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Chicago White Sox

Prospects Overview

Top 30 Prospects

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Top 30 Prospects Archive

Player Reports

  1. 1. Joe Borchard | OF
    Joe Borchard
    Born: Nov 25, 1978
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 230
    Minors: .253/.307/.398 | 13 HR | 2 SB | 435 AB

    In September, when Borchard could have been beginning his rookie season as an NFL quarterback taken early in the first round of the football draft, he was finishing up his second full season as a full-time baseball player with a cameo in the big leagues. The White Sox gave him a record $5.3 million bonus to earn that commitment. Borchard hasn't smoothed all the rough ends of his game as fast as Chicago had hoped but still shows tremendous potential. His 2002 season began late after he broke a bone in his right foot during spring training, but he recovered fast and played in 133 games. He looked at place in a big league clubhouse, both during spring training and at the end of the regular season. The Sox believe he will bring valuable leadership skills once he's there on a full-time basis. Borchard is a superior athlete who has serious power from both sides of the plate. He has an uncanny ability to come through in big situations. He has a strong arm, which he once showed by throwing five touchdown passes for Stanford against UCLA. He isn't a basestealer but runs well for a big man, circling the bases on an inside-the-park homer at Kauffman Stadium in September. The Sox appreciate how hard he has worked to improve. Strikeouts are a part of the package with Borchard, who struggled at times with breaking pitches in 2002. He'll almost certainly strike out 150-plus times if he's a regular and could lead the league in whiffs if he doesn't get a better idea of the strike zone. He has played center field for two seasons but is considered a marginal outfielder. He might benefit from a move to a corner spot, his eventual destination. The Sox face a difficult decision with Borchard. He's ready to contribute in the big leagues but they must determine if he'd benefit from at least another half-season at Triple-A Charlotte. Many scouts believe he would, pointing to his ratio of almost three strikeouts for every walk in 2002. Borchard went to winter ball in the hopes of improving his chances to stick in the spring. With Magglio Ordonez in right, Borchard will play either left field or center once he becomes a permanent part of Chicago's lineup. He could get an immediate opportunity if center fielder Aaron Rowand comes back slowly from injuries suffered in an offseason dirt bike crash.

  2. 2. Miguel Olivo | C
    Miguel Olivo
    Born: Jul 15, 1978
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 230

    Olivo's cannon arm always has drawn attention, and the White Sox believe they've helped him develop into a solid hitter as well. He has climbed through the minors slowly, spending the last two seasons in Double-A after two in high Class A. He led Birmingham to the Southern League championship, winning playoff MVP honors with four homers, then went deep off Andy Pettitte in his first big league at-bat. Olivo's arm is as strong as any in the big leagues, including that of Pudge Rodriguez. He's a solid hitter who has improved his approach, becoming somewhat more selective. He has excellent speed for a catcher. He not only had 29 steals while playing for ultra-aggressive Birmingham manager Wally Backman, but also led the team with 10 triples. While he has shown power at times in his career, Olivo's extra-base numbers dropped in his second Double-A season. He'll have to continue to improve his receiving skills and ability to handle major league pitchers. With Mark Johnson gone to Oakland, Olivo has a good chance of opening the season in Chicago with a solid spring training performance. Veteran Josh Paul doesn't have nearly the upside he does.

  3. 3. Anthony Webster | OF
    Anthony Webster
    Born: Apr 10, 1983
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 197
    Minors: .286/.342/.368 | 3 HR | 24 SB | 437 AB

    An outstanding high school tailback, Webster picked baseball over football and is proving his instincts to be as good as his ability. Despite rough edges and a lack of amateur pedigree, he has come out firing as a pro, hitting .330 in his first two pro seasons while scoring 96 runs in 116 games. He led Bristol to the Rookie-level Appalachian League title. Webster is reminiscent of a young Marquis Grissom, though he's still learning how to put his explosive speed and his raw power to use on a diamond. He's a natural hitter and made tremendous strides in his approach in 2002, drawing as many walks as strikeouts. He plays the game with a vengeance. Despite his strength, Webster has one homer in two pro seasons. He lacks experience, which sometimes leads to him trying to force the action in center field. He'll have to prove he can hit the quality breaking pitches he'll see in full-season leagues. Webster will open 2003 as a teenager at low Class A Kannapolis. He's a good candidate for step-by-step development but has the talent to force his way upward quickly if he continues to play like he has thus far. All the tools are there for him to develop into an all-star.

