Sign Up! Join our newsletters, get a FREE e-Edition
Anderson focused on basketball at Hillcrest High in Tuscaloosa, Ala., serving as star senior point guard for the 2011 state champions. He did not play baseball until his junior year, so he generated no interest from Division I programs upon graduating from high school. In fact, East Central (Miss.) CC extended the only offer to Anderson, and he quickly made the Division II junior college program look smart. He hit .360 as a freshman and went 30-for-30 on stolen-base attempts, yet went unselected in the 2012 draft. He even hit .328 in the summer collegiate Jayhawk League, but still no major league team signed him as a nondrafted free agent. Anderson's exploits became impossible to ignore in 2013, when he hit .495 with 10 homers and 41 steals in 53 games at ECCC to play his way into the first round of the draft. The White Sox selected him 17th overall and signed him for $2.164 million, and he logged 68 games at low Class A Kannapolis in his pro debut. Promoted to high Class A Winston-Salem in 2014, Anderson hit .297 with 31 extra-base hits in 68 games before fracturing his right wrist. When he returned from the disabled list two months later, Chicago pushed him to Double-A Birmingham for 10 games. He returned to the Southern League in 2015 and ranked first on the circuit with 160 hits, 79 runs and 49 stolen bases while placing third with a .312 average and 12 triples. Thanks to quick-twitch actions and supreme athleticism, Anderson has made incremental improvement each season despite a rapid promotion schedule. He stayed healthy in 2015 and showcased impressive bat speed and swing mechanics that allow him to turn on any fastball, which combined with an all-fields hitting approach and tendency to hit groundballs and line drives makes him a threat to hit .300. Anderson will leg out his share of doubles and triples thanks to double-plus speed, but he probably won't hit more than 12-15 home runs based on his swing path. He showed more aggression and better instincts on the bases in 2015 and succeeded in 79 percent of his steal attempts. He likes to attack the first fastball he can handle, and few SL batters walked less frequently. Evaluators are warming to the idea that Anderson can play shortstop at the major league level. He improved his fielding percentage from .897 at Winston- Salem in 2014 to .952 at Birmingham in 2015 because he made fewer careless mistakes (though he led both leagues in errors by a shortstop). He makes his share of highlight-reel plays with above-average range and arm strength, but some evaluators ding him for not always playing the right hop and for not consistently converting throws from deep in the hole. The White Sox believe that Anderson can play at least an average major league shortstop with continued repetitions and with better positioning. He may not profile as a table-setter in the lineup unless he improves his on-base ability, but he will factor offensively with his speed and ability to impact the ball. Anderson is ready for Triple-A Charlotte in 2016, though if he plays well--and if free agent Alexei Ramirez departs, as expected-- the White Sox might not be able to resist calling him up during the season.
Fulmer, who attended high school in Winter Haven, Fla., served as an integral part of Vanderbilt's top-rated 2013 recruiting class that also included shortstop Dansby Swanson and righthander Walker Buehler. That trio guided the Commodores to the College World Series title in 2014 and a runner-up finish in 2015, and all three went in the first round of the 2015 draft. Fulmer, the most dominant starter on Vandy's CWS teams and the second-best pitcher available in the 2015 draft, landed with the White Sox at No. 8 overall and signed for $3,470,600. Fulmer turned pro early enough to make eight starts at high Class A Winston-Salem, where he struck out 25 batters in 22 innings. He throws two plus pitches, beginning with a 92-95 mph fastball that has reached 97 and often concluding with a power curveball that scrapes the low 80s. He flashed an effective changeup in college but needs to throw it more in pro ball. While many scouts see Fulmer as a starter, others project him to the bullpen, where he began his Vanderbilt career, because he lacks command and his quick, jumpy delivery features enough effort to inhibit control. (He walked 3.9 batters per nine innings for his college career.) He also is considered short for a righthanded starter at about 6 feet, but he has a sturdy lower half and maintains his velocity late into games. The White Sox love Fulmer's competitive makeup, and they haven't tried to alter his mechanics so much as they have stressed staying tall and maintaining angle on his pitches. The White Sox have selected college pitchers with three of the organization's five first-round picks since 2010, coming away with Chris Sale in 2010, Carlos Rodon in 2014 and Fulmer in 2015. That trio could form the backbone of the big league rotation, possibly by 2017, if Fulmer can iron out his command and reach his ceiling as a No. 2 starter. Or given his repertoire and makeup, he could serve as a high-leverage reliever. He will begin 2016 at Double-A Birmingham.
