Chicago White Sox: Top 10 Prospects

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TOP TEN
PROSPECTS
1. Jared Mitchell, of
2. Tyler Flowers, c
3. Dan Hudson, rhp
4. Brent Morel, 3b
5. Jordan Danks, of
6. Trayce Thompson, of
7. Dayan Viciedo, 3b
8. David Holmberg, lhp
9. Clevelan Santeliz, rhp
10. Miguel Gonzalez, c
BEST
TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Brent Morel
Best Power Hitter Tyler Flowers
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Tyler Flowers
Fastest Baserunner Jared Mitchell
Best Athlete Jared Mitchell
Best Fastball Sergio Santos
Best Curveball Nate Jones
Best Slider Daniel Hudson
Best Changeup John Ely
Best Control Daniel Hudson
Best Defensive Catcher Miguel Gonzalez
Best Defensive Infielder Eduardo Escobar
Best Infield Arm Brent Morel
Best Defensive Outfielder Jared Mitchell
Best Outfield Arm Jordan Danks
PROJECTED 2013
LINEUP
How the big league lineup could look four years from now relying solely on in-house talent
Catcher Tyler Flowers
First Base Paul Konerko
Second Base Gordon Beckham
Third Base Brent Morel
Shortstop Alexei Ramirez
Left Field Jordan Danks
Center Field Jared Mitchell
Right Field Alex Rios
Designated Hitter Carlos Quentin
No. 1 Starter Jake Peavy
No. 2 Starter John Danks
No. 3 Starter Mark Buehrle
No. 4 Starter Gavin Floyd
No. 5 Starter Daniel Hudson
Closer Bobby Jenks
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2009
2000 Kip Wells, rhp Reds
2001 Jon Rauch, rhp Twins
2002 Joe Borchard, of Giants
2003 Joe Borchard, of Giants
2004 Joe Borchard, of Giants
2005 Brian Anderson, of Red Sox
2006 Bobby Jenks, rhp White Sox
2007 Ryan Sweeney, of Athletics
2008 Aaron Poreda, lhp Padres
2009 Gordon Beckham, ss White Sox
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2009
2000 Joe Borchard, of Giants
2001 Kris Honel, rhp Out of baseball
2002 Royce Ring, lhp Cardinals
2003 Brian Anderson, of Red Sox
2004 Josh Fields, 3b White Sox
2005 Lance Broadway, rhp Mets
2006 Kyle McCulloch, rhp White Sox
2007 Aaron Poreda, lhp Padres
2008 Gordon Beckham, ss White Sox
2009 Jared Mitchell, of White Sox
LARGEST BONUSES
IN CLUB HISTORY
Joe Borchard, 2003 $5,300,000
Dayan Viciedo, 2008 $4,000,000
Gordon Beckham, 2008 $2,600,000
Jason Stumm, 1999 $1,750,000
Royce Ring, 2002 $1,600,000
WHITE SOX
LINKS
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Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
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Chicago White Sox

Before the White Sox selected Gordon Beckham with the eighth pick in the 2008 draft, 17 years had passed since they had a choice among the top 10. Beckham may have been worth the wait.

After taking righthander Alex Fernandez with the fourth overall pick in 1990, the Sox averaged picking 20th overall. They watched scores of no-brainer choices go elsewhere, without drafting a single position player who would develop into a homegrown all-star. Beckham should change that.

In his first full season as a pro, the 2008 NCAA Division I home run leader jumped to the big leagues and hit .270/.347/.460 while playing a solid third base. Beckham flashed leadership skills and unusual poise for a 22-year-old. It looks like he’ll give the Sox something they have missed since the days of Frank Thomas and Robin Ventura: the chance to market and build a team around a hitter who could spend his entire career in Chicago.

While Ken Williams has made more trades during the last decade than any general manager, he would love to assemble a long-lasting core around Beckham. Williams said he’s excited about a couple of other hitters from the 2008 draft, third baseman Brent Morel and center fielder John Danks, and was thrilled to add center fielder Jared Mitchell with the 23rd overall pick in the 2009 draft.

Williams has used other means to acquire position players who could be building blocks, signing Cuban defectors Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo to major league contracts in the last couple of years, and acquiring catching prospect Tyler Flowers in a trade that sent Javier Vazquez to the Braves a year ago.

Flowers, a hitter with power and an advanced knowledge of the strike zone, joined righthander Daniel Hudson (another 2008 draft pick) as the most productive players in the White Sox farm system last year. He hit .297/.423/.516 between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte last year, earning a promotion to Chicago in September. He offers the White Sox an alternative to re-signing veteran A.J. Pierzynski, who’s eligible for free agency after the 2010 season.

The arrival of young talent should please Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. He quietly cut the White Sox payroll by $8.3 million last season and will monitor it closely in future seasons as he awaits an economic recovery. A year after winning the American League Central, Chicago dropped to third place at 79-83, the second-worst record of manager Ozzie Guillen’s tenure.

Williams’ flexibility to make major moves in preparation for 2010 was hampered by two moves he made 11 days apart last summer. He traded four young pitchers—Aaron Poreda, Clayton Richard, Adam Russell and Dexter Carter—to the Padres for Jake Peavy, then claimed Alex Rios off waivers from the Blue Jays. The White Sox assumed $116 million in salary obligations in the two transactions.

Williams has developed a reputation for being willing to trade top prospects for veterans. He was at it again in 2009, dealing three of the top six players from this list a year ago (Poreda, Richard and first baseman Brandon Allen) and four former first-round picks (Brian Anderson, Josh Fields, Lance Broadway and Poreda). It’s not always popular with his scouts and player-development staff, but that’s how he built the 2005 World Series champions and he hasn’t been badly burned by the youngsters he has traded away.

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