Chicago White Sox: Top 10 Prospects Chat With Phil Rogers

Chicago White Sox: Chat




Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2009.

 Q:  Phil from Puxatony asks:
What happened to Jose Martinez this year? I know he got hurt but it's impossible to find out how he got hurt. Could he move into the Top 10 with a solid year in 09?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hi guys. Thanks for joining me for the White Sox chat this year. It's always a fun part of the off-season for me. I should be good to go for quite a while but am expecting a call that might bring a short interruption (your patience is appreciated). Now as to Pux's question, I am not sure exactly how Martinez got hurt. He had a knee injury, needed some surgery and missed the last four months. The prognosis for recovery is excellent and he definitely has top 10 ceiling. He needs to play and for his body to mature a little but he's got a high ceiling.

 Q:  Nate from Richmond, RI asks:
Hi, just wondering where Juan Silverio falls into the list. His performance was awful, but that had to be expected from a 16/17-year old. Do his tools still look as good as they did last offseason?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Nate. Silverio For background, the exact placement for the top 30 is still an ongoing process, as the book hasn't gone to press. I pretty much know who will be in the 11-25 area and then have a group of about 10 for the last five spots. Silverio right now is in the low 20s because of his tools. He was really young last year and has good arm and pop. He's a major project at the plate, however, and in fairness it doesn't look good that the scouts who signed him were among the first canned for the whole skimming scandal. It makes you wonder what his real value was coming out of the Dominican. The good news for the system is that in Beckham, Eduardo Escobar and a group of other college guys, the shortstop position has improved a ton in a year.

 Q:  Eric from PA asks:
In Cole Armstrong's write up, you say he could succeed Pierzynski as the starter. Does he really project as an everday major leaguer?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Good question, Eric. To be honest, I see him more as a big-league backup but there are guys in the Sox system — who have seen him a heck of a lot more than I have — who believe he can be a regular. Obviously he needs to stake another step forward next year and then show he can handle big-league pitching, but his hitting in the Fall League has impressed people in the organization and there's no question about his receiving skills.

 Q:  Tricky Kid from The Loop asks:
The CWS has an improving system, but this is still a bottom 5 farm, right? That 8-10 was not exactly awe-inspiring of writeups.
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Tricky. I leave the rankings to guys like Jim Callis and, John Manuel and Will Kimmey, who compile information on all 30 organizations. My guess, though, is the Sox are looking strong enough at the top with Beckham, Danks, etc., that they escape the bottom five.

 Q:  Michael Stern from Rochester NY asks:
Do the Sox truly believe that Danks is their CF of the future? Do you see them going out and getting a CF from outside the organization, or giving the job to a stop gap like Dewayne Wise for '09 till Danks is ready?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hi Michael. Don't overlook John Shelby III. He's right there with Danks, actually ahead of him on the organizational ladder, and is a guy who could provide the speed and athleticism Ozzie Guillen craves. But neither of those guys are close to ready. I definitely think they'll add a center fielder this winter. Just don't ask me who it will be.

 Q:  Michael Stern from Rochester, NY asks:
How do you see the 2B-3B situation shaking out? Will Beckham definitely be there at 2B, or can Getz or even Shelby move back there, with Beckham sliding over to third? If Fields doesn't work out they might be better off with Beckham at third and Shelby at second, with Fields perhaps in the LF or with another organization. How do you think the White Sox see it? Beckham surely has the bat for 3B. The boy can hit! Are the Sox sold on Fields?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Congrats Michael, another good question. Don't write Fields off. He got a tough deal last year, being dropped back to Triple-A after a solid '07 in Chicago, and then played almost all season with hip and knee injuries. He definitely deserves a mulligan. Healthy, I think he'll be able to hit enough but his fielding is questionable. He doesn't have much range and will be working to improve his technique, which he had a hard time doing while playing through those injuries. Assuming Alexei Ramirez is the long-term shortstop, I think the Sox's best situation is with Fields at third, Beckham at second and Chris Getz as a utility guy. But Getz is going to try to win second base this spring.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
How close was Morel to your Top 10, and what is your evaluation of him?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Afternoon, Jaypers. Morel was real close to the top 10. He looks like a very solid draft choice, although we'll learn a lot about him when he plays a full year in the system. He is probably a better third baseman now than Fields — Buddy Bell really likes him — and he's shown significant power potential. He is a very interesting guy for 2009. He's one guy who could move fast.

