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Moncada showed plenty of promise during a transition year in 2015 following his entry into the Red Sox organization for a record-setting $31.5 million bonus. Boston paid a 100 percent penalty tax--$31.5 million--when they signed the young Cuban because they exceeded their allotted international bonus pool. Still, the way in which Moncada's tools coalesced in 2016 proved to be breathtaking at times at high Class A Salem and then Double-A Portland. He hit .294/.407/.511 with 15 home runs and 45 stolen bases in 106 games and also starred at the Futures Game in San Diego, where he earned MVP honors. The Red Sox called up Moncada in September as they sought offensive punch at third base, but it proved to be an anticlimactic final note to the year. He hit just .211 with 12 strikeouts in 19 at-bats. Yet the progress he has made as a professional reinforces the notion that his tools and aptitude could yield a player of rare impact. The White Sox are on board with that projection after trading ace Chris Sale to the Red Sox at the 2016 Winter Meetings for Moncada plus three other prospects: hard-throwing high Class A righthander Michael Kopech, switch-hitting low Class A center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe and low Class A reliever Victor Diaz. Moncada possesses the size and strength of a linebacker and he runs like a runaway locomotive. Though he typically features a flat bat path that creates screaming line drives, the switch-hitter showed an increasing willingness to drive balls with loft in 2016, resulting in some prodigious home runs on top of doubles. While batting lefthanded, he evokes comparisons with Robinson Cano. On the bases, he possesses elite speed though with still-developing situational awareness, and his enormous stolen base totals are likely to decline as he advances. Moncada showed hickeys in his game even before he struggled in the big leagues. He hit a more modest .243/.371/.379 batting righthanded and striking out 25 percent of the time, both of which raise concerns about this hit tool. Still, many believe that he has the athleticism and aptitude, along with the pitch recognition and strike-zone recognition, to intermingle high averages and on-base percentages with plenty of extra-base power. Moncada spent most of 2016 at second base, where he showed sounder fundamentals and an ability to make standout plays. His late-season move to third base, however, showed off his flexibility. He displayed an enormous arm and quick-twitch actions that could play well at the hot corner, though his footwork and fundamentals suggest a work in progress. Many evaluators believe that he could also handle the outfield, though for now, he will work primarily at second base. Moncada will be given a chance to compete for a big league job in spring training, but especially given how he struggled after being rushed to the big leagues in 2016, it seems more likely that he'll open the year at Triple-A Charlotte. Still, it wouldn't come as a surprise if he asserted himself as ready to make a substantial big league impact by the middle of 2017. If he makes the adjustments to limit his strikeouts, he could explore a ceiling that may be unrivaled in the minors.
Giolito has shown incredible promise since his high school days, when he was considered the top prep pitcher in the 2012 draft class until he sprained his ulnar collateral ligament and was shut down early that March. After being drafted by the Nationals 16th overall he had Tommy John surgery later that summer. Washington traded him to the White Sox--along with righthanders Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning--for Adam Eaton at the 2016 Winter Meetings. Giolito made his long-anticipated major league debut in July 2016, completing a closely watched journey through the minors. While he stumbled in Washington, his star remains bright. Giolito has three above-average offerings and an extra-large frame that allows him to throw from a steep downhill angle. He has touched 100 mph in the past, but his fastball has not typically shown that kind of velocity when he is pitching on a regular schedule. He topped out at 96 mph with his fastball in the major leagues, and sat around 94 mph. He still has a powerful 12-to-6 curveball that can be a plus pitch. His changeup has good sinking action and is effective against lefthanded hitters. Most concerning about Giolito's 2016 performance was his control. After averaging 2.7 walks per nine innings in his first two years of full-season ball, he saw his walk rate spike in 2016, particularly in the big leagues where he averaged 5.1 walks per nine. Giolito often fell behind in the count and will need to get back to consistently throwing quality strikes to get big league hitters out. While Giolito's big league debut was disappointing, he still has incredible upside. He will pitch most of 2017 as a 22-year-old and still has the potential to develop into a front-of-the-rotation starter. He likely will open the season at Triple-A Charlotte.