The White Sox acquired both Montas and starting right fielder Avisail Garcia when they sent Jake Peavy to the Red Sox as part of a three-team trade in July 2013. Montas endured two knee injuries that limited him to 15 starts in 2014, his first full year in the Chicago system, but he rebounded with a healthy campaign at Double-A Birmingham in 2015 that culminated with a September callup. He ranked fourth in the Southern League in ERA (2.97), WHIP (1.22) and strikeout rate (8.7 per nine innings). Montas pitches in the high 90s, touches 100 mph regularly and averaged nearly 97 in his seven-game big league debut. He doesn't lose velocity on his top-of-the-scale fastball even when he piles up high-pitch innings as a starter. Neither does he generate as many swings and misses as his velocity would suggest, owing to below-average command and inconsistent secondary stuff that allows hitters to sit dead red too often. Montas' slider plays up in short bursts out of the bullpen, where he can unleash the mid- to upper-80s pitch to catch opponents off stride or get them to chase when he's ahead in the count. His sloppy physique, poor body control and long, segmented arm action make repeating his delivery and throwing strikes a challenge, so most scouts envision him as a reliever. He rarely throws a changeup. Most successful clubs feature a power-armed Latin American reliever who worked as a starter in the minors--the 2015 championship series included Jeurys Familia (Mets), Kelvin Herrera (Royals), Roberto Osuna (Blue Jays) and Hector Rondon (Cubs)--and Montas could eventually fill that role for the White Sox. He could make the big league bullpen with a good spring, though he has no time at Triple-A Charlotte and might benefit from the experience.
Fortune smiled on the White Sox in the 2014 draft when lefthander Carlos Rodon fell to them at No. 3 overall and Adams, a first-round talent, slipped to them in the second round. Rodon ascended quickly to the majors in 2015, while Adams went 12-5, 2.99 in 24 starts at two Class A levels with a walk rate of 1.3 per nine innings that ranked 14th best among qualified minor league starters. A standout basketball player in high school, Adams found more velocity as a senior, which paired nicely with his pre-existing control and feel for two offspeed pitches. Amateur scouts regularly clocked Adams at 93-95 mph, but he pitched more at 89-91 at low Class A Kannapolis in his full-season debut as he grew accustomed to a pro workload and regular side work. He already spots his fastball well to both sides of the plate, but he needs a bit more cut on the pitch or improved secondary offerings to combat lefthanded batters, who hit .313 against him in 2015. Adams' slider drew plus grades from scouts out of high school, but he didn't always have that same power at Kannapolis, and the pitch got too loopy at times. His changeup has average potential, but he just needs to throw it more to gain confidence. Adams keeps the ball down and is not homer-prone, but he almost throws too many strikes and probably could induce more swings and misses by missing off the plate by 8-10 inches. Adams logged more innings (129) than any prep pitcher taken in the top 100 picks of the 2014 draft, so he will make leg work and nutrition his offseason priorities in an effort to gain a tick or two of velocity. He should have no trouble making the high Class A Winston-Salem rotation in 2016 as he chases his future as a potential No. 3 starter.
The 2009 draft class won't go down as the finest in White Sox history, though second-rounder Thompson still can redeem a group that also included first-rounder Jared Mitchell and supplemental first-round pick Josh Phegley. Thompson has tracked slowly through the system, spending three years at the Class A levels, two more at Double-A Birmingham and beginning 2015, his seventh pro season, at Triple-A Charlotte before making his big league debut on Aug. 4. His brother Klay is a star for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors and his father Mychal was the No. 1 pick in the 1978 NBA draft. Premium athleticism and strong makeup have kept Thompson on the prospect radar, and he delivered on his promise with a loud two-month residency in Chicago in which he recorded an .896 OPS and played all three outfield positions. He said he got back to basics in 2015 by looking for fastballs to drive with his plus loft power to his pull side, and he slammed 56 extra-base hits, including 18 homers, in a combined 148 games in the minors and majors. Thompson controls the strike zone and makes contact well enough to hit perhaps .260, but he doesn't manipulate the barrel all that well with a swing geared for power. An average runner and smart basestealer, he is a quality, long-striding defensive outfielder capable of making routine plays in center field and plus throws from right. A lot of evaluators still see Thompson as an extra outfielder, but he converted a few doubters in 2015. At the very least, his performance in 2015 served notice to Chicago's regular outfielders that the rookie is not overwhelmed by the big stage and is ready to contribute. Thompson still has one minor league option remaining for 2016 if the White Sox need to send him back to Charlotte.
The top prep talent from Oklahoma in the 2013 draft, Michalczewski slipped to the seventh round but still commanded a bonus of $500,000, the equivalent of late third-round money. The young switch-hitter exudes athleticism and still has room in his 6-foot-3 frame to grow into more power, and he has met expectations at two full-season stops. Playing for high Class A Winston-Salem in 2015, he ranked second in the Carolina League with 35 doubles and 75 RBIs and third with 46 extra-base hits. Michalczewski's future hinges on his bat. Like so many White Sox draftees, he's athletic, somewhat raw and is a doggedly hard worker. His swing features a slight uppercut and produces leveraged, above-average power from both sides of the plate. He has made more contact (23 percent strikeouts) and hit for more power (.144 isolated slugging) from the left side in full-season ball, but he's not a slap hitter from the right side by any means--he just doesn't make as much contact. The White Sox expect him to spray the ball around and recognize pitches well enough to hit .270 with on-base skills and 15-20 homers. While not a natural at third base, Michalczewski has sound hands, a strong arm and enough range to project to average at the position. He just needs to improve his footwork to improve throwing accuracy. He's not a factor on the bases. Michalczewski will be ready for an assignment to Double-A Birmingham as a 21-year-old in 2016. While the White Sox could use help at third base sooner rather than later, he's still at least two years away from entering the big league picture.
May more resembles his father Lee Jr., a 1986 first-round pick who reached Triple-A as a speed-oriented switch-hitter, than his grandfather Lee Sr., an all-star first baseman who mashed 354 big league home runs. He swiped 37 bags at high Class A Winston-Salem in 2014 to rank third in the Carolina League, and then stole 37 more at Double-A Birmingham in 2015, when he ranked second in the Southern League only to teammate Tim Anderson. Incidentally, the two players collided while chasing a popup in early June, and May spent nearly two months on the disabled list with a concussion. May faced questions about his offensive potential and defensive efficiency coming out of college, but his near double-plus speed has played in pro ball. He's a menace on the basepaths because he reads pitchers well and takes good walking leads, and he has the quick acceleration to glide to the ball in center field, where he grades as a plus defender. His arm plays as fringe-average. A switch-hitter, May impacts the ball more and draws more walks as a righthanded batter, while he focuses more on contact from the left side. When he's on time with his stride, he looks like an above-average hitter, and he bolsters his on-base skills with the occasional bunt hit and a healthy walk rate. He hit eight home runs in a 54-game stretch at low Class A Kannapolis in 2013, but he has otherwise been a well below-average power hitter with a focus on hitting the ball on the ground. May recorded a .359 on-base percentage with 25 steals in 52 games prior to suffering a concussion, suggesting he could fill a table-setting role. With such limited power--and with Adam Eaton entrenched in center in Chicago--a reserve role seems most likely for May as he moves to Triple-A Charlotte in 2016.
An elbow injury dropped Johnson to the ninth round of the 2012 draft, where the White Sox gambled on his twitchy athleticism and speed. He surpassed expectations in 2013 by leading the minors with 84 stolen bases. Limited by hamstring and knee injuries to his left leg in both 2014 and 2015, he still hit a cumulative .301 with 51 steals at Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. Johnson won the Opening Day second-base job for the White Sox in 2015, though he earned a quick demotion to Charlotte in favor of glove-first rookie Carlos Sanchez. Johnson needed work to soften his hands, improve his throwing accuracy and quicken his double-play pivot, and the White Sox believe he can become at least playable. The lefthanded hitter exhibits good strike-zone control and can serve the ball to left field and leg out infield hits with plus speed. He should be at least a solid-average hitter, but his power is mostly to the gaps. Johnson had arthroscopic surgery on his knee in the offseason that cleared away scar tissue and should have him ready for spring training.
Mental toughness drew the White Sox to Danish, whose father died of colon cancer in late 2010 while serving a prison sentence for fraud. Chicago pushed Danish to Double-A Birmingham in 2015, where at age 20 he worked as the Southern League's youngest starter. He throws the best changeup in the system, and the pitch receives a double-plus grade from some scouts for its late, split-like action. Danish pitches at 89-91 mph and tops out at 93, generating ferocious sink on a fastball he delivers from a low three-quarters arm slot. The White Sox expected Danish to develop more velocity as he matured, but that hasn't materialized. His upper-70s slider shows average potential on some nights, giving him a chance for three pitches, though his control and command need to improve after allowing the highest opponent average (.311) in the SL. Danish seeks early-count contact with his sinker and has a ceiling of back-end starter or groundball-oriented reliever.
Engel hit just .265 with two home runs in three years at Louisville, but his speedand- defense potential enticed the White Sox such that they ponied up $100,000 to sign the 19th-round pick. He adjusted his hand positioning at Rookie-level Great Falls in 2013 to improve his bat path and handle the inside pitch, while also gradually sharpening his eye at the plate. The work paid off at high Class A Winston- Salem in 2015, when Engel led the Carolina League with 65 stolen bases and 90 runs--but also 132 strikeouts. Engel's speed grades at the very top of the scouting scale, and he uses it judiciously to steal bases, drop down bunt hits and chase down flyballs as a plus defensive center fielder. He even has tick above-average raw power and arm strength. The only tool that could keep Engel from reaching his ceiling is his feel to hit. He's a muscular righthanded hitter with a swing that features a hitch and can be a bit rigid and lengthy, thus he tends to cheat on fastballs and can be retired on offspeed stuff out of the zone. Pitch recognition and understanding his swing will help Engel maximize his potential to be an average big league hitter. Engel's strong performance in the Arizona Fall League, which he led in batting (.403), on-base percentage (.523) and slugging (.642), should propel him to Double-A Birmingham in 2016.
As a lefthander with average velocity and feel for secondary pitches, Guerrero commanded $100,000 as a 15th-round pick out of high school in 2012. Shoulder issues stymied his first two pro seasons at Rookie-level Bristol, but he began to shine with a managed workload in 2014, recording 80 strikeouts in 78 innings and finishing the year in the rotation at low Class A Kannapolis. Guerrero backed up that performance in 2015 by going 13-4, 3.08 in 24 starts and leading the White Sox system with 148 strikeouts. He works fast and throws strikes with three pitches. His 90-91 mph fastball bumps 93 and plays up because of plus life and deception. Guerrero's plus, 76-80 mph changeup is his go-to secondary weapon with excellent fading action off the barrel of righthanded batters. He changed the way he threw his changeup in 2015, using more of a two-seam fastball release and mentality, rather than pronating his wrist in the traditional fashion. It now features more drop as a result, and he's unafraid to double-up on the pitch. Guerrero throws a slurvy slider that gained more consistent power in 2015 and now grades as at least average. The White Sox say that Guerrero grew up in 2015 and began to take instruction. As a three-pitch lefty who can miss bats and throw strikes with his entire arsenal, Guerrero has No. 4 starter potential as he advances to Double-A Birmingham in 2016.
Following his selection at No. 13 overall in 2012, Hawkins back-flipped his way into draft lore with an acrobatic backward somersault on the MLB Network telecast of the event. The White Sox rushed him to high Class A Winston-Salem as a 19-year-old in 2013, where he hit .178 with 38 percent strikeouts, but he improved dramatically at the level in 2014, ranking second in the Carolina League with 19 homers. Hawkins continued to hit for big power at Double-A Birmingham in 2015 as one of the Southern League's youngest regulars, though he was limited to 78 games by an early finger injury and then in August by plantar fasciitis in his left foot that ruled out an assignment to the Arizona Fall League. By all accounts, he improved his diet, conditioning and maturity level in 2015 under the influence of Barons manager Julio Vinas and teammates Tim Anderson and Jacob May. Hawkins has huge power to his pull side and can punish any fastball with plus bat speed. Swinging at strikes will be the key to unlocking his potential, but he's not yet discerning enough at the plate to let breaking balls off the plate go. Hawkins has decent arm strength--he also pitched in high school--but below-average speed and range that will limit him to left field. Hawkins showed up at 2015 instructional league with a new attitude after he completed the rehab from his foot injury, and that could serve him well as he repeats the SL in 2016.
An intriguing but flawed two-way prospect at Albert High in the Oklahoma City area, Zangari played his way off the mound for most pro teams with poor control, and his 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame limited him at catcher. The White Sox bought his potential as a righthanded-hitting first baseman and made him their first position player selection in the 2015 draft. Zangari excelled in the Rookie-level Arizona League in his debut, ranking among the circuit's leaders with a .323 average (seventh), six home runs (fourth) and a .169 isolated slugging percentage (eighth). He impressed AZL observers with loose hitting actions, wicked bat speed and a strong, repeatable, leveraged swing that should produce plus power. He will need to tighten his strike-zone judgment to hit for average, though he improved his pitch recognition and contact rate during his debut summer after reducing pre-swing movement in his setup that had caused his head to move. Zangari has more than enough arm strength for first base--he hit 95 mph as a prep pitcher--but every other aspect of his defensive play needs considerable refinement. He's a well belowaverage runner with limited range. Don't be surprised to see him at low Class A Kannapolis in 2016.
A physical, 6-foot-3 lefthander who worked out of the bullpen his first two years at Kent State, Clark moved into the rotation as a junior in 2014 and caught the attention of the White Sox, who made him a ninth-round pick. He spent most of his full-season debut at high Class A Winston-Salem in 2015 in the bullpen, and of his five starts, three occurred on Dash doubleheader days. Clark finished the season as a piggyback starter with 2015 first-rounder Carson Fulmer, and in his final seven relief outings, he averaged five innings and nearly 21 batters faced per appearance. Clark has a power repertoire, an ability to hold baserunners and a groundball profile--he did not allow a home run in 89 innings--but he also has below-average control. He pitches at 90-92 mph with sink and can dial his four-seam fastball up to 95. His slider has plus potential and sufficient late break to befuddle lefthanded batters. Improving his fringy changeup would give Clark a better chance to compete as a starter against righty-heavy lineups. He still is learning how to turn over a lineup multiple times, and he needs to do a better job repeating his delivery to improve his control, but he has the raw ingredients to fill a major league role, potentially as a starter.
Lacking second- and third-round picks in the 2015 draft, the White Sox chased the comparative safety of college pitchers. Thus Chicago made Vanderbilt's Carson Fulmer (first round), Clemson's Zack Erwin (fourth) and Rice's Stephens (fifth) its top three picks in 2015. Stephens might have joined the other two pitchers in full-season ball during his pro debut if not for the fact that he started two of the Owls' final three regionals games in 2015. He previously had missed all of 2014 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. As a result, the White Sox limited him to 11 short outings, mostly in the Rookie-level Arizona League, in which he recorded 21 strikeouts and three walks in 18 innings. Listed at 6-foot-1, Stephens nonetheless pitches with big stuff and a hard-nosed, almost angry, approach. He sits at 91-93 mph and can dial his fastball up to 96, and he backs up his plus heat with a plus curveball that ranges from 75-80 mph. He mixes in the occasional cutter/slider hybrid and a changeup, though both are below-average. The White Sox intend to begin Stephens in the rotation at high Class A Winston-Salem in 2016, but ultimately he probably fits best as a two-pitch reliever.
