The Top Prospect Report is a weekly post here at FutureSox highlighting performances of the top prospects in the system. More specifically, it will cover the top 15 prospects (plus an occasional bonus or two) as classified by their most recent FS ranking.
This can serve as your one-stop shop to see weekly and season stat lines for all the high-end talent growing on the farm. Most players will have a few notes about their recent performance, while others may have more in-depth blurbs. How much a prospect is featured in a given week will be dictated by performance or relevant narratives.
*Stats may not reflect last night's results*
1. Yoan Moncada, 2B (Triple-A Charlotte)
Moncada's seven game hitting streak was just snapped but he's getting hot at the right time. He launched his 11th home run of the year on Monday against Durham and posted two walks to five strikeouts this week. The second baseman carries a .928 OPS over the last month and has raised his season OBP to .380. He was caught twice on the basepaths, lowering his efficiency a bit but a 76 percent stolen base rate is nothing to scoff at. Moncada now has 16 on the season, which places him firmly at the top of Knights base stealers. All the stars seem to be aligning for Moncada, as his hot stretch just happens to coincide with him passing his Super 2 date. With an extra year of control locked in and arbitration strategically delayed, there's not much keeping the budding star down. Lowering his 27.6% K-rate can just as easily be an MLB to-do-list item rather than an arbitrary barrier to keep him saddled in Charlotte. With the MLB All-Star break coming up, it wouldn't be a shock to see him join the big league club after the break. The smart money is on the first week of August at the latest.
Last Week: .294/.368/.471 (.839 OPS), 5 H, HR, SB, 2 BB, 5 K, 19 PA
Season Line: .281/.380/.456 (.835 OPS), 77 H, 9 2B, 3 3B, 11 HR, 32 RBI, 16 SB, 14.0 BB%, 27.6 K%, .373 BABIP, 322 PA
2. Lucas Giolito, RHP (Triple-A Charlotte)
Last week I wrote about how Giolito had become a little homer happy this season, riding a career high HR/9. His start against Gwinnett weaponized those concerns when the Braves went off for four long balls among their nine hits over 3.2 frames. The outing started innocently enough, Giolito even picked off his first base runner, but it was BP practice after that with a pair of 2-run bombs prematurely ending his appearance in the fourth. All four home runs were to right and right center, so it's possible the wind was blowing out in that direction on a 90-degree afternoon but it's hard to write it off as just that. Especially when this has morphed into a trend for the righty this season. One positive might be a 5/1 K/BB, which marks his third straight start with two walks or less. The home run barrage raised his FIP slightly above 5.00, which is actually still a notch below his 5.40 ERA.
Last Week: 0-1, 17.18 ERA, 4 K, 1 BB, 1 GS, 3.2 IP
Season Line: 2-8, 5.40 ERA, 5.11 FIP, 9.40 K/9, 4.21 BB/9, 1.62 HR/9, 16 GS, 83.1 IP
3. Michael Kopech, RHP (Double-A Birmingham)
FutureSox's Matt Cassidy was on hand to see Kopech live and he brought up a nice point in that box-score scouting can invariably be deceiving. Kopech's June 29th start had a bloated stateline but was the product of weak contact that simply found holes (The oft-mentioned BABIP equalizer). Cassidy dives into what Kopech's "stuff" looked like, which was actually quite good. Game summaries give a nice snapshot, but in-person scouting reports like Cassidy's are invaluable, so check that out here. Kopech's start this week was almost a near carbon copy stats wise, but featured some harder contact including two doubles and a triple. Kopech brought the 4th of July heat but the fireworks went to the Generals, who scored four earned runs across Kopech's 3.1 frames. Four walks against four strikeouts didn't exactly get the job done either. Save for a nice late June start against Montgomery, the last five outings for Kopech have not been up to par, as he carries a 7.20 ERA over that span.
