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)
It hadn’t been a kind week for Yoan Moncada, who had plunged since his dazzling game winning performance last Thursday. He’d collected just two hits and posted 12 strikeouts to zero walks before turning the page last night. He backed up a missile home run with a pair of walks to end the week on a high note. His whiff rate has risen to 37.1 percent in just a touch under 100 plate appearances. He’s certainly working deep counts and a 44 percent hard contact rate is more than promising, but he’s had trouble driving the ball. Although compounded by a small sample size, his efficacy has been much greater from the left side (.816 OPS) than the right (.356 OPS). This will be something to monitor as the eye test does support a more fluid look against righties. But these are simply growing pains, it shouldn’t be long for his flashes to become sustained star power.
Last Week: .100/.100/.150 (.250 OPS), 3 H, 2B, HR, 2 BB, 13 K, 25 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: .185/.320/.321 (.641 OPS), 15 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB, 14.4 BB%, 37.1 K%, .302 BABIP, 102 PA
2. Eloy Jimenez, OF (Double-A Birmingham)
I’m basically conditioned to begin Eloy Jimenez‘s OPS with a one now as he’s been nothing short of sensational since joining the organization. From predicting home runs before they happen on Instagram to backing up his self-anointed “The Bessss” nickname on a nightly basis, Eloy Jimenez is erasing little doubt he may be destined for super-stardom. He raked in another trio of home runs this week and made an immediate imprint with the Birmingham Barons after his promotion. His first two at-bats in Double-A: Home Run, Double. That’s one way to say “hello.” In 93 plate appearances against southpaws, Jimenez is slashing .346/.430/.704 (1.134 OPS) with almost as many walks (12) as strikeouts (13).
Last Week: .273/.304/.727 (1.032 OPS), 6 H, 1 2B, 3 HR, 1 BB, 6 K, 23 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: .345/.410/.682 (1.092 OPS), 38 H, 11 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 0 SB, 9.8 BB%, 17.2 K%, .370 BABIP, 122 PA
White Sox Double-A: 2-for-4, 2B, HR, 0 BB, 1 K
3. Michael Kopech, RHP (Double-A Birmingham)
Michael Kopech is already above his career innings high. Michael Kopech is just 21 years old and in Double-A. What we might normally use as qualifiers are instead objective facts that make what Kopech has accomplished in his 2017 campaign all that more amazing. It was rinse and repeat for Kopech against Chattanooga as he went seven innings for his third straight outing and retired the first ten batters he faced. He tossed a three-hit shutout, walked a pair, and struck out ten. That was his fifth double-digit strikeout appearance of the season and he’s been on the cusp in a plethora of other outings. The last month has seen Kopech post a 0.67 ERA over four starts with 41 strikeouts to just 5 walks. Again, he’s going deeper into games and sharpening his control during a phase when theoretically he should be running out of gas. Kopech’s pretty much an indisputable Top 10 prospect in the game at this point.
Last Week: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 10 K, 2 BB, 1 GS, 7.0 IP
Season Line: 8-7, 2.87 ERA, 2.85 FIP, 11.69 K/9, 4.53 BB/9, 0.45 HR/9, 22 GS, 119.1 IP
4. Luis Robert, OF (DSL White Sox)
Currently on the mend with a sprained ankle. Projected to return within a week.
Last Week: Did Not Play
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)
Lopez pitched exactly six innings in his debut with the Chicago White Sox and his 4.1 inning start against Texas last night officially places him past prospect status. So take a good look because Lopez has graduated as a FutureSox student and is ready for the “real world.” His start against the Kansas City Royals on Friday was something Nostradamus could have prophesied in his sleep as it was a classic outing for the righty. Lopez came out firing and recorded five of his first six outs via the strikeout. The fastball was as advertised and playing in the mid to upper 90s, while Smith felt confident enough in the offspeed stuff to call for it more and more as the game progressed. Lopez gave up three free passes and actually took a no-hitter into the fourth before Mike Moustakas ended the fun with a solo shot.