Born in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Adolfo moved to the Dominican Republic at age 14. No longer subject to the draft, he signed for $1.6 million as an international free agent during the 2013 signing period. Adolfo's high-end bat speed comes dressed with poor pitch recognition and a high strikeout rate. He added serious injury to the list of concerns in 2015, when he injured his left ankle sliding in mid-August and had surgery to repair a fractured fibula and ligament damage. He now has batted fewer than 300 times in two seasons in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Adolfo's uppercut stroke produces plus loft power to his pull side, though it also creates holes for pitchers to exploit. Though his muscular, 6-foot-3 frame continues to thicken as he matures, he still shows average speed and good range in right field, where his above-average arm will play. The White Sox expect Adolfo to be 100 percent for spring training, and a small step to Rookie-level Great Falls seems entirely likely.
The Blue Jays traded Jaye to the White Sox for Jason Frasor in January 2012, and while Jaye typically has had to repeat a level before mastering it, he turned in his finest season at Double-A Birmingham in 2015. He gets by with average stuff and a resistance to beating himself with walks (2.9 per nine innings in 2015) or home runs (eight in 26 starts). Jaye pitches at 89-92 mph and bumps 94 with above-average movement on his solid-average fastball. He'll show a solid-average slider in low 80s, but he loses his release point from time to time. Neither pitch is a true swing-and-miss offering, for he relies on working ahead of batters and generating as much weak, early-count contact as possible. His changeup is a distant third pitch and is below-average. Jaye tends to nibble at times and lose his aggressiveness, and his stuff generally doesn't play as well when batters get a third look at him. He will venture to Triple-A Charlotte, where if the pattern holds, he'll struggle in 2016, but ultimately he offers No. 5 starter or swingman potential with a chance to log lots of innings.
The White Sox forfeited their second- and third-round picks in the 2015 draft when they signed free agents Melky Cabrera and David Robertson, so the club's fourth-round selection of Erwin was Chicago's second pick. He recorded a 1.34 ERA in his pro debut and did not allow a home run in 40 innings, about half of them at low Class A Kannapolis, yet the White Sox view Erwin more as a fast-moving, high-floor southpaw who could provide major league value as soon as 2017. He pitches at 88-90 mph and can touch 92 with an average fastball he locates both inside and outside, which keeps righthanded batters from lunging over the plate at his plus changeup. Scouts regard Erwin's curveball as a potentially solid-average pitch with 1-to-7 break and tight spin. He has above-average control and command thanks to a balanced, coordinated delivery, though the White Sox, as they do with all their pitchers, have stressed that he needs to stay taller in his delivery to avoid throwing uphill. What Erwin lacks in electric stuff, he makes up for with pitchability and proximity to the majors. He will be ready for high Class A Winston-Salem in 2016.
Beck averaged nearly 150 innings per season in 2013 and 2014, when he balanced durability, effectiveness and proximity to the majors to rank as one of the top pitching prospects in the system. That ride came to an end in 2015, when Beck made just 10 starts at Triple-A Charlotte and spent the second half of the season on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. He made his big league debut on May 28, however. Beck pitches at 90-92 mph with late sinking action, and he can bump 96 with plus arm speed on his best days, but he tends to not locate well enough to be an true groundball pitcher. He has reclaimed the swing-and-miss slider he threw at Georgia Southern, and it flashes plus in the 85-88 mph range. He struggles to control the arm speed of his below-average changeup, and big league batters teed off on the pitch, hitting .571. Beck could be effective as a No. 5 starter or possibly in a relief role.
Coats helped Texas Christian reach the College World Series for the first time in 2010, and he raised his profile by hitting .314 in 23 games in the Cape Cod League that summer. He fell to the Orioles in the 12th round of the 2011 draft but did not sign. A torn ACL in his right knee torpedoed Coats' draft stock as a TCU senior, and the White Sox snagged him in the 29th round of the 2012 draft. He jumped to Triple-A Charlotte early in 2015 after a hot start at Double-A Birmingham. Coats lacks an above-average tool, but he can do a lot of things that would suit him as an extra outfielder. He makes decent contact, hits different pitch types and appears unfazed by big situations. He hit a career-high 17 home runs in 2015, while driving in 81 runs to rank third in the International League. Coats' swing is geared more for gap power and taking the ball to right-center field. He can play all three outfield posts, but fits best on a corner with fringe-average speed and an average arm.
A catcher until his senior year at Spring (Texas) High, Lowry required a second season at low Class A Kannapolis in 2015, but he put the time to good use by logging 151 innings and improving his strikeout (5.6 per nine innings) and walk (2.4) rates. A fluid athlete, he did a better job repeating his delivery and extending through his pitches in 2015, when his fastball sat 91-93 mph with sinking action. He throws a low-80s slider that will flash plus depth at times but could use more power to generate swings and misses. He improved the arm speed and sinking action on his changeup dramatically in 2015, and the pitch now projects to average at 81-85 mph. Lowry has a chance for three average to slightly above-average pitches and at least average control, so a ceiling of No. 4 starter is attainable.
A pitcher-heavy 2014 draft class could make Peter, a lefthanded-hitting second baseman who also pitched at Creighton, the top position player selected by the White Sox that year. He sprays the ball around the field with a fluid, contact-oriented stroke. He has well below-average power, but his strikezone knowledge will help him maximize his raw hitting ability. Despite having below-average speed, Peter swiped 23 bags in 26 tries at high Class A Winston-Salem in 2015. Though he has limited range, he has above-average arm strength and excels at turning two. He led all Carolina League second basemen with 88 double plays in 2015. While Peter spent the vast majority of his time at the keystone in 2015, he appeared in a handful of games at shortstop and left field during the regular season and at third base in the Arizona Fall League, and versatility will be his key to a big league role.
Wendelken joined the White Sox in July 2013 as part of the same three-team deal that brought Avisail Garcia and Frankie Montas to Chicago. He spent 2014 in the high Class A Winston-Salem rotation before returning to his relief roots in 2015 and advancing to Triple-A Charlotte. Though it's not always pretty, Wendelken gets results. His thick build, hooking arm action and short-arm delivery help him sell a plus changeup that parks in the high 70s and generates plenty of awkward swings and misses. He is unafraid to throw the pitch two or three times in a row. His fastball can reach 94 mph but sits more regularly in the low 90s, and he lacks the stamina to start. He tends to roll a one-plane, slurvy breaking ball to the plate in the low 80s, but it's more of a surprise pitch than a true weapon. The White Sox added Wendelken to the 40-man roster in November, and he could receive a big league trial in the bullpen at some point in 2016 if he pitches well at Charlotte.
The White Sox signed brothers Euclides and Robin Leyer out of El Seibo, Dominican Republic, when they were 19 and 18 years old, respectively. The younger Robin has developed into an intriguing armstrength prospect who reached Double-A Birmingham in the second half of 2015. Leyer began to unlock his potential in 2014, when he worked with low Class A Kannapolis pitching coach Jose Bautista. His upper-end velocity began to tick up from 94 mph to its present max of 97. His double-plus fastball features more life at lower velocities, and batters seem to pick up the ball early, which helps explain why he doesn't miss more bats. Leyer has good feel for an average changeup with split action and fade. He needs to stay on top of his below-average slider to improve its consistency, and right now the pitch lacks power and bite to generate swings and misses. Leyer's changeup and acceptable control keep him alive as a starter, but he might be more effective in a bullpen role where he can air out his fastball.
Brennan doubled as a quarterback at Capistrano Valley High in Southern California, but he showed more ability on the diamond. He spent one year at Oregon before transferring to Orange Coast (Calif.) JC and landing with the White Sox as a fourth-round pick in 2012. Brennan had Tommy John surgery in July 2013, returned to action less than a year later and finished 2014 with six starts at high Class A Winston-Salem. He combines a prototype, 6-foot-4 pitcher's frame with an athletic delivery and heavy sink on a plus fastball that tops out at 96 mph and sits 92-94. Brennan doesn't miss many bats and has below-average control, but his sinker-heavy approach generates one of the highest groundball rates in the system. His inconsistent, low-80s slider ranges from flat to average but still is his best secondary weapon. The lack of a reliable changeup, and the fact he hasn't yet made it through a full season unscathed, could consign Brennan to a relief role, where his sinker/slider repertoire fit nicely.
