2018 Chicago White Sox Top 10 Prospects
|White Sox Top 10 Prospects|
|1. Eloy Jimenez, OF|
|2. Michael Kopech, RHP|
|3. Alec Hansen, RHP|
|4. Luis Robert, OF|
|5. Dane Dunning, RHP|
|6. Zack Collins, C|
|7. Jake Burger, 3B|
|8. Blake Rutherford, OF|
|9. Gavin Sheets, 1B|
|10. Dylan Cease, RHP|
For each organization, we identify the 10 prospects with the highest ceilings, with consideration given to the likelihood of reaching those ceilings.
To qualify as a prospect, a position player cannot exceed 130 big league at-bats, while a pitcher cannot exceed 50 innings or 30 relief appearances. These thresholds mirror major league rookie qualifications, albeit without regard for major league service time.
Trending:◀️▶️ After acquiring Eloy Jimenez from the Cubs, the farm system is still just as strong this year.
SYSTEM OVERVIEWStrengths: The top of the system is among the best in the game, with outfielder Eloy Jimenez, righthander Michael Kopech and Cuban import Luis Robert each having extremely high ceilings. The rest of their Top 10 is very talented as well, and could be further improved with strong first full seasons for their top picks from the 2017 draft, third baseman Jake Burger and first baseman Gavin Sheets.
Weaknesses: Once you get past the top 15 prospects, the list drops off quickly into players with more marginal futures. Those same players, however, could significantly raise their stock with rebounds from injuries or tough seasons. Outfielders Luis Alexander Basabe and Alex Call, for example, battled injuries for most of the season and could rise on next year’s version of the list with strong 2018 seasons.
BEST TOOLS🔸Best Hitter for Average: Eloy Jimenez. 🔸Best Power Hitter: Eloy Jimenez. 🔸Best Strike-Zone Discipline: Zack Collins. 🔸Fastest Baserunner: Logan Taylor. 🔸Best Athlete: Luis Robert. 🔸Best Fastball: Michael Kopech. 🔸Best Curveball: Alec Hansen. 🔸Best Slider: Zack Burdi. 🔸Best Changeup: A.J. Puckett. 🔸Best Control: Dane Dunning. 🔸Best Defensive Catcher: Nate Nolan. 🔸Best Defensive INF: Yeyson Yrizarri. 🔸Best INF Arm: Zach Remillard. 🔸Best Defensive OF: Luis Alexander Basabe. 🔸Best OF Arm: Micker Adolfo.
PROJECTED 2021 LINEUP
(Listed with 2021 season age)🔸C Zack Collins (26) 🔸1B Gavin Sheets (24) 🔸2B Yoan Moncada (25) 🔸3B Jake Burger (24) 🔸SS Tim Anderson (27) 🔸LF Eloy Jimenez (24) 🔸CF Luis Robert (23) 🔸RF Avisail Garcia (29) 🔸DH Jose Abreu (34) 🔸SP Michael Kopech (24) 🔸SP Carlos Rodon (28) 🔸SP Lucas Giolito (26) 🔸SP Reynaldo Lopez (27) 🔸SP Alec Hansen (26) 🔸CL Zack Burdi (26)
TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE(Listed with 2017 organization)
🔸2008: LHP Gio Gonzalez (Nationals) | WAR: 26.3 🔸2009: SS Gordon Beckham (Mariners) | WAR: 5.7 🔸2010: OF Jared Mitchell (Atlantic League) | WAR: N/A 🔸2011: LHP Chris Sale (Red Sox) | WAR: 37.2 🔸2012: RHP Addison Reed (Red Sox) | WAR: 6.8 🔸2013: OF Courtney Hawkins (White Sox) | WAR: N/A 🔸2014: 1B Jose Abreu (White Sox) | WAR: 16.9 🔸2015: LHP Carlos Rodon (White Sox) | WAR: 4.3 🔸2016: SS Tim Anderson (White Sox) | WAR: 3.7 🔸2017: 2B/3B Yoan Moncada (White Sox) | WAR: 1.5
TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE(Listed with 2017 organization)
🔸2008: SS Gordon Beckham (Mariners) | WAR: 5.7 🔸2009: OF Jared Mitchell (Atlantic League) | WAR: N/A 🔸2010: LHP Chris Sale (Red Sox) | WAR: 37.2 🔸2011: OF Keenyn Walker (1st rd. supplemental, Frontier League) | WAR: N/A 🔸2012: OF Courtney Hawkins (White Sox) | WAR: N/A 🔸2013: SS Tim Anderson (White Sox) | WAR: 3.7 🔸2014: LHP Carlos Rodon (White Sox) | WAR: 4.3 🔸2015: RHP Carson Fulmer (White Sox) | WAR: N/A 🔸2016: C Zack Collins (White Sox) | Top 10 🔸2017: 3B Jake Burger (White Sox) | Top 10
