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, 2011.
Phil Rogers will chat about the White Sox's farm system beginning at 2 p.m. ET.
JAYPERS (IL): Hi, Phil. What were you hearing about Mitchell during his time in the AFL? Any noticeable rust to speak of?
Hi everybody. Thanks for sending all
questions. I just made myself a turkey and cheese sandwich, so I should
be good to go for awhile. So let's start ... Jaypers, I think Mitchell's
AFL performance was really disappointing. He seemed lost at the plate
at times — from my viewing of the Rising Stars game and talking to
scouts — and did not show the speed that made him so electrifying
before the injury. He was just getting his feet back underneath him, so
we should cut him slack, but it was a hitting-dominated league, so .166
or whatever is alarming.
Ben (Leland Grove): What's the word on Addison Reed? Is he in your 11-20 range?
Hey Ben. Addison Reed just barely missed
the top 10. He is a big-time, polished prospect with a lot of reason for
excitement. His fastball-slider combination is very good and it appears
some of the Stephen Strasburg presence/work ethic has rubbed off. He
could come fast. I think the 2010 draft looks very interesting at this
point, lots of those guys in the top 30.
Jon Gilmore (Winston-Salem): Did I get any glowing reviews this season, Phil? And did I make your Top 30 overall?
Jon, I'll take this question but you
should really be out working on your throwing. Lots of people like
Gilmore's bat but his arm has become a big problem at third base. He's
made 78 errors the last two seasons and could be headed for a position
change. But the second half of the season was very encouraging for his
bat — more plate discipline and line drives scattered around the field.
Harry (NJ): Matt Heidenreich - prospect or suspect?
Hey Harry. Definite prospect. He had a
very solid first full season, beginning with his work in extended spring
training. He'll probably go into the Kannapolis rotation next season.
He's one of the more interesting high school pitcher drafts the Sox have
had in years.
JAYPERS (IL): Did Mike Blanke get consideration for this list, and what are you hearing about his receiving skills?
Mike Blanke really opened eyes after the
draft. He hit and was MUCH better behind the plate than advertised. He
threw a couple runners out in the Pioneer League playoffs. He's big
physically but has really come a long way as a catcher. His bat will
help him stay behind the plate but he could very well be a big league
average catcher, maybe even better. Lot to like there
cliff jordan (chicago,il): Other than this Ozzie of the Future, Eduardo Escobar, are there any other middle infield prospects? I don't see much - thanks!
Hey Cliff. Not sure the Sox have any other
middle infielders who look like big league regulars but one sleeper is
Tyler Saladino from the 2010 draft. I've always loved Drew Garcia too.
He's Dave Garcia's grandson and has been Escobar's double-play partner
through the minors. He's a sleeper. Also Drew Lee from Morehead State
(2010 draft). He's a second baseman who can really hit, even for power.
Long ways away but interesting.
Vince (Rockford): Addison Reed was a starter in
college, but used almost exclusively as a reliever in his pro debut.
What role does he fill going forward and does he move quickly if he is a
Vince, I didn't address this on the first
Reed post, and it's a good question. The Sox believe he could do both
but he'll start next season and get a long look as a starter. He's a
classic two-pitch guy right now but the Sox are working to help him
improve his changeup. That pitch could determine which way he goes. He
would come quicker as a reliever but he'll have more value with a third
Matt (Iowa City): Did Andy Wilkins get any consideration for the top 10? Does he have a chance to be an everyday player?
Good question Matt. I think Wilkins is a
real interesting name in the Sox system. I'm not sure Wilkins = Brandon
Belt but he's the starter kit. Really intriguing power and a solid
player all around. Kind of the in the shadows at Arkansas but exploded
after the draft. I definitely think he can be an every-day player. He's
not a plus fielder at either corner but could hit enough to stay at
third base. I like him a lot.
Ernie (Rockford, IL): Phil,
How close was Charlie Leesman to the top 10 and your thoughts on his
turnaround from a pretty bad 1st half to a good 2nd half of last year. I
read where his velocity increased so was that it or was it a fixing of
his mechanics ?
Ben, I don't think the success in
Birmingham was just his velocity. I think he commanded the strike zone
better. He's another guy in between starting and relieving. The Sox
believe he could come quickly as a reliever, as he handles left-handed
hitters, but want him to improve his off-speed stuff to have a shot to
get to Chicago as a starter. He was a top-10 consideration but I'm not
as sold on him as some of the younger prospects.
