Welcome to Rankings Week, midseason 2019! Twice a year, we rank the top prospects in the White Sox system. The schedule of events looks like this:
- Monday: The Just Missed article (this one), Rankings Debate for Patreon subscribers!
- Tuesday: Prospects ranked #16-30, with capsules, Full List for Patreon subscribers!
- Wednesday: The FULL LIST, with 1-15 capsules
- Thursday: Writers’ roundtable discussion of the rankings (High/Low)
- Friday: Mailbag Questions
The White Sox farm system still stands as one of the better ones in all of baseball and varies depending on which publication is perused. Since our last list in January, only two prospects have “graduated” or otherwise left the system (Eloy Jimenez and Jordan Stephens), while the system has had a new draft class and international signings imported in.
That brings us to this list: 15 players who did not make the top 30 this cycle, but who our writers discussed and considered for it. The depth of talent on the farm means that even these players (and probably more) are legitimate prospects. If you want proof of this, check out our last version of this “Just Missed” group from January – many of those players have cycled off the list with younger performers taking their place. These are prospects on the edge of the radar, and history says some of them will end up contributing value down the line.
NOTE: Players are not necessarily listed in a specific order, though the first few listed were the ones closest to making it.
RHP Kade McClure
McClure missed the majority of the 2018 season recovering from a leg injury after being selected in the 6th round of the 2017 draft out of Louisville. The 23-year-old is having a great season with the Winston-Salem Dash in the Carolina League. In 62.1 innings, the 6’7″ righty has posted a 2.60 ERA with a FIP of 3.76. His strikeout rate is down (6.5 K/9) but his walk rate has decreased as well (1.88 BB/9). Kade joined our Editor Clinton Cole back in December on the FutureSox podcast. The big righty began 2019 back in Low-A with the Kannapolis Intimidators and posted a 3.17 FIP while striking out 8.13 hitters per nine innings and inducing a plethora of ground balls covering just over 55 innings.
OF Luis Mieses
This Dominican outfielder was a member of the 2016 international class and signed for $428,000. The 19-year-old is playing in the Pioneer League currently at the High-Rookie affiliate in Great Falls, Mont. Mieses bats and throws left-handed and has the look of a prototypical right fielder. The 6’3″ 180-pounder played some centerfield after signing but has been mostly in the corner this year. Luis has a nice left-handed stroke with power potential and shows the ability to make solid contact on the baseball. He has a plus arm in the outfield as well. For the Voyagers in just over 150 plate appearances, Mieses is hitting .271/.293/.313 with 4 home runs and 22 runs driven in. The outfielder needs to display a better approach at the plate and not swing at so many pitches that put him at a disadvantage. He’s a below average runner as well. Mieses could play full season ball for the first time in 2020.
RHP Codi Heuer
The 2018 6th rounder earned a promotion to Double-A Birmingham after throwing 38.1 innings of 2.82 ERA ball with the Dash to open the 2019 season. Heuer posted a 2.01 FIP and averaged just over 10 K/9 in the Carolina League as well. The 6’5″ 195-pound righty has posted a 2.41 ERA with a 2.67 FIP so far in the Southern League over 18 innings. Codi has gotten a ground ball rate of 65%, but his strikeout rate has gone down for the Barons. Heuer is ranked as the #25 prospect in the system according to MLB Pipeline’s updated rankings and they put a 60-grade on his fastball with a 55-grade slider. The 23-year-old was the #1 starter for Wichita State’s program in college, but his stuff has played up in relief as a professional. His fastball sits in the mid 90’s regularly and has touched 98 at times. The former Shocker also shows an 82-85 mph biting slider and occasionally throws a changeup to lefties. He could profile as a guy that gets high leverage outs in the big leagues and is moving quickly through the system.
The White Sox took Delgado in the 4th round of the 2018 draft out of a Miami area high school and paid him $525,000. Lency was drafted for the raw power potential in his bat, stand out athleticism with a large frame and the strong throwing arm he possesses. Our Ken Sawilchik interviewed Lency last season as well. Delgado has played a ton at shortstop, but could profile as a third baseman long-term with his 6’3″ 215-pound frame. After being selected, the right-handed hitter struggled in his first taste of pro ball at the Low-Rookie affiliate in the Arizona League. The 20-year-old has gotten off to a much better start in 2019 in the Pioneer League. With the Voyagers, Delgado has played in 35 games and hit .303/.361/.439. He has posted a wRC+ of 109 and has also clubbed 2 homers while driving in 24 runs. Delgado should get an opportunity to make a full season roster during spring training 2020.
