by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The White Sox system was already seen as relatively shallow, and that was before trading three of its Top 10 prospects to land Todd Frazier. There are still some players who carry upside, it’s just that the potential is clouded by questions (specifically regarding the pitchers and if they are going to be able to stick in the rotation or are destined for the bullpen). It doesn’t mean that the talent should be ignored, it just means that we need to know the risks involved. With that in mind let’s take a look at how the White Sox Top 10 prospects look:
1) Tim Anderson – SS
ETA – 2016
Grade – B+
No one is going to question the speed (49 SB in 62 attempts at Double-A in ’15) and there also is the potential to chip in 10+ HR a season. He had just 5 last season, but he added 21 doubles and 12 triples, so it’s something that should come in time. Coming from a premium position you would think that would line him up to be viewed as one of the elite prospects in the game. However, while he did hit .312 last season, his eye at the plate brings significant question:
- Strikeout Rate – 20.7%
- Walk Rate – 4.4%
The average came courtesy of a .391 BABIP, so there is risk involved. Could he ultimately develop a better approach and cut down on the strikeouts? Absolutely, and if he does he is going to vault up the overall rankings given his potential to put up a 10/40 season in the Majors.
2) Carson Fulmer – RHP
ETA – 2017
Grade – B
Selected 8th overall in 2015 as a former college closer who transitioned to starting and appears to have taken to the role. That doesn’t mean he’s going to stick in it, though, as his size and delivery have led to speculation that a spot in the bullpen is going to be his long-term job. Obviously the White Sox are going to want to see what he can do, and they have a history of this type of pitcher (not only Chris Sale, for instance, but other prospects like Tyler Danish & Frankie Montas are in the same boat as ones who people think could be better served in a relief role). Time will tell, but he certainly would benefit from showing better control (9 BB over 22.0 IP at High-A) to convince people he can stick as a starter.
3) Spencer Adams – RHP
ETA – 2017
Grade – B-
His arm may not be quite what Carson Fulmer brings to the table (which is why he falls behind them on the rankings), but it’s possible that Adams develops into the better starting pitcher and has the best shot of sticking in the rotation. He has four pitches to utilize while bringing strikeout potential (96 K over 129.1 IP), above average control (18 BB) and groundball ability (1.42 GO/AO). Selected in the second round of the 2014 draft, Adams ended ’15 at High-A and has the potential to move quickly. The name may not be as “sexy” as some of the other starters in the system, but that doesn’t mean that he should be overlooked.
4) Trey Michalczewski – 3B
ETA – 2017
Grade – C+
He is expected to develop some power, and 35 doubles and 4 triples at High-A this past season (532 PA) helps to support the theory (he hit just 7 HR on the season). He showed decent plate discipline with a 21.4% strikeout rate and 9.4% walk rate, both of which were improvements over his marks at Single-A in 2014 (28.3% and 9.1%, respectively). His ability to continue improving in that regard, as well as sticking at 3B, will go a long way into ultimately determining his value. There’s the potential to be a solid prospect, with .260ish and 15 HR seeming reasonable.
5) Jacob May – OF
ETA – 2017
Grade – C+
He has shown plenty of speed, with 37 SB in 432 PA at Double-A last season, though you have to wonder if he truly profiles as a top of the order bat. He struggled to draw many walks (6.9%) and a 16.9% strikeout rate could continue to rise as he moves up against tougher competition, which could ultimately profile him more as a fourth outfielder as opposed to a starter. There’s potential to be a source of SB, but seeing how he produces at Triple-A will be extremely telling.
The Next Five:
6) Micker Adolfo – OF
7) Tyler Danish – RHP
8) Courtney Hawkins – OF
9) Jordan Guerrero – LHP
10) Jake Peter – 2B
Grading System (still in development):
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On
Make sure to check out all of our Top 10 Prospect Lists: