White Sox Top Prospect Report, 8/25

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 a bonus or two outside that top fifteen) as classified by our most recent FS30 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*
*RHP Reynaldo Lopez has graduated from prospect status, so we’ve bumped up all the following prospects on the list by one slot and added a new name at 15.*

Hitter of the week: 3B Jake Burger
Pitcher of the week: RHP Michael Kopech

1. Yoan Moncada, 2B (MLB)

It’s not Moncada’s fault that various White Sox fans may be ready to hit the panic button, especially when Nicky Delmonico – an objectively lesser prospect – has been putting up video game numbers for a couple weeks. But really, all fans should be feeling in regards to MLB’s Top Prospect is some tempered concern. If it’s not concern, then it is at the very least a realization that development is non-linear and that to prognosticate it is a fools errand. Moncada turned in volatile performances this week, ranging from an 0-for-3, three strikeout night on Monday vs. Minnesota to a two-double night on Tuesday. Plus he added another double in Wednesday’s contest as a way of showing signs of life. The second baseman was slowed by shin splints to open the week, and the injury may have had influence on his base stealing to this point. Regarded as at least a 70-grade runner, Moncada’s 1-for-3 in SB attempts has been perhaps as surprising than his .192 average. Moncada stole 49 bases in A-ball, 45 across two levels last season, and swiped 17 bags at Charlotte. What makes Moncada so intriguing is that his physical profile is uncommonly paired with plus natural wheels. So while the 36.1 percent strikeout rate is an area of focus, it wouldn’t hurt for Moncada to tap into one of the plus tools that will be equally crucial to his overall value-add. Speaking of using his legs, Moncada unfortunately left last night’s game due to further aggravation of his shins.

Last Week: .200/.294/.400 (.694 OPS), 3 H, 3 2B, 2 BB, 6 K, 17 PA
Season Line:
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: .192/.328/.364 (.691 OPS), 19 H, 6 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 1 SB, 15.1 BB%, 36.1 K%, .302 BABIP, 119 PA

2. Eloy Jimenez, OF (Double-A Birmingham)

Stop the presses! For the first time since joining the White Sox organization, Eloy Jimenez had a pedestrian week. The outfielder collected just four hits and is in the midst of a stunning home run drought – at least for Jimenez, who has gone yard at least once every week since the trade. Of course, down weeks are requisite parts of any season and it was only a matter of time before a little water doused the flame. Jimenez is still carrying a .303/.343/.485 line since his promotion to Double-A.

Last Week: .190/.261/.238 (.499 OPS), 4 H, 2B, 2 BB, 5 K, 23 PA
Season Line:
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: .303/.343/.485 (.828 OPS), 10 H, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB, 5.7 BB%, 22.9 K%, .375 BABIP, 35 PA

3. Michael Kopech, RHP (Triple-A Charlotte)

One of the truly more shocking developments all season was Michael Kopech’s promotion to Triple-A. It’s not that the flame-thrower didn’t more than deserve the bump up, but when paired with some prior context, it was something that seemed unfathomable. Projected to break camp with High-A Winston-Salem, the White Sox challenged Kopech with the Barons at Double-A. All he did there was exceeded his historic innings totals and shine to the tune of a 2.87 ERA over 22 starts. Kopech took his AAA debut outing against Norfolk in stride and was an inning short of a quality start. He etched his first win with the Knights, tossing five innings of two-run ball on six hits. He was hit with reality in the first, when he was chased with a double and back-to-back singles, but got into a groove in the third frame with his first 1-2-3 inning. As is a common occurrence at higher levels, Kopech got a taste of MLB pro talent in Pedro Alvarez and JJ Hardy. He was able to strikeout both, giving him four on the night to just two walks.

