White Sox Top Prospect Report, 6/9

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: SS Eddy Alvarez
Pitcher of the week: RHP Dane Dunning

1. Yoan Moncada, 2B

Go back less than a month, and Yoan Moncada was the hottest player in the International League. The expiration date on his service time had passed and fans and pundits alike were remiss as to why the budding star was spending his nights in Charlotte rather than Chicago. Rick Hahn has been qualifying from the beginning that the good ones tend to force the issue, but it’s no secret the White Sox desire to see sustained success from Moncada before he gets the call. Here in early June, he had arguably his worst week of the season, striking out ten times and walking none. He’s been out of sync since returning from a thumb injury and is hitting just .179/.263/.254 over his last 17 games. Moncada was in A-Ball less than 12 months ago, so rough patches are to be expected. It’s much more preferable he works through these issues away from the bright lights of Chicago, which is exactly the framework Hahn and Co have in mind. The OBP and BB% are still strong but his 28.5% K-rate needs work. Another hot stretch is in the cards, but it might be time to pause on the idea of seeing Moncada before July.

Last Week: .185/.185/.222 (.407 OPS), 5 H, 2B, 2 SB,  0 BB, 10 K, 27 PA
Season Line: .287/.364/.436 (.800 OPS), 54 H, 6 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 18 RBI, 12 SB, 11.2 BB%, 28.5 K%, .390 BABIP, 188 PA

2. Lucas Giolito, RHP

Things are officially starting to click for Giolito, who has now strung together a really strong month (2.57 ERA over last 5 GS) and has lowered his ERA below the pitching mendoza-equivalent 5.00 line. His start against Durham was one of his better outings and all reports indicate he had some of his best stuff of the year, showing particular efficacy with his 12-6 hammer curve. He threw six innings of one run ball but more impressively struck out eleven Bulls and only issued two walks. A home run manufacturer to start the year, Giolito has done a much better job keeping the ball in the park of late.

Last Week: 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 11 K, 2 BB, 1 GS, 6.0 IP
Season Line: 2-5, 4.95 ERA, 4.77 FIP, 9.11 K/9, 4.31 BB/9, 1.28 HR/9, 11 GS, 56.1 IP

3. Michael Kopech, RHP

After lighting up radar guns all year, for the first time Kopech got lit up himself in a start against Tennessee. Kopech’s five strikeouts tied for the lowest mark of his season. After a double and a walk to start the third, Kopech struck out the side and had clean innings in the fourth and fifth. Things fell apart in the sixth though when he issued three straight walks (totalling to five on the night) to load the bases and get the hook. While Robinson Leyer surrendered the double that inflated Kopech’s line, he was ultimately charged with all three runs and the loss.

Last Week: 0-1, 8.44 ERA, 5 K, 5 BB, 1 GS, 5.1 IP
Season Line: 4-3, 2.93 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 12.34 K/9, 5.55 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9, 11 GS, 58.1 IP

4. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP

Lopez got the loss against Durham despite going seven strong innings and pitching well enough for a quality start. It was a strange outing for Lopez as he only got one strikeout but was able to limit hard contact until the sixth. Save for two solo shots in that frame, the Bulls couldn’t do much against him. To his credit, he came back out for a scoreless seventh. With just one walk, his BB/9 is finally under four at 3.82.

Last Week: 0-1, 3.86 ERA, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 GS, 7.0 IP
Season Line: 5-3, 3.82 ERA, 4.44 FIP, 8.32 K/9, 3.82 BB/9, 1.09 HR/9, 12 GS, 66.0 IP

5. Zack Collins, C

Collins collected four hits this week, including a double and home run. The power is starting to play for the slugger (.222 ISO) but it would be nice to see the strikeouts come down a bit (26.4% K-rate). That said, Collins has an .841 OPS at Winston-Salem and if he gets it going over the next couple of months, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him fast tracked to Birmingham. On the defensive side, he’s been a revelation in taming the running game. He’s gunned now nearly 40 percent of would-be base-stealers, a marked improvement over last season’s poor 14 percent.