  4. 4. Kris Honel | RHP
    Kris Honel
    Born: Nov 7, 1982
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'5" Wt.: 190
    Minors: 10-7 | 3.17 ERA | 135 SO | 48 BB | 145.0 IP

    Honel is a rare package for a Chicago team--an elite prospect who knew the way to the city's ballparks before signing a contract. He grew up in the city's southwest suburbs before going 16th overall in the 2001 draft, the highest an Illinois prep pitcher had been taken since Bob Kipper went eighth in 1982. Honel has the basic package that scouts look for, starting with a low-90s fastball and a breaking ball that keeps hitters off his heater. His velocity was down a little in 2002 but was still plenty good because of his command of other pitches. His knuckle-curve, which acts like a slider, might be his best pitch. His fastball is rarely straight, often getting devastating late movement. A shortfall in experience is about the only remaining issue. Honel made strides with his mound presence in 2002 and showed that the elbow problems he developed late in 2001 were nothing to be overly concerned about. Honel will start 2003 at high Class A Winston- Salem. He could be in the mix for Comiskey Park by late 2004, but the Sox haven't gotten great results from recent prospects they rushed to the big leagues, including Jon Garland, Jon Rauch, Kip Wells and Dan Wright.

  5. 5. Jon Rauch | RHP
    Jon Rauch
    Born: Sep 27, 1978
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'11" Wt.: 290
    Minors: 7-1 | 4.11 ERA | 94 SO | 35 BB | 124.7 IP

    Coming off shoulder surgery that sidelined him for most of 2001, Rauch inexplicably was pushed by the White Sox. GM Ken Williams erred by allowing him to win a big league job out of spring training, and manager Jerry Manuel exacerbated a bad situation by sitting him for two weeks in April without getting him into a game. Rauch didn't get into a rhythm until the second half. The tallest pitcher in major league history, Rauch parlays his height into unusual arm angles on all his pitches. He's seemingly on top of batters when he releases a pitch, allowing his 91-92 mph fastballs to look much harder. More than just a power pitcher, he has a smooth delivery and throws strikes with two above-average breaking balls. Rauch is something of a frontrunner, pitching very well when he hits on all cylinders but vulnerable to big innings. His control wasn't as sharp as it had been before surgery, though that may have been due to how he was handled. Unlike in 2002, Rauch goes to spring training believing he's ready to pitch in the big leagues. The prospect of that happening diminished when the White Sox traded for Bartolo Colon. It's more likely that he will be headed back to Triple-A, as Chicago may want him to get on a roll before turning to him again.

  6. 6. Corwin Malone | LHP
    Corwin Malone
    Born: Jul 3, 1980
    Bats: R Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 200
    Minors: 4-5 | 5.26 ERA | 72 SO | 41 BB | 78.7 IP

    After making huge strides in 2001, the one-time linebacker slowed down in 2002, mostly because of control problems. He might have done his best pitching of the season in a March 31 exhibition at Pacific Bell Park, where he blew away the Giants en route to Double-A Birmingham, where he had finished the previous year. Elbow problems ended Malone's season after 22 starts. Malone has the ability to overpower hitters with a fastball that can climb to 93 mph. His natural deception earns him comparisons to Vida Blue. His curveball has tremendous snap on it when his mechanics are under control. He's athletic and coaches rave about his eagerness to learn. Malone tried to throw fewer fastballs in 2002 and paid for it. He didn't command the strike zone as he had the year before, and his walks rose as his strikeouts dipped. He spent much of spring training working on his changeup and seemed to force it into his arsenal, at the cost of too often falling behind in the count. The White Sox believe Malone will be completely healthy in 2003, when he's expected to earn a spot in the Triple-A rotation. He showed improvement after deciding to be more aggressive, and if he gets off to a fast start could join the Chicago rotation if needed in the second half.