Last Week: 1-0, 3.60, 4 K, 2 BB, 1 GS, 5.0 IP
Season Line:
Double-A: 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
Triple-A: 1-0, 3.60, 4 K, 2 BB, 1 GS, 5.0 IP

4. Luis Robert, OF (DSL White Sox)

Robert returned from a sprained ankle in style, collecting two hits, both of the extra-base variety, to continue to pad his solid production in the DSL

Last Week: 2-for-8, 2B, 3B, 0 BB, 1 K, 8 PA
Season Line: .268/.480/.437 (.917 OPS), 19 H, 6 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 11 SB, 22.0 BB%, 22.0 K%, .362 BABIP, 100 PA

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

Reynaldo Lopez’s injury cleared the way for Lucas Giolito to make his White Sox debut and all eyes were on the fastball command, as that was overwhelmingly what plagued him in his short stint with the Washington Nationals (and early with the Knights). Coming off a recent hot streak at Charlotte, Giolito presented himself differently than may have been expected. The heater was actually quite good for most of the game, with Giolito able to miss bats even when he wasn’t precise with his spots. But it was easy to see some holes too, like the fastball that hit Brian Dozier early or the center-cut heater that Jorge Polanco took deep. Giolito would actually go on to give up two more long balls, but one came after a Leury Garcia error erased an out to open the sixth. Giolito put down his final batter on strikes to cement six innings of six-hit ball, with four earned runs, four strikeouts and zero walks. The latter was potentially the most positive development as Giolito did get into his share of deep counts. The overall outing was impressive in the sense that Giolito battled, as he didn’t quite have a feel for his hammer curve (or any other offspeeds most of the game). He induced some grounders on it, but spiked it a few times, which forced him to go to the fastball more often that he probably liked. In fact, just 11 percent of his pitches featured the curve. In flashing a decent change and even a slider variation, he exhibited the ingredients to have a much more diverse arsenal. It will be interesting to see what the ceiling for Giolito looks like on a night where he has both the fastball command working and the curve. Tuesday was not that night.

Last Week: 0-1, 6.00 ERA, 4 K, 0 BB, 1 GS, 6.0 IP
Season Line:
Triple-A:
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
MLB: 0-1, 6.00 ERA, 4 K, 0 BB, 1 GS, 6.0 IP

6. Blake Rutherford, OF (Kannapolis Intimidators)

Rutherford returned from the DL after an undisclosed injury and turned in a 1-for-4 night with two strikeouts but had three hits in last night’s contest, including a double. The White Sox believe in Rutherford’s power (slugging just .291 since the trade) and certainly buy into the idea that it’s better to bet on that developing organically than a profile with big raw power but a lagging hit tool. Rutherford certainly demonstrates the latter, with good mechanics, a propensity for contact and an even better eye (8.5/11.7 BB/K%).

Last Week: 4-for-9, 2B, 1 BB, 2 K, 4 PA
Season Line:
(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/.309/.291 (.599 OPS), 21 H, 5 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, 8.5 BB%, 11.7 K%, .280 BABIP, 94 PA

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

Alec Hansen had a mixed start versus Carolina. On one hand, he was on the periphery of a quality start with five innings of two-run ball on three hits, but was far more wild than he’s been for the duration of the season. In some ways he was a two-outcome pitcher, racking up the strikeouts (8) for more than 50 percent of his outs but walking five batters. That walk total matches a season high for him, which occurred back in his first start of the year. In fact, it had been over a month since Hansen had walked even more than a pair and it was his first start in some time where he threw <60 percent of his pitches for strikes. On a good note, Hansen’s eight strikeouts put him at 171, which gives him the minor league lead. His reward may just be a promotion, as Director of Player Development Chris Getz publicly stated that Hansen will make his next start at Double-A Birmingham, on Monday.

