Updated Chicago White Sox Top 10 Prospects: An Elite System Just Got Better (Including New #1)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

By now we all know that the White Sox pulled off another coup, getting a prospect bounty in exchange for Jose Quintana (among the four prospect package were the top two from our preseason Chicago Cubs rankings).  You can argue that their pitching prospects are among the best in baseball, after the slew of talent they’ve acquired since the offseason, and they also now have two of the top offensive prospects in the game.  Just how do the new prospects fit into the team’s Top 10?  Let’s take an updated look at the group:

 

1) Eloy Jimenez – Outfielder
Current Grade – A

This is a mild upset, and most will disagree.  He’s been limited to 42 games at High-A this season, but the newest acquisition has as much upside as anyone in the game.  His power is still developing, though he’s coming off a season where he had 57 extra base hits (40 doubles, 3 triples, 14 HR) and it’s just a matter of time before the 20-year old fully taps into it.  More impressive is his improving plate discipline, as he’s posted a 20.1% strikeout rate vs. 10.3% walk rate thus far.  The walks are a big jump from his mark in ’16 at Single-A (5.4%) and helps to show his development.  He is a year or two away, but he could be special.

 

2) Yoan Moncada – Second Baseman
Current Grade – A-

Many consider him the elite prospect in the game, and he has that type of upside, but as we’ve mentioned many times there are some significant questions hanging over him:

  1. Extra Base Hits – He’s managed just 23 total extra base hits this season (9 doubles, 3 triples and 11 HR)
  2. Strikeouts – Playing at Triple-A he owns a 28.1% strikeout rate, courtesy of a 12.6% SwStr%

Playing for a team that has a void at 2B, the fact that he hasn’t arrived yet tells us that there are concerns and he needs to address them.

 

3) Michael Kopech – Right Handed Pitcher
Current Grade – B+

We all know he can bring his fastball, and that helps lead to a ton of strikeouts (11.60 K/9 at Double-A).  The question is going to be if he can harness his stuff and avoid issuing so many free passes (6.09 BB/9).  In fact he’s walked 4+ batters in eight of his 16 starts this season, and that’s never going to be a recipe for success (especially since there is the risk of home runs allowed, with a 0.71 GO/AO on the season).  If he can get that solved, the pure stuff should make him a top of the rotation starter.

 

4) Lucas Giolito – Right-Handed Pitcher
Current Grade – B+

He has the stuff, but can he keep the ball in the ballpark (1.49 HR/9) and avoid putting so many people on base (4.08 BB/9)?  That’s never a good combination, whether it’s a starter or a reliever, and it makes you wonder if he is going to be able to put it all together.  If he does he is going to be a Top 20 starter in the Majors, and that’s why his ranking remains elevated.

 

5) Dane Dunning – Right-Handed Pitcher
Current Grade – B+

The “third” pitcher in the package Chicago received from Washington, could he ultimately prove to be the best of the group?  He’s split time between Single-A and High-A this season, and while his 4 starts at Single-A aren’t enough to draw conclusions from the numbers at High-A (62.1 IP) are impressive:

  • Strikeouts – 10.25 K/9
  • Walks – 3.61 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 48.1%

He has the potential to move quickly and really surprise.

 

6) Dylan Cease – Right-Handed Pitcher
Current Grade – B+

In many organizations he’d be viewed as the top pitching prospect, which speaks to the group the White Sox have accumulated.  That said there are concerns with his control and ability to stay healthy (his 51.2 IP already represents a career high).  Don’t be deceived by where he ranks as his upside is equal to any of the pitchers listed ahead of him.

 

7) Reynaldo Lopez – Right Handed Pitcher
Current Grade – B+

He may not have the same size as some of the other starters (he’s listed at 6’0”), but he clearly has the stuff.  Of the elite pitching prospects in the system he also brings arguably the best control (career 3.0 BB/9 in the minors) and more than enough strikeouts (8.8 K/9).  He’s more of a fly ball pitcher, though, and that is going to lead to home run issues (35.5% groundball rate in ’17).  That’s obviously a concern, but it’s not enough to eliminate his value.

 

The Rest:

8) Zack Collins – Catcher (Current Grade – B+)
9) Luis Robert – Outfielder (Current Grade – B) – There’s great hype, but also great risk.  We’ve seen many players imported from Cuba fall flat, so until we actually see him on the field we need to keep our ranking in check.
10) Carson Fulmer – Right-Handed Pitcher (Current Grade – B)

 

Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference

Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings:

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