If you're last in our minor league talent rankings, loaded is a relative term, but the White Sox have a pair of intriguing teams. High Class A Winston-Salem features two of the team's top four prospects in outfielder Trayce Thompson and righthander Jake Petricka. For Petricka, it's a return to the Carolina League, as last year he showed an amazing fastball but didn't miss many bats due to the ineffectiveness of his secondary stuff. He'll try to show he has made enough progress to move up quickly to Double-A. Thompson just needs to continue cutting down his strikeouts. They will be joined by intriguing catcher Mike Blanke, also making a return trip to Winston-Salem, as well as 19-year-old middle infielder Carlos Sanchez. Double-A Birmingham has an intriguing rotation led by Nestor Molina, Pedro Hernandez and Simon Castro, and solid infield with Juan SIlverio, Tyler Saladino and Andy Wilkins.
Where's That Guy?
The White Sox enter the season in excellent health. No one from their Top 30 Prospects list is being held back by injury, and because of their emphasis on drafting college players and promoting players aggressively, everyone will begin the season in full-season ball. Last year's second-round pick, righthander Erik Johnson, is being held back in extended spring training with tendinitis.
Leap Of Faith
There are several, including outfielder Jared Mitchell's jump to Double-A Birmingham, but none is bigger than the decision to move lefthander Jefferson Olacio to low Class A Kannapolis. At 6-foot-7, Olacio has one of the highest ceilings in the organization, but he also had a 5.50 ERA in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League last year and walked more than a batter an inning. His control problems combined with raw secondary stuff will make the South Atlantic League a stern test.
Time Is Running Out
The White Sox decided to risk leaving outfielder Jordan Danks unprotected from the major league Rule 5 draft in December. He slipped through unselected, so now he'll head back for a third consecutive season at Triple-A Charlotte. Danks has the defensive chops to play any outfield position, but the arrival of Greg Golson gives the White Sox a toolsier version of Danks with more power. Danks has to prove this year that he can hit enough to let his glove play in the majors.
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