AL Central Homegrown Teams
We began rolling out what every team's homegrown 2018 lineup and starting rotation would look like with the American League East on Monday. Now, we continue with the AL Central.
As a reminder, any player signed for entry into Major League Baseball is eligible to be listed with the team that signed them, so foreign professionals signed from Japan, Cuba, South Korea or other countries are included, in addition to those drafted and signed, signed as international amateurs or signed as undrafted free agents.
Players must have been active in 2017 and are scheduled to be active in 2018 to be eligible.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Analysis: The White Sox sure know how to scout and develop lefthanders. The five best homegrown starters the franchise has produced in today's game are all southpaws, and came into the organization spread out over the course of a decade (Gio Gonzalez was the first in 2004, Carlos Rodon the last in 2014). There's also been some success finding U.S.-based relievers, with Addison Reed, Chris Devesnki, Nate Jones, Boone Logan and David Holmberg coming out of the draft...Now, for the bad: The White Sox have easily the shallowest homegrown position player group in the division. They have everyday players in the infield, but finding enough outfielders to just fill out the lineup is a challenge. Beyond the starting group, there is almost no one with viable major league experience, When it's come to finding and developing homegrown catching, second basemen, third basemen, center fielders or corner outfielders, the White Sox have been well behind their peers in recent years.
Honorable Mention: Bartolo Colon, Steven Wright, Tony Wolters, Jhonny Peralta, Chris Gimenez, Hector Rondon, Jeanmar Gomez, Cody Anderson, Shawn Armstrong, Tony Sipp, Vidal Nuno, Zach Putnam, Clint Frazier, Francisco Mejia
Analysis: The Indians have been superb at not only identifying and signing premier amateur talent, but keeping it. Nine of the Indians 10 best homegrown position players suited up for the big league team and played significant roles in the Tribe's ascension to an American League power. It's arguably the best track record of any team in today's game properly identifying which of its prospects to keep....The Indians were a little more trigger-happy on pitchers, trading Chris Archer and Drew Pomeranz as prospects, but still produced a steady line of successful big league starters...The Indians homegrown unit contains plenty of infield, catching, rotation and bullpen depth. Their outfield group could be viewed as a little light, but is still better than what many other teams have produced. In all, the Indians have been one of the best and most well-rounded franchises in baseball when it comes to identifying and developing future big leaguers.
Analysis: The Tigers have done a decent job developing homegrown position players but have clear holes, namely at shortstop and first base. Willy Adames, who has yet to actually play a major league game, is the best of the franchise's homegrown shortstop options, while some roster gymnastics were needed just to fill first base—and Nicholas Castellanos has never actually played the position, yet was still the best option given the rest of the roster....Similar to their lineup, the Tigers homegrown pitching is a group that has talent but also glaring holes. The front of the rotation is strong, but the back leaves much to be desired, with Chad Green—who moved to relief full-time last year—the best of an uninspiring group of options....Overall the Tigers have identified and developed a better homegrown group than their division-mate White Sox but are similarly short on depth. Fernando Rodney, Corey Knebel and Andrew Miller make for quite the bullpen trio, though.
Wander Franco Joins Illustrious Company As Two-Time No. 1 Prospect
Wander Franco is just the fourth player to rank as the game’s top prospect in consecutive years.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Analysis: The Royals have had notable success finding and growing impact corner players over the years, with Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon and Wil Myers all blossoming into All-Stars while playing a corner spot. Salvador Perez and Jarrod Dyson give them two solid up-the-middle players, but there is clearly a hole in the middle infield. Whit Merrifield was a revelation last year but it remains to be seen if he's a long-term solution. Raul Mondesi is a serious question mark, yet the Royals have not drafted, signed or developed anyone better at shortstop....The Royals homegrown rotation would be strong group with a true ace, depth and a mix of lefties and righties, as well as additional worthy options in Andrew Triggs and Brandon Finnegan. While the Royals have been knocked for their struggles to develop pitching, there is a seven-deep group of players they drafted and developed between 2007-14 that have gone onto major league success as starters, more than many other teams can claim.
Analysis: The Twins international success jumps out immediately, with Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, Yangervis Solarte and Liam Hendricks all standing out as international signings and Eddie Rosario and Jose Berrios notable as draftees from Puerto Rico. On the whole, the Twins have a strong track record of identifying and developing quality position players, both out of the draft and internationally. With Aaron Hicks, Kennys Vargas, Denard Span and Ben Revere all available to mix and match in, the Twins boast the deepest group of homegrown position players in the division....That said, the Twins have badly struggled to find and develop homegrown pitching. Berrios is a recent success, but Matt Garza and Kyle Gibson were both drafted more than seven years ago and are now below-average starters. Neither of the franchise's next best homegrown pitchers—Liam Hendricks and Brian Duensing—has actually started a game in the last three seasons. But, because the Twins have developed homegrown pitching so poorly, there are no better options.