 Q:  cliff jordan from chicago asks:
Should the unthinkable happen, and Bobby Jenks goes bye bye, who lines up as the best closer prospect? I've seen Jon Link pitch, and, ahem, he makes for a nice Jason Stumm....
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Cliff, thanks for the question. So you don't like Link, huh? You must not work for the White Sox organization. I've only seen him on the back fields in spring training, so I really don't have an opinion. But he is held in very high regard by the organization — I think that was partly why Texeira was included in the Swisher trade — and didn't miss the top 10 by much. Sorry, but I'm going to slow down for a second and deal with this phone call. BRB, as they say.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
I'd like to get your thoughts and reports on Dexter Carter. He seems to be a real sleeper in many people's eyes. Did he make your Top 30?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: I'm back. Thanks for your patience. Jaypers, Dexter Carter absolutely made my top 30. He was a candidate for the end of the top 10 but I eventually decided that we all need to see more of him, given the wild swings he had last year at Old Dominion and in the Pioneer League. He's a really good looking prospect, with two plus pitches. But he's probably a little behind his ODU teammate, Dan Hudson, who just seems more polished and consistent. Both are guys who probably fall in the organization's second 10.

 Q:  cliff jordan from chicago asks:
Clayton richard more or less came out of nowhere and looks really promising. Which pitcher might be this year's Clayton Richard?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Cliff, it's asking a lot for anybody to do what Richard did, climbing from high-A to the big leagues in a year, without any major setbacks. Pretty rare. But the guy I think we could get there fairly quick if he turns it around is Clevelan Santeliz, who definitely has big-league stuff. He's pitching in Venezuela for the second year in a row, which is a good sign, and has hinted that he could come fast, either as a starter or, more likely, a reliever. Another guy to think about is Lucas Harrell, if he's finally healthy. He showed real flashed in the Fall League.

 Q:  Dave from Kenosha, Wis. asks:
Phil — Thanks for chatting. I am hoping for another marathon session, which you are becoming legendary for. ... How close did Link come to making your list and is he a viable alternative should the rumors about Jenks being available are true?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Dave, thanks for your memory. I think I will go a while today but probably won't ever match those sessions in 2003 and '04. I'm not sure anybody would want me to. For starters, let's hope the Sox don't trade Jenks. I am a big Bobby Jenks guy. He didn't have his normal fastball in 2008 but was still an effective closer. I think his velocity could come back. But Link is definitely near the front of the list of options, although maybe first as a set-up guy for a veteran (Dotel, Linebrink or Carrasco?). Link was real close to being on my top 10. He's on the top 10 of many people in the Sox system.

 Q:  Ike from DC asks:
How far have Lance Broadway and Adam Russell's stock fallen in your eyes, as both have fallen off the list this year?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hi Ike. Russell, who was 12th in the book last year, hasn't lost much ground, I don't think. He should stick on Guillen's staff all year, I'd guess, and could get some big innings if he's on. But Broadway has dropped — not so much because of his performance or projection but because it just doesn't look like he's gonna get a chance with the Sox. I think he can be a 4 or 5 starter in the big leagues but he might have to go to someplace like Washington to get the chance. He needs to avoid becoming frustrated and trust his stuff. His chance will come, maybe sooner than he knows, but my guess is it won't be in Chicago.

 Q:  David from Jackson, MS asks:
Will Garrett Johnson find himself in the top 30 White Sox prospects this year?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey David. Since height isn't actually a tool, I'm pretty sure the answer is no. He's a fun guy to watch but not many people see a lot of upside with him. But guys like him prove other people wrong all the time.

 Q:  Warren from Texas asks:
Who are the sleepers in the organization who did not tmake the Top 10 but still could impact MLB? Who do you predict will be the biggest risers in the Top 30 this coming year? thanks for the chat!
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Warren. How's Texas? I love that state. One guy I don't want to overlook on the sleeper list is Brian Omogrosso. He could be an impact guy in the White Sox bullpen in a hurry if he avoids the blister problem that limited his innings in Double-A. He has a nasty, mid-90s fastball from a 3/4 arm slot that shatters right-handed-hitters' bats. Another guy who qualifies as a sleeper who could impact the big leagues is Javier Castillo, who has become a consideration at third base. He's behind Fields and Wilson Betemit but is an excellent fielder who has hit in the high minors. A lack of power affects his ceiling but he could definitely be a useful guy.