The White Sox used a 7th round selection in the 2018 draft to take Weaver out of South Gwinnett High School in Georgia. He was ranked as the #393 player in the class on the Baseball America top 500. Weaver possesses size, athleticism and top scale speed in the outfield. He projects to be a difference maker defensively in centerfield, but he has serious concerns about the offensive profile. Cabera is 6’3″ and 190 pounds and played well in 50 games in the AZL in 2018. He posted a 112 wRC+ with a 10% walk rate and flashed promising defensive skills. The 19-year-old has struggled mightily in Great Falls in 2019, however. Weaver is hitting just .240/.306/.329 and is sporting a 33.8% strikeout rate through 37 contests. There is still loads of upside here and Weaver may ultimately end up returning for more short season ball in 2020.
Zavala is one of the biggest fallers on this list after being ranked #16 on our preseason list. He’s still ranked 26th on the list over at MLB Pipeline as well. Seby made his major league debut with the White Sox earlier this season and currently possesses a spot on the 40-man roster. The 5’11” 215-pounder was a 12th round pick out of San Diego State back in 2015. He profiles as an offensive-minded backup catcher. Seby will turn 26 years old later this month and his standout tool is plus raw power that he has shown in games. His leadership and game-calling ability are better than his physical traits behind the plate. Zavala posted a 135 wRC+ after hitting .271/.358/.472 with the Barons in Double-A last season. He earned a promotion to Charlotte to close out 2018 and has spent the majority of 2019 with the Knights as well. Triple-A has been rough on Zavala at the plate. In 2019, he has posted a wRC+ of 81 with just a .312 wOBA. He does have 16 homers in the inflated offensive environment of the International League, but is currently sporting a 38.2% strikeout rate as well.
RHP Will Kincanon
Kincanon has pitched well in a high leverage role in 2019 with Winston-Salem in High-A. The 6’3″ 202-pound right-hander has posted a 1.80 ERA with a 3.35 FIP while striking out 11.6 hitters per nine. Will’s averages 4.6 BB/9 as well which is the only blemish on his 2019 campaign to date. He’s induced lots of soft contact and a solid ground ball rate over his 45 innings on the year as well. Kincanon posted a 3.27 FIP in Kannapolis last year with high strikeout totals. The 23-year-old attended Riverside Brookfield High School in Chicago’s western suburbs and was taken in the 11th round out of Indiana State in the 2017 draft. He was the #189 draft prospect according to MLB Pipeline and was given a bonus of $150,000 to sign with the White Sox.
3B Bryan Ramos
Bryan Ramos was signed for $300,000 out of Cuba and was one of the primary members of the organization’s 2018 international signing class. Jesse Sanchez called him a “power-hitting third baseman” upon signing. Ramos didn’t play in 2018 and has spent his first season with the franchise in the AZL as a 17-year-old. The 6’2″ 190-pounder has split time at 3B and DH in Glendale. Ramos has posted a 112 wRC+ with a .365 wOBA while hitting .271/.355/.441 in the AZL. Sean Williams wrote more about Ramos here after seeing him in action. He has big power potential and has performed well in his first stateside assignment as a teenager. In 138 plate appearances, the Cuban has hit 3 homers and driven in 23 runs as well.
The White Sox acquired Ti’Quan Forbes in August, 2017, in exchange for RHP Miguel Gonzalez. Forbes was the 59th overall pick in the 2014 draft by the Texas Rangers out of high school. He’s still just 22 years old and young for the Double-A Southern League. The 6’3″ 220-pound third sacker has posted a 103 wRC+ with 3 homers for the Barons on the season. Ti’Quan is a loose athlete that is oozing with athleticism. He hasn’t completely figured it out at the plate, but he’s made considerable progress as a defender at the hot corner. He’s hitting .244/.339/.335 on the year and will likely return to Birmingham in 2020.
The White Sox signed Mendoza out of Venezuela back in 2015. His bonus amount was something in the $300,000 range. Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote that Harvin was, “limited to an outfield corner but there were scouts who liked his left-handed swing, ability to use the opposite field and hang in well against left-handed pitching.” The 20-year-old is playing first base for the Great Falls Voyagers in the Pioneer League currently. The slugger is hitting .321/.410/.536 with a 12% walk rate. His power has showed up this year as he’s hit 5 homers in the rookie league while posting a 143 wRC+ with a wOBA of .413. The 6’2″ 185 pounder posted a 125 wRC+ in the AZL in 2018, but didn’t show the same power during contests. Mendoza is a name to watch in the system. He could see some time in the South Atlantic League to close out 2019 and should be the starting first baseman for the Kannapolis Intimidators in 2020.