Lopez was an unheralded 18-year-old with a high-80s fastball when the Nationals signed him for $17,000 in 2012. His velocity quickly began to increase, and he took off in 2014. He reached the big leagues two years later, first as a starter before moving to the bullpen down the stretch. His performance as a reliever earned him a spot in the Nationals bullpen during the playoffs. Washington bundled Lopez with first-round righthanders Lucas Giolito and Dane Dunning to acquire Adam Eaton from the White Sox at the 2016 Winter Meeting. Lopez has made incredible strides as a professional, and his fastball now comfortably sits in the mid-90s and touched 100 mph in the big leagues. His improved strength also has helped his curveball, which is a powerful 11-to-5 hammer that is a swing-and-miss offering. Lopez made strides with both his changeup and control in 2016, two areas critical to his chances to remain in the rotation in the big leagues. His changeup has become a third solid pitch for him, giving him a weapon against lefthanded hitters. He also did a better job of repeating his delivery, leading to improved command. That didn't immediately translate to the major leagues, where he averaged 4.5 walks per nine innings. Lopez has shown he is ready to help as a reliever, and he could win a spot in the Chicago bullpen during spring training.
Collins claimed the BA college Freshman of the Year award at Miami in 2014 after batting .298 with 11 home runs in a down year for offense in college baseball. In his draft year he batted .363/.544/.668 and drew 78 walks, the most of any Division I player since 2011. He focused on improving as a receiver as his junior year approached, encouraging the White Sox enough to make him the 10th overall pick in 2016. While Collins' calling card will always be his offense, his defensive progress was exceptional his junior year, and he particularly impressed evaluators with his soft hands and framing technique. His footwork is what holds him back from being an average defender. Collins has a thick, muscle-filled lower half and isn't nimble. Regardless of what kind of defensive player he ends up being, his offense will play. He has a rare combination of strength and bat speed, giving him plus power. In his pro debut, he showed the ability to drive the ball out to left-center field or turn on mistake pitches on the inner half. Collins has a patient approach at the plate, with elite strike-zone awareness and an uncanny idea of which pitches he can do damage with. He will look to continue refining his defense as he progresses to the upper minors. He likely will advance to Double-A Birmingham in 2017, and could be on the fast track to Chicago as the club's answer at catcher.
The Red Sox viewed Kopech as a power arm when they drafted him out of high school, but no one foresaw his emergence as the hardest-throwing starter in the minors in 2016. Though his innings have been limited by a pair of off-field incidents--a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned stimulant in 2015 and a broken right hand from a spring-training fight with a teammate in 2016--he has demonstrated an ability to overpower opponents. The Red Sox traded Kopech, second baseman Yoan Moncada and two other prospects to the White Sox in order to land Chris Sale at the 2016 Winter Meetings. Kopech's fastball sat 95-99 mph and frequently touched triple digits. His 90-92 mph power slider grades average now but projects as plus. Though his changeup is currently below average, Kopech should be able to improve it to near-average. His velocity creates questions of injury risk and limits his command, but he's learned to control his delivery to sustain both power and control. Despite his off-field incidents, most speak highly of Kopech's makeup and ferocious mound demeanor. He should start at Double-A in 2017 and has front-of-the-rotation potential, earning comparisons from scouts to Noah Syndergaard.
Burdi comes from a family of exceptional arm strength. His oldest brother was a Division I quarterback, while his older brother Nick is a hard-throwing prospect in the Twins organization. Nick and Zack are thought to be the only pair of brothers to have thrown 100 mph. Burdi throws really, really hard. His top-of-the-scale fastball is mesmerizing, routinely checking in at 96-100 mph and touching 102. He throws from a lower three-quarters arm slot and works from the third-base side of the rubber, giving him elite deception and allowing him to generate late sinking action on his fastball and changeup, which flashes plus potential. Burdi's plus-plus slider has frisbee-like bend to it, with plus depth and excellent upper-80s velocity. He's still ironing out some inconsistencies in his delivery that lead to his front shoulder flying open. Burdi can leave his fastball up in the zone, and his slider can sometimes back up when he throws it to his arm side. Burdi could quickly contribute in the White Sox bullpen in 2017. He projects as a closer or setup man.
