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 a bonus or two outside that top fifteen) as classified by our most recent FS30 ranking.
*This is the first report featuring the new midseason list*
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*
1. Yoan Moncada, 2B (MLB)
Yoan Moncada hasn’t shed his prospect status quite yet and is slowly but surely getting acclimated to the big leagues. His .196 batting average is an exhibit in diversion as it fails to properly illustrate the plus approach at the plate Moncada has displayed thus far. He’s shown a sweet stroke and a propensity to make hard contact (41.2%) while also showing arguably the best eye of anyone in the line up. Moncada is methodical at the dish, seldom chasing balls out of the zone and looking poised despite the pressure of MLB stadium lights. If anything, he’s been too passive but it’s less trepidation and more a product of the 22-year-old surveying the competition in an effort to develop a game plan. The results will come. The .366 OBP and 18.3 percent walk rate are more predictive and preferable than a poor approach masked by a high-BABIP-driven average. Meanwhile, he’s flashed above average defense in the early going, showing strong range, a cannon arm, and soft hands. Sooner than later, Moncada will start finding the gaps and utilizing his plus speed to morph into an extra-base machine. So while his slash line is underwhelming (but clearly improving), he is far from the player that looked overmatched in a short stint with Boston just a year ago. Oh and Moncada just happened to hit a game-tying home run in the ninth last night and then a walk-off single two innings later.
Last Week: .438/.571/.500 (1.071 OPS), 7 H, 2B, HR, 6 BB, 7 K, 26 PA
Triple-A: .282/.377/.477 (.823 OPS), 87 H, 9 2B, 3 3B, 12 HR, 36 RBI, 17 SB, 13.6 BB%, 28.3 K%, .379 BABIP, 361 PA
MLB: .196/.366/.321 (.688 OPS), 11 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB, 18.3 BB%, 31.0 K%, .303 BABIP, 71 PA
2. Eloy Jimenez, OF (High-A Winston-Salem)
Jimenez put up numbers this week that would make a video game look too realistic. He had eleven hits, with six going for extra-bases and didn’t strikeout in a single plate appearance. This hot streak is only a little hotter than his entire tenure with the White Sox, in which he’s sporting a 1.136 OPS with ten doubles and six home runs in a touch under 100 plate appearances. At just 20 years-old, Jimenez is still playing about two years young for High-A Winston-Salem but the results are indicative of an imminent promotion to Double-A Birmingham, which would place him on a more level playing field and alleviate the outfield logjam currently plaguing the Dash roster.
Last Week: .455/.500/.864 (1.364 OPS), 11 H, 5 2B, 2 HR, 4 BB, 0 K, 24 PA
Cubs High-A: .271/.351/.490 (.841 OPS), 42 H, 6 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 0 SB, 10.3 BB%, 20.1 K%, .304 BABIP, 174 PA
White Sox High-A: .371/.429/.708 (1.136 OPS), 33 H, 11 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 21 RBI, 0 SB, 9.2 BB%, 16.3 K%, .403 BABIP, 98 PA
3. Michael Kopech, RHP (Double-A Birmingham)
Kopech has had just about everything going for him this season, from electric stuff at the top-end of his arsenal to his ability to limit hard contact. Not to mention an 11.62 K/9. The blemish to speak of was a tendency to give up the free pass, which at one point ballooned into an average of six walks per nine innings. But what did the outspoken 21-year-old already facing an objective challenge at Double-A do? He didn’t just talk the talk, but walked the walk, or rather hardly walked anyone. Kopech retired the first eight batters of the game in a seven inning, zero earned run effort against Jacksonville. His eleven strikeouts were par for the course, but more impressively he walked just one batter. That’s not just a one-off occurrence either. Over his last five starts, Kopech has allowed just five free passes while holding opposing hitters to a .148/.200/.221 line. That’s flowed into a 0.79 ERA over that span, which has edged him closer to a sub-3.00 mark for the season. There’s no promotion on the horizon for the power righty, who has shattered his previous innings totals at 112.1 IP. Look for him to be reeled in and monitored as the season winds down, even as his fastball continues to hover near 100 MPH.
Last Week: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 11 K, 1 BB, 1 GS, 7.0 IP
Season Line: 8-7, 3.04 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 11.62 K/9, 4.65 BB/9, 0.48 HR/9, 21 GS, 112.1 IP
4. Luis Robert, OF (DSL White Sox)
Luis Robert was sent to the Dominican Summer League after his high-profile signing for two reasons. Tax incentives, and to get him back up to game speed in a controlled campus environment. In a arena where almost nothing concrete can be extrapolated from stats, he’s performed more than admirably with a .963 OPS and more walks (22) than strikeouts (21) in 24 games. He’s also added eleven stolen bases for good measure. Unfortunately, he’s been slowed by the injury bug, having first been sidelined with a meniscus issue and now icing a sprained ankle. He’ll miss roughly a week and then finish out his season at the DSL and likely participate in fall instructs there, according to indications from the club.
