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White Sox Prospects

Moderator: Phil Rogers compiled the White Sox top 10 prospects list and will make his BA chat room debut by answering your questions about the organization.

 Q:  Robert Goldberg from Lyndhurst, NJ asks:
Just how highly in the White Sox Top 30 (if at all) does Josh Stewart rank, after his effective season in AA Birmingham? Is he a prospect or just a fringe lefty who got lucky?

Phil Rogers: Greetings everybody. This is my first one of these, so let me apologize in advance if I choke. Robert, I'd call Josh Stewart a fringe prospect but I wouldn't say he got lucky. He just started throwing all his pitches for strike and held up to a heavy workload (200 innings including the Fall League). I saw him pitch in an exhibition at the Hall of Fame and he looked like a lot of decent lefties do. With that said, it took his strong fall to crack the top 30, which will appear in the Prospect Handbook. He's got a chance but there are a lot of arms in front of him.

 Q:  Friggiddy Fred from Wicker Park asks:
Who are some sleeper prospects lower in the system? And what do you think about Willie Harris, that man is hilarious

Phil Rogers: Well, Friggiddy, if I can call you Friggidy ... I'll take the last question first. The coolest thing Harris did all year was his backflip at the Hall of Fame exhibition game, in honor of Ozzie Smith. He's got flavor, no doubt about it. Now can he hit big-league pitching? I'm not sure he's more than a utility type guy. He's got leadoff potential but needs to make strides. I like Tim Hummel's chances better in the long run at second and don't see Harris as a regular CFer. As for sleepers, I'll throw out a couple: OF Thomas Brice, an Australian who hit well at Bristol and might make a big splash in 2003, and a Chicagoland kid, Mike Spidale. He's a CFer who was having a good season in high-A before breaking his hand. Watch out for those two, among many I could throw out there. Oh, yeah, RHP Brian Miller, too. He's got tremendous upside. I could go on, but I'll go to the next question.

 Q:  Tim from Winnetka asks:
Will Jon Ruach live up to his former BA player of the year status?

Phil Rogers: Well, Tim, thanks to BA Mr. Rauch has a lot of buildup to justify. But don't forget that nobody ever said he would the right-handed version of Randy Johnson. No one ever put him on that high of a pedestal. I like his chances to have a nice big-league career and he could emerge as a No. 2 starter to Buehrle in a year or two. The Sox screwed him around in 2002 and he still finished strong. He'll be all right.

 Q:  Steve R. from Las Vegas, NV asks:
How does Gary Majewski fit into the White Sox's plan? Is he a closer or middle reliever and what sort of upside potential does he have? Thanks for taking my question. As always you guys do a great job!

Moderator: Steve, thanks for the question. Majewski was left off the 40-man roster after a strong winter in Arizona. I think he could be claimed in the Rule 5 draft. But if he isn't, he'll get a chance to crack that crowded bullpen. I think he's always been viewed more as a set-up guy than a closer.

 Q:  stephen from kannapolis asks:
as a fan of the intimidators..could you tell me which players from the intimidators are high prospects besides maybe honel...any sleepeers...also i know the winston salem team had a great bullpen...anyone to keep our out for as far as flying under the radar system...thanks

Phil Rogers: Stephen, you Kannapolis folks have seen the birth of many good arms lately. Corwin Malone and Arnaldo Munoz come immediately to mind. Off the 2002 team, I'd say the next best prospect to Honel was probably Ryan Wing. The White Sox like him a lot. He didn't miss the top 10 by much. And I misspoke earlier about Spidale. He was there, not Winston-Salem last year. He's a guy the Sox like. Also Mike Morse, the huge shortstop. They'll give him a long time to mature.

 Q:  Mark L. Peel from Arlington Heights, IL asks:
I notice you mentioned Dave Sanders in passing in your writeup. What's Sanders's outlook?

Phil Rogers: Hey, Mark, good to hear from you. But isn't this the wrong team? If it was the Cubs, of course, I'd be asking you the questions. I think Sanders' outlook is strong. He could join Damaso Marte and Munoz to give the Sox three lefty weapons in the bullpen in 2003. He throws 90 with a slider that is apparently nasty. He's been very consistent and come up big in playoff games, both for Birmingham and in the AFL. He's one of the guys I can't wait to see next spring. He might have raised his stock more in 2002 than anyone in the Sox system.

