Chicago White Sox Top 26 Prospects

Eric Longenhagen

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Chicago White Sox. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the third year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but I use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

White Sox Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Colson Montgomery 20.8 AA 3B 2024 55
2 Bryan Ramos 20.8 AA 3B 2024 50
3 Oscar Colas 24.3 AAA RF 2024 45
4 Noah Schultz 19.4 R SP 2027 45
5 Lenyn Sosa 22.9 MLB 2B 2023 45
6 Jose Rodriguez 21.6 AA 2B 2023 45
7 Sean Burke 23.0 AAA MIRP 2025 40+
8 Cristian Mena 20.0 AA SP 2025 40+
9 Gregory Santos 23.3 MLB SIRP 2023 40+
10 Norge Vera 22.6 AA SP 2025 40+
11 Peyton Pallette 21.6 R SP 2026 40
12 Yoelqui Céspedes 25.2 AA CF 2023 40
13 Jonathan Cannon 22.4 A SP 2026 40
14 Ryan Burrowes 18.3 R SS 2027 40
15 Kohl Simas 23.0 AA SP 2025 40
16 Yolbert Sanchez 25.8 AAA SS 2024 40
17 Nick Avila 25.4 AA SIRP 2023 40
18 Jared Kelley 21.2 AA SIRP 2025 40
19 Carlos Pérez 26.3 MLB C 2023 35+
20 Luis Mieses 22.6 AA LF 2024 35+
21 Matthew Thompson 22.4 AA SP 2024 35+
22 Wes Kath 20.4 AA 3B 2026 35+
23 Wilfred Veras 20.1 AA 1B 2025 35+
24 Eric Adler 22.2 A SIRP 2026 35+
25 Caleb Freeman 24.8 AA SIRP 2023 35+
26 Tanner McDougal 19.7 R SP 2026 35+
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55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Southridge HS (IN) (CHW)
Age 20.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 55/60 45/60 50/40 35/55 50

Lots of high-level decision makers ran to Indiana to see the high school version of Montgomery as part of a late spring jaunt through the Midwest, and he was one of the buzziest prospects just as the 2021 draft approached, with some pre-draft smoke near the top 10. He ultimately fell to the White Sox at 22nd overall, and a little over a year removed from his selection, that looks like an absolute steal. Montgomery raked his way to Double-A, where he spent the last couple weeks of his first full pro season as part of “Project Birmingham,” a de facto instructs and evaluation period for Chicago’s best mid- and upper-level prospects.

There was some demographic push and pull happening in the guts of Montgomery’s amateur profile that we can already reflect on a bit. Remember that there was pre-draft consternation around his age (he was well over 19), which draft models tend to penalize prospects for because of the historical success of younger players. But his geographic and two-sport background — Montgomery was a high-level hooper in high school — were arguably “late-bloomer” traits. In this case, Montgomery’s bat seems to have already blossomed, while you can throw out the age-related concerns given that he has now proven himself at High-A. He slashed .274/.381/.429 at mostly Low- and High-A in 2022 before wrapping up at Birmingham. His in-zone contact rate on the year (89%) is very impressive for someone who detractors feared would be raw upon his entry into pro ball, and Montgomery is already doing measureable damage (based on his barrel%, hard hit%, and other sourced metrics assessing impact contact) on par with a typical starting big league shortstop. Watch him hit and you see the breaking ball recognition and low-ball power, as well as the flexibility in Montgomery’s lower half that should help him move the barrel around the zone.

Because the White Sox had so many good prospects in Birmingham toward the end of the season, it was extremely efficient to source scouts and conduct film study from that time period. Montgomery did not look good at shortstop during that stretch, falling short of the position’s high bar in most facets (range, hands, arm strength). It’s possible he was gassed at that point, but his late-2021 and early-’22 backfield look on defense was similar, and it’s rare for shortstops to be this size. He projects to third base, where the offensive bar is much higher. He may not have the power of a typical big league third baseman yet, but at a strapping 6-foot-4, it’s likely to come with time, physical maturity, and a good strength program. It might not be long before Montgomery’s bat is better than Yoán Moncada’s, so perhaps a proactive shift to third base is a good idea. This is another potential homegrown star for the Sox.

50 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (CHW)
Age 20.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 55/60 35/55 55/55 45/55 50

Ramos is walking the Curtis Mead path in many ways. He’s performed as a young-for-the-level hitter at each stop despite a raw approach at the plate and uncertainty around his defense, with his third base fit in question due to middling arm strength. In 2022, the talented Cuban slashed a potent .275/.350/.471 and clubbed 19 home runs at High-A Winston-Salem as a young 20-year-old (he won’t turn 21 until March) before descending upon Birmingham with the rest of Chicago’s high-profile guys.

