Winter is coming and I’m going to think about as much baseball as possible to get through it. With that in mind, it’s time to rank the rankings.
FutureSox ran an entire series ranking the top prospects in our system by position group (links below). The consensus is the outfield is the strongest position, a stalwart of Sox teams past. I tend to agree. With OF Eloy Jimenez as the No. 1 prospect overall, complimented by Luis Robert, Micker Adolfo, Luis Alexander Basabe to round it out, not to mention the numerous other fourth outfield type bats in the system who could become more. The outfield talent is stacked.
Then it gets interesting.
The starting pitching pool is carried by Michael Kopech as he sits out 2019, recovering from Tommy John. He’s complimented by Dylan Cease, Dane Dunning, Alec Hansen and Jordan Stephens (Special shout-out to No. 6 Spencer Adams). Despite a stellar 2018, Cease is going to have to prove it wasn’t just a flash in the pan to stick in the rotation, which I think he can do. Dunning had an injury-hampered 2018, but was still great when he pitched, and then the question marks appear. Hansen struggled all year, and Stephens had a bad second half. Although the main roster rotation has arms, late next year the starting rotation picture will get clearer.
Following that are relief pitchers. It’s never fun to say but the question marks that stay question marks as starters will get their chance to bolster the relief ranks. Pair that in with other interesting depth to begin with and the Sox could have a solid bullpen to compliment an exquisite outfield.
Now we get to the infield. This is where the rebuild gets scary. Yoan Moncada lost a little of his shine in the bigs this year, while Tim Anderson continues to to be the definition of slightly above average player. Abreu is aging, with no heir apparent in the minor league system, unless a former catcher can hit enough to stand at first, and the artist known as YOLMER SANCHEZ! Continue to looks like a wonderful utility player/bench bat.
The cupboard is pretty bare for future White Sox first baseman. It’s stocked with several interesting and one potential star-caliber names at second and several developing prospects at short. Finally, the return of Jake Burger (and hopefully his big Missouri State bat) is much-needed to bolster that group.
And last but not least we have the catchers. As offensive contributions continue to decrease from catchers league-wide, the White Sox have defensive promise and excitement in Seby Zavala and question marks in Zack Collins, though I am not the first to suggest an eventual move to first for Collins who shows big power and plate discipline.
For my final ranking:
- Starting pitching
- Relief pitching
- Second base
- Third base
- First base
To evaluate the whole rebuild right now with a comp from the 2018 season, it would be the Phillies. They have promise, but unlike the Brewers their FA gambles didn’t pay off as well. Yet, unlike the Brewers and more like the White Sox, the Phillies have a wealth of resources and a million reasons to try.
With that, here’s what you need to know this week.
Arizona Fall League
The White Sox play on the Glendale Desert Dogs. Pitchers Tanner Banks, Zack Burdi, Danny Dopico and Zach Thompson made the roster along with 2B Laz Rivera, OF Luis Alexander Basabe and OF Luis Robert.
The Glendale Desert Dogs are 2-10 through Oct. 24 (6.0 games back). While as a team they may be failing, there are some things to look at:
- With five games and 21 at bats to his name, OF Luis Robert is hitting .286/.286/.318. He experienced a mild hamstring injury which had him missing a few games, but he’s back now.
- Through six games and 20 AB, OF Luis Alexander Basabe is at .250/.250/.407.
- 2B Laz Rivera has seven games and 26 AB to his AFL tenure, and he’s at .231/.308/.310.
- Zack Burdi has logged in 4.2 innings. He’s given up two hits and three runs (all unearned). He’s walked one and struck out five. Local reports put his fastball velocity still in the 93-95 range.
- Tanner Banks started a single game, throwing six shutout innings, and giving up only five hits. He had one walk and three strikeouts.
- Zach Thompson has appeared in five games. He’s given up four hits and four runs (only one earned), while striking out eight and walking no one.
- Danny Dopico hasn’t fared quite as well. He’s appeared in four games, and thrown five innings. He’s given up four hits and three runs (two unearned). He’s walked three and struck out five.
- Enoy Jimenez, 17-year-old brother of Eloy. He’s not a notable prospect, but this article includes a video of him hitting in case you are curious.
- C Darrell Miller, a 25-year-old who spent 2018 first with the Dodgers’ A-ball club, then Schaumburg of the independent Frontier League
- LHP’s Colton Turner and Jordis Ramos, and C Alfredo Gonzalez, were re-signed
Elected free agency
- Charlotte RHP Tyler Danish
- The White Sox recalled OF Charlie Tilson, P Carson Fulmer, OF Eloy Jimenez, OF Luis Alexander Basabe, P Ian Clarkin (this is procedural for all the 40-man roster residents who were not activated for Chicago in September)
- The White Sox outright assigned C Dustin Garneau to Charlotte
- RHP Victor Diaz, who missed all of 2018 and much of 2017 to injuries, finally returned to the mound in Fall Instructs. He was removed from a game by the Trainers with another injury.
News and Links
- While the rest of the baseball-watching public was focused on the playoffs, FutureSox has been hard at work ranking the entire minor leagues around the diamond. Catch up on:
- We published our Seasons in Review series too, looking at how each US affiliate did in 2018, in detail:
- Sean Williams of The Loop Sports has been taking in some AFL games, and had this write-up about the encouraging signs from pop-up prospect Laz Rivera
- Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline did a review of the White Sox in instructs, including a focus on Nick Madrigal spending some time at shortstop
- Our own Dan Santaromita, in his role as a reporter for NBC Sports Chicago, wrote a series on some of the top moments on the farm in 2018. Here’s an example piece, this one for Joel Booker stealing home (and in another FutureSox connection, the feature photo was taken by our own Clinton Cole).
- FutureSox Editor-in-Chief Matt Cassidy also led a roundtable of the baseball blogs, featuring Sox Machine, Baseball Prospectus – South Side and The Loop Sports.
- LHP Bernardo Flores was awarded a Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove as the best defensive pitcher in the minors
- Two big pieces of news for the Kannapolis Intimidators:
- The City of Kannapolis reached another big milestone in approving the plans for the new downtown development including a new ballpark for the Intimidators, to open for 2020.
- The team is in the process of being sold, to the Temerity Group, with closure expected this month
- Speaking of the affiliate clubs and business matters, the Player Development Contracts for both Kannapolis and the Great Falls Voyagers are set to expire at the end of this year. Extensions for both seem likely, especially for Kannapolis, but nothing official yet.
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Filed under: News and notes
Tags: Alfredo Gonzalez, Bernardo Flores, Colton Turner, Danny Dopico, Darrell Miller, Dustin Garneau, Enoy Jimenez, Great Falls Voyagers, Jordis Ramos, Kannapolis Intimidators, Laz Rivera, Luis Alexander Basabe, Luis Robert, Tanner Banks, Tyler Danish, Victor Diaz, Zach Thompson, Zack Burdi