  7. 7. Andy Gonzalez | 3B
    Andy Gonzalez
    Born: Dec 15, 1981
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 215
    Minors: .231/.347/.282 | 1 HR | 22 SB | 429 AB

    An all-around athlete, Gonzalez opened eyes immediately after being drafted. He and fellow 2001 pick Anthony Webster have made a smooth transition to pro ball and should continue climbing the ladder together. Gonzalez has the tools to last as a shortstop and is a dangerous hitter who has batted .298 as a pro with 75 RBIs in 114 games. While balls jump off his bat, his best tool might be his arm. Some clubs considered drafting Gonzalez as a pitcher. He covers ground well at shortstop and has improved his fundamentals greatly since being drafted. Because the Sox opted to give him time in extended spring training in 2002, Gonzalez hasn't had to face a year-long grind of playing games. He's expected to develop some power but went deep just once in 2002. Gonzalez' stock will soar if he goes to low Class A and duplicates his Rookie-ball success. He could move quickly in a system that lacks middle-infield depth and gives the Sox a chance for their first homegrown regular at shortstop since Bucky Dent in 1976.

  8. 8. Felix Diaz | RHP
    Felix Diaz
    Born: Jul 27, 1980
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 190
    Minors: 5-7 | 3.97 ERA | 83 SO | 33 BB | 115.7 IP

    Once considered the crown jewel of San Francisco's increased efforts in Latin America, Diaz was deemed expendable among a wealth of power righthanders in the organization. The White Sox landed him in a deadline deal for Kenny Lofton. Diaz throws gas. He often works in the mid-90s and has a hard slider that he throws in the mid-80s. His changeup is also a plus pitch. He has all the pitches he needs to dominate. Durability is a major question for Diaz, who missed time with a tender arm in 2001 and an ankle injury in 2002. He generates tremendous arm speed from a slight body and hasn't stayed healthy for an entire season. He aged one year in baseball's birthdate crackdown, but he still wasn't old for Double-A. The sky's the limit for Diaz and his low-mileage arm. It's possible the White Sox will move him to the bullpen, hoping he'll become another Francisco Rodriguez, but for now he'll get a chance to climb as a starter. If he doesn't open in Triple-A, he should be there at season's end, trying to put himself in Chicago's 2004 plans.

  9. 9. Arnie Munoz | LHP
    Arnie Munoz
    Born: Jun 21, 1982
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 5'9" Wt.: 185
    Minors: 4-3 | 4.75 ERA | 63 SO | 27 BB | 55.0 IP

    Because the baby-faced Munoz isn't intimidating and has been used in the thankless role of middle relief, he has escaped attention. But there's no overlooking his results. He asserted himself by pitching well in Class A in 2001, then skipped a level and was unfazed by Double-A as a teenager. He pitched lights out in the Dominican this winter. There aren't many minor league curveballs better than the Zito-esque one Munoz possesses. His fastball parks in the 87-89 range and can be run up to 91 when needed. Those two pitches alone can make him unhittable for all but the best lefthanders. An improved changeup and a consistent sinker help him attack righties. His pickoff move freezes runners. Munoz wears down after 30-40 pitches, losing his arm angle, which flattens out his pitches. He has averaged 4.6 walks per nine innings as pro, though he cut that mark to 3.6 in 2002. While a stop in Triple-A is likely, Munoz could give the White Sox the same second-half lift they received when Mark Buehrle joined the bullpen in 2000. Munoz should occupy a set-up role, but it's not far-fetched to project him as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