 Q:  Jim Schubert from Milwaukee asks:
Has there been a better example of how not to handle a young pitcher than the way the ChiSox handled John Rauch? What are the chances that he will develop in to a top of the rotation starter?

Phil Rogers: Jim, you've hit in on the head wRauch. The Sox really blew it whim in 2002. It was truly bizarre to me, and I saw it coming in spring training. They just settled on him early, even though he was coming off surgery, and wouldn't be talked out of taking somebody else as the No. 5 starter. Of course, it turned out they didn't really need one because Manuel used a four-man rotation for the first two-three weeks, leaving Rauch sitting on his hands. He should have been pitching, probably in double-A. It was impressive to me the way he handled it and returned with two eye-opening starts vs. Minnesota in late-September. I like his chances, assuming he stays healthy.

 Q:  Mike from Orrville, OH asks:
Is there any chance that Tim Hummel will eventually beat Willie Harris out for the 2B job? Or has Hummel fallen so much that he looks like a utility player at best?

Phil Rogers: We're getting a lot of Tim Hummel questions, which goes to show how many people pay attention. I am impressed. I think Hummel looks like a utility player at worst. He got off track in the first half of 2002 but was impressive in bouncing back to finish strong. He kind of did the same thing in the AFL. Down the stretch, he was hitting fifth and played a significant role in Peoria winning a title. I look for him to bounce back in 2003 like Joe Crede did in 2002. It remains to be seen where he plays but wD'Angelo Jimenez the probably post-Valentin shortstop, I would not be surprised if he was the second baseman in 2004. The competition will be fierce. He's a couple years away but the Sox are intrigued by kid second baseman Pedro Lopez.

 Q:  Marty from South Side asks:
Phil, It would seem logical for the Sox to give Borchard a real opportunity at the CF job this spring especially with Rowand's injury. (Even without the injury I don't think Rowand's much more than a 4th OF'er.) Do the Sox think Borchard can handle CF defensively? If Lance Berkman can play it . . .

Phil Rogers: Wow, we went a while without our first Joe Borchard question. Perhaps that speaks to the fact that there are quite a few interesting players in the Sox system. They may not rank as highly as they did a couple years ago but it is still fairly strong. Marty, regarding Borchard, I think the Sox believe he can be adequate in CF, especially wthe reduced dimensions at Comiskey. Given Carlos Lee's improvement in 2002 -- huge at the plate and debateable in the field -- I think center is his likely landing spot. It may not be until the second half of 2003, however, as he has holes in his swing to fix. The Sox are impressed he went to winter ball but his showing in Puerto Rico hasn't really changed any opinions. But with that said, I don't rule out him seizing the day by having a huge spring training, which would essentially force the Sox to keep him. I like him a lot, holes and all.

 Q:  Kevin from Chicago asks:
Despite having a good year last year, I noticed Jeremy Reed didn't make your list. Seems to go along with what I've heard about him that he's a 4th OF'er. Why did the Sox take him in the 2nd round of last year's draft?

Phil Rogers: Jeremy, I wouldn't read too much into a second-round pick not jumping immediately into the top 10. He is well thought of and will be solidly in the top 30, which is a decent start, I'd think. The Sox like him a lot as a solid, left-handed hitter and have been surprised at his fielding. He played mostly first base in college but they think he could even do a decent job in CF. The Sox are thin on outfield depth in their system, so he's in a good position to climb up the ladder.

 Q:  Patrick from Chicago asks:
Do the Sox have enough bullpen depth in the minors and with Marte where you can envision them dealing Koch after the '03 season and using someone else as the closer?

Phil Rogers: Patrick, bingo. You win the contest for thinking ahead. While I like the addition of Koch, I am surprised that the Sox are suddenly valueing that position so highly, especially given that they've had a great history with lesser-tier closers since the White Flag trade. I'd say they'll sign Koch to a long-term deal only if he is really motivated to stay wone team after being with three in three years. Otherwise I do not see them going year to year whim in arbitration. I think there is an excellent chance that they could be looking to move him at this time next year. The one caveat is there is not a clear-cut "closer of the fugure'' in the system. But Edwin Almonte, a Keith Foulke clone, has had 62 saves the last two years. There are a lot of interesting options, so we'll see.