Some of what Ramos does on defense is very impressive. His range and actions at third base are both fantastic, and he’s an accurate thrower from all sorts of awkward platforms, but there are times when he lollipops deeper, and even some routine, throws over to first base. It makes sense that there has been some second base experimentation here over the last few years, as Ramos’ range and actions make it plausible that he could eventually fit there, and Colson Montgomery’s third base projection might force the issue. Ramos’ footwork around the bag needs polish, and his frame is big enough that his range might eventually be an issue there depending on how he fills out, but in limited action Ramos looks fine enough to justify continued development at the keystone. Now that he’s on the 40-man roster, proactive experimentation makes sense so that Ramos can move the moment he needs to.

But the meal ticket here is still Ramos’ hit and power combination. His approach (a sticking point at this site in the past) has gotten better, with his chase rates now hovering close to average. He has tended to strikeout at a 20% or lower clip throughout his pro career, even when chase was an issue, which is very impressive considering Ramos’ age relative to the levels to which he’s been assigned. He has plus bat speed, and a compact, athletic swing that features a very flexible lower half and a fair amount of barrel variability. Ramos often pulls off pitches on the outer edge and swings inside ones he’d ideally either contact or spoil. He does look quite vulnerable out there but it isn’t an issue opposing pitchers have consistently been able to exploit just yet. We’ll likely learn more about that as he gains experience against upper-level pitchers, and this specific issue is the most concerning thing about Ramos’ profile, as it might require a significant adjustment on his part to avoid having a hole in his swing out there. Even as various aspects of his profile remain amorphous, Ramos’ offensive performance to this point and optimism that he’ll ultimately be able to play at least one infield position well as he matures put him on the Top 100 despite his variance.

45 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2022 from Cuba (CHW)
Age 24.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/60 45/55 40/40 40/50 60

Colas debuted in Cuba’s Serie Nacional as a 17-year-old, but the most telling and important stretch of his pre-MLB career came in Japan when he played for the Fukuoka Hawks from 2017-19 in Japan’s Western League, one of NPB’s two minor leagues. He slashed .282/.343/.483 in 187 games spread across multiple seasons in Japan. After the 2019 NPB season, Colas essentially defected from Cuba by not returning after his season in Asia. He then began a long standoff with the Hawks regarding his contract’s validity, arguing that he and his mother (he was a minor when he was initially transferred to Fukuoka) had insufficient time to review Spanish-language contract documents after he arrived in Japan. Colas won his grievance and was released from his deal, setting things up for him to establish residency outside of Cuba and sign with an MLB club in 2021, subject to the bonus restrictions of international amateur players. He got $2.7 million from the Sox and came to his first camp in fantastic shape, which wasn’t always true while he was in Japan.

And Colas had a slug-heavy first season in affiliated ball, slashing .314/.371/.524 at mostly High- and Double-A, clubbing 24 homers and 51 extra-base hits on his way to a cup of coffee with Charlotte at the end of the year. There are aspects of that surface-level performance that appear legitimate and sustainable, and other indications that there will be a regression here. Colas certainly has power, majestic low-ball, pull-side pop resulting in some emphatic homers. Both visual and measurable evaluations of his power put it in the present 55/60 area, but there are justifiable questions about whether he’ll hit enough to get to it despite his surface-level performance. In this case, it’s less about barrel control issues (aside from his inability to lift pitches on the outer third, Colas has fair in-zone feel for contact) and more about chase, an aspect of Colas’ game that was tough to know about entering the year. He only walked at a 7% clip in Japan and had a very expansive approach throughout 2022, slugging and BABIP’ing his way through it. The issue is drastic enough to keep Colas’ projection that of a corner platoon rather than an everyday right fielder. Perhaps there’d be enough power to support an everyday profile if Colas could play center field, but even though he spent a ton of time there while in A-ball, he trended more toward right field after promotion to Birmingham and Colas simply doesn’t have the sleek look or top-end speed of a viable center fielder. The pace at which Colas has been promoted suggests a mid-to-late 2023 debut is in the cards if he can keep hitting at Triple-A, though the addition of Andrew Benintendi clouds that timeline.