Last Week: .211/.318/.421 (.739 OPS), 4 H, 2B, HR, 3 BB, 8 K, 220 PA
Season Line: .228/.391/.450 (.841 OPS), 39 H, 10 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 0 SB, 20.5 BB%, 26.4 K%, .290 BABIP, 220 PA

6. Carson Fulmer, RHP

Fulmer was on the rebound this week. His control is still wavering with four walks in five innings of work, but there was far less loud contact against him. He gave up just one run on two hits, and certainly helped himself by generating two doubles plays and notching a pick off in the third to escape trouble. He still only threw 50 percent of his 84 pitches for strikes, so he’s going to have to keep the walks at bay. For someone who has been more of an average strikeout pitcher since Double-A, a 4.17 BB/9 will be hard to pitch around.

Last Week: 0-0, 1.80 ERA, 3 K, 4 BB, 1 GS, 5.0 IP
Season Line: 5-3, 4.63 ERA, 5.66 FIP, 6.79 K/9, 4.17 BB/9, 1.54 HR/9, 11 GS, 58.1 IP

7. Alec Hansen, RHP

Hansen didn’t repeat his 15 strikeout, zero walk effort against Greensboro but he still cruised to his sixth quality start of the season. He gave up one run on four hits over six innings, while striking out seven and issuing two walks. That lowered his ERA over the last month to 1.82 and gives him a 14.2 K/9 during that span. He can make the case as the best pitcher among the top pitching crop this year and it will be interesting to see how long he remains in Low-A Kannapolis.

Last Week: 0-0, 1.50 ERA, 7 K, 2 BB, 1 GS, 6.0 IP
Season Line: 5-3, 2.82 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 10.98 K/9, 3.12 BB/9, 0.30 HR/9, 11 GS, 60.2 IP

8. Zack Burdi, RHP

Last week was not kind to Burdi. The Knights closer started the week by pitching in a blow-out, where he gave up a double, walked two, and was saddled with a two run-single before escaping with a double play. His second appearance was also in a blowout and stood as another two run, two walk effort that included a double and triple. It was the first instance of rough back to back outings for Burdi this year, who is now staring at a 5.24 ERA. That doesn’t tell the whole story though as the .390 BABIP against him is unsustainable and his 2.41 FIP is closer to how he’s looked. If you remove his awful May 27th appearance, his ERA stands at 3.26 so it’s been a rather good season dragged down by a poor appearance or two.

Last Week: 0-0, 18.00 ERA, 2 K, 4 BB, 2 G, 2.0 IP
Season Line: 0-4, 5.24 ERA, 2.41 FIP, 13.30 K/9, 4.84 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9, 20 G, 5 SV, 2 BS, 22.1 IP

9. Luis Alexander Basabe, OF

Three walks to six strikeouts is better plate discipline than Basabe showed last week, but the outfielder is still in a rut. His overall line is sinking toward a valley, with a .534 OPS over his last 23 games.

Last Week: .154/.313/.154 (.466 OPS), 2 H, 3 BB, 6 K, 17 PA
Season Line: .218/.318/.309 (.627 OPS),  41 H, 5 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 10 SB, 10.9 BB%, 25.9 K%, .300 BABIP, 220 PA

10. Dane Dunning, RHP

Dunning put his last four starts behind him with a vintage outing reminiscent of his early season results. Jose Quintana-style, he got the loss despite tossing five innings with no earned runs. His first inning featured a fielding error that set the table for a Lucas Erceg three run homer, with all three runs deemed unearned. He was a strikeout machine for the rest of the game and compiled eleven strikeouts in total to zero walks. His ERA at Winston-Salem is now under 4.00.