However, Lopez showed poise when he got out of the fourth with no more damage despite giving up back-to-back singles after the Moustakas homer. Moustakas would bite him again with another solo shot in the sixth, but the overall consensus on the start was a good one. Lopez flashed his plus stuff, threw 65-percent of his pitches for strikes, and went deep into the game. The pair of home runs were a bit of a harbinger for the type of struggles the flyball pitcher may encounter moving forward, but this was as good of a debut outing as could have been reasonably expected. His start against Texas didn’t live up to the same billing, as Lopez showcased more sporadic control (4 walks) and labored through a third inning that featured two singles, three walks, and a home run. He departed in the fourth at the 89 pitch mark with discomfort in his right side. He’s now day-to-day, so it’s possible his results deserve an injury asterisk.
Last Week: 0-1,6.10 ERA, 12 K, 7 BB, 2 GS, 10.2 IP
Season Line: 6-7, ERA, 4.17 FIP, 9.74 K/9, 3.64 BB/9, 1.19 HR/9, 22 GS, 1.21 IP
MLB: 0-1,6.10 ERA, 12 K, 7 BB, 2 GS, 10.2 IP
6. Lucas Giolito, RHP (Triple-A Charlotte)
Giolito is vying for his own promotion to Chicago and is making a solid case for such a roster move. He tossed a quality start against the Mud Hens, dancing around seven hits to produce six scoreless frames. His one walk was his lowest output since July 2nd, and he added seven strikeouts for good measure. Much has been written about Giolito losing some of that “ace profile” that followed him around early in his career but he’s certainly looked the part in his last five outings, posting a 1.71 ERA with above average K-totals during that span.
Last Week: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 K, 1 BB, 1 GS, 6.0 IP
Season Line: 6-10, 4.48 ERA, 4.44 FIP, 9.37 K/9, 4.13 BB/9, 1.19 HR/9, 24 GS, 128.2 IP
7. Blake Rutherford, OF (Kannapolis Intimidators)
Rutherford collected two hits this week in Saturday’s double header but has been out of action with an unknown injury since he was a late scratch Sunday. The reset might be good for Rutherford, who has been mired in bit of a slump over the last calendar month.
Last Week: 2-for-8, 0 BB, 0 K, 8 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): .244/.311/.293 (.604 OPS), 20 H, 4 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB, 8.9 BB%, 10.0 K%, .274 BABIP, 90 PA
8. Alec Hansen, RHP (High-A Winston-Salem)
It was a tale of two outings for Alec Hansen this week, who thankfully left with a good taste in his mouth. Last Friday’s start was a true clunker, and a candidate for one of his worst outings this season. He gave up five runs on seven hits over 4.2 innings, allowing a mix of hard contact and then a barrage of singles in the fifth. Lynchburg runners had their way on the bases as well, stealing four in total, which has been a yearlong concern for Hansen but something that had been trending in the right direction. His second outing was the inverse, a three-hit, seven inning effort against Myrtle Beach in which he gave up just one run. Hansen bolstered his K/BB ratio with a 11-1 mark for the night. His eleven strikeouts come on the heels of two other ten plus strikeout outings within his last five starts. That gives him a cool 14.4 K/9 over that period. With Reynaldo Lopez‘s graduation from prospect status, MLB Pipeline announced the newest addition to the Top 100 list and it’s none other than Alec Hansen. He joins Baltimore’s Austin Hays as the first players beyond 2016’s first round to snag the honor.
Last Week: 1-1, 4.63, 16 K, 3 BB, 2 GS, 11.2 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): 3-5, 2.87 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 12.49 K/9, 3.38 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9, 10 GS, 53.1 IP
9. Zack Collins, C (Double-A Birmingham)
Zack Collins’ stock is finally on the rise which makes 35th and Shields Street execs very happy. He left the Dash with a bang, going 2-for-4 with a double and triple in his final game and joined the Birmingham Barons with an even louder bang. Collins smashed a 407 ft home run in just his second at bat with the club. It was his second homer of the week and 18th of the season as him and Seby Zavala are both vying to post 20 home run seasons from catcher. Collins is now slashing .250/.378/.559 over his last 20 games, which is undoubtedly fueled by a 1.237 August OPS.