Last Week: 1-for-4, 2B, 2 BB, 2 K, 7 PA
Season Line: .284/.500/.463 (.963 OPS), 19 H, 6 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 11 SB, 22.9 BB%, 21.9 K%, .386 BABIP, 96 PA
5. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP (Triple-A Charlotte)
The wait is officially over! Reynaldo Lopez will take the ball in Chicago tonight after compiling a 3.79 ERA over 22 starts at Charlotte while racking up 9.74 strikeouts per nine innings. After ripping off five starts of 2.10 ERA ball in July, Lopez placed himself in “next up” status. His final start with Charlotte was mixed as he surrendered a trio of home runs en route to giving up four runs over five innings. He also walked four batters, his highest walk total since late June. The start could be a harbinger for what Lopez still needs to refine at the big league level, namely fastball command and an ability to limit hard contact. These are both flaws that bit him in his time with the Nationals last season. The stuff will absolutely play at the MLB level, as his fastball/curve combo gives him a powerful punch at the top. In his last start, he was consistently working in the upper 90s. You can expect Lopez to be similarly revved up when he makes his White Sox debut. Don’t look for immediately dominant results from the young righty though. At just 23-years-old and with the need for a little more polish, Lopez will likely showcase uneven outings. He’ll rack up strikeouts, give up the long ball, and possibly fail to go deep into some games. Enjoy Lopez on this list while you can as tonight’s outing serves as a double-edged sword. If you see his name in next week’s update, he failed to go six innings, but if he’s gone from the list then rest assured Lopez will have pitched a solid outing and surpassed his prospect-status innings limit.
Last Week: 0-1, 7.20 ERA, 9 K, 3 BB, 1 GS, 5.0 IP
Season Line: 6-7, 3.79 ERA, 4.17 FIP, 9.74 K/9, 3.64 BB/9, 1.19 HR/9, 22 GS, 1.21 IP
6. Lucas Giolito, RHP (Triple-A Charlotte)
Giolito didn’t quite live up to a quality start in his weekend outing. He danced around a couple jams and was able to get timely strikeouts and a double play to avoid any damage. The final picture featured seven strikeouts to two walks over fives scoreless frames. Having gotten into more than a few deep counts, Giolito was at 101 pitches by that point and got the hook after a fine but inefficient outing. In last night’s start against Lehigh, Giolito recovered after giving up a two-run double in the second and was good enough for a quality start. He pitched into the seventh inning and gave up three runs on five hits while striking out six batters. Giolito has had two clean outings in August and is doing his best to bounce back from a July that saw him post a 5.17 ERA over six starts.
Last Week: 1-0, 2.41 ERA, 13 K, 4 BB, 2 GS, 11.2 IP
Season Line: 5-10, 4.70 ERA, 4.59 FIP, 9.39 K/9, 4.34 BB/9, 1.24 HR/9, 23 GS, 122.2 IP
7. Blake Rutherford, OF (Kannapolis Intimidators)
Rutherford scuffled this week and for as hot as Eloy has been, Rutherford has been equally cold since coming over from the New York Yankees via trade. While he looked to be heating up in July, he book-ended the month with ~.600 OPS in June and a .546 mark thus far in August. He has an advanced approach and sound mechanics, so it’s surprising that he isn’t putting on more of a show in Class A. He’s only struck out 11.5 percent of the time with the Intimidators, but the raw power isn’t playing at all (.057 ISO). There’s frame projection here and he has good barrel control, so maybe it’s only a matter of time before he starts driving the ball. That .279 BABIP since joining the Sox organization seems unlikely to continue.
Last Week: .120/.214/.160 (.374 OPS), 2 H, 2B 3 BB, 3 K, 28 PA
(Low-A Yankees): .281/.342/.391 (.733 OPS), 77 H, 20 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 30 RBI, 9 SB, 8.2 BB%, 18.1 K%, .341 BABIP, 304 PA
(Low-A White Sox): .243/.321/.300 (.621), 17 H, 4 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB, 10.3 BB%, 11.5 K%, .279 BABIP, 78 PA
8. Alec Hansen, RHP (High-A Winston-Salem)
Alec Hansen tossed a gem against the Potomac Nationals in his only start this week. He opened the game by striking out the side and finished off the sixth inning in the same fashion. All told, he totaled twelve punch-outs across six innings of scoreless baseball. He surrendered just two hits and two free passes en route to his ninth win of the season. The most impressive takeaway was that the tall right-hander threw 75 percent of his 89 pitches for strikes. Hansen shared on CSN Chuck Garfein’s podcast that he credits some of his most recent success to improved feel for his change-up. A true four pitch pitcher with a great build, flashy stuff, and the results to back it, Hansen was a surprise absentee from some of the recent Top 100 Prospect updates. He’s now sporting a 2.38 ERA in eight High-A starts. Barring extreme injury or underperformance, he’s a lock to pop up on plenty of national lists this offseason.