Ben (Leland Grove): Are the Sox likely to have the Tank start learning 1B right away, or is he still sticking at the hot corner for now?
Dayan Viciedo is supposedly preparing to
play either infield corner. He's obviously a consideration if Paul
Konerko leaves but it seems like a reach to expect him to step into
those shoes now. It's hard me seeing him at third base, however, as I
think Brent Morel is going to claim that job in 2011.
Jessica (New York): Phil, Jared Mitchell's
injury last spring is one that usually affects a players' speed long
term. Do you think he will ever return to his 80 rated speed?
Jessica, thanks for joining us. I wouldn't
say never on Mitchell's speed but he's probably going to get it back a
little bit at a time, if he does. I heard he was having trouble trusting
his left foot when making cuts around the bases and wasn't getting out
of the box as quickly. That was a big injury and speed is obviously a
big part of his game.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Having
hit really good for Winston-Salem in 2010, do you think Jon Gilmore
starts at AAA or AA? What's the max level you think he can climb to in
Karl, I think Gilmore's fielding will keep
him at Double-A until he makes strides there. He doesn't hit for power,
either, so moving him to first base could be a reach. I'm guessing here
but I could see him getting a look in left field if he doesn't become
more consistent with his throws in the very near future.
AC (Atlanta): Is there any hope for CJ Retherford?
Hey there AC. Sure there's hope. He had a
hugely disappointing 2010 but had come quickly before then. His
advantage going forward is that he's comfortable adjusting and moving
around the field. He's got a great attitude. Don't be surprised if he
re-emerges in 2011 as a candidate to help the White Sox bench.
Anthony (Orlando): What is the situation with
Christian Marrero? He had a great year offensively last year, but
struggled a little this year in AA. What do the white sox see in the
future for him? Is he still on the radar?
Hey Anthony. I'm not sure I'd call 2010 a
great year for Marrero but it was a good one. He showed more patience at
the plate, drawing 70-plus walks, and that was definitely noticed. He
is clearly a good hitter, as his average shows, but he doesn't have
enough power or speed to get noticed. He is on the White Sox radar but
just barely. He's one of a handful of guys I think they could lose in
the Rule 5 draft, however. I don't think they'd be upset losing him and
several others, either, as they locked in the 40-man roster with only 34
guys, almost like they're hoping to get guys taken.
cliff jordan (chicago,il): Any rumors about the Sox signing a Cuban ballplayer this offseason? Do they still have good relations there?
I haven't heard the White Sox in any Cuban
rumors. They might have spent their take-a-flier-on-a-Cuban money on
Manny Ramirez in September.
Bob (Santa Monica, CA): You ranked Jared
Mitchell fourth despite his abysmal AFL season. You said his speed
hasn't returned, but does the team believe his ankle problems also
affected his swing in the AFL? Are they optimistic he'll make a full
recovery and pick up where he left off last Spring, or are there serious
doubts whether he'll ever be the same?
The reality with Mitchell is that the
White Sox rate him highly but there's little agreement when you ask
scouts from other teams. The Sox say/expect a full recovery but I'm not
sure that the first-round pick/top prospect label is going to serve him
well. It might be better to back off expectations. I would have liked to
see what would have happened in 2010 if he had not gotten hurt,
however, as he was one of the most exciting players I saw early in
Arizona. I definitely saw the guy the White Sox project him to be.
Here's hoping he can get there again.
Dan (D.C): Any news on Juan Silverio?
Hey Dan. Juan Silverio looks a lot more
like someone who is just a guy than a stud worthy of the bonus he got in
the David Wilder era. He was better in 2010 than 2009 but he's a big
body, slow-moving guy who might never get out of the low minors. More
hype than substance, I'm afraid.
Blake (Richmond, VA): A little surprised to see
Thompson that low. Even though he hit for a low average last year, he
showed plus power (ISO over .200) and an improving approach (though the
Ks are still too high) before his injury. I would have thought that
this, along with his upside would have been enough to at least push him
past a guy like Short who profiles as nothing more than a 4th OF.
I like Thompson too. He is a basket full
of tools, and the Sox don't have that many guys with his ceiling. But he
is a long, long way away and the 2010 injury set him back at least a
little bit. There's also a big question whether he can remain in center
field. His bat obviously would give him more value if he could — and he
is determined to do so. Don't sell Short short. I'd much rather have a
guy like him as an everyday left fielder than a speed guy with almost no
power — the Podsedniks and Pierres of the world. Short can hit and
he's got a good arm.