Zavala sat out his sophomore year at San Diego State as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, then returned as the Aztecs' regular left fielder in 2014. He moved back to catcher in 2015 and hit 14 home runs while showing enough defensive potential to warrant a 12th-round selection by the White Sox. Chicago assigned Zavala to the Rookie-level Arizona League after signing for $100,000 because his skills behind the plate required polish. He dominated younger competition by leading the circuit with 26 extrabase hits, then played for Mexico in the Premier 12 in the fall. Zavala offers a bat-first profile with the sort of all-fields approach that should enable him to hit for average and gap power. He runs OK for a catcher. Zavala possesses agility behind the plate and has soft, quiet hands when receiving the ball, though he has tick below-average arm strength. Scouts who like Zavala see him as having a ceiling as big league backup.
Cruz signed for $450,000 in September 2012, then proceeded to hit a cumulative .177 in his first 407 at-bats in the Dominican Summer League and Rookie-level Arizona League in 2013 and 2014. An offseason of conditioning work prepared Cruz for the daily grind at Rookie-level Great Falls in 2015, and he met the challenge by hitting .312 and ranking eighth in the Pioneer League batting race. He stood more upright in his stance in 2015 and frequently squared the ball with a sound righthanded swing he used to drive both gaps. He has occasional loft power to his pull side but profiles more as an average hitter with fringe power. Cruz played mostly third base for Great Falls in 2015 in deference to college senior Grant Massey, a 26th-round pick, but scouts like him best at shortstop, his natural position. While he is a no better than average runner, Cruz has good hands and double-plus arm strength, with an ability to throw from all angles and a great internal clock that ensures he never rushes a throw. Lacking in power and speed, he must continue to shine defensively and collect his share of hits to profile as utility infielder.
Despite signing as a 24-year-old nondrafted free agent in 2014 after dedicating his early 20s to speed skating, Alvarez's roots are planted firmly in baseball. He played at Miami's Columbus High through 2008 and nearly followed his older brother Nick, an outfielder who played professionally, to St. Thomas (Fla.). In the end, Alvarez dropped baseball to concentrate on speed skating. He nearly made the U.S. Olympic team in 2010, but when he didn't, he shifted his focus back to baseball and walked on to the Salt Lake CC team in 2011. Alvarez had a surgical procedure in March 2012 to repair 12 tears in the patellar tendons of both knees. Despite being immobilized for four weeks, he recovered to qualify for 2014 Olympic team and won a silver medal in the 5,000-meter relay. In his first full baseball season in 2015, Alvarez hit .296/.409/.424 with 88 walks and 53 stolen bases at two Class A levels. Because he is 5-foot-9 and has well below-average power, he has mastered the small-ball arts of bunting, hitting behind runners, stealing bases and working walks, and he rarely strikes out. While his arm is a bit short to play shortstop, he positions himself well and converts routine plays to profile as a second baseman. Alvarez will be 26 in 2016 and has no standout tool, but his competitive makeup has won over most everybody who has seen him play.
Hayes walked more than he struck out in a four-year college career at Oregon State, and an elite batting eye continues to be his trademark. He led the South Atlantic League with 73 walks while at low Class A Kannapolis in 2014 and then paced the Southern League with 98 free passes at Double-A Birmingham in 2015. The lefthanded-hitting Hayes has sneaky pull power but prefers to work the count and hit to the middle of the field. His plate discipline gives him a chance to project as an average hitter, though he must produce more power to profile as a regular at first base. Southern League managers regarded him as the circuit's best defensive first baseman in 2015. He throws well but is a non-factor on the bases. Unless he improves upon his below-average power, Hayes probably won't profile as a regular first baseman for most clubs, though he could develop into a nice pinch-hitter/defensive replacement option.
The White Sox traded young closer Addison Reed to the Diamondbacks following the 2013 season because they believed in Davidson's upside. Then 22 years old, Davidson was coming off a season in which he won MVP honors at the Futures Game, smacked 17 home runs at Triple-A Reno and earned a September callup. Since then he has scuffled through two straight seasons at Triple-A Charlotte and received September callups neither time. Davidson has plus raw power to his pull side and led the International League with 23 homers in 2015--though 18 were hit at Charlotte's band box-- and he has hit .201 with a 31 percent strikeout rate as a White Sox farmhand. Davidson's glove work has improved as his bat has regressed, and he has the requisite quickness and arm strength to play the position.