  10. 10. Royce Ring | LHP
    Royce Ring
    Born: Dec 21, 1980
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 220
    Minors: 4-4 | 2.20 ERA | 62 SO | 25 BB | 57.3 IP

    Armed with a mid-90s fastball and a theme song (Metallica's "Sad But True"), Ring was one of the best shows in college baseball in 2002. He made a name for himself by sprinting in from the bullpen, pawing at the mound and then throwing as hard as possible. That formula helped him set San Diego State records for saves in a season and career, and got him drafted 16th overall in June. Ring is a perpetual motion machine who comes at hitters. His low-90s fastball can be an overpowering pitch. His curveball and changeup are also effective. He wants the ball with the game on the line. His control isn't considered a major problem, but Ring will get to Comiskey Park quicker if he cuts down on his walks. His weight was an issue at San Diego State and bears watching. College closers drafted in the first round don't have the greatest history as pros, but Ring could be the exception to that rule. The Sox hope he'll take the fast track to the majors, but there's a crowd of lefty relievers ahead of him, headed by Damaso Marte, Dave Sanders and Arnie Munoz. Ring could open 2003 in Double-A and may get a look in Chicago in September.

  11. 11. Neal Cotts | LHP
    Neal Cotts
    Born: Mar 25, 1980
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 200
    Minors: 9-7 | 2.16 ERA | 133 SO | 56 BB | 108.3 IP

    Cotts was a 2001 second-round pick from Illinois State, the highest selection in school history. He returned to his home state in December in a trade that saw the Athletics and White Sox swap closers Keith Foulke and Billy Koch. Though Cotts' fastball barely breaks 90 mph, he has averaged 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings as a pro. He changes speeds with aplomb and hitters have great difficulty making sound contact. He pitched most of 2002 using just a fastball and changeup before he began working on his curveball. The curve showed great improvement late in the season and during instructional league. That third pitch will be critical if he's to remain a starter. He also needs better control. Cotts will work on both those areas in Double-A this year.

  12. 12. Micah Schnurstein | 1B
    Micah Schnurstein
    Born: Jul 18, 1984
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 220
    Minors: .264/.312/.337 | 1 HR | 0 SB | 193 AB

    Schnurstein wasn't expected to go as high as the seventh round in the 2002 draft, but he more than justified Chicago's faith by destroying the Rookie-level Arizona League. He hit the ball as hard as any player in the AZL, as nearly half his hits went for extra bases, including a league-record 26 doubles. He also played a solid third base. Schnurstein is a pure hitter who pounds the ball. His home run power should improve as he gains strength. While he started 2002 as a second baseman, he made a smooth transition to the hot corner. He has soft hands and enough arm for the position. The stocky Schnurstein doesn't run well. He could stand to improve his patience at the plate, but the White Sox aren't complaining about the initial results of his aggressive approach. Extended spring training and a second year in a short-season league are possibilities for Schnurstein, but don't be surprised if he hits his way onto the Kannapolis roster. He'd join Anthony Webster, Andy Gonzalez and Pedro Lopez in a lineup that should produce runs. Schnurstein has the potential to develop into a Phil Nevin clone.

  13. 13. David Sanders | LHP
    David Sanders
    Born: Aug 29, 1979
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 200

    The White Sox' 1999 draft just keeps looking deeper and deeper in regards to pitching. It has already produced big leaguers in Matt Ginter, Danny Wright and Jon Rauch and delivered prospects Jason Stumm, Brian West, Dennis Ulacia, Corwin Malone, Matt Guerrier (traded to the Pirates for Damaso Marte) and Joe Valentine (dealt to the Athletics in the Keith Foulke-Billy Koch exchange). Sanders and fellow lefty Josh Stewart are the latest pitchers from the 1999 draft to open eyes, thanks to their performances in Double-A and the Arizona Fall League. Sanders made the most of his second season in Birmingham, joining Arnie Munoz to give the Barons two lefthanded bullpen weapons. He used a power slider and a 90-91 mph fastball to average nearly a strikeout per inning. He worked three perfect innings of relief in the 12-inning victory that wrapped up a Southern League title, then led the AFL in ERA. He'll move up to Triple-A in 2003 and could join the White Sox sooner than might be expected.

