***Editor’s Note: This is the first in a handful of guest posts from Chris Kusiolek, who has been diligently scouting prospects on the back fields in Arizona, including a number of White Sox prospects. Chris has worked with scout.com and other blogs, and will soon be in the Dominican Republic working for a prospect development group. The reports below are scouting notes, and not intended to flow like an analysis piece – they simply reflect Chris’ views on these players from his time watching them play, and speaking with coaches and scouts. We’re happy to have Chris provide some deeper color on some White Sox prospects for our readers, starting with these six reports.***
Yoan Moncada (3B/2B, Red Sox/White Sox)
[Seen 5x, 1x Injured]
Relaxed with moderate base from left side, slightly off plate and oriented slightly further back within box. Bat on shoulder, hands at shoulder level before dropping hands slightly and initiating moderate load. Upright prior to initiating, slight inward toe tap, keeps hips pinched with deep hip coil, moderate stride. Moderate leverage, collapses back half and commits to pull side. Explosive strong hands, explosive loose wrists, fluid easy plus bat speed. Strong core and explosive torque, powerful extension through contact, keeps short to pitches. Effective fastball bat. Can elongate and fly open occasionally. Susceptible inner third from left side. Advanced tracking to plate. Will initiate hands early at times, struggle to manipulate barrel on velocity separation once initiated, struggled in foreseeing and predicting sequence. Some immaturity in recognizing spin, neurological aspects are there to facilitate adjustment. Load varied, larger toe tap and kick, hips struggled to remain pinched and frequently had tendency to fly open from right side. Above average raw power through cage sessions, explosive through extension with premium upper half strength and lift through zone, will play in game on fastballs. Potential for 20-25 annual HR production. Above average footspeed, slower from box at times but true footspeed shows above average with good second gear, quick twitch lower half: 4.19, 4.22, 4.16 from left side, 4.41, 4.32 turns. Decent reading tells and decent first step on basepaths. Mature for age, good athletic projection and will play in game at the highest level.
Decent first step in field, athletic close. Decent hands, firmer at times. Game can speed up frequently, hurry to balls and rush plays. Plus arm strength with quality carry, accuracy can show as inconsistent at present. Average lateral range. Some hesitance playing in on balls at times. Consistently set on first pitch, qualities of field general. Can appear more deliberate making full out plays. Glove will play to at least average in field.
Michael Kopech (RHP, Red Sox / White Sox)
[Seen 3x Rotation]
Initiates towards third base side of rubber before adjusting position to middle, looks away from plate. Deeper rock and larger leg kick into balance point; hands joined at belt prior to kick, raise simultaneously to chest and remains tight to body prior to break. Larger two part circle and arm path, mediocre arm action. Extremely exerted, violent arm acceleration with above average arm speed, violent head whack, recoil. Moderate collapse prior to drive as balance point is achieved; keeps kick tight to body through foot strike, fairly firm, inverted, slight crossfire. Glove side more conducive for lower slot, struggles to work downhill consistently from 3/4 slot. Shoulders fly open frequently, struggles to decelerate. Lower half strength inconsistent, stride length and timing vary wildly in game, slow to adjust. Premium arm strength. Mild spine tilt, larger shoulder tilt. Deep hip rotation provides right-handed deception, angles so is parallel with first base line alongside slight crossfire. 1.23-1.29 release from stretch, lesser hip rotation, abbreviated kick, hands lower set. Frequently struggles to achieve balance point, drifts towards plate and lower half issues become more pronounced. Decent athlete, decent reads and footwork checking bases, more deliberate fielding. Stride can shorten from stretch often. Athleticism and raw arm strength enough to function with quality right-handed deception. Some limitations with strength and violent two-part aspects of delivery.
Fastball T100, explosive premium life and elite arm strength, sits predominantly 95-99, good life in plus velocity band. Below average command at present, deception and sheer life of pitch succeeds at present in generating miss bat results without much feel. Can show ability to dial back and work in lower band with greater precision. For most part is a present thrower; violence and effort may lead to issues holding velocity in a rotation capacity. Command projection average at best. Significant development required to achieve that point. Highly predictable sequence, fastball utilized purely in fastball counts. Seldom desires to work north out of the zone even with action and raw velocity. Some hesitance and lack of confidence at times, can lose zone in lapses. Pitch has potential to play in rotation, greater and potentially elite utility out of the bullpen.