 Q:  John Walsh from Chicago asks:
Phil, You mentioned Jon Adkins in the "other" section of the White Sox top 10. Adkins was aquired for Ray Durham (with the White Sox paying most of Durham's salary). As a Sox fan, should I be excited that Kenny Williams acquired Akins in lieu of the draft pick compensation? Billy Beane essentially was able to flip Jon Adkins for a late 1st round pick, while getting 2 months of Ray Durham for free. I realize hindsight is 2020, but I fear that Williams is just Beane's latest target (Word association Koch=Ritchie).

Phil Rogers: John, good to hear from you. I'm not a big fan of the Durham trade because I just don't see the fascination with Adkins. The Sox seem to be the only ones who like him. But I've never seen him wmy own eyes, so I should reserve judgment somewhat. Also few organizations did a better job working the system of draft-choice compensation that the Sox, so it's hard for me to hammer them on this one. The list of guys they've selected wbonus picks is really impressive. I'm sure I'll misstate a few of these, but it's guys like Rowand, Wright, Fogg, Parque, Biddle and about 10 others. This year's trades were all about saving some money and creating jobs for kids. I covered the labor situation, and I thought the system would change. So, yeah, this one might not have worked out. But the bigger test might be whether Durham is worth the contract he just got from San Francisco. Given the Sox's finances, I think they played it the way they had to.

 Q:  Greg from Phoenix asks:
After seeing Haigwood, Rodriguez and McCarthy throw this season in the Arizona League, they all seemed pretty even talent wise. Which one seems to have the most upside and the quickest track to the big leagues? Thanks

Phil Rogers: It's tough to say wall of those guys being so young. All three are babies. For the purposes of this year's rankings, Haigwood is the guy I liked the best. It's hard to see how a guy who was 43-1 in high school -- and a lefty, no less -- could slide to the 16th round of the draft. By all accounts, he's got a real clue what he is doing. His velocity is good enough now, given the quality of his other pitches, and should have plenty of room to improve. Rodriguez and McCarthy are bigger kids. Rodriguez, in particular, pitched against better competition in high school. It will be interesting to see where they are a year or two from now but all of them are probably 2005-07 types when we're talking about big-league consideration.

 Q:  Mick from Chicago asks:
Hey Phil. Great to hear you on the Chicago land sports radio stations. Wish you had a regular spot. Way too much football talk. It looks like Gonzalez is still a ways off from being the regular shortstop. Do you think they'll go with Valentin the next few years, or will they sign a guy like Jose Hernandez? I know Jimenez can't be a candidate. He really struggled when he had the chance in San Diego.

Phil Rogers: Mick, thanks for the question. First a caveat: I'm a sucker, a huge optimist. But with that said, don't forget that Jimenez was only about two years away from a life-threatening car wreck when he got that chance wthe Padres. I believe it has taken him some time to get his mojo back. But I see no reason why he cannot be the Sox's shortstop in 2004, if not 2003. I personally have very mixed feelings about Valentin. I love his grit but he is a platoon player who swings for the fences and will always be an accident waiting to happen in the field. I wouldn't be shocked if Jimenez wound up as the primary shortstop this year, either with Valentin getting traded or used in other ways. By the way, Jose is once again playing quite a bit of outfield in Puerto Rico. Could the Sox be considering taking a second look at him in CF?

 Q:  Marty from Chicago asks:
When Rauch was up at the beginning of last year I noticed his velocity was around 87-88 mph. Is he fully recovered from his arm injury?

Moderator: I know Rauch was not "fully recovered'' at the start of last season, which was why it was absurd to put him on the big-league staff. He was hitting the low-90s in September, though. I think he should be ready to roll this spring.