  14. 14. Ryan Wing | LHP
    Ryan Wing
    Born: Feb 1, 1982
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 190
    Minors: 9-7 | 2.98 ERA | 107 SO | 67 BB | 145.0 IP

    Mononucleosis limited Wing to one outing after he signed in 2001, but his 2002 season was worth waiting for. He led Kannapolis in victories and kept getting better as the season went on. Sox coaches rave about Wing's arm. He throws in the low-90s with hard, sinking action on his fastball, and he has an excellent slider. His delivery gives him some natural deception and he has an arm angle that makes him extremely tough on lefthanders. He has shown a willingness to knock hitters off the plate. Wing doesn't yet have the command and polish of some of the organization's other lefties--Josh Stewart, Dennis Ulacia and Heath Phillips, to name three--but he has a better arm than just about any of them except for Corwin Malone.

  15. 15. Brian West | RHP
    Brian West
    Throws: R

    A staple on the White Sox prospect list since 2000, West has climbed through the system one rung at a time. He hasn't yet had a winning season but has proven to be a durable starter. His total of 149 innings last year was his low as a pro. He's a large-framed guy who once was targeted by major-college football programs as a defensive end. Though the Sox see lots of upside in him, he hasn't been an all-star since pitching in the low Class A Midwest League in 2000. West throws a two-seam fastball that reaches the low 90s and features lots of movement, and he has developed an outstanding changeup. He sometimes struggles to put away hitters, however, and his ratio of strikeouts per nine innings fell from 6.9 in high Class A to 5.5 in Double-A. He continues to work on his curveball. A repeat of Double-A isn't out of the question at least to open the 2003 season, as West faded down the stretch in 2002 and lost five of his final six starts.

  16. 16. Brian Miller | RHP
    Brian Miller
    Throws: R

    Questions about signability caused Miller to slide in the 2001 draft, but there are few doubts about his arm. He's looking like a major coup for area scout Nathan Durst and scouting director Doug Laumann, who got the deal done. Miller was rated as the top prep pitcher in Michigan in 2001 but indicated that he had made a firm commitment to Michigan State. The Sox negotiated hard to get him signed just before classes began. He started his pro career in extended spring training in 2002, then turned in a solid performance in the Appalachian League, winning a team-high seven games to help Bristol to the championship. Miller has a power arm and a pitcher's body. He has gained strength and velocity since signing, with his fastball jumping from the low 90s to the mid-90s. His changeup was a good pitch when he signed and has improved. Miller has yet to be tested in full-season leagues, but few pitchers in the organization have a higher ceiling.

  17. 17. Tim Hummel | 3B
    Tim Hummel
    Born: Nov 18, 1978
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 195

    Following a disappointing season in Triple-A, Hummel found his stride again in the Arizona Fall League. In his second year in the AFL, he hit .303 and had the best walk-strikeout ratio in the league (18-10). The Sox hope he can continue that trend when he returns for a second tour of the International League. He's considered a textbook hitter with a unusually pure righthanded stroke. But he couldn't get himself going until late 2002 and slipped behind D'Angelo Jimenez and Willie Harris in the organization's pecking order. Hummel, an All-America shortstop at Old Dominion, had been considered the likely successor to Ray Durham before Harris and Jimenez were acquired in trades. He constantly has been juggled between shortstop, second base and even third. He's a reliable fielder up the middle--which showed as he made one error in 28 games between short and second in the AFL--but lacks the speed and range of a typical shortstop. His first order of business in 2003 is to re-establish himself as a possible No. 2 hitter.

