Chicago White Sox 2019 Top 10 Prospects Chat
Josh Norris: Happy Wednesday. Let's chat.
Frank (Indianapolis, IN):
- How many of these guys are likely to make the BA top 100?
Josh Norris: I could easily see the top five in this system—Jimenez, Kopech, Cease, Madrigal and Robert—making the Top 100 in a few months.
Justin (Cleveland, OH):
- Was Luis Basabe close to making the top 10? What's his ceiling/floor?
Josh Norris: He was close, and will probably be among the next two players on the list. His ceiling is an everyday regular in center field and his floor is as an extra outfielder.
Eric (The Southside):
- What the heck happened to Alec Hansen this season? Us disappointed Sox fans need to know.
Josh Norris: First, he was injured. That delayed his season and, obviously, his development. Second, he's always been a volatile, boom-or-bust type of arm. He's got big stuff, but there were always issues about whether he'd be able to show enough command to make that big stuff translate into big results. I was very bullish on him last year and reflected it as much in the rankings, though there was always the chance this type of season would happen.
- How does Micker Adolfo's power stack up to Jimenez or Luis Robert?
Josh Norris: It's among the best in the system, and in a home run derby among those three players I think it'd legitimately be a toss-up.
- It seems like this system is very top heavy and that after the top 5 players there's a bit of a drop off. If BA were ranking systems based only on Top 5 prospects, would the ChiSox be in the top handful??? Thanks!
Josh Norris: In my estimation, that's correct. It's an extremely top-heavy system with an intriguing middle and a bit of a drop-off toward the end. It will likely take a pretty good drop-off once Eloy graduates at some point next year. If we were only doing this based on Top 5 prospects, yes, the White Sox would be among the top handful. Eloy alone would put them pretty high. They wouldn't pass the Jays, Padres or Rays off the top of my head.
Chisox2005 (St. Charles, IL):
- Is Tyler Johnson a potential closer with the White Sox by 2020?
Josh Norris: I don't think so. Ian Hamilton is probably in line in front of him. And if Dylan Cease doesn't make it as a starter (I think he will), he could easily wind up as a closer.
Ken Sawilchik (Chicago):
- Why did you include Steele Walker in your top 10 over Luis Basabe?
Josh Norris: I think his track record with the bat (obviously his pro debut was not great from a numbers standpoint) gives him a better chance to stick as an everyday regular than Basabe, but I like Basabe too, don't get me wrong.
- What type of ceiling is realistic for Madrigal? Does he have much power or speed? Is he another Altuve-type player? And why would the Sox want him at SS when Tim Anderson is there?
Josh Norris: Madrigal has plenty of speed. He's a plus runner to a tick better underway. He has not shown a whole lot of power. He had just eight home runs in three years at Oregon State and slugged just .348 in his first season as a pro. The White Sox say they might try to add a little bit of loft to his swing, but he's not a particularly projectable player at this point, and his swing is already pretty effortful, so it's hard to say he's going to hit for a ton of power.
- Do you think the Sox still see Collins as their catcher of the future or do you expect them to look elsewhere for a free agent or trade option?
Josh Norris: The White Sox are still committed to Collins as a catcher. That said, it is very difficult to find anybody outside the system who believes he can be even an average defender. His receiving is not great and his footwork negates his arm strength.
Larry (Miami, FL):
- How bullish are you on Pilkington? Future star? Will we get to read his report in the 11 - 20 range of your list?
Josh Norris: I wouldn't call him a future star (if he were, he probably would be in the Top 10 of the list) but he could be a No. 4-5 type guy if everything breaks right. Hard to make much of an assessment after a season spent at the lowest levels of the system.
- Who is the better prospect in your mind: Eloy or Vladdy Jr.?
Josh Norris: Eloy is an excellent prospect and a potential all-star. Vladdy Jr. has the potential to be the best player in the sport, period.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):
- Which batters in the White Sox system have the highest exit velocities? Is this metric at all useful in evaluating prospects in your opinion?
Josh Norris: I obviously don't have the entire list of White Sox exit velos, so I'll only speak to the second part of this question: If BA had access to that kind of data, we absolutely would use it. Here's an anecdote for that: Early in the year, we asked around about which players were leading the minors in Exit Velo. Most of the usual suspects were on that list, but one name was sitting right at the top that surprised us: David Bote of the Cubs. Dude hits the ball hard. Really hard. He might never be a superstar, but he certainly jumped on a lot of radars this year and gave the Cubs some very cool moments at points throughout the year. So, yes, exit velo would be an awesome tool to have at our disposal when it came time to evaluate prospects for various lists. Side rant: I will never understand why pitcher velocity is nearly universally held in such regard but exit velo gets treated with so much skepticism. Hitting the ball hard is really, really important.
- Is a switch to 1B/DH inevitable for Eloy?
Josh Norris: I wouldn't say it's inevitable, but it's certainly an intriguing option considering the White Sox will have better outfield defenders on the horizon. I certainly wouldn't want to play him there without giving him time there, and I'd let him prove he absolutely can't do play out there before moving him.
- Are Burger and Sheets still prospects? If so, about where would they rank, respectively?
Josh Norris: Yes, Burger and Sheets are still prospects. Burger is going to be incredibly difficult to rank given the obvious factors with his injuries and the fact that there were already questions surrounding his defense to begin with. I thought for sure that Sheets would hit for big power this year in Winston-Salem. He did not, and that's absolutely concerning, but it was his first full year of pro ball and it's way too early to give up on him.
Don (Orland Park, IL.):
- Can Yoan Moncada be a good defensive player at third base so the White Sox can put Nick Madrigal at second base ?
Josh Norris: If they were to move Moncada, I think the more likely spot would be center field.
- How would you rate the enthusiasm around this farm system as compared to this time last year?
Josh Norris: I think it's pretty similar, given that it's roughly the same system. Every member of last year's Top 10 is still eligible. The most notable graduation was Daniel Palka. Cease and Adolfo took steps forward. Sheets and Hansen took steps back. Eloy was Eloy.
Dunt (Wayne, IL):
- Outside Dylan Cease, who took the biggest step in the system this year?
Josh Norris: Micker Adolfo or Ian Hamilton come to mind. Adolfo showed that big, big power even while limited to a DH role, and Hamilton was excellent enough to push his way to the big leagues.
- Does Madrigal's size give you any pause that he won't hold up physically over the long haul? Or that he'll be unable to have enough impact with the bat?
Josh Norris: I'm not worried about him holding up, but I do (as mentioned earlier in the chat) have questions about his impact with the bat.
Josh Norris: Thanks for the chat, all. See you again for the Cubs list.