TH (Fort Wayne): Jose Martinez-What's his future?
Hey TH. The good news is he's finally
recovered from his knee injury. The bad news is he hasn't developed
power and has lost some speed. He doesn't seem to have the ceiling he
had a few years ago. He's lost a ton of time the last couple seasons.
The Sox hope he gets 500 plate appearances in 2011. Then they'll have an
idea what they've got. I think he's a long shot to play in Chicago.
Bill (Chicago): What does Tyler Flowers have to do to get back on track for a Mike Napoli type career?
Hey Bill. Obviously he has to clean out
his fogged-in head and remember how he hit before 2010. He was a mess at
the plate, which was a real surprise. I felt he was a good enough of a
hitter that he should have gotten big-league consideration — even as
one of three catchers, getting DH at-bats — but he failed to back up
that viewpoint. I don't understand why the White Sox have played him so
little, even during his promotion last September. He might be better off
elsewhere at this point.
Bob (Santa Monica, CA): Where would you rank
Josh Phegley in the Sox's system? What do you expect from him in '11?
After Tyler Flowers's underwhelming performance last season, do the
Sox now regard Phegley as their #1 catching prospect?
Another catching question. The Sox really
like Phegley's bat but the No. 1 concern for him now is his overall
health. His unusual situation affecting the ability for his blood to
clot is a huge concern. He could come fast if he can get that condition
under control but I rate Mike Blanke and Miguel Gonzalez as better
catching prospects right now. Gonzalez didn't hit in his first full
season but he's a very interesting guy behind the plate. Blanke, to me,
could profile a little like former big-leaguer Mike Stanley — a guy who
can hit his way to Chicago quickly despite questions about his play
behind the plate. Phegley could join that battle, but has to get healthy
steve (wichita, ks): is chris sale the real deal?
My only gripe with Chris Sale is that he's
on this list, at all. I look at Neftali Feliz winning the Rookie of the
Year award this year and think that Sale could do that next year. I
think there should be a rookie cutoff on number of games (15, maybe) for
ROY status, not just the 50-inning threshold. But that's a tangent.
Sale is absolutely the real deal. He probably won't throw 99 if he's a
starter next season but he'll throw more changeups, and that's a
devastating weapon he didn't really need out of the bullpen. The only
question with him is durability. Scouts with other teams were scared off
by the unusual frame and mechanics but in 2010 he was looking more like
a freak of nature than an arm surgery waiting to happen.
Ron (Wisc): Sale - why would they convert him
for the year to a reliever then flip him back? I see he has potential to
be a great starter, but why toy with him? Also, can you speak to who he
compares to currently? Thanks!
Happy to do another Sale question. The
plan all along with Sale was bullpen in late 2010, rotation 2011. The
idea was to limit 2010 innings given his work at Florida Gulf Coast but
the White Sox might have gotten carried away when he got so much work
down the stretch, even working as the closer in one stretch. I'd guess
the overall workload was more than the Sox or Sale wanted/expected, and
it will be interesting to see if he bounces back at the start of 2011.
He had to be worn out in October. Long term, the plus-plus changeup
makes him a starting pitcher. He could close but he his max value is as a
No. 1 or 2 starter.
Bob (Santa Monica, CA): Just looking at the
numbers, the Sox seem to have moved Jordan Danks up to AAA too quickly
last season. He hadn't even had a decent season in AA yet. Do the Sox
still regard him as a serious prospect? What do you expect out of him
Good call. Jordan Danks did advance too
quickly. He's such a skilled fielder and a tough guy that the White Sox
aren't even close to giving up on him. They also would appear to have no
immediate outfield need in 2011, so he goes back to Charlotte for
another 500 plate appearances that will go a long way toward showing
whether he moves into Juan Pierre's job in 2012. It wouldn't take a lot
of hitting to upgrade that spot. I think it's important for Danks to
start pulling balls with authority. He's become an opposite-field
singles hitter, it seems.
Dave (Atlanta): Any info on Birmingham pitcher
Deunte Heath? His 84 K in 57.2 IP are impressive. Will he be back in the
White Sox system next season?
Great question. Barring a Rule 5 claim,
Heath will return to the White Sox. His age kept him from being a
serious top-30 candidate but he has a swing-and-miss breaking pitch.
