.47. He had 103 strikeouts in 135 innings. While he has been a starter his entire career, he more than likely will be in the relief role once called up. I expect to see him with the big club in 2013, in the bullpen.
I know what some of you are thinking. Why put Jordan Danks on this list? He was with the big club in 2012. However, he is still young, and still a prospect to me. He was really just up for a cup of coffee due to injuries. With the White Sox, Danks hit .224 and didn’t get many at bats. After the Sox signed DeWayne Wise, Danks was sent back down to Triple A. There Danks hit .317, drove in 30 runs and had eight home runs. I expect Danks to compete for the fourth outfield position in 2013 with Wise. Even if he doesn’t break Spring Training with the big club, I do expect to see Danks up with the White Sox in 2013 sometime.