White Sox Top Prospect Report, 7/14

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.

NOTE: Work on our new Midseason Top 30 list is getting underway, to be published the first week of August.

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: Zack Collins
Pitcher of the week: Spencer Adams

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

Due to the AAA All-Star Game break, Moncada (like the rest of the Knights) got in only limited playing time with their regular team. He did make the most of those two games, going 4-for-6 plus a walk. But outside his usual International League play, the top prospect in the game also played in his second straight Futures Game. He went 0-2, including being struck out on a 101 mph fastball from his White Sox mate, Michael Kopech.

Last Week: .667/.714/.667 (1.381 OPS), 4 H, 1 BB, 1 K in 7 PA
Season Line: .286/.385/.453 (.838 OPS), 82 H, 9 2B, 3 3B, 11 HR, 34 RBI, 16 SB (5 CS), 14.2 BB%, 28.1 K%, .372 BABIP in 331 PA

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

There’s no doubt that Giolito has been making progress with his new mechanics since an awful April showing. But it’s not exactly been a smooth trend either, with plenty of erratic results. Last week’s list noted that he gave up 6 earned runs in 3.2 innings in the one start he made. But in his most recent start on July 8th, Lucas bounced back quite effectively, whiffing 10 batters in 7 frames while allowing just a pair of hits and walks respectively. The overall trend is positive (3.92 ERA, 66 K, 23 BB in 62 IP from mid-May onward), but hopefully more of his future outings like his July 8th than his July 2nd.

Last Week: 1 GS: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K
Season Line: 3-8, 5.18 ERA, 4.63 FIP, 9.7 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 1.5 HR/9 in 17 GS, 90.1 IP

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

Kopech was put on the Temporary Inactive list, and did not throw for the Barons in the last week. But he did see action in the Futures Game (which is why he was on said list), completing the third inning unscathed, including the aforementioned strikeout of Moncada. The second half should be very interesting for Kopech as he not only seeks to improve command, but also faces uncharted waters in his physical endurance. He’s already thrown more innings in 2017 than he did in all of 2016.

Last Week: DNP
Season Line: 4-6, 4.02 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 11.6 K/9, 6.1 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9 in 16 GS, 78.1 IP

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

Lopez posted his third straight quality start on the 9th, walking just one batter, just as he has in each of those three outings. For that matter, he’s been doing well since Memorial Day, posting a 3.83 ERA over seven starts since then (and that includes an outing where he allowed six earned runs in three innings). If the White Sox do elect to call up a starter from Charlotte, Lopez may be the most ready for the majors among the true prospects in AAA. That said, he’s already at 93 innings on the year, after throwing 109.1 all of last season.

Last Week: 1 GS: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
Season Line: 6-5, 3.97 ERA, 4.41 FIP, 8.6 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9 in 17 GS, 93 IP

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

It was a short week for Collins too – he made a single plate appearance in the Futures Game and struck out. But his regular season stats continue to improve from a low point in late June. He’s posted a 1.084 OPS in his last eight games, though he’s still striking out at somewhat high rate. In multiple interviews, Collins has made it clear he isn’t overly concerned about his batting average at this point, and his BABIP supports his theory. The strikeout rate may be the larger outward expression of what concerns evaluators with Zack. Coming into 2017, the main concern was about his defense, and most assumed he’d hit in High-A without breaking a sweat. So far, the opposite seems to be true.

Last Week: .353/.389/.765 (1.154 OPS), 6 H, 2 HR, 2B, 1 BB, 4 K in 19 PA
Season Line: .222/.370/.425 (.795 OPS), 58 H, 13 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR, 38 RBI, 0 SB (2 CS), 18.6 BB%, 27.4 K%, .284 BABIP in 328 PA

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

Where Giolito is trending erratically but generally up, Fulmer is doing the exact opposite. In his one start during the covered period he allowed four earned on a whopping eight hits in just three innings. He was looking like the “next guy up” from the Knights rotation by mid-May, but in his last nine starts Carson is sporting a 7.51 ERA and walking nearly as many batters (23) as he’s struck out (27). Some inconsistency was always a known risk given his mechanics, and certainly it’s far too early to jump off the ship entirely. But it may soon be time to decide if Fulmer would be more successful and valuable as a reliever as opposed to a starter.

Last Week: 1 GS: 3 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Season Line: 0-0, 6.31 ERA, 5.78 FIP, 6.8 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 1.3 HR/9 in 17 GS, 82.2 IP

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

After what was possibly the worst start of his pro career, Hansen rebounded on Wednesday night to post a solid five innings of 2-run baseball. Three of the four starts Alec has made with the Dash have been good to great (all of the five inning variety), so the adjustment has been going better than his overall A+ line may appear at first glance. That said, one semi-worrisome trend to monitor is that he’s walked three batters in each of his last three starts, which is something he never did at previous levels in any stretch even with longer outings. Nothing to panic about though.

Last Week: 1 GS: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
Low-A: 7-3, 2.48 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 11.4 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 0.4 HR/9 in 13 GS, 72.2 IP
High A: 0-1, 4.00 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 9.5 K/9, 2.70 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9 in 4 GS, 18.0 IP

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

On Sunday, Burdi was removed from the game while holding his throwing arm in apparent discomfort. He is reportedly in Chicago this week for an MRI and follow-ups. Hopefully it turns out to be nothing serious. The fear is that he may suffer the same fate (Tommy John surgery) as his brother Nick, though really, no one knows if this is going to be the case. Zack had been trending positively before his move to the disabled list.

