Chicago White Sox: Top 10 Prospects

Chicago White Sox

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2007.

1.Ryan Sweeney, of
2.Josh Fields, 3b
3.Lance Broadway, rhp
4.Kyle McCulloch, rhp
5.Charlie Haeger, rhp
6.Aaron Cunningham, of
7.Adam Russell, rhp
8.Lucas Harrell, rhp
9.Matt Long, rhp
10.Chris Carter, 1b
Best Hitter for AverageRyan Sweeney
Best Power HitterJosh Fields
Best Strike-Zone DisciplineRicardo Nanita
Fastest BaserunnerPaulo Orlando
Best AthleteJerry Owens
Best FastballAdam Russell
Best CurveballLance Broadway
Best SliderKanekoa Texeira
Best ChangeupKyle McCullough
Best ControlHeath Phillips
Best Defensive CatcherChris Stewart
Best Defensive InfielderRobert Valido
Best Infield ArmAngel Gonzalez
Best Defensive OutfielderRyan Sweeney
Best Outfield ArmChristian Marrero
CatcherA.J. Pierzynski
First BaseJosh Fields
Second BaseTadahito Iguchi
Third BaseJoe Crede
ShortstopJuan Uribe
Left FieldJermaine Dye
Center FieldBrian Anderson
Right FieldRyan Sweeney
Designated HitterPaul Konerko
No. 1 StarterMark Buehrle
No. 2 StarterBrandon McCarthy
No. 3 StarterFreddy Garcia
No. 4 StarterJon Garland
No. 5 StarterLance Broadway
CloserBobby Jenks
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Mike Cameron, ofMets
1998Mike Caruso, ssOut of baseball
1999Carlos Lee, 3bRangers
2000Kip Wells, rhpRangers
2001Jon Rauch, rhpNationals
2002Joe Borchard, ofMarlins
2003Joe Borchard, ofMarlins
2004Joe Borchard, ofMarlins
2005Brian Anderson, ofWhite Sox
2006Bobby Jenks, rhpWhite Sox
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Jason Dellaero, ssOut of baseball
1998Kip Wells, rhpRangers
1999Jason Sturmm, rhpOut of baseball
2000Joe Borchard, ofMarlins
2001Kris Honel, rhpWhite Sox
2002Royce Ring, lhpMets
2003Brian Anderson, ofWhite Sox
2004Josh Fields, 3bWhite Sox
2005Lance Broadway, rhpWhite Sox
2006Kyle McCulloch, rhpWhite Sox
Joe Borchard, 2000$5,300,000
Jason Stumm, 1999$1,750,000
Royce Ring, 2002$1,600,000
Brian Anderson, 2003$1,600,000
Lance Broadway, 2005$1,570,000
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Chicago White Sox

General manager Ken Williams, the architect of the White Sox' World Series championship in 2005, likes to say he enjoyed that success for about 24 hours before getting to work on a repeat. He appeared to strengthen the roster with a series of offseason moves funded by a significant increase in payroll, including the additions of Jim Thome and Javier Vazquez, but Chicago ultimately fell short of returning to the playoffs.

A pitching staff built around a veteran rotation couldn't duplicate its 2005 performance, with the staff ERA climbing from 3.61 to 4.61. The lineup picked up the pace early, helping the White Sox to a 56-29 start, but wore down late in the season. A 33-36 second half caused Chicago to slide into third place in the deep American League Central, missing the postseason despite delivering back-to-back 90-win seasons for the first time since the Sox had three straight from 1963-65.

While going backward in the standings, the White Sox flexed some new muscle in the Chicago market. They filled U.S. Cellular Field with regularity, drawing a record 2.96 million fans, nearly as many as the crosstown rival Cubs. Ratings showed that more people followed the Sox on television than the Cubs. Both of those developments were amazing considering the perception of the two franchises and their home ballparks over the last two decades.

Williams has helped change the outlook of his franchise with his aggressive approach, almost always joining the pursuit of high-profile players on the market. He doesn't mind trading prospects for proven talent and hasn't seen many of his deals come back to bite him. The Vazquez trade could be an exception, as he sent promising center fielder Chris Young to the Diamondbacks. Trying to improve a thin bullpen, Williams sent two other promising pitching prospects, lefthander Tyler Lumsden and righthander Daniel Cortes, to the Royals for Mike MacDougal in July.

The White Sox eventually may suffer for draining so much talent away from the farm system. Their big league club was older than all of its AL Central rivals except for the Tigers in 2006, and its window for contending may not remain open for too much longer.

Chicago did break in some young players last season, with Brian Anderson taking over in center field, Bobby Jenks saving 41 games in his first full year in the majors and Brandon McCarthy serving in middle relief while awaiting an opening in the rotation. Most of the system's top prospects are at the upper levels, led by outfielder Ryan Sweeney and third baseman Josh Fields, who starred in Triple-A and are ready for jobs with the Sox.

But at the lower levels, there's an alarming lack of talent. The bottom three clubs in Chicago's system combined for a .333 winning percentage. The White Sox have leaned toward safer, more easily projected prospects in recent drafts, leading to a shortage of high-ceiling talent. They also haven't been productive at mining international talent, prompting manager Ozzie Guillen to prod Williams for an increased effort at finding and developing players from Latin America, particularly Guillen's native Venezuela.