Fulmer was a three-year mainstay at Vanderbilt, blossoming into the ace of the staff in 2015. He consistently dominated competition that spring. In his first full pro season, he struggled early but earned a month-long cameo in the White Sox bullpen. Fulmer's long-term role remains undefined, but late-season adjustments may allow him to make it as a starter. His plus fastball sat at 92-93 mph and touched 95 out of the bullpen. His above-average curveball showed more consistent top-to-bottom shape, but it lacked the power spin it showed in college. Fulmer showed an improved, potentially above-average changeup in 2016, and he was able to throw it for strikes to both righthanders and lefthanders. He also throws an average short cutter. He struggled to control his pitches for most of the season, so he toned down his exaggerated leg kick out front, keeping his lower leg back along with his knee and hip. This adjustment had him staying more balanced over the rubber and repeating his release point better. Fulmer projects as a No. 3 starter if his late-season progress holds--and a late-inning reliever if it doesn't. He's likely ticketed to start 2017 at Triple-A Charlotte.
In many ways, Basabe--whom the Red Sox signed along with his twin brother Luis Alejandro--embodies unpredictable world of projecting international amateur talent. While the twins were physically quite similar when they signed, Luis Alexander grew two inches and filled out in a way that distinguished him from his sibling. Boston traded his brother to the Diamondbacks for Brad Ziegler in July, then traded Luis Alexander Basabe to the White Sox at the 2016 Winter Meetings with second baseman Yoan Moncada and righthander Michael Kopech in their blockbuster trade for Chris Sale. Basabe shows solid or better tools across the board, with considerable bat life when batting lefthanded. He strikes out too frequently from both sides of the plate at this stage--including a rate of 32 percent as a righthanded hitter--but when he makes contact, the impact stands out for his age and position. He adjusted his stance in the middle of 2016, becoming more upright to improve his balance and pitch recognition. In center field, he features long strides that produce plus range and also displays excellent arm strength. Basabe's defensive value gives him a high floor of backup outfielder. If his offensive approach continues to make strides, his cluster of tools could make him an above-average regular. He heads to high Class A Winston-Salem in 2017.
Adams was a standout prep multi-sport athlete who also starred as a basketball player. Ranked 23rd in the 2014 BA 500, he slid to the second round and the White Sox selected him with the 44th overall pick. Adams got his fastball up to 96 mph in high school and was seen as projectable, but his velocity has settled in at 88-93 as a pro. As Adams continues to add strength to his wide-shouldered, 6-foot-3 frame, the White Sox are hopeful that he can eventually pitch with the plus velocity he showed with longer rest as an amateur. He's shown a heavy reliance on his above-average slider, which shows sharp, two-plane break and late bite. His slider was more consistent in 2016, though it's break will sometimes get wide and long. Adams throws his average changeup with fastball arm speed and generates enough late tumbling action for the pitch to induce poor contact and ground balls. He is an excellent athlete and repeats his mechanics exceptionally well for a pitcher of his age. Adams has the stuff and pitchability to comfortably project as a No. 4 starter, with the ceiling of a No. 3 if he can add a tick more velocity. He's likely to start 2017 at Double-A Birmingham, where he will again be one of the youngest players at the level.