  18. 18. Daniel Haigwood | LHP
    Daniel Haigwood
    Born: Nov 19, 1983
    Bats: R Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 215

    Scouts love radar guns, but even so it's hard to figure how Haigwood slipped through the cracks. He was dominant throughout his high school career, winning his first 43 decisions and not allowing an earned run as a senior before losing 5-3 in the Arkansas state 2-A semifinals. His playoff run included a no-hitter and a 16-strikeout performance in which he threw 78 of 94 pitches for strikes. Yet Haigwood slid deep into the 2002 draft, only in part because he was committed to the University of Arkansas. The White Sox found he wanted to play pro ball, however, and it's no wonder why. He was outstanding in the Arizona League, leading the league in wins and showing fine command. Haigwood isn't overpowering but can hit 90 with his fastball. He complements it with a plus curveball--it was rated the best at the Perfect Game predraft showcase in May--and has learned to throw a twoseam fastball. He should increase velocity as he matures. His changeup needs work but he can throw it for strikes. Scouts give him high marks for his pitching acumen, saying he has a natural feel for setting up hitters. Haigwood probably is headed for the low Class A South Atlantic League in 2003. If he keeps this up, a lot of teams are going to be kicking themselves for getting scared off such an obvious pick.

  19. 19. Pedro Lopez | SS
    Pedro Lopez
    Born: Apr 28, 1984
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 190
    Minors: .263/.313/.320 | 0 HR | 24 SB | 403 AB

    Signed at age 16, Lopez twice has excelled in short-season leagues. He's a career .316 hitter and an outstanding defensive player. Signed as a shortstop, he mostly has played second base with the more highly regarded Andy Gonzalez playing alongside him. Lopez has range, soft hands, quick reflexes and the toughness to hang in on the double-play pivot. He cut his error total down from 19 to six in his second pro season. Lopez has unusual bat control for such a young player. He's difficult to strike out, uses the whole field and is an excellent bunter. He has good speed and could develop into a 40-steal man. He'll tackle a full-season league for the first time in 2003 but should have no problems continuing his promising development.

  20. 20. Jason Stumm | RHP
    Jason Stumm
    Throws: R

    Stumm might as well wear a jersey that says "Handle With Care." A former all-everything in three sports, he has been plagued by arm injuries since opting for a baseball career. He was slow to recover from Tommy John surgery in 2000, working just 52 innings the last two years, and underwent shoulder surgery after the 2002 season. He'll be sidelined for the first part of this season. Before surgery, Stumm threw 96-97 mph and was beginning to develop his secondary pitches. The White Sox had limited him to a maximum of two innings in his 22 outings in 2002 and for a time were encouraged by the results. His velocity appeared all the way back but it came at the expense of a shoulder injury. The Sox root for him because he's a good kid and a proven winner, but the odds against him seem to grow every year.

  21. 21. Jeremy Reed | OF
    Jeremy Reed
    Born: Jun 15, 1981
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 195
    Minors: .373/.453/.537 | 11 HR | 45 SB | 464 AB

    A former Alaska League MVP and Team USA batting leader, Reed is your basic Dave Martinez starter kit. He played mostly first base in his first two seasons at Long Beach State but was drafted as an outfielder and played the outfield exclusively at Kannapolis, where his .319 average was almost 30 points higher than any teammate. Reed is a line-drive hitter who uses the entire park. He has limited power but could develop more because of his solid grasp of hitting. Reed has good speed and is aggressive on the bases, stretching singles into doubles. He's not a blazer but could steal 30-40 bases a season. Reed played some center field in his pro debut but fits better in right. He's an interesting guy, especially for an organization that hasn't had much luck with lefthanded hitters.