Last Week: .429/.556/1.071 (1.627 OPS), 7 H, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 6 BB, 6 K, 24 PA
White Sox High-A: .223/.365/.443 (.808 OPS), 76 H, 18 2B, 3 3B, 17 HR, 48 RBI, 0 SB, 17.8 BB%, 27.7 K%, .282 BABIP, 426 PA
White Sox Double-A: 2-for-6, HR, 3 BB, 2 K, 9 PA
10. Dylan Cease, RHP (Low-A Kannapolis)
The Chicago Cubs acquired Jose Quintana and the White Sox received Dylan Cease but with the residual effect of Quintana’s luck. Cease is an astounding 0-6 in six starts with the Kannapolis Intimidators despite pitching above pedestrian levels and carrying a sub-3.00 FIP. It was more of the same for Cease against Lakewood as he bounced back from a bad outing against Greenville. Cease threw 5.1 innings of two run ball on five hits, none of which went for extra-bases. He strukeout six against two walks, which has been a pretty consistent ratio during his tenure with Kanny. Swings-and-misses have gone hand in hand with Cease as he carries a 13.3 K/9 over his last five appearances.
Last Week: 0-1, 3.38 ERA, 2 K, 6 BB, 1 GS, 5.1 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): 0-6, 4.74 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 12.04 K/9, 5.11 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9, 6 GS, 24.2 IP
11. Dane Dunning, RHP (High-A Winston-Salem)
Dunning had two outings this week. The first was a win against Lynchburg where he surrendered three runs on nine hits over five innings. Four of those hits went for extra-bases in the form of doubles but he was able to keep the walks to a minimum to limit the damage done by crowded basepaths. It was Dunning’s fifth consecutive start of walking just a single batter. Last night’s start was one of the stranger lines of the season from a box score perspective. Five Innings, five hits, one earned run, two walks, and four strike outs looks innocent enough but then the big crooked number (8) in the runs column paints a whole different picture. Dunning actually had a no-hitter going into the fourth inning before a single followed up an ill-timed field error, walk and HBP. Three unearned runs scored on the field error alone and another came on the aforementioned single. The Dash’s third error of the night led to a further barrage of unearned runs in the fifth and Dunning was likely elated to get out of the contest before the sixth even started.
Last Week: 1-1, 4.50 ERA, 9 K, 3 BB, 2 GS, 10.0 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: 5-5, 3.43 ERA, 4.05 FIP, 9.93 K/9, 2.78 BB/9, 1.11 HR/9, 18 GS, 97.0 IP
12. Jake Burger, 3B (High-A Winston-Salem)
Burger has cooled off considerably since posting a .994 OPS over roughly his first 100 plate appearances. Last week in particular was far from sizzling, as he managed just three singles. Despite carrying a .204/.232/.222 line in August, Burger has shown a really good eye at Low-A Kannapolis with just a 10.4% K-rate. That’s promising to see from someone just out of college and playing in a full-season pro ball league.
Last Week: 3-for-14, 1 BB, 2 K, 15 PA
Season Line: .289/.358/.421 (.780 OPS), 37 H, 9 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 0 SB, 6.7 BB%, 10.4 K%, .314 BABIP, 134 PA
13. Spencer Adams, RHP (Double-A Birmingham)
Spencer Adams had an outing against Chattanooga that he’d likely want to use his “get out of a start free card” on. It was unequivocally the worst outing of his season, both in hits (10), earned runs (6), and innings pitched (3.2). He gave up the cycle-version of extra-base knocks in a home run, double, and two triples. Adam’s ERA peaked at 2.93 after his first five April starts and he’s posted a 4.78 ERA in 18 starts since then. That’s certainly the larger sample size. His control is as good as anyone’s in the system but his inability to miss a ton of bats (6.72 K/9) and subpar 12.6% HR/FB ratio means that living in the zone can do damage from time to time. Take batters slashing .336/.400/.595 (.995 OPS) against him over the last month as a key example.