Hansen was on the path to being a significant prospect out of high school, but he missed time with arm trouble during his senior year and slipped in the draft. At Oklahoma, Hansen entered his junior year as a candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick, but he pitched poorly enough to lose spot in the weekend rotation for a spell. Hansen has exceptional size and arm strength. His fastball has reached 98 mph and regularly works at 91-95. He generates plus life on his fastball, which shows late finish as it enters the zone. Hansen throws a slider and a curveball, both of which flash plus potential but don't consistently play as plus. His slider is a more usable weapon, with hard 10-to-4 snap and low- to mid-80s velocity, while his curveball shows longer 11-to-5 break. He has also flashed a plus changeup, though it typically plays closer to average. While Hansen's stuff can all flash plus, he'll need to continue making progress timing his delivery and repeating his mechanics because he has a tendency to rush off his back ankle. Hansen likely will start 2017 at low Class A Kannapolis. He will have to significantly refine his delivery and command to reach his front-line starter ceiling.
Dunning was a key piece of Florida's top-ranked recruiting class in 2013, entering with future All-Americans lefthander A.J. Puk and righthander Logan Shore. Dunning mostly worked as a midweek starter and out of the bullpen, but still logged significant innings and helped Florida to back-to-back appearances in the College World Series in 2015 and 2016. The Nationals drafted him 29th overall in 2016, and he made a strong pro debut with short-season Auburn. The Nationals traded him to the White Sox after the 2016 season with righthanders Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez for Adam Eaton. Dunning throws his fastball in the low 90s as a starter and can reach 95 mph in shorter outings. His slider can be a quality pitch but is inconsistent. His solid-average changeup is his best secondary pitch, and he is comfortable throwing it to batters on both sides of the plate. Dunning's stuff all plays up thanks to his control, and he as a junior ranked sixth in the country in strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.33). He is a good athlete and repeats his easy delivery well. Despite his atypical college career, Dunning has the tools necessary to be a starter. He is advanced enough to handle an assignment to high Class A Winston-Salem in 2017.
Stephens served as a rotation stalwart at Rice as a sophomore in 2013, then needed Tommy John surgery early in his junior year. He returned to form as a redshirt junior, and the White Sox selected him in the fifth round in 2015. Stephens has a compact arm action and hides the ball well. He stays balanced over the rubber and coils his front hip with some Asian-style hesitation and gather, giving him deception and allowing the ball to jump on hitters. He typically pitches with average fastball velocity at 91-93 mph, but his velocity will vary by dipping as low as 88 at worst and then running up to 95 on the high end. Stephens has fastball command to both sides of the plate, and he can purposefully elevate to locate his heater above hitters' hands for chase swings. His upper-70s above-average curveball is his best offspeed pitch, consistently showing tight spin and deep three-quarters break. He throws a near-average slider in the low 80s that shows short, horizontal sweeping action and a below-average changeup that needs continued refinement. Stephens will progress to Double-A Birmingham in 2017, where he'll need to continue refining his control and make progress with his changeup. Some evaluators believe he could settle in as a No. 4 starter, while others see him as a quality two-pitch reliever.
Michalczewski wasn't a regular on the amateur showcase circuit and didn't have as much exposure to high level competition as some of his peers. He was still valued enough to receive an over-slot bonus of $500,000 as a seventh-round pick in 2013. He tailed off in the second half of 2016, hitting .216/.301/.337 after the all-star break. Michalczewski looks the part, with a lean, athletic build that features a moderately high waist and wide shoulders. He has the footwork and above-average arm strength necessary to be an average defensive third baseman, though some evaluators see him profiling as a corner utility player. He has a loose swing with long levers and swooping motion that prevents his bat from staying in the zone for a long time, but that mechanism also allows him to loft the ball when he's on time. He projects as a fringe-average hitter with average power potential. Upon his jump to Double-A Birmingham, he struggled to execute an approach, often selecting poor pitches to swing at and putting himself into negative counts. He has plus raw power from both sides of the plate, though he has yet to really tap into it. Michalczewski will repeat Double-A in 2017, and he will still be one of the younger players at the level at age 22. He has a chance to develop into an average regular if he can improve his contact rate and continue to settle in defensively.
