Ryan Bukowiecki is a student at the Illinois Media School and a contributor to The D & Davis Show and WARR where he follows the White Sox
Every Chicago baseball fan was blindsided when alerts and notifications popped that the Cubs and White Sox made a deal around Jose Quintana.
The alerts kept coming the following week as prized prospect Yoan Moncada made his White Sox debut on Wednesday after a major trade with the Yankees. In just 7 months since the decision to trade Sale, they have the best farm system in baseball. It has been impressive watching the Sox amass this amount of talent so quickly, they might make Paul Revere rise from the grave yelling, “The White Sox are coming…the White Sox are coming…”
Chris Sale Trade
Chris Sale was traded on December 6th, 2016 (basically the beginning of the rebuild). In exchange for Sale, the White Sox received Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz.
2B Yoan Moncada – Ranked #1 on MLB Pipeline
About: Switch hitter with power and terrific bat speed. A threat on the base paths with an 86 percent success rate on steals. Has great arm strength and speed, can be a great defender with development but should be above average at worst. Moncada is in the majors and should be here to stay unless something dramatic were to happen, he is the Sox’s best positional player prospect.
RHP Michael Kopech – Ranked #11 on MLB Pipeline
About: Kopech throws fire, routinely sits in the high 90s and even triple digits, he has a great slider as well and is working on a changeup. Kopech’s issue is control and command of his pitches, he could be a great starter if everything develops, similar to a Noah Syndergaard. Kopech also could be a great closer or reliever if he can’t develop as a starter. In AA currently and will probably be in AAA late this season or next year, either way, don’t expect him to be on the south side any earlier than 2018.
OF Luis Alexander Basabe and RHP Victor Diaz – Ranked #12 and #27 in the Sox system on MLB Pipeline. Both are raw and in high A, will be 2 or 3 years before we see them called up.
Adam Eaton Trade
The day after the Chris Sale trade, Adam Eaton was dealt to the Nationals in another monster prospect trade. In exchange for Eaton the Sox received Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning.
RHP Lucas Giolito – Ranked #28 on MLB Pipeline
About: Giolito shows real potential as a #1 starting pitcher, but has real questions marks as well. He has shown 3 great pitches, a fastball that sits in the high 90s with a lot of action, a devastating curveball and a sinking changeup. In his brief MLB career he struggled with velocity and command. If he is able to fix these issues then the Sox have an ace caliber starter. He is expected to come up this year, most likely when the rosters expand in September.
RHP Reynaldo Lopez – Ranked #36 on MLB Pipeline
About: Another potential starter for the Sox, he shows a high 90s fastball but it doesn’t have the tailing action that would be ideal. His curveball has plenty of movement and velocity. Third pitch is a good changeup but like Giolito, he lacks consistency at times with his pitches. An interesting prospect, with his velocity and curveball he has the ability to be a reliever at worst. Expect him to be called up this year during the September call ups. Otherwise he will be in spring training next year battling for a spot in the rotation.
RHP Dane Dunning – Ranked #14 in the Sox system on MLB Pipeline. Currently in high A, will be 2 or 3 years before we see him called up.
The Sox continued their rebuild with the signing of prized Cuban OF Luis Robert on May 27th. In a battle with the Cardinals, the Sox won the courting of Robert and he signed for a massive deal (26 million). Robert is considered a monster prospect at only age 19.
OF Luis Robert – Ranked #23 on MLB Pipeline
About: Very similar to Moncada, great bat speed and power. A quick runner but may slow down as he adds on muscle and weight. Good outfielder that plays center field, though he could move to right with his arm strength, he is the youngest of the top prospects and currently is in rookie ball. Depending on his development his trajectory looks like 3 years away at the earliest.
Since 2015, the Sox have done a nice job of scouting and drafting high potential talent. Highlighted this past year with the selection of the promising lefty hitter Jake Burger (3B) along with promising first rounders Zack Collins (2016) and Carson Fulmer (2015).
RHP Carson Fulmer – Ranked #59 on MLB Pipeline
About: Fulmer is a 4 pitch pitcher, his fastball and curveball are his dominant pitches. He also uses a cutter and changeup as complimentary pitches. Before the 2015 draft, scouts questioned Fulmer’s ability to last deep into games as a starter, his stuff is good but still struggles with command. Fulmer had a brief stint last year with the club before being sent back down, he has struggled at times in AAA this season but expect him to be back with the club in September when rosters expand.
C Zack Collins – Ranked #68 on MLB Pipeline
About: A lefty power hitter that is extremely patient. Collins walks a lot and isn’t afraid to work deep counts, his power is evident as well, his main issue is behind the plate, he needs lots of work defensively. Collins could be moved to first base or DH unless he continues to improve, he has an average arm for a catcher and is inconsistent at framing and blocking. Still young though, only in high A currently. Most likely won’t be here until 2019 but could potentially be called up late 2018.
Big Moves in July
The four prospects acquired from the Cubs in the deal for Quintana were Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, Bryant Flete and Matt Rose. This was a strong minor league package offered by the Cubs.Then just 5 days later, the Sox acquired prospects from the Yankees. In exchange for Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, the Sox received Tyler Clippard, Blake Rutherford, Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo.
OF Eloy Jimenez – Ranked #8 on MLB Pipeline
About: Jimenez is another potential stellar prospect with his impressive bat speed and easy power. As a hitter he is maturing using the entire field and gaining patience at the plate. He has a strong arm and could play right if his throwing accuracy improves. As a runner, he is instinctual but lacking in speed. Jimenez is in high A now so he will need time to develop, on track to make his debut in 2019 or 2020.
OF Blake Rutherford – Ranked #30 on MLB Pipeline
About: Rutherford is a lefty that shows promise at the plate, he has already flashed the ideal skills like power, patience, using the whole field and an ability to recognize pitches. Fielding projects as a corner outfielder but maybe could stay at center, he has at best an average arm but is an above average runner. Currently in low A, his call up would come in the 2020 season or later.
RHP Dylan Cease – Ranked #63 on MLB Pipeline
About: Out of all the pitching prospects, Cease might be most destined for the bullpen. Still is young and shows signs of starter potential. Cease has a very good fastball with movement and velocity. The curveball is his dominant off speed pitch and he is working on a changeup. Changeup needs to develop along with his command, his call up is expected in late 2019 or 2020.
LHP Ian Clarkin – Ranked #18 in the Sox system on MLB Pipeline. Currently in high A, could see the club in 2018 or 2019.
The White Sox are not done either, they still have the trade deadline near the end of the month to potentially move Melky Cabrera, Jose Abreu and even Avisail Garcia. Regardless, Hahn and the rest of the front office have laid an outstanding foundation for the future. If even half of the 10 players in the top 100 prospects develops into staples for the team, they will be a year in year out contender. Some of these players will most likely get traded like the situation the Cubs are in.
Clearly, they have a plan and with any plan it starts with step one. The Sox will still be adding as they will be fighting with the Phillies for the top pick for next year’s draft but the acquisition of assets stage is wrapping up. Stage 2 has already begun and with player development and continues to progress.
As the major league club continues to worsen, fans will have to keep glued to minor league player news for the next year or 2 for hope. It helps when the prized prospect has stepped on the scene with Moncada.
Still it may feel like forever for the next 2 to 4 years but the final stage of call ups and winning will be well worth the wait.
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