Last Week: 1-0, 3.60 ERA, 8 K, 5 BB, 1 GS, 5.0 IP
Season Line:
(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): 4-5, 2.93 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 12.65 K/9, 3.86 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9, 11 GS, 58.1 IP

8. Zack Collins, C (Double-A Birmingham)

Last week’s hottest hitter, Collins had just one hit in four games this week, but was able to notch four free passes, which continues to stabilize his OBP at Double-A. With the season dwindling down, Collins is just a pair of home runs away from reaching the coveted twenty mark, which would be a nice accomplishment for someone who has had a bit of a stigma attached to his offense this season. Collins sports a 1.105 OPS in August so to close out the year even 75 percent as strong would be a good feather to have in his cap as he heads into the offseason.

Last Week: 1-for-8, 4 BB, 4 K, 12 PA
Season Line:
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: .188/.458/.375 (.833 OPS), 3 H, 0 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 33.3 BB%, 25.0 K%, .222 BABIP, 24 PA

9. Dylan Cease, RHP (Low-A Kannapolis)

No, Dylan Cease didn’t get his first win of the season but he did avoid his seventh consecutive loss since joining Low-A Kannapolis. The inflated number on the loss side of the ledger is almost laughable as Cease’s peripherals have far outperformed his results. He finally ran into better luck in his start against Hagerstown, turning in five frames of two run ball on four hits. He walked two and struck out six, which has been a fairly consistent ratio for him all season. The earned run came on a home run, which is just the third long ball Cease has given up all season and his first one surrendered since may 12th. That’s a testament to just how hard he’s been to square up.

Last Week: 0-0, 3.60 ERA, 6 K, 2 BB, 1 GS, 5.0 IP
Season Line:
(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, 4.55 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 11.83 K/9, 4.85 BB/9, 0.30 HR/9, 7 GS, 29.2 IP

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

After a smoke and mirrors type of bad outing last week, Dunning actually had himself a true clunker this time around. In one of the more troubling starts of his season, Carolina unloaded on Dunning for six earned runs on nine hits. After a 1-2-3 first inning that featured two strikeouts, Dunning folded in the second, getting tagged with two singles and two home runs within the first five hitters he faced. He walked a batter to open the third and got two quick strikeouts, but lost a chance at salvaging the outing when he gave up four consecutive hits. He actually lived in the zone quite a bit with nearly 70 percent of his 62 pitches logged as strikes, but his stuff wasn’t fooling anyone. Dunning’s likely looking forward to August coming to an end as it’s been by far his worst calendar month. His ERA is 5.68 during that span.

Last Week: 0-1, 18.00 ERA, 5 K, 2 BB, 1 GS, 3.0 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: 5-7, 3.77 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 9.94 K/9, 2.91 BB/9, 1.20 HR/9, 20 GS, 105.0 IP

11. Jake Burger, 3B (High-A Winston-Salem)

Burger was having a dismal week, with a mere three hits in five games to go with no walks and four strikeouts. But he paved over that narrative with a massive game last night, going 5-for-5 with a home run, double, and the rare triple. Yes, I did indeed bury as lede as Jake Burger hit for the cycle. Heck he even added a bunt base hit for good measure. That’s enough to earn him hitter of the week honors. Hopefully this serves as a boost for the third baseman who had been mired in a statistical slump for a few weeks.

Last Week: .375/.471/.923 (1.394 OPS), 2B, 3B, HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 17 PA
Season Line: .269/.331/.379 (.711 OPS), 41 H, 10 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 0 SB, 6.3 BB%, 11.9 K%, .296 BABIP, 160 PA

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

Adams was scheduled for two starts this week, but last night’s was thwarted by rain. His August 19th start was of the quality variety, which was a good way to bounce back after an abysmal performance against Chattanooga. He went six frames against Montgomery and held them to just two runs on seven hits. His control was more the norm, with just two walks and roughly 70 percent of his 101 pitches registering as strikes. Credit Adams for finding a groove after opening the game with a consecutive home run, double, and walk. The home run was actually the tenth he’s given up over his last ten outings and that’s what’s burned him most as it’s correlated with the inflation of not just his ERA but his FIP as well.

