FutureSox 2019 Midseason Rankings Roundtable: Writers' High and Lows

Twice annually, our senior writers huddle and compile their personal top 30 rankings of the White Sox system. Then the real fun begins; as we critique each others lists, ask questions, and share valuable scouting information we might have picked up from our in-person affiliate visits or gleaned from other sources. The end result is our final FutureSox top 30 list that is a weighted fusion of our original individual lists. This article is an on-going series that lets our writers explain their rationale for a prospect they ranked higher and lower than the consensus. The first number next to each prospect is the ranking assigned by that writer, then the second number is what they were ranked on the actual list.

If you would like to look back on the preseason edition of this article, you can find it here.

Dan Santaromita: 

Highest: Luis Alexander Basabe (8th, 12th)

I’m giving Basabe the benefit of the doubt for his broken hamate bone. While you can use Basabe’s inability to stay healthy as a knock against him, it can also explain his slow start to the season. He missed most of April with the injury this year and got off to a horrid start when he came back. He has gradually improved as the season has gone on. His profile is better than the rest of the outfield prospects in the system (not counting Luis Robert obviously). He is a good defender with a strong arm and decent speed. He has shown decent power while drawing a healthy amount of walks. I think he has a better upside than Blake Rutherford or Luis Gonzalez and if healthy, I think he will get to the majors.

Lowest: Micker Adolfo (14th, 11th)

Adolfo gets plenty of attention for his imposing figure and it’s hard to argue with that. He’s an impressive athlete with massive power potential, but I’m not sure there’s much else there. He had a plus-plus arm in the outfield, but after multiple arm injuries, who knows if he still has that. Last year in Winston-Salem he showed more of his power in-game and saw a spike in his walk rate. His strikeout rate has been alarming though. Even last year, which many called a breakout season for him, he struck out in 27.3% of his plate appearances. This season, granted in only 23 games, that spiked to 39.1% in Birmingham. The hope is that staying healthy and getting more consistent reps will help him improve on that, but until he does so, it remains a major red flag.

Robert Young: 

Highest: Konnor Pilkington (18th, 18th)

After a dominating 2017 campaign, many viewed Mississippi State ace Konnor Pilkington as a probable 1st rounder. After an up-and-down 18’ campaign, he fell to the White Sox in the 3rd round. In the pros, Pilkington breezed through Kannapolis, posting video games numbers. Winston-Salem has been more of a challenge (5.73 ERA), but his FIP (3.71) and BABIP (.355) indicates he’s been more unlucky than overmatched. At 6’3’’, 225 pounds and armed with three potential plus pitches, I’m ranking the player, not the statline.                                  

Lowest: Luis Alexander Basabe (15th, 12th)

I loved Basabe’s profile as the 3rd piece in the Chris Sale haul. He is the type of high ceiling toolsy player that the Sox should always ask for to finish off deals. Unfortunately, Luis has not been able to stay healthy or improve his hit tool enough to produce in the higher levels of the system and ultimately in Chicago. More specifically, as a switch-hitter he struggles mightily as a left-handed batter against RHP’s, hitting .216/.291/.304 in 2019. Luis does hit lefties very well, so that keeps his major league hopes alive as a possible 4th outfielder or platoon player, but that significantly lowers his ceiling. I consistently have ranked him as such and thus always seem to be the lowest on him. 

James Fox: 

Highest: Zack Collins (6th, 8th)

As the self-proclaimed leader of the Zack Collins fan club, this was an obvious choice for me. I had Collins ranked as the 6th best prospect in the system and it’s due to loving his offensive profile and considering his proximity to the majors as well. Collins has a .382 wOBA and 128 wRC+ in the International League in 2019. He struggled in a small sample in the majors this year but didn’t receive enough plate appearances to make any sort of determination on his future. He might not be a full time catcher but can play some 1B and DH. In Charlotte, Collins has made some strategic and noticeable swing and approach changes that have paid dividends so far. The former first rounder could be back in the big leagues any day now and deserves another shot in Chicago.

Lowest: Blake Rutherford (14th, 10th)

Rutherford went on a hot streak in June but has cooled off again since. The former 1st rounder possessed tremendous upside coming out of a California high school but some of the tools just haven’t advanced to this point. Blake has posted an 88 wRC+ in the Southern League with a wOBA of .298. He does have 7 home runs. His .103 ISO is discouraging however for a player that will most likely end up in an outfield corner. Rutherford could reach the big leagues at some point but I don’t like his chances of becoming an impact player at that level. He just doesn’t have the power profile necessary to be a corner outfielder and I tried to rank him accordingly.

Clinton Cole:

Highest: Kade McClure (15th, NR)

I was the highest on Kade McClure for a variety of reasons. The former 6th rounder out of Louisville tops out around 95 mph with the fastball but his large frame makes it appear like he’s throwing much harder to the hitters. Kade has made steady improvements since being drafted and is a really hard worker as well. He bounced back nicely from injuries that derailed his 2018 season. He also gets outs with his secondary and tertiary pitches. I felt that Kade McClure belonged in our top 30 and what he does with the Birmingham Barons will go a long towards deciding whether that’s ultimately true. 

Lowest: Bryce Bush (30th, 27th)

I was the lowest on Bryce Bush (fair or not) just because of the season he’s had. Mix in the injuries, position change and being young for his level, I just couldn’t justify having him any higher. He had a great season last year and I expect him to be in the top 20, hopefully top 15, at this time next year. Moving to the outfield from 3B full time takes some of the shine off of his prospect status but he’s a still young guy with big offensive upside. Hopefully he can get healthy and enjoy a more successful 2nd year in the SALLY League. 

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