There are plenty of websites and publications that come out with prospect rankings, but Baseball America is arguably the most respected so their White Sox top 10 is worth some attention. Earlier today they came out with the list and all the goodies that come with it.
The rankings themselves can be a bit of a crap shoot, but the ‘best tools’ have always intrigued me. It’s a nice quick-hitter of information on a player and they aren’t always awarded to big time prospects, which is why you’ll find them included on our prospect profile pages. Among the highlights: Jared Mitchell is named best athlete for the third year in a row and Eduardo Escobar is best defensive infielder for a staggering fourth year running. Maybe being on a prospect list four years in a row isn’t a good thing, but Escobar is definitely a candidate to be a utility infielder for the big league club this season and should have been included on the top ten.
Other repeats include Juan Silverio as best infield arm (also named that in 2008) and Jose Martinez as best outfield arm (2008 and 2011). A couple other surprises were Johnnie Lowe for best curveball and Charlie Leesman for best changeup. File those under the ‘who knew?’ category.
As for the actual rankings, Addison Reed edged out Nestor Molina with also newly acquired Simon Castro coming in at third. It’s hard to come up with anything else for the top three, though you could argue Molina ahead of Reed. A lot of places have talked up Reed as one of the best relief prospects in all of baseball right now so having him move to the closer’s role this season isn’t out of the question.
Trayce Thompson and Jake Petricka come in at No. 4 and 5, and again, there isn’t too much debate here. After the top five, though, it gets dicey. Keenyn Walker at No. 6 is maybe a bit surprising after a disappointing stint with Kannapolis late last season. Both of the prospects the Sox received for Ozzie Guillen (Jhan Marinez and Ozzie Martinez) made the top ten in what seems like an overstatement of their value. Juan Silverio at No. 9 is completely out of left field to me considering he hasn’t posted an OPS over .800 in full season ball in a season and a half. He turns 21 in April so there’s still hope, but top ten? Not even in this system.
The unimpressive names included are likely more a statement against the players not on the list, like Jared Mitchell. Despite being named best athlete, Mitchell doesn’t crack a weak top 10 list. 2012 is almost certainly a do-or-die year for Mitchell.
In other news that won’t depress Sox fans, the organization came to terms with 17-year-old Venezuelan Luis Martinez. Martinez is 6-foot-4 and signed for $250,000. The signing is more symbolic of potentially improved efforts internationally.