4. Noah Schultz, SP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Oswego East HS (IL) (CHW)
Age 19.4 Height 6′ 9″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/55 40/50 30/45 20/50 88-93 / 95

Chicago was sufficiently smitten with Schultz to pop him late in the first round of the 2022 draft, the first time they’d used a first round pick on a prep pitcher in over two decades; it took $2.8 million to keep him from heading to Vanderbilt. Teams are becoming more fixated on odd or unique release points, and Schultz’s combination of extreme size and a low-slot delivery make him special in this way, as the only body and delivery comp that comes to mind while watching him is sky-scraping photographer, Randy Johnson. To compare Schultz’s stuff to The Unit’s at this stage would be irresponsible, but Schultz’s fastball velocity has increased so quickly since his pre-draft summer that if the trend continues, the arm strength component may be close. Schultz sat in the upper 80s during showcase looks in the summer of 2021 and was living in the 92-94 mph range in the MLB Draft League, where he pitched after missing time during the spring with mono (one of two Sox draft picks who had the Kissing Disease in ’22). By the time 2022 instructs rolled around, Schultz was sitting 93-97, albeit in shorter outings. His fastball has tailing movement and flat angle, approaching hitters from the extreme first base side of the plate. He has trouble getting his heater to his glove side right now, which makes it tough to set up his sweeping breaking ball for swings and misses, but his slider has plus movement and lefty hitters have a really hard time picking it up. This is a pure projection bet, as Schultz needs to develop more precise and diverse fastball usage, and better maintain his fastball arm speed while throwing his changeup if he’s going to be a starter. But Schultz is loose and flexible, his slider is fantastic, and he could end up throwing very hard at maturity, giving him a sizable ceiling.

5. Lenyn Sosa, 2B

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (CHW)
Age 22.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/55 45/45 40/45 40/40 45/45 45

Sosa is a slow-twitch athlete without huge tools, but he can put the bat on the ball with remarkable consistency and is a high-probability big league role player as a result. While he’s fairly heavy-footed and lacks the typical middle infielder’s athleticism, Sosa has great feel for adjusting his footwork and body position so he can field grounders and turn the baseball around quickly. He barely has enough raw arm strength for the left side of the infield, but his quick hands and internal clock typically enable him to lob the ball over in time. A very aggressive swinger who has run walk rates in the low single digits throughout his career, Sosa is especially prone to chasing sliders off the plate, which he did at a 39% clip at his various 2022 stops according to Synergy Sports. Overall, though, he is an above-average contact hitter whose ability to get to power in a more traditional-looking way than the next prospect on this list should make him a second-division big league middle infielder. He could end up with a career similar to Wilmer Flores‘.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (CHW)
Age 21.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/60 45/50 30/40 55/55 40/50 50

He has some really exciting bat speed for a viable middle infield prospect, but Rodriguez’s approach is bad, and his swing path is a double-edged sword that tends to limit where in the zone he can do damage while simultaneously enabling him to square up pitches few other hitters can. Seen as a hit tool-oriented prospect in the very early stages of his career, he has added strength and explosion at the same time that opposing pitchers are growing familiar with his hyper-aggressive approach and are avoiding his hot zones, especially now that he’s spent plenty of time at Double-A.

An incredible rotational athlete with a swing similar in style and beauty to Yuli Gurriel’s, Rodriguez can shorten up to turn on down-and-in pitches with power, and his bat path helps him spray outer-third fastballs the other way for extra bases. While he has the bat control to make contact with pitches all over the place, he tends to poke and spray a lot of low-lying contact to the opposite field, sometimes inside-outing pullable pitches that he has no business staying inside of. His bat speed and short levers also help him to get on top of letter-high fastballs when his footwork is on time for these sorts of pitches, which happens inconsistently. The lack of breaking ball recognition here causes Rodriguez to swing inside lots of sliders, even ones that finish on the outer half of the plate. This issue is so severe that it creates bust risk even though Rodriguez has had nothing but statistical success throughout his time in the minors, especially for a hitter his age. Entering the season with a career walk rate just a shade under 5%, Rodriguez walked a career-best 7.9% in 2022 but his chase rates are still concerning.

While he’ll do some acrobatic things on defense that show off his incredible range and flexibility, Rodriguez has below-average hands and barely enough arm for the left side of the infield. He can sometimes rush his throws because he knows he can’t plant and fire a rocket over there, which can pull the first baseman off the bag. He’s still young enough to continue to project on Rodriguez’s defense and anticipate that it will polish up enough for him to remain passable at shortstop in a pinch, but he’s a better overall fit at second base. Even with the weirdness and warts, there’s evidence of special bat-to-ball skill here, and it’s important not to lose sight of that while feeling through Rodriguez’s weird, bat-first utility infield profile.

40+ FV Prospects

7. Sean Burke, MIRP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Maryland (CHW)
Age 23.0 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 50/55 50/50 40/50 30/40 92-95 / 97

Burke is a really athletic 6-foot-6 righty (he was a good high school hooper) who had TJ near the end of his senior year of high school, then missed his entire true freshman season at Maryland in order to rehab. The start of his sophomore year was electric (22 innings, 35 strikeouts), as Burke was up to 95 mph and showed a vertically-oriented fastball/curveball combo, but that was the 2020 season and he couldn’t truly establish himself for the following year’s draft. He looked relievery throughout 2021, flashing big heat but generally sitting 90-93, while walking 42 hitters in 74 innings; the White Sox took him in the third round.