 Q:  Michael Stern from Rochester NY asks:
Do you see any future or opportunity for Brad Eldred with the Sox. With the possibilty of Konerko departing does the former Pirate prospect have a shot. He did hit 35 HR this year at AAA. Or is Brandon Allen the real future at 1B?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hi Mike (again). I don't believe the White Sox will re-sign Eldred. But that's not a bad thing because Allen could have a great future. The athletic Texan transformed his body and his approach last season, showing some big-time power, even at pitcher-friendly Birmingham, and seems like a likely choice to supplant Konerko or Jim Thome a couple years down the line. Allen is an athlete who runs, not a baseclogger. He'll strike out a lot but he's capable of being Ryan Howard Lite. He could be the best prospect in the Sox system but came so far in 2008 that skeptics want to see him improve again in '09.

 Q:  Craig from Canada asks:
McCulloch was hit around to the tune of a .306 opp. avg. this year against more advanced hitters after landing at #10 on last year's list. Is he still a prospect or more suspect?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Craig, the answer is suspect. He still has value but more as an organizational guy. He looks like an overdraft.

 Q:  Kyle from Middletown asks:
How do you like John Ely's chances of carving out a career in the major leagues? Could he make it as a back of the rotation starter?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Kyle. It will be no surprise at all if Ely has a significant big-league career. He is a very solid prospect with a good fastball and an organization-best changeup. If he improves his other pitches he could have a Brad Radkeesque career.

 Q:  Kyle from Middletown asks:
If Danks never develops the kind of power that he is thought to have, is he still a starter on a quality team?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Kyle. For Danks to be a first-division regular with only 5-10 homer power he'll have to really hit for a high average. He's considered a strong fielder, with an excellent arm, so it's not out of the question. But he has looked raw at times as a hitter, getting himself out swinging at pitches he should take. One thing to keep in mind is that he could be a 40-plus doubles guy if he doesn't get the ball out of the park because he should hit a lot of gaps and runs well for a big guy.

 Q:  Craig from Canada asks:
Wes Whisler put up decent numbers in AAA this past season. What role can he play for the 09 big league club? Middle reliever and spot starter, or will he back at AAA?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: The guess here is Whisler is back in Triple-A if he stays in the Sox system. I don't think the Sox will protect him with a spot on the 40-man roster so he could be lost in the Rule 5 draft. I just don't think the organization sees a real high ceiling for him. But he did pitch well in Triple-A so you never know.

 Q:  Kyle from Middletown asks:
Do you think that Gordon Beckham becomes an all-star caliber player? If he becomes limited to second base, is he as good of a draft pick as Justin Smoak or Brett Wallace?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: I'll admit that I love Gordon Beckham's potential. I'm not going to rule out that he can be an everyday shortstop, hitting in the middle of the order, but I think he'd have huge value as an offensive second baseman. That's probably his best avenue to All-Star status, for that matter. The ideal scenario for the Sox is for Alexei Ramirez and Beckham to both develop into big-league studs with the ability to play short, and two or three years down the road the organization might be able to use one of them to swing a major trade while commiting big money to the other. You didn't mention third, but that's another possibility for Beckham.

 Q:  Kyle from Middletown asks:
Is Rich Aurillia minus the monster year a fair comparison for Gordon Beckham? How much of Beckham's value is tied into his bat?
 A: 

Moderator: Oops. I keep taking Kyle's questions. After this one, he's officially off the clock. Almost all of Beckham's value is his bat — that and maybe his intangibles. I loved his quote that his goal is to "one day lead the White Sox the way Derek Jeter leads the Yankees.'' Man, talking about shooting high. Beckham is better than Aurilia, but may never put up Aurilia 2001 numbers. Michael Young is the name you hear the most with Beckham. He gets good power from an average-sized frame and has strong wrists — the ball jumps. He also seems developed in being able to lay off breaking pitches.

 Q:  Richard Smiley from Chicago, IL asks:
Phil - Thanks for doing this chat. Did Chris Retherford make the Top 30?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hi Richard. Too early to tell about Retherford. He's one of those guys that is in the 26-35 mix for me. There's a lot to like about him, however, especially his power. It's hard to believe an undrafted college senior could walk into pro ball and lead his teams in homers, but he's done it two years in a row. The White Sox definitely love his approach but he's not a real toolsy guy so he's going to have to keep proving himself one step at a time, which he's used to.

 Q:  Jon from Peoria asks:
Assuming the Sox return the top four starters next year, who do you think has the best shot at being the fifth starter now that Jeff Marquez is also in the mix?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hi Jon. There was Aaron Poreda talk for a while but I think it has died. I think Clayton Richard deserves a chance at that spot, so right now it would figure to be Marquez and Richard, with guys like Broadway, Egbert and Harrell trying to open eyes in spring training.