Last Week: 1 G: 1.1 IP, H, UER, 2 BB, K
Season Line: 0-4, 4.05 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 13.8 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 0.5 HR/9, 7 SV, 2 BS, 29 G, 33.1 IP

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

Basabe was in a major funk for much of June, but his July has been looking better. His numbers in the past week were just OK, but for the month his .293/.341/.488 line is a far sight better than a May and June period where he hit well below .200. Luis is raw and toolsy, so he is is a long term project with some ups and downs. Possibly the best news isn’t in his core numbers – he’s only struck out 8 times in 45 July plate appearances, including just once in the last six games. BABIP also likes his chances to see improvement.

Last Week: .263/.300/.421 (.721 OPS), 5 H, HR, BB, K in 21 PA
Season Line: .217/.316/.320 (.636 OPS), 65 H, 9 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 14 SB (4 CS), 11.2 BB%, 24.6 K%, .289 BABIP in 349 PA

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

Dunning was dinged up a bit in his most recent start, allowing four earned on eight hits in five innings. Dane’s performance in High-A has been good overall, but not nearly as dominant as his brief look in Kannapolis. His strikeout rate has dropped a bit but is still notably over a batter an inning; his walk rate though, has ballooned from 0.7/9 to a still playable 3.6/9.

Last Week: 1 GS: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
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, 3.03 ERA, 3.90 FIP, 10.3 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9 in 12 GS, 62.1 IP

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

Stephens has been [insert fire emoji] with the results so far in AA Birmingham, despite missing April and May due to tendinitis. His July 8th start was probably his “worst” of the season so far, but even then he allowed just two earned runs in five innings. Last night he went 7.2 innings – the longest outing of his pro career – allowing just one run. Some of our writers see Jordan as a top ten prospect in the system (before the Quintana trade), but he rarely gets that level of attention in national publications. There certainly are statistical hints at a regression catch-up soon, but he can weather that and still be having a very good season.

Last Week: 2 GS: 12.2 IP, 12 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
Season Line: 1-2, 1.48 ERA, 3.11 FIP, 6.5 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 0.2 HR/9 in 7 GS, 42.2 IP

12. Alex Call, OF (High-A Winston-Salem)

Call continues to rehab in the AZL, as the White Sox are clearly taking his recovery process slowly by design. Given than his intercostal muscle injury had come up before, and the importance of that core to his hitting, there is every reason not to rush him back up. Plus, he’s not exactly lighting the world on fire down there. That said, he’s now played ten games in the Fire League, and he likely comes back up soon. That looming change poses a problem for the well-stocked Dash outfield, which means someone probably heads for Birmingham (or maybe down to Kannapolis).

Last Week (AZL rehab): .045/.154/.091 (.245 OPS), 1 H, 2B, 2 BB, 2 K in 26 PA
Season Line (High-A): .244/.311/.366 (.677 OPS), 10 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 2 SB (1 CS), 6.7 BB%, 24.4 K%, .333 BABIP in 45 PA

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

As recently noted when our Matt Cassidy visited Birmingham, Adams’ repertoire and velocity appear to have made some significant advancements this year, and the results are proving that out. His most recent start was among the most statistically dominant of his pro career thus far, particularly the dozen strikeouts. And as a reminder again, this guy just turned 21 in April and he’s in AA. Despite the addition of so much high end talent to the farm system recently, look for Adams to be near the back end of the top ten prospects in the organization when we publish our next list in a few weeks.

Last Week: 1 GS: 7.1 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB, 12 K
Season Line: 7-8, 3.10 ERA, X FIP, 7.5 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9 in 17 GS, 106.2 IP

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

Fisher cooled a bit from a red hot start to July, but his high contact and walk rates suggest that may be a blip. He’s run hot and cold since moving up to Winston-Salem, but this certainly looks like the right level for him at the moment.

Last Week: .174/.345/.261 (.606 OPS), 4 H, 2 2B, 5 BB, 4 K in 29 PA
Low-A: .269/.365/.417 (.782 OPS), 60 H, 14 2B, 5 3B, 3 HR, 36 RBI, 2 SB (2 CS), 11.7 BB%, 22.3 K%, .345 BABIP in 265 PA
High A: .237/.326/.408 (.733 OPS), 18 H, 7 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB (2 CS), 9.3 BB%, 17.4 K%, .271 BABIP in 86 PA

15. Luis Curbelo, SS (Great Falls – Rookie Ball)

*In Arizona to have a knee issue checked out*

Last Week: Did not play
Season Line: 6-for-17, 2B, HR 1 BB, 4 K, 17 PA (3 games)

Bonus: #27, Catcher Seby Zavala

Zavala is another player that some of us here at FutureSox have been consistently higher on than the rest of the media community. He opened in Kannapolis because Zack Collins was in Winston-Salem and the White Sox wanted to make sure A) Collins was at the appropriate level, and then B) that Zavala was getting regular playing time behind the plate. He proved well beyond the South Atlantic League, so they promoted him to partner with Collins (they split C and DH duties).

Since going to High-A, Zavala has shown no problems with Carolina League pitching. In fact he’s hitting as well there as he did a level lower. In the last week he’s slashed .538/.571/.615, and so far for Winston-Salem he’s at .298/.365/.532 in 14 games. When the coming roster crunch happens with Alex Call returning, and players like Micker Adolfo, Jake Burger and Gavin Sheets possibly pushing for promotions, something has to give with the two catchers also using up the DH slot most nights. It might not be crazy to send Zavala to Birmingham, since Collins seems less than ready to make that leap.

Last Week: .538/.571/.615 (1.187 OPS), 2B, BB, 2 K in 14 PA
Low-A: .259/.327/.514 (.840 OPS), 8 2B, 13 HR, 34 RBI, 6.3 BB%, 25.1 K%, .289 BABIP in 207 PA
High-A: .298/.365/.532 (.897 OPS), 2 2B, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 9.6 BB%, 23.1 K%, .344 BABIP in 52 PA

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