He spent most of 2022 at Double-A Birmingham, striking out 31% of opposing hitters, albeit inefficiently, usually in three-to-five inning chunks. Strike-throwing problems (48 walks in 108 innings) indicate relief risk, but remember that Burke is a big-bodied athlete who has much less on-mound experience than is typical for a prospect his age. Yes, he is projected as a multi-inning bullpen weapon here, but there is still reasonable hope that he can start eventually. And Burke’s repertoire is clearly developing. His velocity has climbed in pro ball — it was 92-93 during his post-draft instructs, then was 93-95 and up to at least 97 throughout 2022 until it dipped at the very end. It’s an impact heater with top-of-the-zone utility, the best weapon in Burke’s four-pitch mix. His usage of his mid-80s slider/cutter has ticked up in pro ball, becoming Burke’s most-used secondary pitch, while his changeup was back-burnered throughout the season before rematerializing in his final few outings with Charlotte. Even though Burke’s curveball can be easy to identify out of hand, now that it’s his third pitch and more surprising for hitters to see, it actually garnered the best whiff rate of them all. He’s raw for a pitcher who has tasted Triple-A, but Chicago’s competitive hopes in 2023 could press Burke into major league action if they think aspects of his repertoire would play in a big league bullpen. If not, his 40-man timeline puts his ETA in 2025.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (CHW)
Age 20.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 55/60 40/45 25/55 88-92 / 94

Mena had a fantastic entry into full-season ball, with his year split evenly between Low- and High-A before a three-start cup of coffee as part of Project Birmingham. On the whole, he pitched 104 innings (about double his 2021 load), struck out 126 and walked just 38, all while holding his low-90s velocity all season. Mena’s curveball is plus, a power low-80s hook that is tough for hitters to identify because it doesn’t have big arc as it leaves his hand. The shape of the breaker can vary enough that automatic pitch classification systems think Mena has a curveball and slider, but “both” average 81-82 and Mena only indicates he has a curveball during warmups. Mena still needs to throw harder and/or develop a better changeup or a true second breaking ball to be any kind of impact big league starter. Other than the way it’s aided by extension, his heater doesn’t have the angle or movement that would make it a nasty big league pitch at its current velocity. While Mena lacks traditional frame-based physical projection, he’s a smooth, balanced on-mound athlete with what looks like promising hip-to-shoulder separation, and he’s only 20 years old. These are reasons to be optimistic more velocity will arrive, while Mena’s feel for spinning the curveball is a reason to think a good slider will manifest, and the grace and fluidity of his delivery gives his changeup long-term projection as well. Even if he’s added to the 40-man next offseason, Mena will probably spend 2024 in the minors continuing to work on this stuff before his skills are hopefully sharp enough for him to move directly into a rotation role in ’25.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (BOS)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 70/70 40/40 95-99 / 101

Santos’ road to the major leagues has been riddled with delays and trades, including the one that brought him to the White Sox just before list publication. At a very early age, the gargantuan Santos was sitting 97-plus with a hard, upper-80s slider. His performance at the 2020 alternate site had jaws wagging about his potential as a prominent big league reliever in ’21, but he was slapped with a PED suspension that ate up much of that season, and he’s also had starts and stops due to shoulder issues. A former top 100 prospect, Santos then spent most of 2022 at Triple-A, with two brief big-league stints, but his year ended early in late August when he was shut down with a groin injury. His slider is truly electric and generated a 42% whiff rate in 2022, but his high-velocity fastball’s movement and shape don’t allow it to miss as many bats as those of other triple-digit flame throwers, and so even to get ahead of hitters, he relies more heavily on his slider, using it more than half the time. Santos’ arsenal puts him in a good bullpen’s seventh or eighth inning mix.

10. Norge Vera, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Cuba (CHW)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/55 40/50 40/45 30/50 90-94 / 97

Signed for $1.5 million in 2021, Vera sat 90-94 mph during pre-agreement workouts but averaged 95 in the 2021 DSL, where he pitched 19 totally dominant innings before he was shut down with general fatigue. A lat injury kept him from pitching in a stateside game setting until May of 2022, when Vera finally worked one inning against Dodgers prospects in an extended spring training game. He sat 96-99 in that lone inning and looked like he was from another planet, both physically and athletically, than the same-aged prospects playing in the PAC-12 tournament that was going on across town at the time. The White Sox quickly sent Vera out to an affiliate and things began to unravel; his velocity fell throughout the year even though he never exceeded four innings in a single start, and he struggled to throw strikes. Vera still has two or three years to polish his secondary offerings and build a starter’s innings workload before the White Sox may need to consider altering his role. He lacks feel for an upper-70s slider (past notes have him throwing a harder cutter as well, but that was not evident in 2022) that barely spins, averaging only 2,000 rpm, which is down in Jared Kelley territory. Vera has a prototypical starter’s frame and a good looking delivery (though his fastball runs downhill), so optimists can project pretty heavily on his command and his changeup based on how graceful and fluid his mechanics are, but that was also true of Andrew Dalquist and Matt Thompson, who haven’t popped in a big way during their time in the org. Aside from those early 2022 innings, Vera has either struggled to throw hard, throw strikes, or stay healthy. Hopefully he and the White Sox find a way to sustain his peak arm strength, which on its own would give him a bullpen floor.

