White Sox Top Prospect Report, 6/30

Primer:

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*

Hitter of the week: 2B Yoan Moncada
Pitcher of the week: LHP Jordan Guerrero

1. Yoan Moncada, 2B (Triple-A Charlotte)

Moncada racked up some honors this week, as he was selected to the International League All-Star game as well as the MLB Futures Game. The second baseman is certainly deserving and has stayed hot to close out the month. In Wednesday’s game against the Clippers, he went 2-for-5 with a double and home run, the latter of which put him in double-digit territory in the HR category. To illustrate just how dynamic he is, Moncada also has amassed double-digit stolen bases. He’s 15-for-18 in stolen base attempts, fourth in the International League. At this point Moncada is simply smoothing out the edges before he heads to Chicago. The three deficiencies currently on his improvement list are a 28.1% K-rate, raw infield defense, and efficacy from the right side. Moncada has the soft hands and range for second, plus the arm to make him a strong double play partner, but he needs to clean up his footwork and cut down on the sloppiness (10 errors). That should all shore up with more reps and a similar sentiment stands regarding his line versus LHP, where his .744 OPS is about 100 points below his lefty split. It’s all fine tuning though. You can find a flaw in a diamond if you look hard enough, and Moncada is about ready to shine.

Last Week: .261/.261/.696 (.957 OPS), 6 H, 2 BB, 10 K, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, SB, 28 PA
Season Line: .280/.377/.455 (.833 OPS), 72 H, 9 2B, 3 3B, 10 HR, 29 RBI, 15 SB, 13.9 BB%, 28.1 K%, .376 BABIP, 302 PA

2. Lucas Giolito, RHP (Triple-A Charlotte)

Giolito notched a quality start against Columbus, throwing seven innings of three run ball, which is tied for the longest outing of his season. He built on last week with a strong strikeout-to-walk ratio (7 K/1 BB) but got hit hard when Columbus made contact. A pair of doubles and home runs mucked up an otherwise strong outing. The long ball has been kryptonite for Giolito this season as his 1.24 HR/9 is a career high and 14.1% of his flyballs have left the yard. It’s likely an indication that his fastball command still needs some work considering these are the same issues he presented in his cup of coffee with the Nationals last season.

Last Week: 0-1, 3.86 ERA, 7 K, 1 BB, 1 GS, 7.0 IP
Season Line: 2-7, 4.86 ERA, 4.65 FIP, 9.26 K/9, 4.29 BB/9, 1.24 HR/9, 15 GS, 79.2 IP

3. Michael Kopech, RHP (Double-A Birmingham)

It was a safe bet that Kopech would rebound after his recent rough patch and he did just that. He was on shaky ground in the first inning, when three singles led to a pair of earned runs but it was smooth sailing after that. He piled up the strikeouts the rest of the game and left with eight on the night to just two free passes, which a promising outcome for someone who is currently carrying a 5.57 BB/9. It was nice to see some fortitude from a 21 year-old in Double-A and Kopech’s been a poster boy for overcoming some adversity early in his career. He saw a little more adversity in his second start when Biloxi chased him for four runs on five hits across three frames. Most of the damage came in the third when two walks were bookended by two singles. Kopech had three strikeouts but canceled that out with three walks. The righty was pulled after 70 pitches at the start of the fourth inning, so it was clearly an off night. On the bright side, it’s been announced that Kopech will join Moncada and Collins in the upcoming Futures Game.

Last Week: 0-0, 6.00 ERA, 14 K, 8 BB, 2 GS, 9.0 IP
Season Line: 4-4, 3.72 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 11.75 K/9, 5.75 BB/9, 0.63 HR/9, 15 GS, 75.0 IP

4. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP (Triple-A Charlotte)

Lopez’s first start of the week was the second worst of his season and a true burner. He gave up six runs over three innings on four hits, three of which went for extra bases. Any goodwill he generated with four strikeouts was erased with four walks in an outing in which he had very little going for him. Unsurprisingly, he was charged with the loss against the Durham Bulls. So how’d he get the taste out of his mouth? By throwing an absolute gem last night against Columbus. It was Lopez’s best start of the year, a 6.2 inning masterpiece of one run ball with everything working. Lopez racked up a season high eleven strikeouts and issued merely one walk. The win moved his record with the Knights to 6-4.