 Q:  RSS from Los Angeles asks:
How does the future look for Jason Stumm? He was the Sox first pick in '99, had Tommy John surgery in 2000, and pitched well last season (albeit in Low A) with a light workload as he got his arm back into shape. Also, do you think Brian West will ever solve his control problems and make it the Majors? And, with the fastball he has, why doesn't he put up more K's?

Phil Rogers: If it wasn't for bad luck, Stumm wouldn't have any. Just when his elbow was recovered from Tommy John surgery, and his velocity was back in the high-90s (best in the organization), his shoulder started bothering him. He had surgery this fall and could be out until June. The Sox hope for the best but he's looking like a sad case. Good question about West's strikeouts. I know the Sox have always liked his stuff but he's never put up overpowering numbers. He was more raw than most when the Sox got him but it's time for him to figure it out. He's destined for Triple-A but will have to pitch well to stay in the starting plans, I'd think.

 Q:  Albert from New York asks:
Kris Honel played in the same league as John Vanbenschoten and Gavin Floyd. How does he compare to the other young right-handers? Is he projected as a top of the rotation starter?

Phil Rogers: From that trio of guys, Gavin Floyd is the guy everybody seems to like the best. Then probably Vanbenschoten and Honel. Stuff-wise, Honel hasn't been with those other two. But he has gotten results pitching wo the fastball he had during his high school career in the Chicago suburbs. All three of those guys look like they should have nice big-league careers.

 Q:  Shane from asks:
Hi, Not for just this trade, but who would you rather have Josh Fogg & Kip Wells or GM Kenny Williams. Be honest.

Phil Rogers: Well, it wouldn't be a White Sox conversation wo someone ripping on Kenny Williams. Since you ask for honesty, I'll, I'll, I'll panic! No, just kidding. If you asked me Pat Gillick or Kenny Williams, well, that would be easy. But I can't hammer Kenny for any of his trades, really. I thought David Wells made sense at the time and so did Todd Ritchie. I expected the Sox to trade Wells or Jon Garland and I think they hung onto the right one. I had liked Fogg for some time but he was a fringe guy. The one trade that bothered me, oddly, was Matt Guerrier for Damaso Marte and Edwin Yan. Marte was much better than I thought. But don't be surprised if Guerrier establishes himself as a starter with the Pirates, maybe even in 2004. Long answer; short question.

 Q:  John Schneider from Miami of Ohio asks:
While Anthony Webster and Andy Gonzalez are getting the attention, there seems to be several other good looking prospects who played for Bristol this past season. What is your opinion on 2B Pedro Lopez, 1B Brendon Bounds, and SP's Rylan Reed and Josh Rupe?

Phil Rogers: John, Lopez and Rupe are the other two from that group who scouts really talk about. They rave about Lopez, in fact. I think you should keep your eye on Thomas Brice, who I mentioned early. I think he's got almost as much upside as Webster but he hasn't really flashed it yet. Now Gonzalez, if he can keep climbing the ladder at shortstop, he would be quite a value. I ranked Webster higher only because the attrition rate is high at SS. I like him both -- along with Lopez and Brice -- a lot.

 Q:  Scott from Springfield, Il asks:
If the rumors are true that the Sox are receiving the A's left handed pitching prospect Cotts in the Foulke deal, would he have made the top ten list and do you have any idea who the remaining "player to be named later" is?

Phil Rogers: Scott, The rumors are true. We considered Cotts for the top-10 (although probably couldn't have put him there since it hadn't been announced) but decided that he ranked just behind Ring. I would look for him to be in the 11-15 group when the book comes out. The other guy, we are hearing, is also a high draft choice but more likely a position player than a pitcher. Hope that helps.

 Q:  Peter Friberg from San Diego, CA asks:
Is Kenny Williams about the worst GM to be leading this team? It seems he keeps trading away young talent when he should be promoting it. Admittedly one role of the minors is as trade-bait, but it can also fill holes - Williams seems unaware of this phenomenon.

Phil Rogers: Peter, is he the worst? Well, he doesn't have Syd Thrift to protect him anymore, that's for sure. Kenny inherited a tough job and has not distinguished himself, that's for sure. Dan Evans looks a lot better by comparison. But as for young talent, what about Joe Crede? What about Miguel Olivo? What about Aaron Rowand? The Sox have brought a lot of young talent to the big leagues. Kenny has taken some gambles that haven't paid off but wo an endless supply of bad contracts to hand out, he's got to take some gambles. Like I said, it's a tough job to take a strong team like the 2000 one wlimited resources and improve it. This is a key year for him, however. If the Sox go backward, you might not have him to kick around.

 Q:  Joey from Tempe asks:
Can you tell me why Joe Borchard is hitting under his weight in the Mexican league? I can hear the Chad Hutchinson comparisons now...

Phil Rogers: Joey, you've got a faulty atlas there. Joe Borchard is hitting near his weight in Puerto Rico, not Mexico. He's already showed more in the big leagues than Hutchinson. I don't see him pulling a reversal toward the NFL. He'll be established at Comiskey by the end of 2003, if not earlier.

 Q:  John Althouse from Greenville, SC asks:
Where do you see the Sox farm system in terms of overall strength? I would place them around 20th or so...they only have 1 impact-type guy (Borchard) offensively, and I'm not sold on their pitchers. It's pretty easy to see Rauch as a 4A guy, Malone in the pen, and Honel as an average starter. As a Twin's fan, I feel pretty secure for the next few years (and beyond if a stadium is built)...Sox ain't goin' nowhere fast.

Phil Rogers: Well, I think the Sox's system is better than that. Much of their position player talent is in the lower minors because they brought so much to the big leagues the last few years. They are deep wpitching at almost all levels in the minors. I would not be so confident about the Twins ... I looked this up the other day: the last time the Twins had three winning seasons in a row was Rod Carew's rookie year. Something to chew on, huh?

 Q:  Geoff King from Dalugaville, Kentucky asks:
I am a die hard White Sox fan, and I was wondering how high of ceilings do Casey Rogowksi and Micah Schurnstein have? Also, does Jeremy Reed have the talent to worth a second round pick?

Phil Rogers: First thing, guys, we've gone over the hour but I've got some more time, so I'll take more questions if you have them. The first is from Geoff, in basketball country. Both Schnurstein and Rogowski are potential run-producers. Rogowski was sidelined early last year by surgery (shoulder?) but returned before the year was over. He'll have to re-establish himself in 2003. Schnurstein was a huge surprise from the 2002 draft. He set a record for the Arizona rookie league in doubles and led it in RBIs. He was also solid defensively at third base, even though he started the year as a high school second baseman in Las Vegas. Scouts like him a lot. I look for him to join the Kannapolis infield of Gonzalez, Lopez and Bounds. They should be lots of fun to watch.

 Q:  Nathan Hurley from Buffalo,ny asks:
do you think it will take Royce Ring longer to get to chicago and be the closer now that Koch is there instead of if it were the closer by commitee like last year. thanks very much and keep up the great work.

Phil Rogers: Hey, Nathan, thanks for the nice words. We talked about Koch earlier, and I'm not sure he'll be there beyond 2003. If Ring can have a big year, he could put himself into the picture for 2004 or beyond. But his immediate challenge is establishing himself in a system that always has Damaso Marte, Arnie Munoz and Dave Sanders ahead of him, not to mention Kelly Wunsch. The Sox shouldn't be in a hurry for Ring to get to Comiskey.

 Q:  Richard Smiley from Chicago, IL asks:
The White Sox drafted a couple of third basemen (Micah Scnurstein & Edgar Varela) who posted good hitting numbers in the rookie leagues. How are their defensive skills and what are their poropects?

Phil Rogers: We've talked about Schnurstein so I'll go right to Varela. He was a college senior (teammate of Jeremy Reed's at Long Beach State) who will have to prove himself every year. I'd look for the Sox to maybe jump him to high-A in 2003 and see if he can keep hitting. He does have a lot of power potential but he's not really a tools guy. Then again, that's what the Sox said about Olmedo Saenz before he jumped to Oakland and had himself a nice little career.

 Q:  Nathan from Buffalo,ny asks:
If joe Crede had not went over the AB's to not be considered in the top 10 would he have been #1 or would it still have been Borchard?

Moderator: Great question, Nathan. I think Crede -- a long-time member of the BA White Sox Top 10 -- would have had his time as a No. 1. Borchard unquestionably has more of an upside but Crede seems to have answered all the questions about his game. He is there, and should stay. Interesting though. It wasn't that long ago that strikeouts were an issue wCrede. If Borchard can make the same strides, he'll be something to see.

 Q:  Richard Wambach from St. Charles, IL asks:
I was at the White Sox spring training in Tucson last March and was impressed with infielder Tim Hummel both in the field and at the plate. During the season he apparently regressed. I noticed that he did not make the White Sox' Top Ten. Is he no longer considered to be a genuine prospect?

Phil Rogers: Forgive me for being in lightning round mode, but I want to get to as many as I can. But another Hummel question? I'll take it because I like him a lot. He slid in 2002 but still has a lot of upside. I expect him to wind up a big-league regular although maybe in the Scott Fletcher school.

 Q:  John M. Perkins from Macon, GA asks:
How does a RP that tires after 40 pitches project as a potential middle rotation SP? Is Arnaldo Munoz that raw, that he may get to the 100 pitch level?

Phil Rogers: Dang editors. I wrote that he could be a middle-of-the-rotation guy by the time he was 25. He is so small, and has such incredible arm speed, that the Sox don't want to push him too hard. But I look at his tools -- and I've only seen him pitch in Arizona, where his curveball is probably half as good a pitch as it is elsewhere -- and see a guy who should be more than a middle reliever. I expect him to have a good couple of years in relief and then to be pushed into the rotation about the time his salary starts climbing.

 Q:  Geoff Michael King from Dalugaville, Kentucky asks:
My favorite prospect in the system is Andy Gonzalez. What do you think his ultimate potential could be in the future?

Phil Rogers: If he has an good year in 2003, he could be next year's No. 1 Sox prospect. Everybody I talk to says he's the real deal but he hasn't played in a full-season league yet.

 Q:  DmL from Chicago, IL asks:
Phil, I've got a Cubs question for you. A few days ago, you wrote about a potential trade between the Cubs and Rangers, with the Cubs sending Damian Miller to Texas along with a pitching prospect or two for Hank Blalock. Was that speculation on your part that the two sides seem to be a good match or is there any substance to this? What are the chances that this may actually happen?

Phil Rogers: Texas' trade for Einar Diaz makes it a lot less likely. Buck Showalter loves Damian Miller, and the Rangers were desperate to line up post-Pudge catching options. I don't know that it's not still a possibility but it's less of one.

 Q:  Richard Wambach from St. Charles, IL asks:
Edwin Yan had a fairly decent year at Winston-Salem and I believe that he led the organization in stolen bases. Since the Sox could use additional speed, is Yan a possibility for the middle of the infield in the next 2-3 years?

Phil Rogers: Edwin Yan has speed and defensive range but not a lot else. He's still a project at the plate. He's going to go to the Southern League in 2003 but won't get above it unless he hits the ball more solidly. His average at Winston-Salem was built largely on bunts and infield hits.

 Q:  Paul Peterson from Ottawa, Canada asks:
What can you tell me about the '03 prospects from Canada. I have read some stuff about Mike Cart but nothing about Jamie Romak who played for the Jr National Team this summer. At 6'2 220lbs he can mash. Who do you think may go early from Canada, if anyone? Thanks.

Phil Rogers: Sorry, I don't know much about Canadian players but I do know a guy who does -- Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. Tell him I sent you there.

 Q:  Jim Hofman from Naperville, IL asks:
Phil, thanks for doing this chat. Can you talk about these players and your opinion on their ceiling: Casey Rogowski, Wyatt Allen, and Jason Stumm. Also, what happened with Brian Sager this year, did he get hurt again? I see he had very limited innings. Thanks!

Phil Rogers: Howdy, neighbor. Is Naperville the best town in America, or what? I should be on the chamber of commerce. You're right about Sager. He can't stay healthy. I've touched on the others but not Allen. The Sox like him a lot. He smoothed out his delivery some and should be ready for double-A. He still needs to cut down strikeouts and improve command, but he could be really good a couple years from now.

 Q:  Mike from Oak Forest, IL asks:
What's your opinion of farm director Bob Fontaine? He didn't have that great of a run with the Angels and I was less than impressed with his drafting of a college closer (Ring) in the first round last year.

Moderator: Fontaine felt pretty good about his work with the Angels when he saw them a field a team of his players in the World Series. Frankly, he and Bill Bavasi had more to do wthe Angels success than Bill Stoneman or any of the current front office types. But I'm kind of wyou on Ring. I haven't seen him yet but it's hard to get excited about a college closer. He's supposed to be the exception. We'll see.

 Q:  Michael from Seattle asks:
Where would Joe Valentine have ranked on your list?

Phil Rogers: Michael, good question. Valentine was No. 8. His trade moved Ring up from 11 to 10, getting his mug in the magazine. I think I liked Valentine better than the Sox. He throws 95 wa nasty slider and has never been hit in the minors. Oakland got a very interesting pitcher.

 Q:  John Ledbetter from Lockport, IL asks:
What can we expect from Miguel Olivio this season. Will he go into camp as a starter or will have competition from Josh Paul. If so what is your opinion on who is better?

Phil Rogers: The White Sox will probably add a veteran catcher as insurance but it's Olivo's job. He's jumping from double-A but he's hardly inexperienced, after two years in high-A and two more in double-A. I expect the catching position to be the best it's been in years. Put down Olivo for .265-12-55 and 120 games caught.

 Q:  Jim Hofman from Naperville, IL asks:
Phil, two guys in the low minors appear to have intriguing potential ... Heath Phillips, a lefthander, and Rylan Reed, righthander. Either of these two make the Sox Top 30, and your thoughts on each? Thanks!

Phil Rogers: Phillips should repeat in the top 30. He's a personal favorite of mine, if only for the similarities with Buehrle. He's more of a pitcher than a stuff guy. Reed, a stuff guy, not a pitcher, isn't likely this time around.

 Q:  Chetanna from Baltimore, Maryland asks:
Just last year it seemed the White Sox had one of te best farm systems in the game why has it changed so much in the last 1-2 years? I understand injuries are are concern but do injuries really impair a prospects long term future?

Phil Rogers: The Sox might be suffering because their pitchers -- Kip Wells, Wright, Garland, Rauch, Parque, and Malone among others -- haven't become big winners. But I think it's kind of a bad rap. They brought a lot of position-player talent to the big leagues late last-season and will have a loaded staff at Charlotte. It's more art than science, I think.

 Q:  Jeff Rosales from Chicago, IL asks:
What ever happened to Mitch Wylie? I know he was never really a prospect but he did move up a class each year after he was drafted. And at one point in time wasn't he on the 40 man roster?

Phil Rogers: Wylie, a Tommy John survivor, was on the roster last spring and pitched well enough to earn some consideration for a job (I'd have taken him over Rauch). But unfortunately his health didn't hold up.

 Q:  Chetanna from Baltimore, Maryland asks:
Among those who didnt make your top 1o list who should fans watch put for next year?

Phil Rogers: Here are a few names I like: Brian Miler, Pedro Lopez, Thomas Brice and Ryan Wing. Daniel Haigwood, too.

 Q:  Mike Doyle from Valparaiso, IN asks:
What do you think of Anthony Webster? He seems to be fairly unknown, but has put up very solid numbers in Rookie Ball, and in the Appy League.

Phil Rogers: There's nothing not to like about Webster, which is why he's No. 3 on our list. The only question about him seems to be how much power he will develop. It will be interesting to see what kind of a year he has when he goes to full-season ball. He's ready, that's for sure.

 Q:  Marty from The South Side asks:
Phil, one more thing on Borchard. In an effort to get as many AB's as quickly to make him a baseball player, he has played virtually nonstop (minors, AFL, winter league) since signing out of college, do you think at least some of his struggles could be attributed to him just being tired?

Moderator: Could be. The Sox have pushed Borchard hard, and he did tell me that he was gassed at the end of 2002. I think that could have accounted for his dip from 2001. It looks like he's going the distance in Puerto Rico this winter, which could again make fatigue an issue. Your point is a good one, though -- he's competiting at a high level while making a difficult transition. It speaks to his upside.

 Q:  nate from virginia beach asks:
What is with the trend of white sox prospects and their surgeries (Rauch, Kane, etc..)is the instruction and decision making that bad, or is surgery to quickly prescribed nowadays?

Phil Rogers: It's bad luck, which they suffer along wother organizations. Minor league pitching coaches are a major strength of the White Sox system. From Don Cooper to Curt Hasler and Juan Nieves, along with Kirk Champion and all the other guys, these guys do an excellent job. There is an admirable level of communication and coordination between the coaches.

 Q:  Q from SD asks:
Are the Sox finally going to let Joe Crede play a whole year? He has impressed me for years but they always find some has been to waste at bats with instead of him.

Phil Rogers: Yes, I thought he could have been there a lot earlier in 2003. I'm thinking he'll go the distance in 2003 and probably wind up with numbers like these -- .270-21-85. Also he'll be the best defensive 3B they've had since Ventura.

 Q:  travis from new york asks:
I see Hummel has progressed quite quickly and effectively I hear there is another brother at ODU, do you know his status

Phil Rogers: I know he's got a younger brother there -- the third of the bunch. Everybody always says the baby is the best, but, no, I don't know anything about him.

 Q:  Adam from Mt. Pleasant asks:
HI! I was wondering which pitcher has the best ceiling of the AL central prospects?

Phil Rogers: Everybody likes Ricardo Rodriguez, the guy the Indians got from the Dodgers last year. Also keep your eye out for the Royals' 2002 first-rounder, Zack Greinke, who is a Saberhagen-type who went almost straight from high school to Puerto Rico, where he's pitched well.

 Q:  adam from stc illinois asks:
what do you think about Arnoldo Munoz and his eye-popping winter league numbers!? When do you see him pitching in the big leagues? thanks

Phil Rogers: What's not to like about those Munoz numbers? Honestly, I gave him some top-10 consideration a year ago before letting the White Sox types talk me into dropping him somewhat (16 or 17, I think). I like him a lot. I'd bet you a Comiskey Park churro that he'll make his big-league debut in 2003, assuming his arm doesn't fall off.

 Q:  Jim Hofman from Naperville, IL asks:
Phil, the other player from Oakland ... possibly J.T. Stotts (SS) or Jeremy Brown (C), both position playershigh drafts in '01?

Phil Rogers: Those aren't the names I've heard. I'd spill the beans but it hasn't been published by the guys who write my paycheck yet.

 Q:  BB44 from Houston asks:
Whats your scouting report for Kris Honel??

Phil Rogers: Low-mileage arm wa great idea of how to pitch. His best pitch is a knucklecurve but he has tremendous command. He has won wo his best velocity. He could come quick once he gets it all together. Don't be surprised if he's No. 1 on the 2003 list.

 Q:  Michael Cross from Decatur, IL asks:
If the Cubs sign Pudge, they'll be looking to deal Damian Miller. Is that somebody the Sox will be interested in, and who would they have to give up to get him?

Phil Rogers: I haven't heard about any specific interest but he'd be good insurance. I'm not sure the Sox would want to pay as much as Miller will cost after arbitration.

 Q:  Yardape_99 from Brantford Ontario asks:
Who do you think has definite major leaguer writtin over him but just doesn't get the hype in the farm system right now? A sleeper if u will....?

Phil Rogers: This is a reach, but to swing for the fences, Thomas Brice (who may not even be in this year's top 30 because he's so raw). He's an Australian with a commanding presence and an excellent left-handed hitter. He could blossom as an OF or 1B. Think John Olerud or Shawn Green.

 Q:  Al from Waterloo, Ontario asks:
With his off year, is Dennis Ulacia still considered a decent prospect?

Phil Rogers: He slid but didn't fall off the face of the earth. He's still young and can re-establish himself wa good 2003. He'd be an interesting Rule 5 risk for a non-contending team.

 Q:  fred from Ia asks:
Are you doine the cubs chat.

Phil Rogers: No, I'll leave that to my friend Jim Callis. But I'll challenge him to take as many questions as we have today. Thank you very much. Check back for upcoming Top 10 chats.

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