Fisher has long intrigued scouts with his impressive offensive upside. He was a third-team All-American catcher in 2012 after batting .554 as a high school senior. He caught for most of his amateur career, but a shoulder injury sidelined him in 2015, and upon his return he played mostly first base as a redshirt junior in 2016. He finished the season with the second-highest batting average in Division I baseball (.424) and led all of D-I with a .558 on-base percentage. He finished in the top 10 in the Pioneer League with his .342 average in his pro debut. Fisher's best tool is his natural hitting ability. He projects to be a plus hitter with a knack for putting barrel on ball and hitting hard line drives. In his pro debut, Fisher showed the ability to drive the ball from foul pole to foul pole. He has a loose, athletic swing and mature strike-zone awareness. Fisher's arm strength has recovered and is near average, and he's an average runner and a graceful athlete. He doesn't have a firm defensive home at present, but the White Sox have tried him at third base and in the outfield, and he has a chance to develop into an adequate defensive player whose offense carries him. Fisher will advance to low Class A in Kannapolis as he continues to adjust to the pro game and gains repetitions against quality competition.
Call was a three-year starter at Ball State and began to blossom as a junior in 2016 as he grew into his man strength. He smacked 13 home runs and posted an isolated slugging percentage over .300 in his draft year. While Call doesn't have a bona fide plus tool, he doesn't have any minuses either, and he is universally praised for his work ethic and baseball instincts. He has above-average arm strength and he's an above-average runner, giving him the tools to play any outfield spot, though he doesn't project to be an everyday center fielder. Call has a fluid swing, with loose wrists that allow him to cover the plate well. He has a deep back-elbow swoop that can sometimes prevent him from generating tight backspin, and he cuts up on the ball, but he consistently makes solid contact and has always hit for a high average on balls in play. He has hit everywhere he's gone and projects as an average hitter, though his power production (he has near-average power potential) is a newer development. Call is likely to start 2017 back at low Class A Kannapolis. His polished skill set could allow him to move quickly, but if his offensive production continues to work at the highest level, his bat could separate him.
Peter was a two-way prospect at Creighton, serving as the closer for part of his sophomore year. A seventh-round pick in 2014, Peter has emerged as the organization's top position prospect from that draft class. Advancing to Double-A Birmingham in 2016, he held his own and earned a promotion to Triple-A Charlotte. Now he's knocking on the door of the big leagues. None of Peter's tools is exceptional, but he has excellent defensive value with a good internal clock, fielding instincts and arm strength that plays as above-average or plus at second base or on the outfield corners. Peter's range isn't quite good enough for him to profile as a shortstop, but he could fill in at the position. He has a fluid, contact-oriented swing, and he has consistently put the ball in play as he climbs the ladder. Peter has doubles power and can hit the ball where it's pitched. He has below-average power and can be overmatched against elite velocity, but he makes up for his lack of explosiveness with quality strike zone awareness and solid pitch recognition. Peter has below-average speed. Peter figures to return to Triple-A to start the 2017 season, though he could certainly earn time as a utility player with the major league team.
After forgoing a scholarship at Illinois, Tilson slowly climbed through the Cardinals system. He battled significant injuries, with a labrum tear costing him the 2012 season and a fractured foot costing him a chance to play in the 2014 Arizona Fall League. When healthy, he has been a solid performer in the upper minors, and the White Sox acquired him when they traded Zach Duke to the Cardinals at the 2016 deadline. Tilson immediately went to the big leagues and collected a hit off Anibal Sanchez in his debut before suffering a season-ending hamstring injury that same day. He has a short swing to go with outstanding bat control, and he has struck out in just 14 percent of the time in the minors. Tilson can also impact the game with his speed. He's a plus runner whose speed plays in center field, and he's become a more efficient baserunner as he's progressed through the minors. Tilson's lack of power and injury history hold him back, but he could have a long career as a contact-oriented center fielder or fourth outfielder.