40 FV Prospects

11. Peyton Pallette, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Arkansas (CHW)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/55 25/60 60/70 40/50 30/45 93-95 / 98

Pallette is perhaps the best on-mound athlete from among the 2022 college arms, and he has above-average arm strength (sitting 92-96 mph) and elite proclivity for spin, with his curveball bending in at a whopping 3,000 rpm. His fastball’s shape does not enable it to miss bats as often as you’d like given how hard it is, and making an axial change to his heater, which might remedy this, is easier said than done. Pallette’s arm action is also fairly long, though he has good feel for location despite this, including arm-side feel for his firm, middling changeup. He had Tommy John before the 2022 season and some of that might be cleaned up during rehab; after all, it worked for Lucas Giolito. While he needs some polish, Pallette presents the Pale Hose with an exciting foundation (present arm strength, spin talent that could aid the development of a second plus breaking ball) and traits (athleticism, body projection) that create optimism surrounding his continued development.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Cuba (CHW)
Age 25.2 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/30 60/60 40/45 60/60 45/45 80

Céspedes’ swing-happy approach would make Adeiny Hechavarria blush, swinging and chasing at a 63% and 45% clip, respectively. It’s quantifiably at the very bottom of the 20-80 scale and on its own is a barrier between Céspedes and a sizable big league role. However, he came into 2022 running much faster than the year before and has given himself a chance to play a viable center field. He has enough power to support some kind of weird part-time role despite what is likely to be a very low OBP. His All-World arm gives him another way to impact the game. Maybe the ball/strike recognition piece will still come; because of his defection and the pandemic, Céspedes barely saw pro-quality pitching in his early 20s, not really until 2021. His skill set is similar to that of a righty-hitting Brett Phillips.

13. Jonathan Cannon, SP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2022 from Georgia (CHW)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 213 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/55 40/50 55/55 35/55 92-96 / 97

Cannon was a high-profile 2021 draft prospect who missed the first several weeks of that season with mononucleosis, then (understandably, for those who have had mono) was not quite himself after a prolonged period of minimal activity to fight it off. His velo fell, as did his draft stock, and Cannon went back to school to rebound. It worked. He had a very efficient 2022 season in terms of strike-throwing, and ended up becoming Chicago’s third rounder, signing for just shy of a million bucks. Cannon threw just seven innings post-draft so his report is unaltered. His fastball bounced back into the 93-95 mph range for most of the year at Georgia. The sinker action on his fastball will probably cause it to miss fewer bats in pro ball than is ideal, but Cannon’s bevy of secondary offerings will allow him to keep hitters from keying on his fastball’s movement. He has a hard cutter in the 88-91 range, and a two-planed slider in the low-80s, though he can vary the shape of that to look more curvaceous. His arm action is so long that it has an intermission, and it’s incredible that Cannon’s command (especially of his cutter) is so good considering how long his arm swing is. There’s not really a plus pitch here, but there is a bat-breaking, innings-eating sinkerballer’s repertoire and frame.

14. Ryan Burrowes, SS

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2022 from Panama (CHW)
Age 18.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 30/45 20/40 55/60 40/50 55

A DSL standout for his contact ability and extremely projectable frame, Burrowes signed with the White Sox out of Panama for less than $100,000 and has quickly become one of their more exciting youngsters. Broad-shoulders tapering down to a high, narrow waist give Burrowes the look of a Division-I cornerback, and his bat-to-ball foundation gives him the chance to develop a potent hit/power combination once he begins to fill out and get stronger. This plus the general grace and athleticism to develop at shortstop give him considerable long-term ceiling, though Burrowes is an extreme distance from the big leagues and his feel to hit hasn’t yet been stress-tested by quality pitching. His upside makes him more of a prospect priority than lots of other, low-ceiling players closer to Chicago’s South Side, but he is probably the riskiest prospect on this list.