 Q:  Jon from Peoria asks:
The scouting report on Aaron Poreda sounds very much like Matt Thornton. Do you think that he'll end up in the back of the bullpen instead of as a starter?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Jon, I think you might be on to something with the Thornton comparison. I believe there are more people around baseball who think Poreda projects as a power reliever than a starter because his fastball is so much of his package. But unless he's going to be a closer the Sox will try to get him in the rotation first. It's all about his secondary pitches and the Sox's coaches do good work with arms like Poreda's.

 Q:  Andy from Saver, PA asks:
Brian Omogrosso didnt make the list. What are your thoughts on this fireballer?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Andy. Omogrosso must be a home boy, huh? I know he was once the best prep pitcher in Pennsylvania, coming out of Joe Willie Namath territory. I touched on Brian earlier but will do it again. He might have pitched in the big leagues in 2008 if he had not had a maddening problem with blisters. If he's healthy, I'd bet he gets to the big leagues this season. A lot of guys in the Sox organization have liked him for a long time but he hasn't really shown his potential yet. This is a big season for him.

 Q:  META from Atlanta asks:
Is there any hope for Nathan Jones? He got a live arm and strikes out his fair share of people, but doesn't seem to grasp the finer points of pitching.
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey META. Nathan Jones is a well-kept secret, mostly because he is such a wild man. His high-90s, knee-buckling curveball combination is the best 1-2 punch in the Sox's system, so he could really be an impact arm. But it's hard to project him getting it together based on his track record in college and as a pro. If he does get it together, watch out. He could be a top five prospect in 2009.

 Q:  Dennis Fogerty from Chicago, IL asks:
Can Gordon Beckham stay at shortstop?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: At this point the answer, Dennis, is absolutely. The Sox worry that he — like many college players — starts deep and charges every ball. They want him to take a split second to read grounders, which they think will help his fielding. If you've seen Beckham moving around a lot in the AFL — 2B, 3B, DH — you should know that has nothing to do with anyone's impression of him. The Sox had to cajole to get him into that league and the Peoria Saguaros had already commited to Desmond as the primary shortstop.

 Q:  John from Harrisonburg, VA asks:
Levi Maxwell had a pretty amazing season at Kannapolis; what does his stuff look like? Does he have a chance to start in the major leagues? Thanks!
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hi John. Maxwell is one of those 26-35 bubble guys for him. I'm not going to do this on any other players, but since you asked about an intriguing guy, here's what I wrote for the book (which may or may not appear, depending on the final rankings): Lightly pitched at college, Maxwell is taking advantage of his chance to pitch in the White Sox organization. He relieved after signing in 2007 but blossomed after being given a chance to start for low-A Kannapolis. He worked 140 innings in his first full pro season, leading the South Atlantic League with 15 victories and not losing consecutive starts. He relies on a low-90s fastball but has made progress with his secondary pitches. He is a strike thrower, walking only 2.8 per nine innings as a pro. He has pitched effectively as both a starter and a reliever (0.47 ERA in nine relief appearances for Kannapolis). He's expected to pitch in the rotation for high-A Winston-Salem next year.

 Q:  John from Harrisonburg, VA asks:
Does Jack Egbert have a chance to start in the majors?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey John. If you mean start the 2009 season in the majors, the answer is probably no. It would take a run of injuries to get him up the depth chart. But if you mean can he be a big-league starter, yes he can. He had a disappointing 2008 season but I wouldn't make too much of it. He got behind early because of a sore elbow and wound up with a wasted year. He's still on the radar, however.

 Q:  John from Pensacola, FL asks:
Was Nevin Griffith hurt? When is he expected back in '09?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: That's a good question and I don't want to mess up the answer, so I'm seeking some information. Hopefully I'll have it by the end of the chat.

 Q:  Rocco from Da' Village, NY asks:
I was interested to see LHP Aaron Poreda's name come up at the Trade Deadline in a deal for A's RHP Justin Duchscherer, who was having a Cy Young year before injury. As such, is that a sign that the Sox don't believe Poreda can stay in the Starting rotation? Will they make the same mistake with him that the Mets made with Scott Kazmir? (trading him because they view him more as a relief pitcher).
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Rocco. Quite the opposite. The White Sox coveted Brian Fuentes as the deadline but would not part with Poreda, who was the one guy the Rockies had to have from the Sox system. I do not see them dealing Poreda and I believe they're going to keep pitching him as a starter.