|1. Eloy Jimenez, OF 📹|
|BORN: Nov. 27, 1996|
|B-T: R-R| HT: 6-4 | WT: 205|
|SIGNED: Dominican Republic, 203.|
|SIGNED BY: Jose Serra/Carlos Reyes (Cubs)|
|MINORS (3 teams): .312/.379/.568 | 19 HR | 1 SB | 333 AB|
Scouting Report: Scouts who saw Jimenez last season used words like “man-child,” “mutant” and “Superman.” More specifically, Jimenez is an intimidating, strong-bodied prospect with a whip-quick bat capable of massive home runs. More than his raw power, which approaches the top of the scale, he is a diligent, dedicated worker. One manager recalled seeing Jimenez strike out multiple times during a game, then saw him on the field early the next day for tracking drills. Rival managers lamented not being able to find many holes in his swing, even when they pitched him backwards. And here’s the scary part: Jimenez might not be done developing physically. He played all of 2017 at 20 years old and still has room to sculpt his body and add more strength, possibly becoming a perennial 40-home run threat. Jimenez has spent his career flipping back and forth between right and left field, with left his likely eventual home because of his below-average arm. He’s also a tick below-average runner. Defense and speed were never expected to be selling points of his game, however. Jimenez is a hitter, period, with a mix of power and ability to get to it to change a game.
🔸Projected Future Grades On 20-80 Scouting Scale Hit: 60. Power: 70. Speed: 40. Field: 45. Arm: 45.The Future: Jimenez will likely begin 2018 back at Double-A Birmingham. With a rare mix of plus hitting ability, massive power potential and the work ethic to make it all click, Jimenez projects as foundational, middle-of-the-order hitter for the White Sox.
|2. Michael Kopech, RHP 📹|
|BORN: April 30, 1996.|
|B-T: R-R| HT: 6-3 | WT: 205|
|DRAFTED: HS—Mount Pleasant, Texas, 2014 (1st round)|
|SIGNED BY: Tim Collinsworth (Red Sox)|
|MINORS (2 teams): 9-8 2.88 ERA | 172 SO | 65 BB | 134 AB|
Scouting Report: Kopech’s calling card is his top-of-the-scale fastball, which sits in the upper 90s and regularly touches 100 mph with armside run and downhill plane. It’s an elite pitch, but he overthrows it at times. The White Sox asked Kopech to add a two-seam fastball to induce more grounders and help teach him not to overthrow. He boasts a slider that projects as a future plus pitch, as well as an average low-90s changeup the White Sox encouraged him to throw more. Kopech still needs to iron out his delivery in order to improve his below-average command and control.
The Future: Kopech likely will begin 2018 at Triple-A Charlotte, where he finished 2017, with a good shot to make his big league debut during the year. If he can tame his arsenal, he can be a top-of-the-rotation starter.
|3. Alec Hansen, RHP 📹|
|BORN: Oct. 10, 1994|
|B-T: R-R| HT: 6-7 | WT: 235.|
|DRAFTED: Oklahoma, 2016 (2nd round)|
|SIGNED BY: Clay Overcash.|
|MINORS (3 teams): 11-8 2.80 ERA | 191 SO | 51 BB | 141 IP|
Scouting Report: Hansen starts his arsenal with a mid-90s fastball that peaks at 98 mph. He gets downward plane on the pitch, and the White Sox made mechanical tweaks—namely keeping his shoulders even throughout his delivery—to help keep his fastball life consistent. Hansen couples his fastball with a hard curveball that flashes plus potential. He improved his changeup from a show-me pitch at Oklahoma to one with heavy sink and average potential. He’s also working to develop a slider. Hansen’s imposing size gives him an intimidation factor on the mound but also contributes to inconsistent command and control.