Control is an issue. A guy like him who I like more is left-hander
Spencer Arroyo, who the White Sox signed after he was released by the
Phillies. He throws only high-80s but had command of three pitches last
season. It's going to be interesting to see what the two of them do in
Catherine (Milwaukee): I'm curious what you see
from Morel longterm. Does he compare to someone current, and does he
stick for the Sox for quite awhile?
Hi Catherine. Everybody I talk to loves
Brent Morel, both within the White Sox and with other organizations.
Everyone thinks he'll hit for average and be a plus in the field, the
only question being whether he is enough of a run-producer. He seems
unlikely to hit more than 12-17 home runs, and might be better suited
for a middle infield position. He played REALLY well at shortstop last
year for Charlotte, which was a surprise given it was new for him. Not
sure about a current comparison. The one I've heard that works the best
is Joe Randa, the old KC third baseman.
larry (Chicago): Has Tyler Flowers really
fallen so out of favor that he can't make the top ten list of probably
the weakest minor league system in baseball?
Brya (San Francisco): I read that Ozzie
compared Morel to Crede and said he thought he'd win a gold glove one
day. Is his bat around a .300 major league hitter, and if so, does he
become a potential All-Star when that is matched with a gold glove? Or
is that just wishful thinking? Thanks!
Let's don't talk All-Star with Morel. The
lack of power is going to be an issue, even if he can approach or hit
.300 and play excellent defense ... Speaking of Crede, he'll be a good
gamble for him as a free agent this season. His back is finally supposed
to be right after a third surgery. He'd sign for a low base with
incentives. Don't see anything for him with the White Sox but I hope he
finds a good situation. Good, good guy.
Dave (Arlington Heights, IL): What are your thoughts on Tyler Saladino? Defense is a strength, bu.t needs to shorten his swing
It might be tough to talk Saladino into
making any major changes now — given that he's been MVP of his college
leagues two years in a row, and hit after the White Sox picked him up.
I'm not saying you're wrong, just that I wouldn't mess with him until he
slowed down. Whatever he's been doing has been working. He even hits
for power. He's a top 30 guy for me, by reputation. I'm looking forward
to seeing him play.
Candice (Washington State): Has John Shelby completely fallen off the prospect radar?
Hi Candice. For the most part, yes. But
when you've got a uniform you've got a chance, and the Sox organization
does not have any major-league ready outfield types. A fast start to
2011 could put him in position to provide depth.
Joe (Tigard, OR): Suprised to see Sale compared to the big unit. Does he really have that kind of upside?
Comparing anyone to a Hall of Famer is
crazy, for sure. But it's hard to ignore the body types and the
velocity. Sale's command and stuff is much, much better now than
Johnson's was coming out of USC. Did you see him blow Joe Mauer away
last year? Very, very impressive. He's not gonna grow another four or
five inches, so he won't be that big of a unit, but I wouldn't put a
limit on how good he could be as a pitcher.
Dave (Arlington Heights, IL): What are your thoughts on Andre Rienzo?
Hey Dave. I like Rienzo a lot for a guy
who just jumped onto the scene. The White Sox have collected a number of
starter prospects in the low levels over the last couple of years,
replenishing the supply they've traded away. I think I have eight
right-handed starters in the top 30, including Rienzo. I love Thomas
Royse from the 2010 draft. He and Addison Reed look like very good draft
picks. Rienzo has a mid-90s fastball and a ton of polish. He attacks
the strike zone. Like him a lot. He could be a top-10 guy a year from
now, for sure.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Let's
look into the future. You are the manager of a team that starts playing
in 2013. You can now pick Nick Cioli or Trayce Thompson for your
outfield. Whom do you choose?
I'd be thrilled to put Thompson out there,
because it would mean he had two really good years of development in
'11 and '12. He profiles as a guy who could be a big-league regular for a
long time. I don't think Ciolli has as high of a ceiling. Not even
close, really. Ciolli could hit his way into consideration but I don't
think he has the tools to profile as a long-term regular. Thompson does.
Plus he can play center field. Ciolli is a corner guy.
Dave (Arlington Heights, IL): What have you
been hearing about Nevin Griffith? Has he fallen out favor due to not
being able to stay healthy the last couple years?
The White Sox are dubious about Nevin
Griffith. He got off to a good start in 2010, a development they'd
awaited since drafting him in '07, but he didn't pitch after July
because of back problems. He is one of the guys I think they'd be OK
with losing in the Rule 5 draft. Not sure he has the makeup and approach
that they are looking for. Clearly the Sox are frustrated, and I'm sure
Griffith is frustrated too.