 Q:  Go Go '59 from Santa Monica, CA asks:
Granted, Poreda has a great fastball. But he hasn't made significant progress on an off-speed pitch in his 1-1/2 years with the Sox. And he has gotten bombed in 2 of his 10 appearances in the AFL and has an ERA of almost 8.00. In light of all that, is his ranking more a function of the weakness of the Sox's system than of his projection?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Go-Go. A year ago, I would have said the answer to your question was yes, that Poreda — after the Swisher deal cost the Sox Gio Gonzalez and Fautino de los Santos — was the best of a weak lot. But I think the Sox have strengthened the top of the system considerably with the likes of Beckham and Danks and the development of Allen and Richard.

 Q:  John from Pensacola, FL asks:
Christian Marrero had a decent season at Kannapolis. Is he a legit 1B prospect?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Fringy prospect. He can hit for average but I'm not sure how much power he'll develop.

 Q:  Richard from Holly Springs, NC asks:
How close were pitchers Dexter Carter and Daniel Hudson to making the top 10? Ultimately, do you see them as starters or help for the bullpen. Thanks.
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Pretty close. There's no reason to relegate them to the bullpen now, but of the two it seems like Carter is a guy whose skill set might make him an impact reliever. I'd look for them both to start in 2009, with the question being whether they can skip Kannapolis and go straight to Winston-Salem.

 Q:  Mike from St. Charles, MO asks:
Do you think Beckham can make a Longoria type impact in 2010?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Mike, from the land of Buehrle. I love Beckham, as I said, but a "Longoria impact?'' That's asking an awful lot. It is fair to say he has that kind of upside, so I guess I'm actually answering the question yes, but I think it's unfair to put that on anybody. Look what happened to Troy Tulowitzki when people expected it?

 Q:  Dr Philip Barbay from Grand Lakes University asks:
I have just one question..in 27 parts. Part one: What happened to end Jose martinez' season. Part Two: He was a top 10 last year, an all tools guy who seemed to do very well before his injury. How far out of the Top 10 did he fall? Part Three: What is his upside? Answer these and I'll forget about the other 24 parts.
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hello Dr. Barbay. I'm a complicated man myself, so I'll tackle a complicated question. Martinez was shut down to have knee surgery (which isn't expected to both him in 2009). He won't be too far from the top 10 because he is potentially a five-tools guy. Buddy Bell joins me in saying that Martinez has the basic Juan Gonzalez starter kit, although Buddy doesn't think Martinez is quite as developed as Juan was at the same age. He can be a really good player once he physically matures and figures out how to stay on the field (something Juan had trouble with throughout his career).

 Q:  Fungo from WSI asks:
Since the trade, do Jeff Marquez or Jhonny Nunez crack your Top 10? How about an Honorable Mention 11-15?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Fungo. There's internal debate on that question as we speak. I might prefer them both in the 11-15 range — Nunez right behind Link — but I know that at least one of my BA peers will argue for Marquez near the bottom of the top 10. Both are interesting guys — but not as high-ceiling as the guys who went the other way because of Swisher (Gonzalez and de los Santos).

 Q:  Go Go '59 from Santa Monica, CA asks:
Morel got off to such a good start. Where to you rank him among the Sox top prospects, and why didn't he make the Top 10, at least ahead of Escobar?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Back to you Go Go. Morel isn't far behind Escobar, who is a baby. He was a huge surprise for the Sox this season, arriving as a total unknown in April (after spring training) and ending the year as a 19-year-old regular in the SALLY League. He doesn't project as a middle-of-the-order guy, like Morel, but has shown the bat skills to wind up as a No. 2 hitter some day. And even if he doesn't, a plus fielder at shortstop who holds his own at the plate, even at the bottom of the order, is a valuable asset. We'll have to see more of Morel and Escobar next year. I just say when in doubt, take the shortstop.

 Q:  Dump Kenny from Waukegan asks:
How do you assess Kenny Williams's success in using the farm system to acquire productive major leaguers? I think his most successful acquisitions did not come from the Sox's farm system: Alexei was a free agent, Danks came from major leaguer McCarthy, Floyd came from Garcia, and even Quentin came not because the Sox had such a valuable commodity in Chris Carter, but because Arizona had an excess of outfielders. On the other hand, just in the last year or so, Kenny has given away Oakland's and Arizona's starting centerfielders, possibly Oakland's starting left fielder, etc., not getting a long-term productive major leaguer for any of them.
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hi Dump. Williams is a hacker — he takes a lot of cuts. Sometimes he hits home runs, sometimes he whiffs. But he doesn't put the bat down, he just keeps going back to the plate. He and I have had our differences through the years — almost always because I criticize the deals when he trades kids for short-term guys. But, in fairness, there is that 2005 World Series and the '08 division title. I think he's been sort of lucky in not getting burned worse (Chris Young in the Javy Vazquez deal is the worst so far) but I also think the Sox do a good job knowing their guys. That said ... Aaron Cunningham for Danny Richar, ouch!!!