Last Week: 0-1, 3.00 ERA, 4 K, 2 BB, 1 GS, 6.0 IP
Season Line:
7-14, 4.31 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 6.69 K/9, 2.13 BB/9, 1.13 HR/9, 24 GS, 144.0 IP

13. Casey Gillapsie, 1B (Triple-A Charlotte)

Gillapsie has to be looking at the recent big league surge of Nicky Delmonico and seeing a similar opportunity for himself. He’s doing his best to lobby for a September call up by being one of the Knights’ more potent power bats while sustaining a strong walk rate (12.5%). In fact, he hit his third and fourth home runs with Charlotte this week but hasn’t found much of an in-between to pad onto the walks and home runs. He had four hits over six games this week and is still hitting just .224 on the year. His contact rates can only take him so far because eventually it’ll have to manifest itself into a playable average, especially if he wants to take advantage of Chicago’s rebuild and start his major league clock.

Last Week: .176/.250/.353 (.603 OPS), 4 H, 2 HR, 2 BB, 6 K, 20 PA
Season Line:
(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): .210/.306/.387 (.693 OPS), 13 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 0 SB, 12.5 BB%, 18.1 K%, .213 BABIP, 72 PA

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

If not entirely dominant, then Stephens at the very least has been one of the more consistent pitchers in the system with results that have been almost formulaic. Such was the case against Jacksonville when he threw his eighth quality start of the season. Stephens threw two hitless innings to begin the game and got generally weak contact up until a triple to start the seventh. An ensuing RBI single would hand him his second earned run, but the Barons relief corps did enough of a clean up job to preserve his quality start. He walked just one batter, which was his best objective control since a mid-July start. With Kopech now in Triple-A, Stephens is making the case for the most interesting arm in Birmingham.

Last Week: 0-0, 3.00 ERA, 5 K, 1 BB, 1 GS, 6.0 IP
Season Line:
3-5, 2.67 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 7.33 K/9, 3.33 BB/9, 0.33 HR/9, 14 GS, 81.0 IP

15. Gavin Sheets, 1B

Lopez’s graduation means this is Gavin Sheets’ first time being featured on the FS15 prospect report. Sheets was Chicago’s 2017 2nd rounder and you can find his prospect profile here. The short version is that Sheets is largely a bat-first player in the Burger mold. More specifically, he brings big power to go along with a competent eye (44/33 BB/K his junior year in college). He’s shown as much thus far in pro ball, with 22 walks to 31 strikeouts. Like Burger, most of his damage came immediately in Low-A, but he’s scuffled since with a .203/.314/.297 line in August, not including his game winning knock last night. His defense is stable at first but he’ll really need the power to carry him, so needless to say a .353 SLG in almost ~175 Low-A appearances is something he’ll need to improve on.

Last Week: .182/.280/.318 (.598 OPS), 5 H, HR, 3 BB, 4 K, 25 PA
Season Line: .242/.339/.353 (.692 OPS), 37 H, 8 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 0 SB, 10.7 BB%, 17.4 K%, .283 BABIP, 178 PA

Bonus:

30. Alex Call, OF

Call has labored through injury this season and collected just over 200 ABs on the year as a result. A third rounder and hot performer last season, this was supposed to be the year Call entrenched himself on the radar even in a growing prospect crop. While that hasn’t been the case to this point, this week served as a revival for the outfielder. Call had eight hits this week, including of five doubles and a home run. He showed a nice eye too, with four walks. Call’s low-maintenance stroke, above average glove, and ability to hit the gaps give him one of the highest floors in the back end of the system. Even as the outfield gets more crowded across all levels, Call can’t be counted out from at least serving some role on the next good White Sox team.

Last Week: .350/.417/.700 (1.117 OPS), H, 5 2B, 1 HR, 4 BB, 5 K, 24 PA
Season Line: .187/.279/.296 (.575 OPS), 38 H, 10 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 4 SB, 9.4 BB%, 19.7 K%, .280 BABIP, 234 PA

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