Twins Fan (Twin Country): What type of a player
do we have to look forward to dealing with from Viciedo over the next
few years. Does a .280 30hr player sound fair? Also, do you forsee him
developing soon or will it take awhile longer? His K rate sure is a
concern (For the white sox that is).
I am so conflicted on Viciedo. My head
tells me he's not going to be more than a frustrating tease, as he made
no strides in plate discipline last year. It's not so much the
strikeouts that are alarming; it's an almost complete absence of walks.
But my eyes and ears tell me he could be a stud. He centers and drives
balls like some of the best hitters I have covered — Julio Franco and
Magglio Ordonez, specifically. I'd say he could be a guy who goes to
multiple All-Star Games or a guy who hits .230 and is out of the big
leagues in five years. The .280/30 line you set is very well within his
ability but I have no idea if he can reach it. Flip a coin, maybe. It's a
larry (Chicago): Is there an attitude issue
with Flowers? Something else? I just find it hard to believe a guy who
BA rated as the 60th best prospect going into 2010 falls so far based
just on his 2010 performance that he can't make a White Sox top ten
No, I don't think the White Sox have any
issues with Flowers. I think people in the organization like him. The
one thing is I think they were afraid A.J. Pierzynski couldn't handle
having a possible replacement as his backup, so they haven't really
given Flowers a chance to advance the last two years. I think that might
have become a mental hurdle for Flowers.
Dave (Arlington Heights, IL): What improvements
did Santos Rodriguez make on his control? He might have the best arm on
the farm outside of Sale. It would be wise to give Don Cooper a chance
to work his magic on Rodriguez mechanics over the winter/Spring ball.
Rodriguez was devastating when he pitched.
Left-handed hitters had little chance. I agree that he has one of the
best arms in the organization but his max-effort delivery gets out of
whack easily. I was surprised he wasn't added to the 40-man roster,
which would have put him under Coop's care. He was shut down with a
series of nagging physical issues last year, none considered a major
concern. The Sox expect him fit for spring training and want to see what
they have if he ever works a full season.
Ted (Minneapolis): I assume Kyle Gibson will be
the Twins #1 prospect, so that being said who would you rather haev as
your #1 prospect Sale or Gibson? Why? Thanks for having fun with this
Ted, what about Ben Revere? I think he can
be a really good big-leaguer for some time. I don't know Gibson that
well. If he's better than Sale, heaven help the White Sox. Sale could be
a left-handed version of the young Tim Lincecum. That's how good I
think he is.
Rod (Seattle): Not a question but maybe just a
request for a response. I was looking at past top 10's, particularly
the future line-ups. One team teams future line-up for 2011 does not
have a single position player still on their roster! Shows its lack of
validity, what with free agents, trades, etc.
Better question for Jim Callis or one of
the BA staffers. I agree that those future lineup sections are wildly
inconsistent. I think that's your point, anyway.
Jon (Peoria): Hi Phil: Brent Morel is listed as a 3b/ss. Is there really the thinking that he could play ss long-term?
Hey Jon. He's a third baseman for the
White Sox, with Alexei Ramirez at short. But he really opened eyes as a
shortstop when he moved over to let Dayan Viciedo play third last summer
in Charlotte. He showed surprising range and had enough arm for the
position. Not a lot of people saw it coming but the scouts I talked to
who watched him said they were amazed, and that he might have more value
at short long-term because his hitting projects better there.
larry (Chicago): Who is your favorite White Sox prospect no one has asked you about yet (and why)?
I'll give you a wild one. One even the BA
guys weren't aware of. Outfielder Qualon Millender. Unsigned after
playing college ball in Alabama. Absolutely crazy, blinding speed.
Scored from second on a wild pitch last year. That kind of speed. Great
athlete. Kid that would run through a wall to make a catch. But didn't
hit at all in Bristol last year. I see him as the White Sox's version of
Pittsburgh infielder Gift Ngoepe (from South Africa's WBC team). He'd
be a helluva story if he even got close to the big leagues.
JAYPERS (IL): Sale = A left-handed Lincecum. Um, what? In what way does he remind you of Lincecum?
Skinny. Likes to skateboard ... No, just that he gets freakish power out of a slight build.