 Q:  Josh from Chicago asks:
What does the future hold for a guy like Tyler Kuhn? Although he will never impress with his tools and will never be highly rated, he seems he just has that fiery attitude to succeed no matter what. Will he be a future major leaguer?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Josh, congrats. By mentioning Tyler Kuhn you win the gift behind Door No. 3 — well, you would if there was a Door No. 3 with a gift behind it. But Kuhn is not only an interesting name but part of a nice trend for the system — cut-throat competition between shortstops. I argued to rate Kuhn as the Sox's top guy hitting for average but cooler heads (and Chris Getz) prevailed. I think he's a very intriguing guy. But he'll have to battle his butt off to stay in the mix with Beckham, Greg Paiml, Escobar and Sergio Miranda in the pipeline. Also another guy: Andrew Garcia, the grandon of Dave Garcia, who has been moved to second base. But Kuhn can really hit. I think he could make himself a top-10 prospect in 2009 but a lot of scouts have passed on him for a long time.

 Q:  Tom from Denton, TX asks:
Is Jack Egbert still on the Sox radar? Did he make the top 20 list this year after being in the top 5 last year?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Tom. You're speaking to a member of the DHS class of 1974, and a big fan of the Denton band Midlake. I hope to get home over the holidays and see what's new on the square. It's become a fun place the last few years, hasn't it? As for Egbert, yes, he's still on the radar. He wound up having elbow surgery (minor) after the season but should be fine for 2009. I've got him and Harrell at about the same place in the top 30 — at 20 or just below.

 Q:  Karl of Delaware from Georgetown, Delaware asks:
What a surprise to see Earl Stevenson, the #15th ranked prospect for the Blue Jays in 2002, resurface and be on the mound for Kannapolis this summer! He quit baseball in 2003 to be a fireman as I understand it. Ranked that high, although years ago, indicates he may be something special - but his 2008 pitching stats were not so special. What's your opinion on his future?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hi Karl. The Earl of Stevenson is the biggest of longshots. But you've got to admire his tenacity.

 Q:  Nick from Minneapolis asks:
How well do you think the transition from Second to Short will go for Alexei Ramirez and who is the best candidate to fill the hole at second? (Getz?, Nix?, Betemit?)
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Nick. Ramirez looks like a guy who should be able to play short. He was awfully good at second, though, so I hope the Sox don't lose too much there. I think the spring training battle will be between Nix and Getz. Nix might have an edge because he's got more experience and because Getz will be coming off a wrist injury. The word is he will be fine but sometimes it takes a while for hitters to get back to normal when they have wrist injuries. Nix is an excellent fielder and hits with a little power, which might play well at the Cell, but has become his own worst enemy at the plate as he tries to establish himself in the big leagues. Somebody who saw him at Colorado last year said he grinds the sawdust out of the bat handle. Here's hoping he finds a way to relax.

 Q:  Karl of Delaware from Georgetown, Delaware asks:
Of low A pitchers who has the highest cieling: starter Charlie Shirek, reliever Henry Maybee, or fastballer Nathan Jones?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Jones, easily. Mabee is a guy who got some top 30 consideration but Jones has a tremendously high ceiling if he gets it together. He might not hit 100 with his fastball but otherwise he has a chance to pitch like the Bobby Jenks of 2005 and '06. The problem is he is really, really wild and really, really raw. He's got a great work ethic and thick skin, though, which will come in handy.

 Q:  Chip from Louisville, KY asks:
Justin Cassel had an awesome year in AA, and barring a rough outing his last game of the season would have had an ERA below 3 on the year. Did he get any consideration for the list? How does he project and what type of pitcher do you see him being at the next level? THANKS!!!
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Chip. Cassel is having himself a nice career and is a definite top 30 guy. But he lacks the velocity that puts him near the top of a list like this one. He really knows how to pitch, is extremely prepared, and has three useful pitches. He will jump to Charlotte after leading the Southern League in ERA and has a great chance to follow his old brother Jack to the big leagues. But I don't expect him to get as many mentions and another of his older brothers, Matt, on Sports Center.