The Future: Hansen will return to Double-A Birmingham in 2018 and has a No. 3 starter ceiling.
|4. Luis Robert, OF 📹|
|BORN: Aug. 3, 1997|
|B-T: R-R | HT: 6-3 | WT: 185|
|SIGNED: Cuba, 2017.|
|SIGNED BY: Kenny Williams/Marco Paddy.|
|MINORS: .310/.491/.536 | 3 HR | 12 SB | 84 AB|
Scouting Report: While Eloy Jimenez is farther along, Robert’s tools are just as impressive. He boasts a strong, lean frame and his swing is compact and simple, producing well above-average bat speed. He’s got plus raw power and slugged three homers in limited time in the DSL. Robert tends to swing and miss on elevated fastballs, but it’s not a huge ding on his record. He graded as an above-average to plus runner as an amateur, but reports indicate his speed has increased as he matures. The White Sox believe Robert will be able to maintain enough speed and range to stay in center field, though his bat will profile in a corner if necessary.
The Future: After spending 2017 in the DSL mainly for tax purposes, Robert likely will join a crowded outfield at high Class A Winston-Salem in 2018.
|5. Dane Dunning, RHP 📹|
|BORN: Dec. 20, 1994|
|B-T: R-R. | HT: 6-4 | WT: 200|
|DRAFTED: Florida, 2016 (1st round).|
|SIGNED BY: Buddy Hernandez (Nationals).|
|MINORS (2 teams): 8-8, 2.94 ERA | 168 SO | 15 BB | 144 IP|
Scouting Report: Dunning operates primarily with a sinker and a slider, but he has a changeup as well. He sits in the low to mid-90s, peaking at 96 mph. When his delivery is clicking, Dunning features heavy sink and will coax hitters into beating the ball into the ground. He struggled at times to get out over his front side, which had a flattening effect on his stuff and resulted in an elevated—and out-of-character—home run rate of 1.1 per nine innings at high Class A Winston-Salem. Dunning’s slider and changeup, both thrown in the low to mid-80s, have at least above-average potential. To maintain consistency and crispness on his pitches, he needs to stay tall through his delivery.
The Future: Dunning will likely join Alec Hansen atop a talented rotation at Double-A Birmingham in 2018. With three quality pitches and a clean, repeatable delivery, Dunning has mid-rotation potential.
|6. Zack Collins, C 📹|
|BORN: Feb. 6, 1995.|
|B-T: L-R | HT: 6-3 | WT: 220.|
|DRAFTED: Miami, 2016 (1st round).|
|SIGNED BY: Jose Ortega|
|MINORS (2 teams): .224/.370/.445 | 19 HR | 0 SB | 375 AB|
Scouting Report: Collins is a divisive prospect, but everybody sees his nearly unmatched batting eye and pole-to-pole power. However, not all scouts are convinced he’ll hit for average, especially after he hit .224 in 2017. Collins wraps his bat at the beginning of his swing, which diminishes his ability to get to hard fastballs. He retooled his swing in instructional league, making it quieter to get in a better position to hit. Collins worked diligently on his defense throughout the 2017 season and needs to continue. He struggles to receive velocity and presents pitches poorly, turning strikes into balls. He has improved his blocking technique but has work to improve his agility. Collins’ arm ranges from average to plus on throws to second base, and improved footwork would make his arm play up.