Sox2005 (St. Charles, IL): Phil,
Isn't it possible that Brent Morel's power may come a bit later as it did with Joe Crede?
It absolutely could come later. That's
been the projection all along. But Crede has a bigger frame than Morel.
I'm not a scout but I could see the power in Crede. It's tougher to
imagine it from Morel, although he hit 16 homers in high-A, so it's not a
big leap from there to 25-30 in the big leagues.
Ron (Appleton): I know he's no longer a
prospect, but any chance you want to comment on what happens to Beckham
longterm? Does he pan out and how so?
If Beckham hits .252 again next year,
let's have this conversation then. I still think he's pretty close to a
sure thing for a long, productive big-league career. I'd set .275 as his
over-under for batting average in 2011, and take the over. He learned a
whole lot about himself and hitting last season. He also got a second
look at big-league pitchers. I really think he's going to make them pay
very soon. He's too good of a player, an athlete, to go backward. He's
also a leader. Harder-nosed guy than you'd think looking at that pumped
Dave (Arlington Heights, IL): Why has there
been such a lack of spending on the farm system the past 5-7 years? It
would make sense to me to put an extra $5 million to put in the draft
and international signings. It saves millions down the road when your
producing more players within your own farm system. Other than Vicedo,
Danks, and Borchard we haven't gone over the minimal MLB slot
recommendations. Any thoughts on this?
You're looking at this the right way. I
simply don't think Ken Williams values his farm system as highly as most
other GMs. He has little patience with developing players and can't
resist grabbing headlines with trades. I could not believe, for
instance, that Ken traded Daniel Hudson for Edwin Jackson. The surprise
is I know Jerry Reinsdorf really gets scouting and player development.
The Sox have not been aggressive in going over slot and their
international efforts have been wildly unsuccessful. Meanwhile they've
been spending heavily on big-league payroll and not getting much lasting
bang for that buck. It's worth asking whether Williams has been a poor
steward of Reinsdorf's resources (but there's no indication that
Reinsdorf is unhappy with him).
larry (Chicago): Looking back at your past
lists, who were your biggest misses (both for underrating and
overrating) and why do you think you missed?
I get a lot of e-mail about negativity but
I know I'm always rooting for Chicago teams and players (just in an
objective way that isn't the same as how a fan roots for them). I think
most of my misses would be in over-rating White Sox minor leaguers. I'd
rather give you the ones I was happy about but you asked for misses. Joe
Borchard would be the biggest. I thought he was gonna be an absolute
stud. Aaron Poreda sure doesn't look like a guy who should have ever
been a No. 1 prospect. I had no idea Carlos Quentin would hit like he
did when the White Sox got him (although he wasn't prospect eligible at
that point). Sometimes it just takes guys longer. Jon Rauch didn't live
up to billing with the White Sox but he's had a nice career. Ryan
Sweeney hasn't been a stud but he's had a nice career in Oakland. Any
other notable goofs on my part? Bring 'em on.
Dave (Arlington Heights, IL): Did Ryan Buch get any consideration in the Top 10?
He did not but I think he could pop onto
the radar in a big way next year. You could show argue he ought to be in
the top 30 this year. I went really heavily with 2010 draft guys,
however, and younger pitchers than him.
Rod (Seattle): Wow! No Jordan Danks anywhere?
Last year he was on the 2012 team. Did he digress or simply get passed
up by the younger players?
Digressed. The upside is he played through
a lot of injuries early in the year, showing toughness. He might just
need health but his approach at the plate has looked defensive in the
Ken Rule (Lakewood CA): Has Tyler Flower's
stock dropped as a player as well as a catcher? I was thinking he was
the catcher of the future for the White Sox if he could cut it
defensively. But he didn't have a good year at the plate in 2010.
Funny thing is he's probably regarded more
highly now as a catcher than he was a year or two ago. In fact, he
probably ranks behind only Miguel Gonzalez on the list of the
organization's top defensive catchers. His slide is all hitting related.
Sox2005 (St. Charles, IL): Hi Phil,
What can you tell us about Ross Wilson who was a highly regarded
infielder at Alabama before suffering injuries? His pro debut at Great
Falls was pretty good.
Wilson got a little consideration for top
30. He's on the radar but behind guys like Tyler Saladino and Drew Lee,
who are better hitters.