The White Sox have a reputation for promoting prospects quickly, and despite being one of the youngest players in each league, Danish has held his own at each step of the way. He earned a quick promotion to high Class A in 2014, his full-season debut, and then logged 142 innings at Double-A Birmingham as a 20-year-old in 2015. Danish pitched well enough at to receive a brief major league stint in the Chicago bullpen in 2016. Evaluators feel Danish is at his best when he's pitching at 87-91 mph with plus sink. He is capable of throwing harder than that, but his fastball doesn't play as well when he's reaching back for extra velocity. His best offspeed pitch is his changeup, an above-average to plus offering with late fade and plus depth. Danish also throws a near-average slider and a shorter cutter in the mid-80s in addition to a get-me-over curveball. His cadre of weapons and pitch-to-contact mentality fit the starting-pitcher prototype. He has enough command and pitchability to profile as a No. 5 starter.
Engel wasn't a star player in his three seasons at Louisville, struggling to hit consistently, but he was able to impact games with excellent defense and speed. The White Sox took a shot on his athletic ability as a 19th-round pick, and he's made subtle adjustments in pro ball. After finishing 2015 with an exceptional performance in the Arizona Fall League, Engel struggled mightily at Double-A Birmingham in 2016 prior to a May demotion to high Class A Winston-Salem. From that date forward he hit .280/.352/.429 with 33 stolen bases in 103 games as he reached Triple-A Charlotte. Engel is a 70 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale, and some evaluators feel he could be one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball. He flashes above-average raw power, but even those who like him feel that his swing mechanics will always impede his ability to make contact. He starts his swing with a bit of a hand raise, then drops his hands down just before he gets ready to rotate forward. Engel earns comparisons with Peter Bourjos as a plus defensive outfielder with speed and occasional power. He's near big league ready and could reach his ceiling as a fourth outfielder as soon as 2017.
May has big league bloodlines. His grandfather is Lee May, while his father Lee Jr. has been a minor league hitting coach. Jacob was a two-year starter at Coastal Carolina and has been a solid-if-unspectacular performer since turning pro. He reached Triple-A in 2016 but a few minor injuries slowed his progression towards Chicago. May does a lot of things well and could profile as an extra outfielder. The switch-hitter makes contact frequently from both sides of the plate but has well below-average power. His best assets are his speed and defense. When May was in college, some evaluators noted his inability to use his plus-plus speed. He has reversed that criticism, and scouts often cite both his pure foot speed and his baserunning technique as strengths. May's outfield route-running and instincts also have improved with experience. His solid all-around skill set could earn him a chance to help the big league team as soon as 2017.
Bummer was a three-year contributor at Nebraska who earned a weekend rotation role as a junior. He pitched to a 3.34 ERA that season, though he struck out fewer than six batters per nine innings. Still, the White Sox selected him in the 19th round of the 2014 draft and shifted him to the bullpen. Bummer succeeded right away by punching out 28 batters in 22 innings at Rookie-level Great Falls in his debut. He missed the entire 2015 season, however, after having Tommy John surgery. He returned to the mound in mid-2016 and quickly and emphatically established himself as a prospect by jumping to high Class A Winston-Salem. Bummer lacked consistency, as do many pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery, but showed a fastball that grades as at least plus. He reached 99 mph at his best and sat 91-96 on his worst days. Bummer's slurvy breaking ball has been clocked in the upper 80s, giving him a second plus pitch. He is on track to start 2017 at Double-A Birmingham.
Schnurbusch was a prolific two-way player in junior college before transferring to Pittsburgh in 2015. He continued to play the outfield and pitch as a junior, batting .274 and pitching sporadically. He dropped pitching as a senior in 2016 but batted just .241. White Sox area scout Justin Wechsler stayed on Schnurbusch, though, because he was intrigued by his athleticism and physical 6-foot-5 frame. He convinced the White Sox to work him out before the draft, and Schnurbusch, who bats and throws left, showed off plus raw power. His workout prompted Chicago to take a shot on him in the 28th round, and he signed for just $1,000. Schnurbusch hit .357/.471/.542 at Rookie-level Grand Junction in his debut. He led the Pioneer League with 47 walks while ranking third in the batting race. Schnurbusch made consistent hard contact in his debut, though detractors see his uppercut swing and inconsistent hip rotation as potential barriers to hitting for a high average. He is an above-average runner and projects best as a power-oriented right fielder. He will advance to low Class A Kannapolis to start 2017, and he could establish himself as a late-round steal.