Slider with varying life can flash quality hard diving action and flashes of out pitch tilt, utility of pitch highly inconsistent. Depth flattens out and pitch firms frequently. Limited deception and feel for pitch at present, arm frequently drags, limited deception to pitch. Poor feel at present. Highly predictable in sequence as well, utilized mostly well ahead in count, fails to add and subtract to pitch with any consistency. Struggles to consistently achieve action, becomes more like a saucer slider at times. Raw arm strength can provide an opportunity for further development. Potential above average in bullpen capacity.
Changeup utilized very deliberately, mild firm fading action and sinking depth. Poor arm speed replication and easily seen in sequence. Struggles to acheive consistent deception to pitch, not a weapon of any sort at present, foreseeable development of pitch is marginal. Potential to play up further off premium arm strength if more consistent deception and confidence can be acheived on pitch, realistic fringe offering at best.
Kopech’s outstanding arm strength and physical projection landed him with the White Sox during the Chris Sale deal in December; there is reason to believe in the certainty of a major league future given the fastball intensity having been enough to cruise through the lower minors despite the aforementioned issues and risks throughout the profile. To achieve a rotation future, significant development is required to forge an actual pitcher; poor sequence, questionable makeup, limited acumen, significant hurdles still remaining in offspeed development and physical limitations likely place a bullpen future on the profile. Realistic 8th Inning Arm (50), Ceiling 4th Starter (55).
Zack Collins (C, White Sox)
[Seen 2x; 1x Instructs]
Condensed, slight base with pinched hips oriented further back of box. Hands start above shoulders with higher set prior to load, relaxed and loose. Slight inward toe tap and hands drop in load and begin path. Deep pump and drop in load with hands to rib cage prior to drifting back up to cheek before firing towards plate, hands further away from body. Slighter stride with little to no kick. Will choke up and condense stride at times to get foot down earlier ahead of sequence through two strike approach, seems to be experimental at present with no consistent revision. Oriented slightly away from first base, facing inward more towards plate, hips already coiled. Minimal action through lower half prior to swing, opens hips with significant leverage as hands fire. Consistent timing in games, consistent advanced tracking and fastball approach, can struggle at times to manipulate barrel on sufficient velocity separation once hands initiate. Some inconsistencies tracking spin and change-of-pace, acknowledging lack of deception and demonstrating consistent approach, especially in two-strike situations, swing can deteriorate in two strike and often was shown as overly protective and easily triggered behind in count. Shown consistent adjustment on below average offerings thus far.
Fluid, loose explosive hands, loose explosive wrists, pretty swing. Plus bat speed with leverage, moderate plate coverage, strong core. Plus raw through 5 o’clock sessions with considerable pull leverage and ability to backspin, power actualized predominantly to pull at present, can fly open ahead of sequence behind in count, will look to pull balls out front in hitters counts, susceptible to backwards sequence at present. Above average hand-eye coordination. Immaturity in approach and sequence through limited showings in Fall potentially attributed to numerous factors, will revisit after further viewings. Won’t try to do too much with pitches at present in game, varying leverage and slight variances in bat path on similar balls; below average footspeed with limited slight line explosiveness, suspect physical and athletic projection, body at high propensity to become more dense and soften in future. Run: 4.51 turn, 4.37 to 1B. Inconsistent utility and first step on basepaths, sluggish first step and uncomfortable body language, mediocre reads; negligible to future profile.
Moderate set base and lower crouch behind plate, limited athleticism and projection at position. Noisy receiver with poor showing of strength behind plate, sluggish pitch framing, inconsistent hand and wrist strength, hands show as more firm. Physical and athletic projection bode poorly for future at backstop. Sluggish lateral agility and immature blocking mechanics, significant development to actualize as a receiver. Plus arm strength with quality carry and fairly consistent accuracy showings in game, will cheat from crouch, decent reads of base runners. Explosive from crouch and quick transfer, some length to release, decent arm action: 1.91, 1.95, 2.07 pop times. Raw arm strength and catch-and-throw utility enough to potentially keep at position for time being and further attempt to develop. Best case scenario is a catch and throw receiver, realistic future in corner outfield or first base. Moderate present athleticism may be enough to facilitate a corner outfield future in the short term.
Dylan Covey (RHP, Athletics/White Sox)
[Seen: 2x Rotation; 1x Spring; 9x 2015 Season]
Fairly deep rock into motion from wind-up correlates with slight adjustment on rubber to first base side, hands joined and brought over head as rock initiates. Hands brought to midsection and height of moderate leg kick reaches balance point. Frequently inconsistent timing from wind up, frequent premature collapse and either hurried or late to balance point. Slight collapse and drift prior to initiating towards plate, firm closed landing and foot strike, frequently opens hips at foot strike and falls open towards plate and first base side. Can achieve desired paced drive at times. Mild shoulder tilt, moderate lower half strength, moderate length to glove side with moderate downhill plane. Can struggle to consistently decelerate and time glove side, chest can fly open on occasion. Moderate length to arm path with medium circle, average arm speed. Decent arm action, more exerted through most recent Fall than from previous showings, slightly higher than 3/4 slot.