15. Kohl Simas, SP

Undrafted Free Agent, 2021 (CHW)
Age 23.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/55 50/55 40/45 30/50 92-94 / 96

Simas had a nomadic amateur career in California, transferring from Fresno City College to San Diego and then finally to San Diego State for the 2021 season. He struggled there, walking 16 and surrendering 16 runs in only 16 total innings of work. Still, there was interesting raw material to work with. Simas’ arm was super loose and whippy, and his curveball was occasionally nasty. He went to the Cape Cod League after the college season and was seen by a lot of fresh eyes in limited work there, with the Sox ultimately inking him to a post-draft deal. Simas’ velocity climbed about two ticks after signing and was in the 93-95 mph range on the Arizona backfields during the spring of 2022. While he didn’t quite maintain that all year (he ended up sitting 92-93 on average throughout the season), by June Simas had already doubled his previous single-season career high in innings. After his first nine starts, Simas had accumulated 56 strikeouts, 13 walks, and had a 2.41 ERA, but he was shut down for a month and shifted to the bullpen late in the calendar after he really began struggling in late August. When viewed in a broader career context, the arrow is still pointing up for Simas. It’s sometimes hard to know whether to extrapolate on very quick improvements like this or anticipate a regression to the mean, and Simas’ roller coaster 2022 didn’t make things any clearer. That a 2021 undrafted free agent made it to Birmingham in his first full pro season, though, is a win for Simas and the Sox staff who brought him aboard. There’s back-of-the-rotation stuff here that just needs to be sustained.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Cuba (CHW)
Age 25.8 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 176 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/50 30/30 30/30 60/60 55/55 60

Sanchez spent 2019 in the DSL due to visa issues and faced competition often four and five years his junior, so the ’21 season was the first in which the Cuban infielder could be evaluated against anything close to age-appropriate competition. He did very well, slashing .308/.352/.419 split between High- and Double-A, striking out at a tiny 12% clip, and showing that he’s especially adept at getting the bat on the ball in the bottom of the strike zone. Tested against Triple-A arms in 2022, Yolbert’s SLG tanked and he ended up with a statline south of the International League average despite still making tons of contact. Sanchez’s carrying tool is his ability to play all over the infield, including shortstop. He has mediocre range but checks every other defensive box there is, and he’s a viable shortstop defender largely because his actions are so quick. He’s a low-impact utility infielder whose ability to put the bat on the ball will give him some situational late-game utility in addition to his bigger role as a defensive replacement.

17. Nick Avila, SIRP

Drafted: 26th Round, 2019 from Long Beach State (SFG)
Age 25.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 45/45 55/60 40/40 93-95 / 96

Rule 5 pick Nick Avila features a four-pitch mix (a 95 mph fastball up two ticks from 2021, plus a cutter, slider, and curveball) and broke out in 2022 upon moving to a single-inning relief role, inducing a chase rate over 35% on all four offerings at High- and Double-A. He was drafted by San Francisco in 2019, when White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz was the pitching coordinator for the Giants, and that pre-existing relationship may help in his leap to the big leagues, where he’ll likely compete for a bullpen spot.

18. Jared Kelley, SIRP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Refugio HS (TX) (CHW)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 30/40 60/70 30/50 92-96 / 99

Peak Kelley sat 94-97 mph with a plus-plus changeup, and even though he lacked some of the other typical markers of a high-end high school pitching prospect (his frame was already more than maxed out, and he didn’t have a good breaking ball), he was still well regarded because there were two plus pitches already on board. He became Chicago’s big over-slot signing of 2020, garnering a $3 million bonus in the third round.

Elbow and shoulder issues popped up for Kelley in 2021, with the former delaying the start to his season and the latter ending it. When he was healthy, he was still throwing hard, sitting 94-97 and averaging just shy of 96 on his fastball. Once he was all the way back from the shoulder injury, Kelley was sitting 93-96, with underlying traits and downhill angle that drag down his heater’s effectiveness. He looked to be in better condition entering 2022, and slider development was clearly at the forefront of his work, as he didn’t throw a single changeup in some of his short spring outings and threw the pitch less than his slider throughout the season. That hard, spike-grip slider needs to develop, so it’s logical for Kelley to use it heavily in the minors, though doing so may have impacted how he performed statistically (he walked 5.50 per nine innings pitched, though that was better than his injury-compromised career mark to this point). Breaking ball development is tough, and that old scout adage about it either being in the wrist or not has been echoed by studies at Driveline Baseball that have concluded that talent for spinning a baseball is innate in most cases. This plus Kelley’s other relief traits have him projecting in the bullpen, where hopefully he can throw harder still to improve his fastball’s playability.