Flores made promising progress as a Southern California sophomore, when he pitched to a 3.83 ERA and saw a significant jump in innings. That progress halted as a junior in 2016, when he struggled to throw quality strikes and saw his ERA balloon to 6.70. The White Sox took a shot on Flores because of his arm strength, believing they could correct some of his issues. He found immediate success in pro ball during an 11-start run at Rookie-level Great Falls and then stood out at instructional league. Flores wakes scouts up with an explosive fastball, which can reach 97 mph but typically works at 90-95. He also earns positive reviews for his changeup, which projects as an above-average offering and flashes better than that. Flores hasn't quite figured out how to use his curveball, but he made quick progress with the pitch and shows natural hand speed. As such he generates tight three-quarter rotation when he's on top of the pitch. Flores will begin 2017 in the low Class A Kannapolis rotation.
Originally from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Adolfo moved to the Dominican Republic at age 14. He signed with the White Sox for $1.6 million in 2013, demarcating a rebirth of Chicago's international presence. When Adolfo joined the organization he was athletic and wide-shouldered. He has added significant muscle as he has progressed, and scouts who saw him in 2016 noted his physical transition to manhood. In his age-19 season, Adolfo struggled to a .219 average at low Class A Kannapolis. He has plus-plus bat speed and loose wrists, but he has a tendency to trust his hands a little too much. This causes him to over-swing, lose balance and struggle to see the ball into his barrel. He fits the right-field profile with a plus-plus arm and average speed and range in the field. Adolfo will return to Kannapolis to begin 2017, where he'll join a group of older, more mature outfield prospects who could be a positive influence. While Adolfo has yet to perform, he retains his high ceiling, which has been mitigated by even higher risk to this point.
At 6-foot-7, Thompson has an extra-large frame and brings an imposing presence to the mound. As with many tall pitchers, he has been consistently inconsistent. Thompson recorded a 4.71 ERA at Texas-Arlington despite having promising stuff and downhill plane on his pitches. The 2014 draft pick spent the majority of 2015 and 2016 at low Class A Kannapolis, and in his repeat he began to tap into his potential. During one five-start stretch in April and May, Thompson lasted at least six innings and allowed three hits or fewer each time out. He eventually earned a promotion to high Class A Winston-Salem, where his struggles resurfaced. On a good day, Thompson pitches with a plus fastball at 90-95 mph, an average upper-70s curveball and a changeup that registers about 10 mph less than his heater. He pitches downhill and generates ground balls at an above-average rate. In short bursts, such as in the South Atlantic League all-star game, his fastball can reach as high as 97 mph. If he fails to achieve the consistency required for a starter, Thompson could be effective as a two-pitch reliever. He heads back to high Class A in 2017.
Though Diaz signed with the Red Sox at age 20, much later than when most international prospects are first identified, he quickly demonstrated the sort of power arm that suggests a potential fast track as a bullpen weapon. Boston traded Diaz along with top prospects Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and Luis Alexander Basabe to the White Sox for Chris Sale at the 2016 Winter Meetings. Diaz's 6-foot-3 frame is imposing and physically mature, and he comes at hitters with a three-pitch power mix. While Diaz's high-90s fastball--which has touched triple digits--is more of a heavy ball that induces bad contact than a swing-and-miss weapon, his slider and splitter (a pitch he developed in 2016) get plenty of whiffs. He recovered from a slow start at low Class A Greenville in 2016 with complete dominance down the stretch. In his final 39 innings, Diaz recorded a 1.38 ERA with 10.8 strikeouts and 3.5 walks per nine innings, and he concluded the campaign with 23.2 scoreless innings. His delivery keeps his full mix around the strike zone. Diaz should open 2017 at high Class A Winston-Salem and some evaluators feel he has at least a chance to fly through the system, perhaps even pushing for a big league role by the end of the year.