The Future: Collins will return to Double-A Birmingham to start 2018 and continue working to improve his contact skills and defense. He could be an offensive-minded everyday catcher.
|7. Jake Burger, 3B 📹|
|BORN: April 10, 1996.|
|B-T: R-R| HT: 6-2 | WT: 210|
|DRAFTED: Missouri State, 2017 (1st round)|
|SIGNED BY: Clay Overcash|
|MINORS (2 teams): .263/.336/.412 | 5 HR | 0 SB | 194 AB|
Scouting Report: Burger’s power is prodigious, and his leadership-oriented makeup is legendary, but scouts have concerns about his body. At 6-foot-2 and a thick, bottom-heavy 210 pounds, he stayed in Arizona over the winter to work on his conditioning. Scouts see a solid-average hitter with above-average power potential, and the plate discipline to get to it in games as a pro. Burger’s body opens the door for questions about his defense, but he has worked hard to improve his footwork and range to stay at third base. He has more than enough arm to stay at the position and the power to profile there. He’s a well below-average runner.
The Future: Burger will head to high Class A Winston-Salem in 2018, where he’ll get to show off his power in the hitter-friendly confines of BB&T Ballpark.
|8. Blake Rutherford, OF 📹|
|BORN: May 2, 1997.|
|B-T: L-L | HT: 6-3 | WT: 195|
|DRAFTED: HS—Canoga Park, Calif., 2016 (1st round).|
|SIGNED BY: Bobby DeJardin (Yankees).|
|MINORS (2 teams): .260/.326/.348 | 2 HR | 10 SB | 396 AB|
Scouting Report: Rutherford’s sweet lefthanded swing and disciplined approach makes scouts believe he’ll be an above-average hitter, but questions about his power potential linger, especially after he hit just two homers in his full-season debut. Rutherford likely will move off center field, so the emergence of power will be key to his profile as a big leaguer. Evaluators with both the Yankees and White Sox saw average power potential—so long as he works to add muscle. Because of his below-average speed and arm, Rutherford appears destined for left field.
The Future: Rutherford likely will be part of a crowded outfield picture at high Class A Winston-Salem in 2018. He will rotate between center and left field, and whether his power begins to play in games will be key.
|9. Gavin Sheets, 1B 📹|
|BORN: April 23, 1996|
|B-T: L-L | HT: 6-4 | WT: 230|
|DRAFTED: Wake Forest, 2017 (2nd round)|
|SIGNED BY: Abe Fernandez.|
|MINORS (2 teams): .279/.365/.397 | 4 HR | 0 SB | 204 IP|
Scouting Report: After a long college season, Sheets was a bit fatigued when he made his pro debut, which he spent mostly at low Class A Kannapolis. Still, he showed impressive hitting ability. Sheets has a leveraged swing with plus raw power, but evaluators note he will have to be more selective with pitches in the zone to find ways to do damage. He rarely chases out of the zone and posts promising strikeout-to-walk marks for a power hitter. Defensively, Sheets moves well for a big man and is a solid defender at first base with average range and an average throwing arm.
The Future: Some scouts see Sheets as a hitter in the mold of Lucas Duda at the highest level. He will move to high Class A Winston-Salem in 2018 and try to continue slugging in one of the better hitter’s parks in the country.
|10. Dylan Cease, RHP 📹|
|BORN: Dec. 28, 1995|
|B-T: R-R| HT: 6-2 | WT: 190|
|DRAFTED: HS—Milton, Ga., 2014 (6th round)|
|SIGNED BY: Keith Lockhart (Cubs).|
|MINORS (2 teams): 1-10, 3.28 ERA | 126 SO | 44 BB | 93.1 IP|
Scouting Report: Cease’s best pitch is a hard mid-90s fastball that reaches 98 mph and has tickled triple digits in the past. Its elite velocity plays up with sink as well. Cease couples his fastball with a hard 12-to-6 curveball that he uses to get swinging strikes and projects as a plus pitch. His changeup has made progress, but it’s still a distant third pitch. Cease’s below-average command and control have improved, but he still walked 4.2 batters per nine innings at low Class A in 2017.
The Future: Because of his two dominant pitches, Cease might have more success as a high-leverage reliever. It’s too early for that move now and the White Sox will continue developing him as a starter. He will head to high Class A Winston-Salem in 2018, where his main goals will be to sharpen his fastball command and improve his secondary pitches.
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