Last Week: 0-1, 0.00 ERA, 11 K, 0 BB, 1 GS, 5.0 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: 2-1, 3.86 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 11.57 K/9, 3.86 BB/9, 1.05 HR/9, 6 GS, 25.2 IP

11. Jordan Stephens, RHP

Jordan Stephens is off the injury shelf and left an impression in his debut start. Drafted as a 5th rounder in 2015, Stephens got acclimated in Rookie Ball and then spent all of last season in High-A. He posted a 3.45 ERA and 9.89 K/9 over 27 starts and 141 innings. Now at Double-A Birmingham, Stephens threw six innings of one-hit ball against Chattanooga. He struck out six and walked just one batter, which was about as good of a return as you could have scripted.

Last Week: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 K, 1 BB, 1 GS, 6.0 IP
Season Line: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.64 FIP, 9.00 K/9, 1.50 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9, 1 GS, 6.0 IP

12. Alex Call, OF
*Currently Injured – intercostal muscle injury, has been taken BP in May, 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

Adams hurled a quality start in his only outing this week. He gave up two runs on five hits over six frames, which lowered his ERA to 3.93. Adams collected six strikeouts and inked another zero in the walk column. His 0.9 BB/9 gives him some of the best control on the farm.

Last Week: 0-0, 3.00 ERA, 6 K, 2 BB, 1 GS, 6.0 IP
Season Line: 3-6, 3.93 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 6.78 K/9, 0.95 BB/9, 0.95 HR/9, 11 GS, 66.1 IP

14. Jameson Fisher, OF

Fisher cooled off considerably this week, tallying just two hits and striking out seven times. He did hit his fifth triple of the season over the weekend, which was the lone bright spot.

Last Week: .133/.316/.267 (.582 OPS), 2 H, 3B, 3 BB, 7 K, 20 PA
Season Line: .285/.376/.447 (.823 OPS), 51 H, 13 2B, 5 3B, 2 HR, RBI, 2 SB, 10.8 BB%, 24.1 K%, .380 BABIP, 212 PA

15. Luis Curbelo, SS
*In extended spring training*

Bonus:

23. Eddy Alvarez, SS/2B

Eddy Alvarez has a silver medal from the 2014 Sochi Olympics for speed skating but has since begun to skate through Chicago’s system in hopes of playing baseball at the highest level. Signed in 2014 as an undrafted free agent, he shined in Rookie Ball and made it all the way up to High-A Winston-Salem in his second pro season. He posted a .325/.411/.467 line there in just under 150 PAs, displaying strong plate discipline. His showing there influenced the White Sox to challenge him with an assignment at Double-A Birmingham last season. He posted a stable line but hit for little power and saw his speed play less on the bases.

Alvarez stole 53 bags across two levels in 2015 but was just 9-for-15 in stolen base attempts at Birmingham. Apparently it was an initiative on his part to put that on the back burner and focus on other aspects of his game. In 2017, Alvarez is back at Double-A after seeing a short stint in Charlotte to end last season. He’s hit for a .247/.353/.353 slash line with a very solid walk rate (13.7%) and limited strikeouts (18.1%). He’s been light on the power end again, but has racked up his share of doubles. Still struggling a tad on the base paths with a 3-for-6 steal rate, he has the plus speed to be a threat and has shown the aptitude on the bases before so expect improvement there. Pair his ability to get on base with playable defense in the middle infield and the switch-hitter profiles as a nice utility piece.

Alvarez scorched the ball all week and has heated up over the last month. Getting a late jump on baseball, he is now 27 years old and should see Triple-A Charlotte at some point this season. As Chicago rebuilds, there’s a decent chance Alvarez will earn a September call-up and turn an initial long shot at the majors into a reality.

Last Week: .412/.522/.647 (1.169 OPS), 7 H, 2B, HR, 5 BB, 2 K, 23 PA
Season Line: .247/.353/.353 (.706 OPS), 47 H, 9 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 3 SB, 13.7 BB%, 18.1 K%, .297 BABIP, 227 PA

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