 Q:  willy from pitt asks:
Phil, marathon chat like 2004? How much of a concern are Brandon Allen's contact problems?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Willy. Absolutely Allen's strikeout numbers are a concern. But he draws his share of walks, so if maintains the power he showed last year the Sox should be fine living with the strikeouts. He is often overmatched by left-handers. But he is still relatively young and has time to get better.

 Q:  Luke from Des Moines asks:
Phil, where will the White Sox system rank overall in baseball? In your mind, has it improved a lot in the last year?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Luke, I can't speak for an overall ranking but it has obviously improved from where it was after Kenny Williams' trades last winter. The 2008 draft was a good one.

 Q:  Travis from Austin, TX asks:
Has Francisco Hernandez fallen out of the White Sox plans with back to back poor years? Thanks.
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hey Travis. The White Sox are — once again — thin at catcher. Hernandez has never figured out how to hit, going from an intriguing prospect to an organization player, unfortunately.

 Q:  Josh from Chicago asks:
Dan Hudson and Dex Cater had terrific numbers in rookie ball, but were so-so in college. Did the Sox coaches fix them or were their numbers inflated by playing against much younger competition? Or both? Who has the most potential out of the two?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Hi Josh. We're kicking off the lightning round as I only have another few minutes. With Carter, the White Sox made a significant change in his delivery, which unlocked his success. Hudson's transition was more of a question of fine-tuning and confidence. I think it helped both of them to start pro ball together. Hudson by a hair.

 Q:  Josh from Chicago asks:
Out of the Chicago position players, Danks and Beckham seem to have the most potential. If it all comes together for both of them, who brings the best total package because Danks has quite an argument with his speed and fielding abilities?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Interesting. If Danks hits for power, he can pass Beckham. But Beckham now is a much better hitter. If he stays at shortstop, I'd still like Beckham even as an average fielder.

 Q:  Karl of Delaware from Georgetown, Delaware asks:
Christian Marrero, Does he catch up and pass his brother who is a prospect in the Nat's system?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Don't think so.

 Q:  Luke from Des Moines asks:
Where will Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez rank for the Sox? Were was Kanekoa Texeira at before the Swisher trade?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: I touched on Marquez and Nunez earlier. Texeira was in my original top 10 but had been dropped below Link, by quite a ways. He was probably a 20-30.

 Q:  Cory from Chicago asks:
Phil, thanks for the chat. Former first rounder Lance Broadway did not improve this year in the minors and had mixed results in the bigs. Not hard to believe he fell out of the top 10, but what are you hearing about him and what do you expect out of him nexy year?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: I'd love to see what he'd do if the Washington Nats gave him Tim Redding's 30 starts in 2009. He can pitch. I won't be surprised if he's traded this winter because the Sox don't act too interested.

 Q:  Luke from Des Moines asks:
What is Gordon Beckham's ETA and ceiling? Could he become a .290-25 HR guy at 2B in time? How does he rank compared to other recent #1 prospects for the Sox? Thanks, Phil, you're the man.
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Beckham is the Sox's first top 10 overall pick since 1990, when they got Alex Fernandez. Their last No. 1 who was nearly as much of a potential stud was Joe Borchard. I say he's in the big leagues Opening Day, 2010, at second or third, and within his first three years puts up this line: .310-32-110. I like him a LOT.

 Q:  Chris from NJ asks:
What is Jack Egbert's status with the organization after a slow start last year?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: It depends on how he bounces back from minor elbow surgery.

 Q:  John from Cincinnati, Oh asks:
Would Gio Gonzalez be rated #1 for the White Sox if not given away in the Nick Swisher trade?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: No. Beckham would have still been there. It would have been interesting to see how he would have responded last year with the Sox in a race.

 Q:  Mo Green from Hartford CT asks:
Given the TJ surgery, where do you think Fautino De Los Santos would rank on this list if he were still around?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: I like de los Santos so much I'd probably still have him high — 6 or 7, maybe.

 Q:  Tom from Chicago asks:
What are upsides for 3B C.J. Retherford and IF C.J. Lang? Will Sox regret trading OF Paulo Orlando?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Retherford could be an everday 3B; Lang utility, at best. Orlando, no. He can't hit.