Tom (Bridgeview Illinois): Why don't that White
Sox sign more Independent League Players. They have good luck the last
couple of years in pitchers but don't sign many position players. How
about the Latin players. I taught we updated are Latin scouting
Indy League is court of last resort for
finding players. I wouldn't sweat that. The Sox also get their share of
Venezuelan players. The problem has been the Dominican Republic. They
bring up the rear there. But the reality is this could be something of a
mixed blessing. Overall teams have been throwing crazy money at
teen-aged Dominicans with the results not backing up the expenditure.
But you can't go 0-for-the DR if you're serious about stocking your farm
system, and the White Sox largely are doing that.
Jake (Iowa): Had he not been dealt to AZ, would Holmberg have made your Top 10? What impressed you most about him?
I'm not sure Holmberg would have made the
list but he wouldn't have been far behind. He's a polished HS draft who
throws strikes with three pitches and gets results. Not a huge tools guy
but a guy who knows what he's doing.
RJ (Appleton): Does a comparison of Viciedo to
Miguel Cabrera seem more logical in body size or do you see some
similarities as far as power and skill goes? I tend to think that
Cabrera is head and shoulder better, but I hear this tossed around quite
I'm gonna look this up ... Dayan Viciedo,
ages 20/21 in the MINORS: 216 games, 745 at-bats, 32 homers, 34 walks,
167 strikeouts; MCabrera, ages 20/21 in the MAJORS: 247 games, 917
at-bats, 45 homers, 93 walks, 232 strikeouts ... They're both big guys,
and that's about it. Cabrera is probably a much better athlete; he
played shortstop for Kane County, for goodness sakes. He got a lot of
at-bats in the minors and learned his trade, developing plate
discipline. Viciedo is considered a good worker but has been immune to
taking pitches and working counts. Comparing Viciedo to Cabrera is like
comparing me to Hemingway.
Dave (Arlington Heights, IL): Over the last 2
drafts we have drafted Matthew Grimes, Josef Terry, Brian Goodwin, Duane
Williams, and Justin Jones, but haven't thrown the money to sign them.
Why waste draft picks when we really have no intention in signing by
going over MLB slot recommendations? We gave away our
4th-Grimes/8th-Terry round pick this year. Goodwin by the way looks to
be a Top 10 pick next year.
I did think the Sox would step up and get
Grimes signed at the deadline, and it didn't happen. But they just don't
budge. Sometimes players are bluffing, and teams take chances to see if
they are bluffing. The big surprise in 2010 was that they got Chris
Sale signed so quickly and at a level below what a lot of clubs thought
that would take. The Sox would benefit from MLB adopting a hard slotting
system in the next CBA. I predict that will be a nasty, hard fight with
the union — a lot tougher than most people seem to think.
larry (Chicago): You mentioned Mitchell before but is there another player who really divides scouts on his potential?
An aside, before Larry's question: I
really like doing these chats, and have time today to keep going. The
questions are slowing down, however. I'll keep doing it for a while
longer if there are good questions ... There are always differences of
opinion. As a rule, at this point in time, I think conventional wisdom
is that White Sox prospects get hyped beyond their worth because there
are so few strong prospects. I'll give you this guy who elicits a
difference of opinion: Daniel Hudson. I love him, and have since the
second half of '09; a lot of people look at him as average, and act like
he just got lucky when he pitched well for Arizona. I see a guy with
the same stuff as Jered Weaver and a seriousness about him that I'd want
in someone I was working alongside. I don't see how the Sox traded
Hudson at an entry-level salary for Edwin Jackson, a little more than a
year from free agency.
TH (Fort Wayne): How does Nate Jones project?
Hey TH. Nathan Jones finished 2010 on
fire, finally putting everything together — his mid-90s fastball,
knee-buckling curve and command of the strike zone. He's an easy guy to
overlook because he's been around for a while. It speaks to his
potential that he was added to the 40-man when Santos Rodriguez wasn't. I
can't wait to see how Jones pitches in Double-A.
Doug (PA): What do you think of RHP Kevin Moran who was drafted out of BC and pitched for Bristol and Kannapolis this season?
I haven't seen him and didn't get much
from White Sox people on him, to be honest. Addison Reed and Thomas
Royce were the guys behind Sale who got everybody excited.
Trevor (Chicago, IL): If Kevin Moran can harness his control, do you see him moving quickly through the system? Does he have late inning potential?