Last Week: 0-1, 10.80 ERA, 4 K, 4 BB, 1 GS, 3.1 IP
Season Line: 4-6, 4.02 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 11.60 K/9, 6.09 BB/9, 0.57 HR/9, 16 GS, 78.1 IP
4. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP (Triple-A Charlotte)
If the Giolito and Kopech recaps left you with a bad taste in you mouth, here's a Lopez-minted quality start to alleviate it. After tossing a bona-fide gem against Columbus, Lopez turned in a great start against Durham, where he allowed just one run on five hits over six innings. His six strikeouts didn't quite match the eleven he had last week, but he posted his second consecutive outing of just one free pass. After the Bulls lit him up for six runs two weeks ago, it was nice to see Lopez turn the page against the same club. The White Sox rotation could be in flux soon with arms like Quintana, Holland, and even Shields being marketed, so Lopez could be in line for a spot start or even an extended look depending on how it all shakes out.
Last Week: 0-1, 1.50 ERA, 6 K, 1 BB, 1 GS, 6.0 IP
Season Line: 6-5, 4.03 ERA, 4.51 FIP, 8.79 K/9, 3.72 BB/9, 1.24 HR/9, 16 GS, 87.0 IP
5. Zack Collins, C (High-A Winston-Salem)
Collins was an on-base machine this week, collecting five hits and five walks in twenty-one plate appearances. That includes his 1st inning home run last night. Hopefully this serves as the beginning of a turnaround for the backstop, who cratered to a .616 June OPS where he had a strikeout rate just under 40 percent. It'll take some work to get the average to a more stable level, but a catcher showing double-digit home run pop, a .369 OBP, and league leading caught-stealing numbers is hard to paint as someone who is struggling. It's not near the ceiling of what Collins can be but it's hardly been a lost season in High-A either.
Last Week: .364/.500/.455 (.955 OPS), 5 H, HR, 5 BB, 4 K, 21 PA
Season Line: .213/.369/.402 (.771 OPS), 52 H, 12 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 32 RBI, 0 SB, 19.4 BB%, 27.8 K%, .278 BABIP, 309 PA
6. Carson Fulmer, RHP (Triple-A Charlotte)
This definitely qualifies as a bandage start for Fulmer, who stopped the bleeding in what was quickly becoming a forgotten year. Fulmer came out firing bullets, and set down five of the first seven hitters he faced via the strikeout. He ran into a little trouble after that when a single, walk, and HBP led to a run in the third. He was a little erratic in the fourth, hitting a batter and tossing a wild pitch but closed out his night with a strikeout. All told, Fulmer's start spanned four innings, where four hits and an earned run were easily countered by an 8/1 KK/B. 90 pitches through four isn't exactly efficient but it's hard to complain when the results were this solid.
Last Week: 0-0, 2.25 ERA, 8 K, 1 BB, 1 GS, 4.0 IP
Season Line: 0-0, 5.31 ERA, 5.50 FIP, 6.78 K/9, 4.41 BB/9, 1.36 HR/9, 16 GS, 79.2 IP
7. Alec Hansen, RHP (High-A Winston-Salem)
Hansen collected three strikeouts in his first inning against the Mudcats, but saw the control we've become accustomed to waver a bit in the second, where he danced around two walks to escape unharmed. His one earned run came on a wild pitch in the fourth where more damage was avoided with Silverio catching a runner at the plate. Hansen finished his evening retiring the top of the order and left an inning short of a quality outing. He had five strikeouts to three walks. The one thing to note with Hansen is that the Mudcats had free range on the bases, stealing five bags. His inability to control the running came has cropped up a few times this year, so that's an area of development to watch. Last night was unequivocally Hansen's worst start of the season. He got saddled with five runs on seven hits in just three innings while racking up 75 pitches. Having kept the ball in the park all year, that skill eluded Hansen as he allowed two home runs with a walk in between them to open the fourth. That effectively ended his evening on a night where his control was also more spotty than usual (3 BB). It will be interesting to see how he responds to his first truly poor start of 2017.