 Q:  Fer from SoxVille asks:
Besides Armstrong, who are the top catching prospects in the Sox chain? I take it Francisco Hernandez is no longer a prospect. What happened to him?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: It's a short list. I don't think any other catchers make the top 30. Donny Lucy is a clear No. 2; a kid named Orlando Santos has the best arm and one of the most intriguing experients is Jorge Castillo, a first baseman who tried catching in Instructional League. Hernandez never learned to recognize breaking balls and to develop strike-zone judgment.

 Q:  Burke from Columbus, OH asks:
Did Jose Martinez get consideration for the top 10?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Yes. His knee injury made it easy to give his spot to someone else, for now.

 Q:  StatManDu from HomeOfficeUSA asks:
I know hindsight is 20-20 but the Sox could have drafted Curtis Granderson instead of Royce Ring. In addition, the Sox have passed on other locals such as Mark Mulder and Tom Gorzelanny (I'm sure there are others). Do the Sox not put much emphasis in scouting in their area ... Are they hesitant to take a local kid because of hometown pressures/expectations? ... Do they feel burned by the Honel pick? Some insight would be appreciated.
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Curtis Granderson, ouch. We all missed him — White Sox, Cubs, me (I wish I'd watched him play some at UIC). Nathan Durst does a good job scouting this area. I think the problem is really that there aren't many top prospects here for Durst and other locals to watch. I'm interested to see how the left-hander from Neuqua Valley High does this year.

 Q:  Burke from Columbus, OH asks:
Nevin Griffith (2nd round pick in 2007) has not been healthy enough for more than a handful of innings over the past two years. Does he still have a future with this ball club?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Burke, thanks for bringing Griffith back up. I confirmed he had Tommy John last summer, so he's on the shelf for most, if not all, of 2009.

 Q:  Ryan from Tulsa, Ok asks:
From a concerned fellow Oklahoma St Alumni, what was the deal with Josh Fields this year? Does he still figure into the White Sox future? Do you think he's going to get moved into LF regardless of which team he plays for? Thanks for taking the time to chat!!
 A: 

Phil Rogers: OK, last few questions. Hard to answer in the lightning round but Fields had to be bummed to go back to Triple-A and then got hurt. He showed guts by playing through injury but it only seemed to hurt his reputation. Some people in the Sox system are really pushing for him to get a fresh start in 2009, maybe as the everyday guy at third. His glove will determine if he can stay. He deserves a mulligan, however.

 Q:  Burke from Columbus, OH asks:
If the White Sox were to sign Dayan Vicideo, thanks to their connections made while signing other Cuban players who share Vicideo's agent, where would he fit on this list?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Viciedo is a high ceiling guy, as everyone knows. I wouldn't put him ahead of Beckham but maybe everyone else. At least 3, maybe 2.

 Q:  daniel from nyc asks:
will beckmans power translate in the bigs? can he hit 30 plus homer?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Yes. He hits long line drives and those go into the seats at U.S. Cellular Field. He could hit a lot of home runs.

 Q:  Dan from Chicago asks:
Is Chris Getz an example of a guy who is simply taking a while to develop power? I know he's not big, but if he was an everyday 2b, could he hit 15 HR, or is he more of a 5 HR guy? He hit a ton of doubles in the past so it seems as if those doubles are turning into homers as he hit 11 this year. With his strike zone discipline, if he could hit 15 Hr, he seems like a very valuable player to me.
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Power isn't his game but he did develop some power this year. I need to see how he bounces back from the wrist injury. He's a tough kid and a solid player.

 Q:  Randy from San Diego asks:
Any scouting report on Point Loma product Johnnie Lowe?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: All I can tell you is he has his backers in the system. He won't be in the top 30 this year but could a year from now.

 Q:  Geoff from KC asks:
What are your thoughts on Ken Williams Jr's ceiling? As a CWS and Shockers fan I'm interested in your thoughts on him. As always, thanks for the chat.
 A: 

Phil Rogers: He's as raw as they come. He's an athlete but hasn't yet proven he's a ballplayer.

 Q:  mike from toronto asks:
favourite beckham - gordon, tim, david or victoria? favourite danks - john or jordan? favourite allen - brandon or tim? favourite armstrong - cole, lance or neil?
 A: 

Phil Rogers: Thanks Mike. I'll end it with a Jim Callis type question. Give me: Gordon Beckham (toolsy high school shortstops scare me), John Danks (that 1-0 win over Minnesota was enough said), Brandon Allen (the Santa movie kills Tim) and Neil Armstrong. Astronauts rock! Be well, pick up the book when it's available and thanks for participating in this year's White Sox chat. Over and out.