Welcome to another entry in a new offseason article series here at FutureSox. Seperate from our twice-annual Top 30 White Sox Prospects lists, we are going to list the top five or ten minor leaguers in the White Sox system at each position on the field.
We continue our position prospect rankings with one of the trickier positions to slot players into. Most of the players who made this list can play another position so there was plenty of debate on who could slot where. We settled on this group of players as most likely to finish as primarily second basemen.
1. Nick Madrigal – Ranked 3rd overall, last level A+
Madrigal is an easy pick here because he was just taken with the No. 4 pick in the 2018 draft. The discussion behind the scenes was more about his position. Could he still play shortstop? Maybe, but the White Sox had him at second base in his pro debut season so for now that’s all we have to work with.
As far as his bat, Madrigal showed an impressive ability to avoid the strikeout. His contact rate gives him the upside of a player who could contend for batting titles. The downside to his offensive profile is that in his brief pro debut, Madrigal didn’t walk much and showed very little power. It’s reasonable to think he was tired after a long college season that culminated in a championship, and he dealt with a wrist issue in the spring. If Madrigal comes back refreshed and improved in 2019, he could set himself up for a 2020 MLB debut.
2. Amado Nunez – Unranked, last level Rookie
Nunez is a great example of how long it takes some international signings to show progress. The Dominican infielder signed with the White Sox in 2014 for $900,000, making him a notable prospect initially. However, his production didn’t match the signing bonus for his first three years in rookie ball. Nunez was overmatched in the Arizona League in 2015 (.365 OPS) and showed improvement, but still lacked overall production when repeating the league in 2016 (.287/.320/.370). As a 19-year-old Nunez spent two more games in Arizona before the White Sox moved him up to Great Falls in the more advanced Pioneer League. Nunez again struggled (.183/.247/.246).
Three years of disappointing rookie ball stats plus being error-prone in the field at shortstop plummeted Nunez’s prospect stock. In 2018, he played second base and even some first (another ding against his prospect status), but showed major progress with the bat. At 20 years old, Nunez held his own in the first half with the Voyagers (.294/.324/.431) before carrying the team in the second half and playing a big role in the team’s league title. In 34 games in the second half, Nunez mashed the ball to the tune of .403/.444/.669. His overall numbers for the year (.357/.394/.568) were strong and give hope that he can continue this next year.
He’ll turn 21 on Wednesday so he’s still young, but he needs to adjust to A-ball quickly to restore his prospect status.
3. Camilo Quinteiro – Unranked, last level Rookie
Like Nunez, Quinteiro is another notable international signing. He signed for less ($300,000) and is older than Nunez by six months, but showed an advanced batting eye for his age and experience level. The Cuban drew 36 walks in 183 plate appearances in the Arizona League this summer. He nearly drew more walks than strikeouts (39).
By hitting .286/.426/.320, Quinteiro showed decent contact skills and very good patience. However, the total lack of power gives him something to work on. Quinteiro didn’t show enough to crack the White Sox top 30 prospects, but is definitely on the radar heading into 2019 if he can move up the system and show a more well-rounded bat.
4. Eddy Alvarez – Unranked, last level AAA
Alvarez has a much different profile from any of the other three players listed already. The Olympic silver medalist in speed skating got a delayed start to his pro baseball career because, well, he was winning an Olympic medal. As a result he’s been old for every level he’s played at in pro ball.
However, the discipline it takes to win an Olympic medal is a good thing to have in a clubhouse and it has allowed him to move up the system. At this point, Alvarez projects purely as a utility infielder in the majors if he ever gets the call-up, but most of his playing time did come at second base in 2018.
At 28, Alvarez isn’t exactly a prospect, but he might not be out of place as a utility infielder in the majors in 2019. In 351 plate appearances with the Charlotte Knights, Alvarez posted a .345 OBP and .780 OPS. He has shown decent power and a good walk rate. Throw in defensive versatility and you have a solid player. Whether or not he will ever get a chance in the majors is up in the air, and he’s running out of time (he’ll be 29 in 2019), but Alvarez is much closer than anyone else on this list. He could conceivably be fighting for a job in spring training 2019.
5. Tate Blackman – Unranked, last level A
Blackman was a college bat taken out of Ole Miss in the 13th round in 2017. He has held his own in his first two stops in pro ball to crack this list. However, he turned 24 just after the minor league season ended and hasn’t been above Kannapolis yet.
Blackman hit .245/.259/.411 in Great Falls after getting drafted and backed that up with a similar .244/.336/.407 in Kannapolis this past season. He drew 62 walks and hit 17 homers in 512 plate appearances with the Intimidators, which is a good combo. However, his 153 strikeouts make it appear that he will struggle to hit for contact in the higher levels.
Next up: First Basemen
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