Last Week: 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 7 K, 6 BB, 2 GS, 8.0 IP
Low-A: 7-3, 2.48 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 11.39 K/9, 2.85 BB/9, 0.37 HR/9, 13 GS, 72.2 IP
High A: 0-1, 4.15 ERA, 2.37 FIP, 9.00 K/9, 2.70 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9, 2 GS, 13.0 IP
8. Zack Burdi, RHP (Triple-A Charlotte)
Burdi went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth in a non-save situation back on July 1st and then did the same in the eighth inning last night. It was his fifth consecutive scoreless appearance and he's racked up 17 strikeouts over his last nine innings. It's a nice time for Burdi to be getting into a groove as Chicago's pen could be experiencing some departures relatively soon. That should give Burdi a first class ticket to ChiTown.
Last Week: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 K, 0 BB, 2 G, 2.0 IP
Season Line: 0-4, 4.35 ERA, 2.78 FIP, 14.23 K/9, 4.35 BB/9, 0.58 HR/9, 7 SV, 2 BS, 27 G, 31.0 IP
9. Luis Alexander Basabe, OF (High-A Winston-Salem)
Luis Alexander Basabe finally snapped out of his funk, delivering a seven hit and six RBI week. He was a home run short of the cycle in Wednesday's game against Down East. His 3-for-4 night tied his watermark for hits this season and was arguably his best showing thus far. That's a nice change of pace for an outfielder who otherwise has been having one of the most downtrodden seasons in the system. The month is only a week old, but it'd be nice if I were still writing about his 1.180 July OPS three weeks from now.
Last Week: .333/.391/.571 (.963 OPS), 7 H, 2B, 2 3B, 2 BB, 7 K, 23 PA
Season Line: .217/.322/.319 (.641 OPS), 60 H, 9 2B, 5 3B, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 11 SB, 11.8 BB%, 25.7 K%, .298 BABIP, 323 PA
10. Dane Dunning, RHP (High-A Winston-Salem)
Dunning didn't have his customary control in his outing against the Mudcats but still battled for his ninth quality start of the year. He rebounded from shaky control in the fifth (2 BB and 1 HBP) to toss a relatively clean frame to finish out his night. The end result was one run on four hits over six innings, with the only real blemish being a crooked number in the walk column (4). His ERA is down to 2.67 in eleven starts at High-A Winston-Salem. As various outlets begin to adjust their midseason prospect rankings, it wouldn't be surprising to see Dunning pop up on some Top 100 lists. He's certainly pitched well enough to be in the conversation.
Last Week: 0-0, 1.50 ERA, 6 K, 4 BB, 1 GS, 6.0 IP
Low-A: 2-0, 0.35 ERA, 1.41 FIP, 11.42 K/9, 0.69 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9, 4 GS, 26.0 IP
High-A: 3-4, 2.67 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 10.20 K/9, 3.45 BB/9, 0.78 HR/9, 11 GS, 57.1 IP
11. Jordan Stephens, RHP (Double-A Birmingham)
Stephens just keeps on rolling. He now has a quality start in four of his five outings after tossing 6.1 innings of one run ball against Biloxi. Unlike his last start, this one had less smoke and mirrors as he only allowed four hits and produced five whiffs to one walk. Three of those strikeouts came in the third where Stephens struck out the side in order. He's consistently gone deep into games this season and was efficient with 92 pitches into the seventh. It would be irresponsible to not warn that an 87.9% strand rate and .263 BABIP will regress, so Stephens won't continue to be this guy, but even a step down is still one of the more intriguing arms at the upper levels.
Last Week: 0-0, 1.42 ERA, 5 K, 1 BB, 1 GS, 6.1 IP
Season Line: 0-1, 1.20 ERA, 2.78 FIP, 7.20 K/9, 2.70 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9, 5 GS, 30.0 IP
12. Alex Call, OF (High-A Winston-Salem)
The good news is that Alex Call is finally back from a muscle injury that's kept him sidelined since mid-April. The bad news is it's been a slow tune-up in AZL Rookie Ball thus far, where he has just one hit. Call will likely ride out a few more games down there until he joins a full-season affiliate. It will likely be with Winston-Salem, so it will be worth watching how the Dash deal with the upcoming roster crunch now that Fisher is in tow.