Moderate athleticism with poor athletic projection as aging continues. Ability to adjust even without quality strength on certain outings. Slightly greater collapse with higher position prior to break from stretch, greater times holding from second base: 1.25-1.32, 1.34-1.40 2B. Frequently flies open and struggles to adjust to glove side more, inconsistent torque and core strength. Other rarely shown quick pitch and glove slap variations from both windup and stretch. Limitations with strength, athleticism and projection lead to inconsistent adjustment and poor projection, realistic future in bullpen capacity.
Fastball shows both four and two seam variations, far more frequently relies on two-seam in game; T95 velocity, sits 91-94 between both offerings, marginally lower band at times for two-seam. Two-seam generates consistent weak contact, quality true life and late tailing action and depth, occasional run achieves quality plane. Can show ability to elevate four-seam ahead in count on occasion, prefers to attack low. Confidence in initiating sequence with pitch, present below average command with little to no projection, none whatsoever physically. Deceptive look, plane and action generate swings at present level. Limited miss bat utility, more exerted at times for greater velocity band, will struggle to consistently hold velocity. Utility of pitch will be elevated in bullpen capacity, not a grip and rip approach, mature acumen and pitchability despite physical limitations and projection. Potential above average pitch in bullpen role.
Changeup has frequently shown mature action and utility, quality split change/fosh action with heavy late vertical depth, action plays effectively off two-seam with consistent velocity seperation and fairly consistent arm speed replication. Can start hands slightly further away from body at times. Tendency to work backwards with pitch, shows confidence in offering. Potential to actualize to at least average at highest level.
Curveball with poor rolling action and inconsistent depth, frequently increases length and depth of arm path, hands tighter to body and further back with slightly greater hip rotation and shoulder tilt. Inconsistent utility of pitch, still demonstrates confidence in pitch and will utilize in sequence, will exploit batter match-ups and use softer velocity and velocity separation to advantage. Lacks consistent hand and wrist action alongside strength to facilitate deception to consistently achieve action and two plane depth to pitch. Purely serviceable early and sparingly in sequence.
Slider newest addition to arsenal, decent diving action and moderate tilt consistently achieved to pitch, more true cut type action at times and lesser two plane depth and tilt. Able to manipulate offering with mature feel, utilizes well in sequence, serviceable far more effectively than curveball, pitch projects to average at the highest level.
Covey has consistently demonstrated attributes that elevate limited raw talent and athleticism to provide a low risk, lesser reward profile that ought to remain serviceable at the highest level in a lower leverage bullpen capacity. Decent arm strength, arm action, advanced acumen and two-seam action, failure response, communication and willingness to learn will bode well for a major league opportunity. Limited window with high to extreme risk physical limitations stunt value off poor projection, no true out pitch though versatile and adept in sequence. Realistic Middle/Situational Relief Arm (40), Ceiling Middle/Situational Relief Arm (40).
Nolan Sanburn (RHP, White Sox)
[Seen 1x Rotation; 1x Instructs]
Medium circle with depth through arm path, decent arm action. Explosive arm acceleration with above average arm speed, diminishes as outings progress. Lesser arm strength and relative strength through Fall may be attributed to being stretched late during the year after serving in an exclusive bullpen capacity. Working exclusively from stretch at present. Moderate leg kick remains close to body with slight collapse as balance point is achieved, limited to no hip rotation. Hands remain joined and extend away from body as kick begins and reaches balance point, breaks away from body. Shorter stride with inconsistent lower half strength, inverted firm foot strike, front half collapses at foot strike. Longer glove side path, struggles to consistently decelerate and work downhill, frequently flies open. Little to no shoulder tilt or spine tilt; finishes violently off to first base side. Demonstrates moderate athleticism, inconsistent lower half strength, slow to adjust in game. 1.21-1.27 from stretch, can be more deliberate with base runners on. No realistic rotation future largely due to lack of consistent strength, projection for rotation innings; potential R/R bullpen utility purely off grip and rip stuff alone. Strength and projection likely not enough to facilitate delivery through a rotation capacity, realistic bullpen future.