Last Week: 1-1, 6.85 ERA, 15 K, 5 BB, 2 GS, 9.2 IP
Season Line: 6-4, 4.22 ERA, 4.74 FIP, 8.23 K/9, 4.12 BB/9, 1.21 HR/9, 15 GS, 81.0 IP

5. Zack Collins, C (High-A Winston-Salem)

Collins has been mired in a slump for the last month and this week only dragged his slash line lower. He’s hitting .171/.300/.316 over the last four weeks, which has skewed his season OPS under .800. Much has been written about the hitch in Collins’ swing, which may have contributed to his 27.8% strikeout rate so it will be interesting to see how he adjusts. After putting up video game numbers at Miami and having a strong debut in pro ball, this might be the first taste of struggles for the backstop. A high-character guy, there’s little worry Collins can make the requisite refinements to his swing to succeed but it’ll take time as he’s seeing higher quality pitching (and likely dedicated a lot of focus to his catching duties). But there are positives even beyond the power and walk-rate. Collins was named a Carolina League All-Star this week and currently leads the league in walks (56) and runners shutdown on the basepaths (34 CS).

Last Week: .158/.273/.158 (.431 OPS), 3 H, 3 BB, 8 K, 22 PA
Season Line: .211/.368/.408 (.776 OPS), 48 H, 11 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 29 RBI, 0 SB, 19.4 BB%, 27.8 K%, .271 BABIP, 288 PA

6. Carson Fulmer, RHP (Triple-A Charlotte)

If you’re feeling a little queasy after seeing Collins’ slashline for the last month, then you might want to skip ahead to Alec Hansen‘s blurb. Fulmer went four innings with shoddy control against Columbus and was run off the mound with seven runs on six hits, including four doubles and a home run. This is now the fourth time in his last eight starts that Fulmer has allowed five plus runs. Over the last month, the opposition is hitting .289/.400/.518 (.918 OPS) against Fulmer and he closed out June with a 6.85 ERA in five starts. Fulmer’s stuff isn’t as sharp as it was at Vandy and his control hasn’t come along like expected, so he’s looking like more of a project if Chicago is set on him sticking as a starter. Patience is a necessary ingredient in a rebuild, but it’s getting to that crossroads for the righty. How he does in his second half might decide his fit on the club going forward.

Last Week: 0-1, 15.75 ERA, 3 K, 3 BB, 1 GS, 4.0 IP
Season Line: 6-5, 5.47 ERA, 5.72 FIP, 6.19 K/9, 4.52 BB/9, 1.43 HR/9, 15 GS, 75.2 IP

7. Alec Hansen, RHP (High-A Winston-Salem)

The new kid on the block, Alec Hansen had a seamless transition to High-A in his first start with the Dash. He pitched a scoreless outing and held the Ducks to four hits over five innings. What’s more encouraging though is that he put up a goose egg in the walks column and got five punch-outs. It was his second start without a free pass this season, where his control remains on a positive trajectory. Hansen threw 74 percent of his 89 pitches in the zone, which was an unfathomable proposition just a year ago post-draft. His BB/9 stands at 2.85, which is even better than his first try at A-Ball last year.

Last Week: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 K, 0 BB, 1 GS, 5.0 IP
Season Line:
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: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.48 FIP, 9.00 K/9, 0.00 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9, 1 GS, 5.0 IP

8. Zack Burdi, RHP (Triple-A Charlotte)

Burdi turned in three scoreless innings this week, including his 9th save last night. He gave up a hit in each but missed plenty of bats, getting six strikeouts. Burdi’s 2.89 FIP continues to be more representative of his season than an ERA that is now under 5.00, but still misleadingly high at 4.66. His 14.59 K/9 continues to be a ridiculous stat in a level just below the bigs.

Last Week: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 K, 1 BB, SV, 3 G, 3.0 IP
Season Line: 0-4, 4.50 ERA, 2.89 FIP, 14.59 K/9, 4.66 BB/9, 0.62 HR/9, 6 SV, 2 BS, 25 G, 30.0 IP

9. Luis Alexander Basabe, OF (High-A Winston-Salem)

Basabe’s still scuffling at High-A. Two of his four hits were doubles and he added a trio of walks, but the overall line was poor over 27 PAs. That small sample has really been a microcosm of his season at large, which is well below expectations. The third piece in the Chris Sale trade, Basabe wasn’t entirely a lotto ticket as he came with some pedigree so while struggles are never surprising, struggles this amplified are harder to predict. With Jameson Fisher now with the Dash, it will be interesting to see if Basabe is dropped down a level once Alex Call returns.

Last Week: .174/.296/.261 (.557 OPS), 4 H, 2 2B, 3 BB, 6 K, 27 PA
Season Line: .211/.318/.303 (.621 OPS), 53 H, 8 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 11 SB, 11.9 BB%, 25.1 K%, .286 BABIP, 295 PA

10. Dane Dunning, RHP (High-A Winston-Salem)

Dunning’s first start of the week against Buies Creek was of the quality variety, as he was good for a six inning, two run effort. The control lagged a little bit with three walks but he still had the strikeouts going for him, lining up to one per inning. Despite a solid outing, Dunning was saddled with a loss and there wasn’t any justice in his second appearance. Maybe the curse plaguing Jose Quintana (winner of three straight) has been transferred to Dunning, who racked up his second loss of the week despite an excellent outing. A fielding error in the bottom of the third allowed two unearned runs to cross the plate, and Dunning responded by pushing on to seven solid innings with eight strikeouts and not a single walk. So take that 0-2 record this week with a huge grain of salt (not that win-loss record in the minors has much meaning anyway). His ERA with the Dash is now a crisp 2.81.

