Chicago White Sox Top 10 Prospects

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, 2011.

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1. Chris Sale, lhp
2. Brent Morel, 3b/ss
3. Dayan Viciedo, 1b/3b
4. Jared Mitchell, of
5. Eduardo Escobar, ss
6. Gregori Infante, rhp
7. Jacob Petricka, rhp
8. Brandon Short, of
9. Trayce Thompson, of
10. Anthony Carter, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Brent Morel
Best Power Hitter Dayan Viciedo
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jimmy Gallagher
Fastest Baserunner Qualon Millender
Best Athlete Jared Mitchell
Best Fastball Chris Sale
Best Curveball Nate Jones
Best Slider Chris Sale
Best Changeup Chris Sale
Best Control Dylan Axelrod
Best Defensive Catcher Miguel Gonzalez
Best Defensive Infielder Eduardo Escobar
Best Infield Arm Brent Morel
Best Defensive Outfielder Jordan Danks
Best Outfield Arm Jose Martinez
Catcher Mike Blanke
First Base Dayan Viciedo
Second Base Gordon Beckham
Third Base Brent Morel
Shortstop Eduardo Escobar
Left Field Jared Mitchell
Center Field Alexei Ramirez
Right Field Alex Rios
Designated Hitter Carlos Quentin
No. 1 Starter John Danks
No. 2 Starter Chris Sale
No. 3 Starter Jake Peavy
No. 4 Starter Gavin Floyd
No. 5 Starter Mark Buehrle
Closer Sergio Santos
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Jon Rauch, rhp Twins
2002 Joe Borchard, of Giants
2003 Joe Borchard, of Giants
2004 Joe Borchard, of Giants
2005 Brian Anderson, of Royals
2006 Bobby Jenks, rhp White Sox
2007 Ryan Sweeney, of Athletics
2008 Aaron Poreda, lhp Padres
2009 Gordon Beckham, ss White Sox
2010 Jared Mitchell, of White Sox
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Kris Honel, rhp Chico (Golden)
2002 Royce Ring, lhp Yankees
2003 Brian Anderson, of Royals
2004 Josh Fields, 3b Royals
2005 Lance Broadway, rhp Blue Jays
2006 Kyle McCulloch, rhp White Sox
2007 Aaron Poreda, lhp Padres
2008 Gordon Beckham, ss White Sox
2009 Jared Mitchell, of White Sox
2010 Chris Sale, lhp White Sox
Joe Borchard, 2003 $5,300,000
Dayan Viciedo, 2008 $4,000,000
Gordon Beckham, 2008 $2,600,000
Jason Stumm, 1999 $1,750,000
Chris Sale, 2010 $1,656,000
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Chicago White Sox

White Sox general manager Ken Williams basked in the glow of a World Series title in 2005, the only one on either side of Chicago in the last 83 years. His maneuvering in 2004 and '05 played a huge role for that championship team, as he added players such as Jose Contreras, Jermaine Dye, Freddy Garcia and A.J. Pierzynski with money freed up by the discarding of Carlos Lee and Magglio Ordonez.

But 2005 is a long time ago.

In 10 seasons as GM, Williams has gotten the White Sox into the playoffs twice. His 2010 team featured just two truly homegrown regulars, Mark Buehrle and Gordon Beckham. Beuhrle and Paul Konerko, the franchise's two cornerstone players during Williams' decade at the helm, already were in the organization when he replaced Ron Schueler after a 95-win season in 2000.

An old-school type, Schueler believed in the importance of scouting and player development. When the White Sox made the White Flag trade in 1997 and then let Albert Belle and Robin Ventura leave after 1998, Schueler reinvested those salaries in amateur talent (an admirable strategy, even if Joe Borchard did get $5 million). By contrast, Williams has shown little patience as a GM, constantly borrowing from tomorrow for today.

As a result of Williams' willingness to trade prospects for veterans and the team's bungled efforts in Latin America, Chicago has one the weakest farm systems in baseball. While Williams has dealt away 53 players (and counting) who have been ranked on Baseball America's annual White Sox Top 30 Prospects lists, few have come back to bite him—though righthander Daniel Hudson did go 7-1, 1.69 in 11 starts after being shipped to the Diamondbacks for Edwin Jackson in July.

Owner Jerry Reinsdorf rarely lets his team exceed Major League Baseball's bonus recommendations in the draft, a philosophy that has also hurt the farm system. The White Sox gave out just $3.9 million on bonuses in the 2010 draft, the fifth-lowest total in the majors, though first-round pick Chris Sale emerged as their closer by season's end. Chicago ranks last over the last five years with a total of $18.5 million in bonuses.

The one area in which Chicago has invested heavily is in Cuban players. The White Sox are happy with the return on the $4.75 million major league contract they gave Alexei Ramirez in December 2007, and still have high hopes for slugging prospect Dayan Viciedo, who got a $10 million big league deal a year later.

Williams remains popular with much of the White Sox's fan base, as it's easy to buy into his attempts to win as many games as possible every season. Critiques of his performance generally focus on his tempestuous relationship with manager Ozzie Guillen, which could get worse if several holes can't be filled on the big league roster.

Three of the nine regulars in Chicago's 2010 lineup became free agents, most notably Konerko, and the farm system doesn't offer a wealth of internal options. Brent Morel is a candidate to start at third base and Viciedo is a possibility at first base or DH, but the White Sox will have to look outside the organization for a catcher if Pierzynski leaves and Konerko could be badly missed if he walks.

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