  22. 22. Josh Stewart | LHP
    Josh Stewart
    Born: Dec 5, 1978
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 205

    Stewart earned a 40-man roster spot with a breakout season in 2002 as he helped his teams win Southern League and Arizona Fall League championships. He especially opened eyes in the AFL, where he was second to White Sox teammate David Sanders with a 0.81 ERA and won the title game, allowing only one unearned run over six innings. Though there's nothing overly impressive about Stewart's stuff, his overall package reminds some of Mike Sirotka, the lefty who won 15 games for the 2000 Sox before tearing his labrum. Command and confidence are Stewart's keys. He throws in the high 80s and has a plus curveball. He changes speeds, moves the ball in and out on hitters and works at the bottom of the strike zone. Stewart needs to follow up with a strong 2003 season in Triple-A to put himself in the big league picture, either with the White Sox or for an interested organization elsewhere.

  23. 23. Edwin Almonte | RHP
    Edwin Almonte
    Born: Dec 17, 1976
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 220

    In an organization that should understand the value of an excellent changeup--thank you, Keith Foulke--Almonte should be well positioned. But at his age, the clock is ticking loudly. He has climbed without a hitch, leading the minors with a total of 62 saves the last two seasons. But Almonte hasn't performed well in front of big league manager Jerry Manuel, getting rocked last spring when he arrived after a heavy workload in winter ball. Almonte's fastball rarely hits 90 mph but is set up by a dynamite changeup that he almost never telegraphs. He also has a slider and generally throws strikes with all his pitches. Almonte grew up on the streets of New York, where he developed lots of mental toughness. The Sox would have been well advised to give Almonte a look last September but limited callups in a cost-cutting move. If there's not going to be a place for Almonte on the staff in 2003, the Sox should move him elsewhere. He's ready to help someone.

  24. 24. Wyatt Allen | RHP
    Wyatt Allen
    Born: Apr 12, 1980
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 205

    Despite his periodic flashes of brilliance, most organizations considered Allen a project coming out of college. The White Sox knew his erratic delivery needed a lot of work but were intrigued by his arm and took him 39th overall in the 2001 draft. They still like his ceiling but were disappointed that Allen didn't prove to be a quicker study in his first full season as a pro. His season was not a washout, as he made 29 starts and worked more than 167 innings. But he had 86 walks and didn't miss many bats, so there's much work to be done. Allen hasn't shown the velocity he had at Tennessee--he was clocked at 97 mph in the Cape Cod League after his sophomore season--but mostly needs to continue working on his curveball and changeup. He's likely to return to high Class A unless he shows signs of a breakthrough in spring training.

  25. 25. Heath Phillips | LHP
    Heath Phillips
    Born: Mar 24, 1982
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 275
    Minors: 4-8 | 3.61 ERA | 67 SO | 13 BB | 102.3 IP

    Don't judge Phillips by his 8-23 career record. He has pitched in bad luck for teams that have given him minimal run support. He led Sox minor leaguers with 179 innings in 2002 and was dominant at times, working five complete games with three shutouts. His polish in outings like those has prompted comparisons to Mark Buehrle, another quick study. But Phillips doesn't have quite the command that turned Buehrle into a big winner at a young age. He throws a lot of strikes with a high-80s fastball that has good movement, and a slider that keeps righthanded hitters off balance. It will be interesting to see how effective Phillips can be when he's on a strong team with a good bullpen. The Sox hope that situation presents itself when he arrives in Double-A this year.

  26. 26. Josh Rupe | RHP
    Josh Rupe
    Born: Aug 18, 1982
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 210
    Minors: 9-6 | 3.28 ERA | 92 SO | 43 BB | 93.3 IP

    Rupe was drafted as a project. After he signed, the White Sox limited his work while overhauling his mechanics, similar to the program they drew up for Corwin Malone. Rupe just needs to harness his live arm. He has a 91-93 mph fastball, but his best pitch is an old-fashioned, Nolan Ryan-style overhand curveball that starts out at the top of the strike zone and ends up at the knees. Bristol manager Nick Leyva called it the best breaking pitch he's seen from a young pitcher in years. He also has strong makeup. Rupe sometimes looks mechanical on the mound as he tries to learn his delivery. He'll need a lot of innings to be able to repeat the changes that Sox coaches have implemented. Until he figures it all out, control will be an issue. Rupe probably will spend 2003 as a starter in low Class A.