Walsh missed his freshman season at Cincinnati after having Tommy John surgery, but he joined the rotation the next year. In his draft year of 2014 he showed excellent stuff but just middling results with a 3.86 ERA and 5.9 strikeouts per nine innings. Walsh moved to the bullpen after the White Sox made him a 12th-round pick. He struggled to limit walks and hard contact in his first couple seasons in the system but made marked progress in 2016 at high Class A Winston-Salem. Rival evaluators note that Walsh is at his best in his first inning, and he tends to struggle when tasked with going multiple innings. He won't have to do that at the big league level. Walsh has a slingshot type of arm action, cocking his right arm as he points his left arm forward. He isn't very balanced on the mound and has a head whack at release, both barriers to command. Walsh does, however, possess elite arm strength. His fastball has reached 98 mph and routinely works at 93-96. He shown flashes of an above-average breaking ball as well. If he can improve his control, Walsh could develop into a set-up reliever.
Hamilton was Washington State's closer in each of his first two seasons on campus. He showed well in the Cape Cod League as a starter as his junior year approached, then took a weekend rotation spot for the Cougars in 2016. Hamilton struggled as a starter and posted a 4.97 ERA, slipping to the 11th round as a result. The righthander went back to the bullpen in pro ball, serving as the closer at low Class A Kannapolis at the end of 2016. He is a bit undersized and has an effortful delivery, with a deep stab in the back of his arm action and an across-body finish. Hamilton's stuff, however, could allow him to excel in a high-leverage relief role and move through the system quickly. His fastball works in the mid-90s out of the bullpen, and his slider is among the best secondary pitches in the system. It features hard sweeping action and registers in the upper 80s. Hamilton could make the jump to high Class A Winston-Salem to start 2017.
Covey was drafted 14th overall by the Brewers in 2010, but after a late Type I diabetes diagnosis, he decided to go to college at San Diego so he could better deal with his health. The Athletics drafted him in 2013 in the fourth round, then lost him to the White Sox in the 2016 Rule 5 draft. Covey was off to a solid start to his career before he tore his left oblique at Double-A Midland in May 2016, in the first inning of his sixth start, and missed the remainder of the season. He resumed pitching in the Arizona Fall League, where he recorded a 4.74 ERA and struck out 17 and walked eight in 25 innings. Covey can touch 95 mph with his fastball, but his delivery is not smooth and causes his command to waver. His front knee is stiff and his delivery is difficult to repeat. Covey will make changes to his delivery but then regresses to his previous, comfortable mechanics. With poor command and an inconsistent delivery, Covey relies on keeping the ball low in the zone and is an extreme groundball pitcher. He will have realistic chance with the White Sox to make the pitching staff in 2016, possibly as a No. 5 starter but more likely in a low-leverage relief role.
Narvaez slowly navigated the low minors in the Rays system. Tampa Bay saw him as an organizational player because he was a solid defensive catcher whose maturity would make him an asset as a coach on the field. The White Sox liked him too and snagged him in the minor league phase of the 2013 Rule 5 draft. Narvaez had progressed to high Class A Winston-Salem by 2015, and his defensive acumen earned him an invitation to big league camp in 2016. He began the season at Double-A Birmingham, but injuries to big league catchers Dioner Navarro and Alex Avila and Triple-A starter Kevan Smith opened a spot for Narvaez in mid-July. He took advantage of the opportunity. He began his career with an eight-game hitting streak. Narvaez doesn't project as the above-average hitter that his statistics in Chicago would indicate, though he could be enough of an on-base threat to be a quality backup or replacement-level starter. He's an above-average receiver who can handle a major league staff, and he fits in the organization's short-term plans.
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