Last Week: 0-1, 14.73 ERA, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 GS, 3.2 IP
Season Line: 7-13, 4.37 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 6.72 K/9, 2.09 BB/9, 1.11 HR/9, 23 GS, 138.0 IP
14. Casey Gillapsie, 1B (Triple-A Charlotte)
Gillapsie is chugging along at Charlotte without much discernible improvement since his laggard time with the Rays, but he is continuing to show a strong eye (12.5 BB%/14.8 K%). His power has reappeared some with the Knights as he holds a .190 ISO and a pair of home runs. The OBP is a good foundation but it’s just a matter of if his hit tool can play on top of that and make his bat playable at first base, where his defense is bordering on fringe.
Last Week: .133/.278/.333 (.611 OPS), 2 H, HR, 3 BB, 3 K, 18 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): .238/.333/.429 (.762 OPS), 10 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB, 12.5 BB%, 14.8 K%, .242 BABIP, 48 PA
15. Jordan Stephens, RHP (Double-A Birmingham)
Stephens had spotty control his first outing this week, walking four and hitting two batters. He gave up three earned runs on five hits over 3.2 innings and was ticketed with the loss. Last night’s outing against Montgomery went objectively better and was just a couple outs short of a quality start. Stephens managed to give up just two hits through the first three innings before running into some trouble in the fourth where a Biscuits double scored the first run. He did a nice job in the fifth, pitching over an error and walk by getting a timely double play but was charged with another earned run in the sixth. Overall, it was a nice way to right the ship after opening August with a 5.59 ERA through two clunky starts. He now has a 2.64 ERA through 12 outings at Double-A.
Last Week: 1-1, 5.00 ERA, 9 K, 6 BB, GS, 9.0 IP
Season Line: 2-5, 2.64 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 7.36 K/9, 3.49 BB/9, 0.39 HR/9, 12 GS, 69.2 IP
2017 Midseason Just Missed: OF Craig Dedelow
Craig Dedelow has been a personal favorite of mine since the White Sox snagged him in the 9th round of the 2017 draft and I lobbied hard for him to make the backend of the FS30. I wasn’t alone in that either but last minute wheeling and dealing by Rick Hahn kept him out of the field. However, he did cement himself as the final name in the “just missed” group. It’s not every day you get 19 home runs without huge swing and miss concerns that late in the draft. With a 6-4, 190 pound build, Dedelow sported an athletic frame and came from a Big Ten school in Indiana. Even though he was a senior sign, that wasn’t enough of a qualifier to erase him from my radar. In fact, the White Sox had actually been following Dedelow since his 2016 season, which was before the power breakout. Dedelow was dispatched to Rookie Ball in the Pioneer League and basically became the hottest hitter in the system not named Eloy Jimenez. Reading too much into Rookie Stats is a fools errand (if you don’t believe me, just peruse Aaron Schnurbush’s 2016/2017 statlines) so I want to give a disclaimer here. That said, Dedelow has slashed .328/.360/.590 (.950 OPS) with 16 doubles, a triple, and 10 home runs. That’s in just 44 games. It’s not the product of a high BABIP either (.318) and he’s been making plenty of contact (10.3% whiff rate). The outfielder is set to be bumped up to Kannpolis, which should give us a better barometer on whether this is all a mirage but for now he’s looking like a mid-round steal.
Last Week: .286/.286/.333 (.619 OPS), 6 H, 2B, 0 BB, 1 K, 21 PA
Season Line: .328/.360/.590 (.950 OPS), 60 H, 16 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 41 RBI, 5 SB, 4.9 BB%, 10.3 K%, .318 BABIP, 204 PA
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