The Top Prospect Report is a weekly FutureSox feature throughout the season, highlighting the performances of the top prospects in the White Sox system, with emphasis on the top 15 rated prospects as classified by the most recent FutureSox top 30 rankings. Check back every week to get updates on the progress and movement of the top-rated talent throughout the White Sox system.
Top Hitter of the Week: Micker Adolfo, Winston-Salem
Top Pitcher of the Week: Dane Dunning, Winston-Salem
1. Eloy Jimenez, OF (Birmingham)
Jimenez began the season on the disabled list with a mild strain of his left pectoral muscle. MLB.com’s No. 4 ranked overall prospect suffered the injury while working out at extended Spring Training Arizona after being limited to just four big league spring games due to knee soreness. In just seven Cactus League at bats, he was 4-7 with a triple and two home runs.
He will look to pick up where he left off at the end of 2017 for Birmingham, as he hit .353 with three home runs in 18 games of Southern League action. He made his 2018 debut at Birmingham last night, after appearing in extended Spring Training games in Arizona over the past week, walking and scoring a run. He made his debut just last night, going 0-4 with a walk.
2018 Season Line: 0-for-4, BB, K (1 game)
2. Michael Kopech, RHP (Charlotte)
Kopech opened up the 2018 season by fanning eight Norfolk batters over four scoreless innings. He is looking to take what he learned in big league spring camp, refine his change-up and dominate the International League.
It is expected he will be headed to Chicago at some point in 2018, whether it is a mid-season call-up or a September promotion, barring any setbacks during his time in Charlotte.
2018 Season Line: 0-0, 0.90 ERA, 11 K, 4 BB, 2 GS, 10.0 IP, 1.10 WHIP
3. Luis Robert, OF (Winston-Salem – currently on disabled list)
Robert is currently out of action after spraining a thumb ligament sliding into second base during Cactus League play. Once the thumb is healed, he will report Class A Advanced Winston-Salem to begin his professional career in the U.S., likely in May.
2018 Season Line: N/A
4. Alec Hansen, RHP (Birmingham – currently on disabled list)
Hansen begins the 2018 season on the disabled list as well with forearm tightness in his right arm. According to White Sox GM Rick Hahn, Hansen is 100 percent healthy and pain-free, but the White Sox are being cautious with the 23-year-old fireballer, and as of right now there is no firm timetable for his return to game action.
2018 Season Line: N/A
5. Zack Collins, C (Birmingham)
Collins has started 2018 slow so far, as he went hitless in his first seven at bats. He did hit a home run on Sunday for his second hit of the season. Despite the lack of base hits thus far, Collins has still been on base at .300 clip thanks to 12 walks, though his 16 strike outs are concerning. Collins hit .235 with two home runs in 12 games at Birmingham to close the 2017 season.
2018 Season Line: .067/.326/.167 (.492 OPS), 2 H, 1 HR, 0 2B, 0 3B, 3 RBI, 0 SB, 12 BB, 16 K in 43 PA
6. Dylan Cease, RHP (Winston-Salem)
Cease took the loss by giving up five runs (two earned) in 4.2 IP in his 2018 debut for Winston-Salem versus Carolina. In his second start (also vs. Carolina), he earned his first win of the season with six scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and two walks and five strikeouts. He picked up his second win on Wednesday over Down East, allowing four runs in five innings, while striking out six.
2018 Season Line: 2-1, 3.45, 18 K, 6 BB, 3 GS, 15.2 IP, 0.96 WHIP
7. Dane Dunning, RHP (Winston-Salem)
Dunning allowed only one run in his first two starts of 2018 for the Dash. He struck out eight batters in each of those starts and has helped Winston-Salem jump out to a 9-6 record. Dunning took a no-hitter into the seventh inning last week against Myrtle Beach. In his third start, he fanned seven, but allowed four runs over six innings for his first loss of 2018. According to Milb.com, he credits White Sox veteran James Shields with helping him adjust his grip on his curveball during spring training.
2018 Season Line: 1-1, 2.60, 23 K, 2 BB, 3 GS, 17.1 IP, 0.87 WHIP
8. Jake Burger, 3B (out of the season w/ Achilles injury)
Last season’s first round pick is expected to miss the entire 2018 season after rupturing his left Achilles tendon during the early part of Cactus League action, while running out a ground ball. Burger has already had surgery to repair the injury and is expected to be fully recovered by 2019 spring training.