Fastball T92, sitting predominantly 88-91 through Fall, inconsistent life with varying true action and mild run, almost two-seam action at times. Moderate dive and sinking action achieved at times, shows below average command in game with periods of average command, will fluctuate wildly dependent on inning. Arm strength lesser than in previous showings and greater than most recent velocity outputs would indicate. Greater strength has potential to be achieved if mechanical revision is explored. Can show as violent and more exerted at times, not accustomed to being stretched. Better showings of fastball in grip and rip bullpen capacity have shown as plus potential, can potentially be achieved once again if fully committed to bullpen.
Slider shows quality two-plane depth and tilt at times with quality action, tendency to flatten and round sporadically at times. Will purposefully add and subtract to pitch dimension, most comfortable with throwing for strikes, works backwards in sequence and confidence utilizing the pitch to complete sequences as well. Action when on flashes above average potential with greatest amount of feel and acumen of any pitch in arsenal at present, potential to work consistently in situational capacity at the highest level.
Changeup with inconsistent deception and arm speed replication, very deliberate with pitch selection and utility, will tell pitch easily, poor firm vertical action, flashes slight firm fade at times, arm drags and timing deteriorates for pitch. Lacks present confidence in offering. Enough athleticism and explosive arm acceleration to provide quality deception to pitch, not confident in pitch development at present state of development. Likely below average future at the highest level.
Sanburn shows enough arm strength, explosiveness, athleticism, slider action and feel and a low maintenance body to potentially get to the highest level. Caveats are in the profile with a severely limited ceiling and little to no projection at his current stage of development. Realistic Up and Down Arm (30), Ceiling Situational Relief Arm (40).
Courtney Hawkins (RF/LF, White Sox)
Moderate base slightly tighter towards plate, medium set within the box. Relaxed with hands at ribcage, knees slightly bent prior to initiating. Slight upward drift and load through hands, slight toe tap prior to shorter leg kick. Foot down early with rotation through upper half, back foot inverted and collapses early. Moderate leverage, opens front and hips early. Hands set at shoulders prior to initiating bat path. Bat frequently drags, front flies open. Hands can drift and load varies on occasion. Low maintenance swing, has undergone extensive revision as a professional, shows two-strike approach with pinched hips, stationary lower half and wider base. Explosive strong hands, fairly strong wrists. Explosive through contact, above average bat speed with leverage, above average raw power through cage sessions. Fairly loose from right side. Poor immature pitch tracking and acumen at plate, struggles manipulating barrel once hands initiate. Mediocre hand-eye coordination. Easily dispatched with predictable sequence, poor low energy body language and failure response, sulks and pouts in-game. Performance can affect all other aspects of game frequently. Highly inconsistent replication at the plate despite minimal noise, planned approach frequently becomes disbanded and can visibly panic in game at the plate. Limited bat-to-ball projection.
Hit – Present 20, Future 20: Highly inconsistent pitch tracking and swing replication, approach varies wildly even in-game with no notable failure response whatsoever. Struggles to adjust with mediocre hand-eye coordination and pitch tracking indicative of a much younger player; has hit ultimate ceiling for bat-to-ball production.
Power (55 Raw) – Present 30, Future 30: Varied loads and bat paths, easily done away with predictable sequence, will struggle to actualize at the major league level even if in exclusive right-handed bench capacity. Raw strength and explosive likely limited purely to cage showings.
Run – Present 55, Future 50: Explosive with decent close, good second gear. Shows slow from box at times, inconsistent reads and confidence on basepaths at times, some immaturity closing steal attempts and with slide mechanics. Times: 4.27, 4.23, 4.36, 4.45 turn. Density of build will likely reduce future utility of footspeed through maturity
Glove – Present 45, Future 45: Inconsistent first step and poor lateral reads at times, decent close and athleticism in finish to routes, routes can show as lazy and sluggish at times. Disinterested in field on occasion, not consistently set at pitch. Varying effort in field, reads and more. Straight line athleticism not conducive for further development; marginal in corner outfield capacity
Arm – Present 55, Future 55: Above average arm strength with varying carry and accuracy, will hurry throws and struggle to address situation at times. Inconsistent playing caroms and demonstrating consistent acumen in field. Decent arm action. Arm strength likely negligible to profile future.
Hawkins’ raw athleticism and explosive strength at the plate is unlikely to overcome the significant hurdles and development remaining to actualize anything in game at the plate. Immature pitch tracking and hand-eye coordination alongside projection that will soon be trending downwards likely spells a profile that will lack any sort of tangible value at the highest level. Easily exploitable tendencies and lack of failure response would be unlikely to actualize an even greater profile, let alone Hawkins’ own. Realistic Organizational Bat (30), Ceiling Organizational Bat (30).
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