35+ FV Prospects

19. Carlos Pérez, C

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Venezuela (CHW)
Age 26.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/55 40/40 30/30 20/20 50/50 30

Pérez had a remarkable statistical year and earned his first big league cup of coffee after nearly a decade in the White Sox org, as he signed in March of 2014 and has been with the club ever since. After a long track record of plus bat-to-ball results (he’s a lifetime .268 hitter), Pérez had a power outburst in 2022, swatting 21 homers, more than he had in his entire career entering the season. He’s a fine receiver but has a 30-grade arm that allowed opposing baserunners to steal 65 total bases against him in 2022. Any big league game in which he’s pressed into action could turn into a track meet, but he does have rare offensive ability for a catcher and fits as Chicago’s third backstop on the 40-man.

20. Luis Mieses, LF

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (CHW)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 50/55 40/45 40/40 45/50 50

Mieses has been on White Sox prospect lists before, standing out because of his gigantic lefty-hitting frame and precocious bat control. As he filled out and it became clear he’d end up in an outfield corner, it became more imperative for him to develop a lucid interpretation of the strike zone and hit for more power. And for the last couple of seasons Mieses has kind of done that, producing an above-average wRC+ at Low-A in 2021 and High-A in ’22. His barrel feel is still very impressive and his frame stands out as soon as the guy walks off the bus, so there’s hope for long-term power projection that would overcome what is sure to be a low-OBP corner outfield profile.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Cypress Ranch HS (TX) (CHW)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 184 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 45/50 55/55 40/45 40/50 92-95 / 97

Since becoming Chicago’s second rounder in 2019, Thompson has progressed through the low minors in solid if unspectacular fashion. He hasn’t had much of a velocity spike since high school, though this was once a variable aspect of his profile and he has now seemingly stabilized in the 93-95 mph range, which is where he sat in 2021 and again throughout ’22, reaching Birmingham for his final seven starts. Thompson’s curveball doesn’t spin very much but it still has pretty good depth and is consistently average because of how well he gets on top of it at release. Scouts had been bothered by how little developmental progress Thompson had made as a pro, but he showed up to 2022 spring training with a new slider, in the 83-86 mph range, which gave him a second pitch that he can reliably throw for strikes since his curveball is often used as a finishing pitch. By the end of the year, Thompson’s slider usage had easily exceeded that of his changeup, a tertiary offering from the past. While Thompson’s arm angle gives his fastball a backspin look, his lower half is so upright throughout his delivery that it creates downhill angle on the pitch, which siphons away its would-be bat-missing ability. However, this style of delivery also helps Thompson disguise his curveball, which comes out of his hand without identifiable arc; that might not be true were he to shift to a drop-and-drive style delivery. Aside from him posting a career-best walk rate, there’s nothing especially electric about Thompson’s stuff or his on-paper performance. He’s still tracking like a backend rotation guy, and maybe even more like a no. 6 to 8 spot starter.

22. Wes Kath, 3B

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Desert Mountain HS (CHW)
Age 20.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/30 50/60 30/50 50/50 35/60 50

Kath was absolutely stuffed on FanGraphs’ 2021 pre-draft rankings, but it quickly became clear in pro ball that he has severe bat-to-ball issues. In fairness/kindness to the White Sox (and myself), the pandemic disrupted Kath’s pre-draft summer. Changes to the schedule and location of showcase events limited his participation in them, making it rare for him to face the top-of-the-class peers who might have exposed these issues sooner. Kath’s sweet-looking lefty stroke dominated varsity baseball in Arizona, his frame portended impact power, and he was slick enough as a defender that some scouts thought he might be a long-term fit at shortstop. The latter two elements are still part of Kath’s game, positive aspects of his prospect profile. But it was visually evident very quickly in pro ball that he was struggling to parse breaking balls and catch high fastballs, and now that we have a full season of pro data to comb over, the underlying contact metrics here are very scary: 19% swinging strike rate, 59% contact rate. Even if he strikes out a third of the time, if Kath can get to power against righty pitching and take an above-average rate of walks (he did both in 2022) while playing great defense, he’ll be a solid (if flawed) big league role player, kind of like late-career Matt Carpenter with a better glove. His footwork, hands, actions, and arm strength are all plus, and it may even be worth running him out as a shortstop just to see how it goes. Of course, because he’s already striking out at a 33% clip, there’s risk the bottom falls out of the bat so significantly that the other stuff doesn’t matter.

23. Wilfred Veras, 1B

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (CHW)
Age 20.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 60/70 35/50 40/40 30/45 55

Veras has monstrous raw power for a 20-year-old hitter and hit 20 homers in 2022, but his approach and odd swing path limit the amount of contact he makes and his ability to reach base. At his size, he projects to first base defensively and is already seeing the lion’s share of his reps there, so it will take a swing change and/or approach maturation for him to profile in any capacity. But if either/both of those occur, there will be sizable in-game power here. The hope is not necessarily that things will click enough for Veras to be a star, but some kind of corner role player.