He did relieve at BC and in rookie ball,
so sure. Gonna be something of a project, and maybe not a guy who would
come quick. Here's the scouting report BA did on him coming into the
Moran, a righthander, started the spring in BC's rotation, but when he
got off to a rough start he was sent to the bullpen, where he showed
signs of turning the corner. Moran has huge arm strength; he flashed
93-95 mph heat and a plus slider on scout day last fall and in the Cape
League last summer, and he has topped out around 93 this spring. But
he's still a thrower more than a pitcher, and he lacks command and
control, as evidenced by his line: 7-5, 8.55 with 28 strikeouts and 38
walks in 46 innings. Moran is almost too intense for his own good and
must improve his mound presence. In the Cape, scouts reported seeing him
yell at hitters in the batter's box. Moran dabbles with a curveball and
has some feel for a changeup, but both pitches are inconsistent. He has
an athletic 6-foot-4, 209-pound frame and some upside, but he's a work
Dave (Arlington Heights, IL): Any thought on Randall Thorpe?
He's very fast, and just beginning to
play. I had a BA editor suggest him over my guy Qualon Millender for
fastest player in the system. A really good college outfielder could
move fast in the White Sox system.
Dave (Arlington Heights, IL): Not hearing as
much on Kyle Bellamy these days? White Sox have been taking a lot of
high draft picks on relievers the last couple years.
Bellamy was in line for promotion to
Chicago in 2010 before falling apart in Double-A. He has not yet
developed a changeup or another off-speed pitch to keep left-handed
hitters off his low-90s fastball, which works against right-handed
hitters from his low arm slot. It will be interesting to see how he
handles adversity, which he had little of in college at Miami.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): 2010
draftee Jake Petricka was used as a starter and reliever last season by
the White Sox - where do you think he ends up? Is he in the top 30?
Correction to my previous post about Moran
... Petricka, Reed and Royse are the guys behind Sale who excite
people. Petricka is No. 7 on the list, with potential to be a No. 2
starter, if not better. His secondary pitches need work but he has a
special fastball, both in terms of velocity and movement. I see him as
rawer but with a higher ceiling than Reed and Royse. Very interesting
Martin (Chicago): Phil - Thanks for the chat!
Did RHP Terry Doyle turn himself into a prospect in the White Sox eyes?
He had a terrific season, and based on size (6'4, 225) looks like he
could profile as a big league starter.
Doyle is a guy who is going to have to
keep getting results, I think. He's somewhat lost in the flood of arms
that have come into the system in the last couple of years, and 2010
will go a long ways toward separating those out. He probably would have
been a top 30 this year if not for his age ... and you can easily argue
for him over some guys on the list. He moves to Birmingham next year.
That's where he either will or will not put himself on the radar.
AC (Atlanta): Do you think there is any shot the ChiSox give Taylor Thompson another chance at starter?
There's a very good chance they will give
him a chance to start. He had a very solid year in relief last season,
however, and could come quicker in that role.
Dave (Arlington Heights, IL): I think it might
be time to say goodbye to Paulie and A.J and get younger. If that is the
case we might be able to get 5 compensation draft picks . This also
includes Putz if he signs somewhere else? What are your thoughts?
I'm a huge Konerko guy. I think the White
Sox will really miss him when he's gone. My guess is Sox offer
arbitration to Konerko and Putz and not AJP and Manny (duh). It's funny
that they're potentially going to lose their first baseman and catcher
and don't have a sure thing to replace either. That's a dangerous way to
Jeff (Minnesota): Where would you rank the Al centrals farm system's? Who will get the most out of their's in the next 5 years?
Better question for Jim Callis, but I
think the Royals have rebuilt their's nicely with Moustakas, Hosmer,
Montgomery, etc., and Minnesota's the only team in the ALC that could
compare. I'll call it Royals, Twins, Tigers, Indians, White Sox.
Joe R (Newport News, VA): Any hope left for Tyler Flowers?
There's always hope ... but I'm about out of questions. One or two more?
Dave (Arlington Heights, IL): Have you heard
any rumors what Kenny's plan this offseason? If you had to guess what
big move Kenny will make, what would it be?
OK, and adios ... To answer the question,
there have been very little clear direction provided by anyone with the
White Sox. I think that speaks to the lack of options they have at this
point in time. I'll take a wild guess: John Danks for Prince Fielder
(with Chris Sale expected to step up and become Danks) ... and with that
WAG (wild ass guess), I'll call it an afternoon, although looking out
my window is seems more like a night. Enjoyed it, everyone, and be well.