Last Week: 1-0, 0.00, 12 K, 2 B, 1 GS, 6.0 IP
(Low-A): 7-3, 2.48 ERA, 2.56 FIP, 11.39 K/9, 2.85 BB/9, 0.37 HR/9, 13 GS, 72.2 IP
(High-A): 0-0, 2.38 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 12.53 K/9, 3.67 BB/9, 0.65 HR/9, 8 GS, 41.2 IP
9. Zack Collins, C (High-A Winston-Salem)
Collins played sparingly this week and tallied three hits in as many games. One went for extra-bases as he continues to walk and strikeout at high clips. Over the last month, he’s struggled to a .197/.303/.439 line and seen his stock continue to fall as he’s posted two consecutive sub-.300 OBP months. He’s throwing out 43 percent of runners, on his way to a 20 home run season, and getting on base but the hit tool is showing unexpected concerns. The hitch in his swing has given him more problems than he bargained for, both in the swing-and-miss realm and his ability to go to all fields. At face value, the numbers aren’t horrid but for an advanced college bat in High-A, he should be a little more ahead of the competition. It’s still a stable profile and a likely major leaguer, but the level of risk in the bat has been highlighted.
Last Week: 3-for-10, 3 BB, 3 K, 14 PA
Season Line: .217/.357/.428 (.785 OPS), 71 H, 17 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 45 RBI, 0 SB, 17.5 BB%, 28.1 K%, .275 BABIP, 406 PA
10. Dylan Cease, RHP (Low-A Kannapolis)
Cease had the worst outing of his White Sox tenure against Greenville as he didn’t even make it out of the first inning, A walk, single, and double to open the frame weren’t helped by an error which opened the floodgates. He was able to notch a pair strikeouts but a two-out single that gave Greenville a 5-0 lead cut his outing quite short. He was living in the zone with 24 of his 40 pitches going for strikes but got killed by some lighter contact and poor defense. It’s pretty much a microcosm of how his time with Kanny has been thus far as he has a 5.12 ERA through five starts but a 2.79 FIP. A .400 BABIP and strand rate below sixty percent will often do that to you. As a result, any sort of red flag from his first impression with the White Sox is of a very light variety. The thing to focus on is the high BB/9, which puts more of an onus on the impact of lucky hits and precludes him from going deep into games. That said, he’s given up very little in the way of hard contact this season, with the opposition having just two home runs and a .225/.331/.312 line against him over 18 starts.
Last Week: 0-1, 9.64 ERA, 2 K, 2 BB, 1 GS, 0.2 IP
(Low-A Cubs): 1-2, 2.79 ERA, 2.75 FIP, 12.89 K/9, 4.53 BB/9, 0.35 HR/9, 13 GS, 51.2 IP
(Low-A White Sox): 0-5, 5.12 ERA, 2.79 FIP, 12.57 K/9, 5.59 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9, 5 GS, 19.1 IP
11. Dane Dunning, RHP (High-A Winston-Salem)
Dunning had a strong outing against his former organization by getting a quality start against Potomac. He gave up two runs on six hits over six frames, with only one of them going for extra bases. He retired ten consecutive batters between the third and the sixth before a pair of singles sealed up his start. He still threw 70 of his 92 pitches for strikes and has now posted five straight starts of one walk or less. His K/9 through 17 starts at High-A is just a touch below ten.
Last Week: 0-0, 3.00 ERA, 6 K, 1 BB, 1 GS, 6.0 IP
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: 4-5, 3.33 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 9.98 K/9, 2.84 BB/9, 1.17 HR/9, 17 GS, 92.0 IP
12. Jake Burger, 3B (High-A Winston-Salem)
Burger had his first rough week of the season, in which he tallied three hits and a walk despite racking up his fair share of plate appearances. It was also his first full week without an extra base hit. While the last seven days suppressed his overall line, he still has an .800+ OPS in his first taste of pro ball and loud production in the form of nine doubles, a triple, and three homers. The 10.4 percent K-rate is nothing to scoff at either.