Last Week: 0-2, 1.38 ERA, 14 K, 3 BB, 2 GS, 13.0 IP
Season Line:
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, 2.81 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 10.34 K/9, 3.16 BB/9, 0.88 HR/9, 10 GS, 51.1 IP

11. Jordan Stephens, RHP (Double-A Birmingham)

The hits were falling more often in Stephens’ fourth start of the year. He was able to maneuver around eight hits and only get tagged with one earned run. He had four strikeouts to two walks over 5.1 frames. Some regression is to be expected with a strand rate a tick under 90 percent but Stephens has done a nice job generating ground balls in the early going (55.7%).

Last Week: 0-0, 1.69 ERA, 4 K, 2 BB, 1 GS, 5.1 IP
Season Line: 0-1, 1.14 ERA, 2.82 FIP, 7.23 K/9, 3.04 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9, 4 GS, 23.2 IP

12. Alex Call, OF (High-A Winston-Salem)
*Currently Injured – intercostal muscle injury, took BP in May at least, but return timeline is unknown*

Last Week: Did Not Play
Season Line: .244/.311/.366 (.677 OPS), 10 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 2 SB, 6.7 BB%, 24.4 K%, .333 BABIP, 45 PA

13. Spencer Adams, RHP (Double-A Birmingham)

The king of control didn’t have his normal pinpoint action in his start against Montgomery. Adams had a rare three walks, which ties last week for his season high. He gave up three runs on four hits through five innings. He tallied five strikeouts and the four hits were nearly a season low, so had he shown more characteristic control the outing may not have looked as bad on paper. He finished June with a 3.08 ERA over four starts.

Last Week: 1-0, 5.40 ERA, 5 K, 3 BB, 1 GS, 5.0 IP
Season Line: 6-6, 3.74 ERA, 3.33 FIP, 6.96 K/9, 1.45 BB/9, 0.83 HR/9, 14 GS, 86.2 IP

14. Jameson Fisher, OF (High-A Winston Salem)

I think Jameson Fisher likes Winston-Salem. He’s posted a hit in five of his first seven games with the club. He had a pair of doubles and scored five runs. The only quibble might be just one walk to six strikeouts but not a bad way to get his feet wet after moving up level.

Last Week: .261/.320/.348 (.668 OPS), 6 H, 2 2B, 1 BB, 6 K, 25 PA
Season Line:
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: .250/.300/.321 (.621 OPS), 7 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, 3.3 BB%, 23.3 K%, .333 BABIP, 30 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)

Bonus:

22. Jordan Guerrero, LHP

Guerrero tossed eight innings of one run ball without issuing a single walk in his sole start this week. That wasn’t even his longest outing of the season as two weeks ago he was the man behind a two-hit complete game shutout. Guerrero’s first five starts were nothing short of a train wreck and left him with a 7.01 ERA and 0-4 record. He was still limiting walks, penciling in high strikeout totals, and fighting a .451 BABIP, so his rebound didn’t come as a total surprise but he’s been nearly lights out since. He’s posted a 2.16 ERA over his last ten starts, and that includes a six-run blow up against Tennessee. Since that start his ERA is an even cooler 1.27 over his last six outings.

A 15th rounder in 2012, Guerrero found early success in pro ball before hitting a wall during a challenging assignment with the Barons last season. With a system suddenly stocked with righties, Guerrero has an inside track at a shot with Chicago sometime in 2018 if he can mirror this success into next season. He doesn’t overpower anyone with his stuff, but a sinking fastball, above average change, and budding curveball give him enough of mix to have three competent offerings. His strong command helps a less than flashy arsenal play up. He’s also shown a healthy and steady groundball rate over his career and an aptitude to keep the ball in the park, both of which were attributes still present in his subpar 2016. That’s a good combo for a southpaw who may be starting half his games at Guaranteed Rate Field. Overall, the arrow’s pointing up and the peripherals show he’s been even better than his 3.51 ERA. The White Sox may just have a mid-rotation lefty on their hands.

Last Week: 1-0, 1.13 ERA, 6 K, 0 BB, 1 GS, 8.0 IP
Season Line: 4-7, 3.51 ERA, 2.24 FIP, 9.75 K/9, 1.85 BB/9, 0.39 HR/9, 15 GS, 92.1 IP

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