Have the Rick Hahn draft picks kept up with the Hahn prospects acquired via trade? There has been so much emphasis on future aces (Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech) and future MVP candidates (Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jiminez), that we’ve seemed to push the draft picks to the side a bit. Well Sox fans, it is time to take inventory.
We know who has made it for the duration. If Moncada, Giolito, or Reynaldo Lopez are sent down to the minors next year for some unexpected struggles at the big league level, some Sox fans are going to stop putting extra money in the mattress to save for the 2020 World Series. This triumvirate cannot regress, no no no. I need my sanity. I need a consistent, persistent heartbeat. Fellas, don’t kill a blogger’s dream.
[Deep breath]. Ok, I was sidetracked by a waking nightmare there for a moment. I’m good now.
We’ve discussed the prospects that could be right behind Moncada, Giolito, and Lopez. There are potential peripheral players (Jordan Stephens, Jordan Guerrero, Jake Peters, Ryan Cordell and Thyago Vieira), and there are potential difference makers (Kopech and Jimenez). But what about the High A type guys; the next wave? Let’s take a look at two of each-two draft picks to be excited about, two prospects the Sox traded for that are worth dreaming on, and two young international free agents.
2016 2nd round pick Alec Hansen: Apparently this guy would have been a first rounder if teams just concentrated on his stuff and disregarded his lack of control (39 walks in 51.2 innings pitched) and his otherwise subpar numbers from his junior year at the University of Oklahoma (3-5, 5.40 earned run average).
The 6-7, 215 pounder turned it around quickly to post numbers combined from Single A, High A, and Double A that are absolutely ridiculous even by video game standards. These are not typos:
2.80 era, 141.1 innings pitched, 114 hits (look for less than a hit an inning to judge a pitcher’s effectiveness), 51 walks, .216 average against, 191 strikeouts!
Where will he start the 2018 season? He only spent two games at Double A Birmingham last year, so the Sox will probably take the conservative approach and bring him back there to start the season, regardless how he performs in spring training. However, if this domination continues, he’ll force the issue and be moved to Triple A Charlotte. This is a dream, but could the rotation look like this by July:
- Lucas Giolito
- Michael Kopech
- Reynaldo Lopez
- Alec Hansen
- Carson Fulmer (Shields in long relief or at Midway Airport waiting to fly out of town forever)
2016 1st round pick Zack Collins: Big, strong lefty out of Miami. The Sox like their big, strong lefties. Thome, cool. Dunn, nauseating. LaRoche, comical, then shortly after, nauseating. We’re all hoping for future Thome comparisons.
His numbers his junior year at Miami were surreal. In 190 at bats, he hit 16 home runs and drove in 59. He hit .363 and his on base percentage was, wait for it, .544. Yes, .544.
The scouting murmurs were the defense lagged far behind the offense, but the Sox insisted (and continue to) he would stick at catcher moving forward. Sox minor league coaches rave that Collins has improved significantly defensively, and his 39% caught stealing percentage would seem to indicate they’re telling the truth.
His numbers last season are polarizing. The bad- 129 Ks in 375 at bats and a .224 batting average. The good- 42 extra base hits, and a .370 on base percentage.
Side note-the Wellington Castillo signing (2 years, 15 million dollars, with an 8 million dollar team option for the World Series year, 2020) baffles me. It seems out of step with Hahn’s declarations and his moves to this point. I don’t know how this affects Collins moving forward. Is Castillo a future trade chip, or is he a veteran piece that will help a young team win?
Prospects acquired via trade that are behind Kopech and Jimenez:
2016 1st round draft pick of the Yankees Blake Rutherford: Rutherford was the overall 18th selection in the first round for the Yankees out of high school. The left handed hitting outfielder is listed at 6-3, 195 and the White Sox expect that he will eventually hit for power. He was the only prospect in MLB’s Top 100 that came over from New York when the Sox moved Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle to the Bronx. All those guys helped the Yankees get within one game of the World Series by the way, so if Rutherford doesn’t pan out, we may look back on this move as one Hahn actually lost. It’s weird to read that, isn’t it, with all the good vibes that have surrounded the rebuild.
Rutherford’s numbers in Single A ball as a 20 year old were pedestrian, .260 avg, .326 obp, .348 slugging percentage, only 2 home runs and 35 rbi in 396 at bats.
2016 1st round draft pick of the Nationals Dane Dunning: At the risk of being repetitively giddy, like Tom Brady waking up every morning and thinking “YES, I am Tom Brady!”, I can’t believe the good fortune Nat’s GM Mike Rizzo bestowed upon the White Sox when he gave them three future starting rotation pieces for Adam Eaton. If there was an analytics angle in there somewhere on Rizzo’s end, akin to the post season’s Charlie Morton, I don’t know of it, and as a White Sox fan, I don’t care. I’ll take it.
While Giolito and Lopez got most of the attention in the deal, Dunning has put up the most gaudy statistics, coupling with Hansen to put up numbers that don’t look real.
Combined in Single A and High A he pitched to a 2.94 era, 168 to 38 K to BB ratio, and 127 hits allowed in 144 innings.
Luis Robert signed May 2017: The Cuban star is the not-quite-ready-yet version of Shohei Ohtani (no, he doesn’t pitch, work with me here) in that everyone wanted him and the potential is off the charts.
At 6-3, 185 pounds, he looks good in the uniform. His swing is strong, and his movements are compact, fluid, and efficient. You want to see a pretty right-handed swing?
He is 20 years old now and 19 when he signed a 26 million dollar deal. His fellow Cuban, Yoan Moncada, signed a 31.5 million dollar deal to sign with Boston before he was traded to the White Sox, so the young Cuban stars on the south side are comfortable to say the least.
I’m betting he starts the year at High A Winston-Salem after posting a .491 on base percentage in the Dominican Summer League.
Micker Adolfo signed July 2013: Adolfo was two months shy of his 17th birthday when he signed with the White Sox, and before the rebuild he was considered one of their top prospects, if not their #1.
Multiple injuries seemed to have slowed his progress and dimmed his star somewhat, but a full season at Single A Kannapolis may resurrect interest. With 46 extra base hits in 424 at bats, he may be promoted to Double A Birmingham in 2018.
Next: Is the Wellington Castillo signing a subtle tweak, or is it an indication the White Sox might, despite Hahn’s consistent proclamations to the contrary, speed up the competitive timeline?