The curious case of Benyamin Bailey has been an interesting case to follow during the 2019 campaign. Bailey is the international man of mystery as box score observers have duly noted. The 6’4″ 215-pound outfielder was signed out of Panama City, Panama, in 2018. The 17-year-old has hit .342/.503/.447 in the Dominican Summer League this year. Bailey has 33 strikeouts and 45 walks. His 22% walk rate has been a big factor in him posting a 173 wRC+ with a .476 wOBA in rookie ball. Benyamin has 1 homer to go along with 2 triples and 9 doubles on the year. He’s long limbed and lanky with natural hitting ability and some pop. He trained at one of the premiere academies in Panama as noted by Nik Gaur of Soxon35th. The outfield picture in the Arizona Rookie League is crowded with prep talent currently and it’s likely Bailey won’t debut stateside until the 2020 season.
Mendoza is also a member of the White Sox’s affiliate in the Dominican Summer League. Signed out of Venezuela for $300,000 in 2017, the experienced backstop struggled in his first season in the DSL. In 38 games last year, the 6’0″ 170-pounder hit .207/.289/.289. After the White Sox signed him, Ben Badler of Baseball America said he, “blocks and receives well and his plus arm helps him control the running game.” He should develop average power with a middle of the field approach offensively and standout defensive skills. The Venezuelan has been a different guy in 2019. The 18-year-old has hit .368/.463/.618 with 3 homers. It’s only 82 plate appearances so it’s a tediously small sample, but a 190 wRC+ and .506 wOBA is great no matter how you slice it. Mendoza should make his stateside debut in Arizona next season.
LHP Ronaldo Guzman
Guzman is the most intriguing pitcher on the DSL roster and one of the most intriguing young pitchers in any White Sox rookie ball affiliate. Ronaldo is still only 16 years old and signed for $75,000 out of the Dominican Republic last year. The southpaw is 6’0″ 150 pounds and Ben Badler of Baseball America called him “intriguing” after signing. Badler noted that Guzman’s, “fastball gets up to 89 mph with easy arm action and an athletic delivery that he repeats well. He throws strikes with an advanced changeup for his age.” The young lefty has posted a 3.07 ERA with a 2.90 FIP in 10 starts in the DSL. He’s held opponents to a batting average of just .192. The most intriguing aspect of his season so far is his strikeout rate of 13.5 K/9. In 41 innings, Ronaldo has compiled 60 strikeouts and has walked 24. He turns 17 later this month and could spend the bulk of his age 17 season with a stateside rookie league affiliate in 2020.
Zangari was a 6th round pick out of Carl Albert High School in Midwest City, Okla., back in 2015. Immense raw power is Corey’s carrying tool and he’s battled lingering injuries in his time as a professional. The 22-year-old is hitting .211/.311/.445 with a 115 wRC+ and 11 homers in the South Atlantic League this season. He’s really come on of late after a rough start to the year. He’s 6’4″ 240 pounds, is relegated to first base as a defender and strikes out too much. Zangari posted a 142 wRC+ in a small sample in 2018 before breaking his hand. He’s taking longer than normal to move through the system but is still a young guy. He should spend the first part of the 2020 season with the Dash in Winston-Salem and he should enjoy playing home games at BB&T Field.
LHP Caleb Frare
At his best, Frare has shown some dominant stuff in the mold of former big leaguer BJ Ryan. The White Sox acquired the hard-throwing southpaw from the New York Yankees in July of 2018 for $1.5 million of international signing pool space. Frare posted a 2.73 FIP with the White Sox to close out the 2018 season over 7 combined innings. The 6’1″ 210-pound lefty was given an opportunity out of spring training and struggled big time in the big leagues this season. He’s struggled in his time in Charlotte so far this season as well. He’s averaging 14 K/9, but he’s also averaging 6.6 BB/9. His ERA in the International League is 7.13 and his FIP is 5.96. Frare’s left arm is too good to give up on and he’ll likely get another chance in Chicago this September. His 40-man spot is tenuous heading into the offseason though.
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