Last Week: .115/.148/.115 (.264 OPS), 1 BB, 5 K, 27 PA
Season Line: .291/.365/.447 (.812 OPS), 30 H, 9 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 0 SB, 7.0 BB%, 10.4 K%, .315 BABIP, 115 PA
13. Spencer Adams, RHP (Double-A Birmingham)
Adams was number thirteen on the pre-season list and remains number thirteen despite top line inflow into the system from both deadline moves and the draft. More than anything, that’s a testament to how well Adams has performed this season as he’s recovered some of that ceiling that made him a 2nd-rounder a few years ago. While known for his trademark control, Adams ran into unusual territory this week issuing six walks over 6.2 frames, which is the highest single-contest walk total of his entire pro career. Six hits, six walks, and just two strike outs over nearly seven innings would normally be recipe for disaster, but the sequencing was such that Adams still escaped with a quality start. Just a weird outing all around.
Last Week: 0-1, 4.05 ERA, 6 K, 2 BB, 1 GS, 6.2 IP
Season Line: 7-12, 4.09 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 6.70 K/9, 2.08 BB/9, 1.07 HR/9, 22 GS, 134.1 IP
14. Casey Gillapsie, 1B (Triple-A Charlotte)
Gillapsie has been something of an anomaly this year. A Top 100 prospect on a variety of outlets just seven months ago, he had done nothing but hit his way up through the minors. That included a .307/.389/.520 line over 200 PAs with the Rays Triple-A affiliate in 2016. The batting eye is great: very healthy walk rates and not a ton of swing-and-miss in his profile. The issue is a swing without a ton of leverage or natural bat speed. He generates some power through his hefty frame, but the hit tool is suddenly a question mark. He scuffled to a .227/.296/.357 line at Triple-A for the Rays this year and hasn’t been a whole lot better since joining the Knights. He did hit his first home run with the club a couple nights ago. With clunky speed and an iffy defensive profile at first, he’d need to hit a ton to not sink his value. It’s an interesting buy-low by Rick Hahn and miles ahead of what I presumed Dan Jennings would return in a trade, but some of that was a function of Gillapsie himself. Still a good guy to have as your #14 in the system.
Last Week: .227/.320/.364 (.684 OPS), 5 H, HR, 3 BB, 4 K, 25 PA
(Triple-A Rays): .227/.296/.357 (.653 OPS), 80 H, 15 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 44 RBI, 1 SB, 9.1 BB%, 19.5 K%, .261 BABIP, 395 PA
(Triple-A White Sox): .227/.320/.364 (.684 OPS), 5 H, 0 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 12.0 BB%, 16.0 K%, .235 BABIP, 25 PA
15. Jordan Stephens, RHP (Double-A Birmingham)
Stephens threw his seventh quality start in eleven attempts in his sole outing this week. He gave up three runs on seven hits over six innings and was eventually saddled with the loss. He walked two and notched six strikeouts, which has been a ceiling of sorts in that department for him this season. They were timely though as a pair of whiffs got him out of a big jam in the fifth, which is when Jacksonville did the majority of their scoring. He maintains a 2.32 ERA in his first season at Double-A, despite issing the first two months of play.
Last Week: 0-1, 4.50 ERA, 6 K, 2 BB, 1 GS, 6.0 IP
Season Line: 2-4, 2.32 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 7.09 K/9, 3.14 BB/9, 0.41 HR/9, 11 GS, 66.0 IP
19. Micker Adolfo, OF (Low-A Kannapolis)
Just like that Eloy Jimenez and Micker Adolfo, two highly rated outfielders from the 2013 international class, are suddenly in the same organization. Profiling similarly out of the Dominican Republic, both were raw with solid arms and the chance for big power. They’ve taken different tracks to be sure, with Jimenez showing more playable plate discipline before breaking out last year with tantalizing power. He’s only seen his stock soar higher this season as he’s now a consensus Top 10 prospect in the game, while his cohort Adolfo is experiencing a lighter breakout. Adolfo labored in Rookie Ball and staved off a variety of injuries from 2014 into 2016 before moving up to Kannapolis. The results didn’t pop off the page until this season, where as a 20-year-old he’s still a tad young for the Sally League. But it’s finally starting to click a bit. The ~30 percent K-rate is what will cause many to pause, but he’s the first White Sox international signing to show this much success stateside in quite some time. Adolfo collected a trio of walks and hit his fifteenth and sixteenth home runs of the season this week. He now has that home run punch to go along with 27 doubles and a pair of triples for a true breakout. A promotion to High-A later this year and into next season will be telling as far as his staying power but a .815 OPS has put him on the map in a much more saturated system.
Last Week: .261/.290/.519 (.809 OPS), 2 HR, 3 BB, 8 K, 31 PA
Season Line: .276/.342/.473 (.815 OPS), 107 H, 27 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 67 RBI, 2 SB, 6.3 BB%, 30.6 K%, .379 BABIP, 432 PA
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