2018 Season Line: N/A
9. Blake Rutherford, OF (Winston-Salem)
Acquired from the Yankees last season, Rutherford is another top prospect on the loaded Winston-Salem squad. In eight games, Rutherford already has six multi-hit games (including a four-hit game vs. Salem last night). The former first-round selection by the Yankees, hasn’t turned 21 yet and projects as a potential five-tool prospect for the White Sox.
2018 Season Line: .404/.442/.553 (.995 OPS), 19 H, 0 HR, 7 2B, 0 3B, 8 RBI, 3 SB, 4 BB, 10 K, 52 PA
10. Micker Adolfo, OF/DH (Winston-Salem)
Despite a pinhole tear in his ulnar collateral ligament that may require surgery in the future, Adolfo has been killing the ball so far for the Dash. Adolfo will probably spend the entire season as the designated hitter, as the White Sox hope he can avoid Tommy John surgery. The 21-year-old already has seven multi-hit games out of 15 played.
2018 Season Line: .356/.415/.610 (1.026 OPS), 21 H, 3 HR, 6 2B, 0 3B, 14 RBI, 0 SB, 5 BB, 14 K, 65 PA
11. Spencer Adams, RHP (Birmingham)
Adams is hoping to prove to White Sox brass that he deserves a promotion to Charlotte after spending all of last season in the Southern League and part of 2016 with the Barons. Adams is a combined 9-20 in 36 career Double-A starts for Birmingham.
2018 Season Line: 1-0, 4.05, 11 K, 5 BB, 3 GS, 13.1 IP, 1.80 WHIP
12. Gavin Sheets, 1B (Winston-Salem)
Last season’s second round pick out of Wake Forest has gotten off to a good start to begin his first full professional season. He has at least one hit in 10 out of the 13 games he has played, including two three-hit games.
2018 Season Line: .286/.397/.367 (.764), 14 H, 0 HR, 4 2B, 0 3B, 6 RBI, 0 SB, 7 BB, 9 K, 58 PA
13. Carson Fulmer, RHP (MLB – White Sox)
Fulmer began 2018 as the fifth starter for the White Sox, after beating out LHP Hector Santiago for the last starting spot on the team. In three starts for the White Sox, Fulmer has allowed 11 runs (10 earned) in just 10.2 innings. On Wednesday, he only lasted one inning against the Athletics, allowing four runs and two walks. The jury is still out on whether his future is in the bullpen or as a starter.
2018 Season Line: 0-1, 7.59, 9 K, 9 BB, 3 GS, 10.2 IP, 2.16 WHIP
14. Zack Burdi, RHP (Charlotte – on disabled list recovering from Tommy John surgery)
Burdi begins the season on the disabled list for Charlotte, while he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery last July. It is anticipated that the hard-throwing reliever will miss mucg of 2018 while he recovers. Prior to the injury, Burdi was on the fast track to the major leagues, and it would not be surprising if he was a member of the White Sox bullpen in 2019.
2018 Season Line: N/A
15. Jordan Stephens, RHP (Birmingham)
Stephens begins the 2018 season with a return to Birmingham after an injury-delayed 2017 (forearm tightness) kept him to only 16 starts. Stephens’ 2018 debut for the Barons included seven strikeouts over six innings, while allowing only one run. His second appearance didn’t go as well, as he allowed seven runs (six earned) against Montgomery in only four innings of work, though some porous defense came into play. His third outing resulted in a third loss, as he struck out seven batters in six innings, while allowing four runs.
2018 Season Line: 0-3, 6.19, 15 K, 3 BB, 3 GS, 16 IP, 1.38 WHIP
BONUS PLAYER: Unranked – Joel Booker, OF (Winston-Salem)
In addition to Booker’s hot start with the bat (four multi-hit games), he has also had a flair for the dramatic to begin the 2018 season as he has had a hand in walk-off wins with a steal of home and a suicide squeeze bunt in wins over the Carolina Mudcats last week. His game-winning steal was recorded by our own Matt Cassidy and the video made ESPN’s top ten list.
2018 Season Line: .325/.386/.525 (.911 OPS), 13 H, 2 HR, 2 2B, 0 3B, 4 RBI, 3 SB, 3 BB, 10 K, 44 PA
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