Welcome to another entry in a new offseason article series here at FutureSox. Separate 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.
This article covers the top five third baseman in the system. There are multiple infield options in the low minors and some of those players could end up at the hot corner. For the purposes of this exercise, we used players who spent most of their time at third base during the season and project there going forward. There is only one prospect from our Top 30 on this list but there’s another player who could be on the next version of the list as well as a former high pick dripping with tools.
1. Jake Burger – Ranked 14th overall, last level A
Burger was the 11th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft out of Missouri State. The 6’2″, 210 pounder fit the profile of what the Sox scouting staff has focused on of late with a triple slash of .328/.443/.648 in his junior season. He showcased plate discipline with a rate of 43/38 BB/K and showed plus power in games to all fields. He signed for $3.7 million and went to Low-A Kannapolis to play for the Intimidators after a brief stint in rookie ball.
In 200 plate appearances, Jake posted a 116 wRC+ but struggled with power and on base ability at times which should be expected of a college draftee after playing a full college season. Burger was impressing with the big league club in spring training this year before rupturing his achilles tendon, and then re-tearing it in May. Burger can still be an impact player on future White Sox teams but he lost a full year of development as a 22-year-old. He should be back in action around early June and should play the majority of his season for High-A Winston-Salem in the Carolina League.
2. Bryce Bush -Unranked, last level Rk
Bush was a 33rd round selection by the White Sox out of a Michigan High School this past June. The prep star was seen as a tough sign with a strong commitment to Mississippi State but the organization got him into the fold with a $390K bonus – the story of his surprise signing is detailed here. The 6’0″, 200 pound infielder burst onto the scene immediately as a member of the White Sox after a torrid start in the AZL. In 14 games, Bryce hit .442/.538/.605 and posted a ridiculous 221 wRC+. His stellar start earned the 18-year-old a promotion to Great Falls. He struggled a bit in 24 games in the Pioneer League but was part of a championship team while hitting two long balls and driving in ten. Here are two in-person reports on Bush, with video, from the AZL. Bush will be considered for the pre-season Top 30 prospects list and will more than likely begin the 2019 season at Low-A Kannapolis with the Intimidators as a 19-year-old.
3. Ti’Quan Forbes – Unranked, last level A+
Forbes was the 59th overall pick in the 2014 draft by the Texas Rangers out of Columbia High School in Mississippi. He was acquired by the White Sox in a trade involving RHP Miguel Gonzalez in August of 2017. Ti’Quan is 6’3″ 180 pounds and played for the Winston-Salem Dash in the Sox organization this past season. In 462 plate appearances, the right handed hitter posted a 99 wRC+ with a line of .273/.313/.391. Forbes struggled to hit in the Texas organization and didn’t show much power. He did hit 6 homers with 51 RBI in the Carolina League this year. The 22-year-old is Rule-5 eligible in December but it would be a surprise to see Chicago add him to the 40-man roster, given the unlikely scenario of another team risking the pick. He’s athletic and definitely has tools but ultimately he’s the type of return expected in a Miguel Gonzalez trade and he’s probably given the organization a similar output to what they originally expected on their end. Forbes likely starts the 2019 season in the Southern League with the Birmingham Barons in Double-A.
4. Trey Michalczewski– Unranked, last level AA
The prospect shine has worn off Michalczewski but third base is a bit of a weak spot in the White Sox system and here we are. He was a 7th round pick out of Jenks High School in Oklahoma all the way back in 2013. Trey was given a $500K bonus to keep him away from Oklahoma State. His hit tool has always been an issue but he’s been fine defensively at the hot corner. The 23-year-old switch hitter was better this year at the plate but still strikes out at a 26% clip and doesn’t walk much. In 503 plate appearances, the 6’3″, 210 pounder hit .253/.302/.377. Trey did contribute 6 homers and 65 RBI to the Barons’ lineup this season as well. He did play some second base this year so he could get a look at Triple-A Charlotte in a utility role next season.
5. Ramon Beltre– Unranked, last level A-
The 5’11”, 160 pound Beltre was a member of the 2014 international signing class out of the Dominican Republic. He played stateside ball as a 20-year-old in 2017 after three solid seasons in the Dominican Summer League. Now 21, Beltre posted a .784 OPS with 4 home runs and 18 RBI in 32 games with the Great Falls Voyagers this past season. His efforts earned him a promotion to Kannapolis and he did have six extra-base hits while struggling to the tune of a .582 OPS. Ramon is a solid defender at third base and has played shortstop and second as well. He will likely stay in the South Atlantic League and be a member of the Intimidators to start the year in full season ball in 2019, but it is hard to say which position(s) he plays in the field.
Next Up: Shortstops
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