  27. 27. Ruddy Yan | OF
    Ruddy Yan
    Born: Jan 13, 1982
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 160
    Minors: .264/.328/.311 | 2 HR | 76 SB | 485 AB

    This guy can fly. Some in the White Sox organization even believe Yan could steal bases standing up. He led the minors with 88 steals in 107 attempts last year. Yan's batting average slipped from .283 in low Class A to only .253 after he was promoted to high Class A. Despite his speed, the switch-hitting Yan hasn't become more than a singles hitter. He needs to gain strength, especially in his upper body. He's athletic and has above-average range at second base but needs work on his fundamentals. He always has been willing to work. He will be tested by Double-A pitchers but needs to make only minor adjustments with the advantage his speed gives him. Drawing more walks would help, because his value comes from what he can do once he gets on base.

  28. 28. Dennis Ulacia | LHP
    Dennis Ulacia
    Throws: L

    This is getting confusing. In three full seasons as a pro, Ulacia has gone from mediocre to brilliant and back again to mediocre. The lack of consistency has dropped him behind several other lefthanders in the White Sox system. He seemed poised for a big year at Double- A in 2002 but instead pitched himself out of the rotation by year's end. It's possible he was overextended in 2001, when he followed 180 regular-season innings with a stint in the Southern League playoffs that included a four-hit shutout. Ulacia struggled to maintain his velocity last season, which gave him problems as hitters began to sit on his breaking ball and his changeup. His changeup still needs improvement, and he must also have a consistent fastball to help him mix speeds. He was vulnerable to home runs despite being based in a pitcher's park, and allowed opponents to bat .299 against him. Ulacia is a polished pitcher, however, and with his knowledge can rebound quickly if he's able to regain the low-90s fastball he had in 2001.

  29. 29. Frank Francisco | RHP
    Frank Francisco
    Born: Sep 11, 1979
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 250
    Minors: 9-6 | 5.07 ERA | 89 SO | 54 BB | 113.7 IP

    Francisco had a stressful year in 2002 and didn't handle it well. He was outstanding the season before, starring as a low Class A closer, and he ended up as the No. 10 prospect in the Red Sox organization--admittedly a much thinner system than the White Sox. Perhaps because Francisco turned out to be nine months older than previously listed, the Red Sox skipped him past high Class A. That didn't work, as Francisco self-destructed in Double-A because of wildness. He re-established himself after a demotion, but then pitched poorly as a starter after he came to Chicago in a trade for Bobby Howry. Francisco has moved back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen during his career and could be heading back to relief in 2003. He's better in that role because his lack of a changeup isn't as much of a drawback. While Francisco can hit 95 mph and has a curveball, he can't be successful working behind in the count. The White Sox will give him lots of attention in spring training but may not have much patience if he can't throw more strikes.

  30. 30. Thomas Brice | 1B/OF

    White Sox area scout Warren Hughes learned about Brice, a fellow Australian, and stashed him at Faulkner State CC for a year before the team drafted him in the 24th round last June. Though Brice was a two-way player who touched 91 mph in junior college, Chicago wanted him for his bat. Brice's cricket background Down Under helped him develop his hand-eye coordination and has made him an excellent low-ball hitter. Mirroring cricket, he would take batting practice at Faulkner State with the pitcher just 50 feet away, serving up balls on the bounce--and Brice would drill liners all over the field. One Sox official compared his stroke to John Olerud's. Though he was limited by a minor shoulder injury, Brice had no difficulty adjusting to Rookie ball in his pro debut. He's a decent athlete with enough arm for right field, though the White Sox were working on his throwing over the winter. They think he's a year or two away from an overall breakthrough.

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