Last Week: 0.59/.158/.059 (.217 OPS), 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K, 19 PA
Season Line: .190/.266/.276 (.541 OPS), 11 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 2 SB, 10.5 BB%, 5.3 K%, .333 BABIP, 45 PA
13. Spencer Adams, RHP (Double-A Birmingham)
Matt Cassidy was in town for Spencer Adam's first start of the week, where he went deep into the game (6.2 IP) but gave up five runs on seven hits. His classic control was present with no walks, but Cassidy saw some of the Adams of old as far as "stuff" goes, which restores some more ceiling to his overall package. He left some of his offerings up in the zone but it was a promising outing and you can read Cassidy's full write-up here. Last night's start against the Generals was of the quality variety, with Adams going six innings while allowing just one run on four hits. He uncharacteristically had two walks in the first inning but his control leveled out from there forward. Adams retired thirteen straight batters from the end of the second into the sixth before giving up a pair of doubles.
Last Week: 0-1, 4.43 ERA, 10 K, 2 BB, 2 GS, 12.2 IP
Season Line: 6-7, 3.81 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 6.94 K/9, 1.35 BB/9, 0.87 HR/9, 15 GS, 93.1 IP
14. Jameson Fisher, OF (High-A Winston Salem)
Wow. What a week for Jameson Fisher, who easily brings home "hitter of the week" honors. He had a hit in all but one game, including a 3-for-4 night against Carolina that featured a double and home run. It was his second home run of the week and he'd go on to slash another double the following night to give him a trio of two-baggers. That's some serious production for Fisher who has made the transition to High-A look seamless.
Last Week: .333/.391/.762 (1.153 OPS), 7 H, 3 2B, 2 HR, 3 BB, 4 K, 23 PA
Low-A: .269/.365/.417 (.782 OPS), 60 H, 14 2B, 5 3B, 3 HR, 36 RBI, 2 SB, 11.7 BB%, 22.3 K%, .345 BABIP, 265 PA
High A: .264/.316/.472 (.787 OPS), 14 H, 5 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB, 5.3 BB%, 19.3 K%, .300 BABIP, 57 PA
15. Luis Curbelo, SS (Great Falls - Rookie Ball)
*Curbelo is currently in Arizona getting examined for a knee issue. Timetable unknown*
Last Week: Did Not Play
Season Line: 6-for-17, 2B, HR 1 BB, 4 K, 17 PA (3 games)
2017 Draftee: Jake Burger, 3B
The Top Prospect Report might look a little different a month from now as we're expecting holiday season to come early at FutureSox when we do the midseason re-rank and get to include not only new draft presents but also whatever trade deadline goods Rick Hahn has ordered on prospectamazon.com.
I thought I'd use the bonus space to touch on someone who will likely become a regular in this column, Jake Burger, who is getting his first taste of pro ball with the AZL club and likely headed to Kannapolis afterward. Burger was arguably the most prolific power bat in the 2017 draft class, but with the boom he brought some poise too as he walked more than he struck out (43/38 BB/K). He parlayed two 20+ home run seasons at Missouri St. into the number eleventh overall draft selection and a $3.7 million signing bonus.
Burger has somewhat clunky swing mechanics, notably an arm bar, that may give him trouble with inside velocity but his power and plate discipline combo is hard to come by. He's got a strong build with a 6-2, 220 lb frame but he has enough mobility and arm to stick at third with the proper conditioning. The White Sox certainly think he's more than a 1B/DH profile and he'll likely have every opportunity to prove it.
Oh, Burger is also a die-hard White Sox fan, which is a nice touch. You can read my draft night write-up on him here.
As far as the update, Burger has had 13 ABs in four games and has already collected his first walk, double, and home run. Not a bad debut for the farm's newest slugger.
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