24. Eric Adler, SIRP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2022 from Wake Forest (CHW)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/60 60/60 20/35 92-95 / 98

Adler was dominant on the 2021 Cape but really struggled to throw strikes during his draft year, an issue that also plagued his few pro innings after signing. He has power relief stuff, with three potential plus pitches. He sits 92-95 mph, will touch 98, and can vary the shape and speed of at least two different breaking balls. One is a vertical curveball that sometimes has a bit of arm-side finish, which will make it a weapon against lefties; the other is a harder, two-planed slider. It’s a pretty nasty collection of pitches, Adler just hasn’t ever really thrown strikes aside from that Cape Cod stint, and he ran a 5.11 ERA as a college reliever at a program that does a good job developing pitchers.

25. Caleb Freeman, SIRP

Drafted: 15th Round, 2019 from Texas Tech (CHW)
Age 24.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
55/60 50/55 55/60 40/40 92-95 / 97

Healthy Freeman sits 93-96 mph with a vertical-action fastball that plays great with his snappy, 78-82 mph power curveball, which spins around 2,900 rpm. He also has a hard slider in the 84-87 mph range that has purely horizontal movement and enough length to miss some bats away from righties. But Freeman’s velocity was suppressed late in 2022 after he had returned from an IL stint, and he finished the year sitting 89-92 (per Synergy Sports) without having thrown enough breaking balls during the season for those pitches’ metrics to show up in FanGraphs’ sourced data sample. If he can bounce back fully healthy, then Freeman will be a solid middle reliever, but his end-of-year look was a bit concerning.

26. Tanner McDougal, SP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from Silverado HS (NV) (CHW)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/50 40/50 40/50 20/50 90-92 / 94

An over-slot eighth round high schooler from the 2021 draft, McDougal has a big, projectable frame and some present arm strength. His slider is blunt but has length and can be nasty when he finishes it right. The son of former big league reliever and David Roth Special, Mike McDougal, Tanner is a developmental project. He had Tommy John surgery late in October of 2021 and missed the entire ’22 season.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Contact-Oriented Middle Infielders
Alsander Womack, 2B
Moises Castillo, SS
Loidel Chapelli, 2B
Jordan Sprinkle, 2B
Wilber Sanchez, SS

Womack, son of Tony, is a 5-foot-9 bowling ball out of Norfolk State who has plus bat-to-ball feel and (duh) advanced on-field acumen. Castillo has a well-rounded collection of 40-grade tools and is the best shortstop defender of this group. Like most of Chicago’s many Cuban signees, Chapelli, 21, spent his first season in the DSL and the trustworthiness of his line is clouded by his age relative to the other DSL players. He is speedy and has above-average feel to hit, but we’re talking about one of the smaller prospects in all of baseball here. Sprinkle (scoop, there it is) had a huge underclass season at UC Santa Barbara and made Collegiate Team USA in 2021. But he regressed in his draft year and looks like a low-SLG second baseman, though his hit tool is good enough to stay on him at this level. Scout support for little Wilber Sanchez, who’s like Castillo only several levels behind, is drying up after he had looked good on the backfields in 2021.

Guys Who Throw Hard
Lane Ramsey, SIRP
Declan Cronin, SIRP
Theo Denlinger, SIRP
Jason Bilous, SP
Zach Cable, SIRP
Edgar Navarro, SIRP

Ramsey missed time in 2021 with biceps tendinitis and in ’22 with an elbow strain, but by Fall League he was back to throwing in the mid-90s and flashing a plus, vertical slider. He has virtually no history of throwing strikes and was passed over in the Rule 5, but if the strikes click even a little bit, he’s definitely a big league reliever. Cronin is a pitch data fave with a 93-94 mph heater that features tail and uphill plane, and his slider has plus raw spin. Denlinger has a plus fastball, sitting 94-96 with big movement. His slider looks good on paper but in-person scouts see it as very vulnerable. Bilous has a plus changeup but struggles to get into favorable counts where he can use it. He’s on the 40-man as a four-pitch spot starter. Cable barely pitched in 2022, but I don’t have notes on his injury. When healthy he was 95-98 for me, a great undrafted find by the Sox despite his scattershot control. Navarro has a decent sinker/slider combo and works in the mid-90s, but strikes are an issue for him, too.

Slow-Burning Youngsters
Dario Borrero, 1B
Erick Hernandez, OF

Borrero, 19, is a gigantic-framed, lefty-hitting first baseman with a good early career bat-to-ball track record. Hernandez, 17, is a rare non-Cuban, high-profile international pickup for this org. He spent 2022 in the DSL as a loose, medium-framed prospect who could grow into a host of average tools.

Lefties
Gil Luna, MIRP
Andrew Perez, SIRP
Tommy Sommer, SP
Tyler Schweitzer, SP
Trey Jeans, SIRP

Luna looked like another great late-round Four Corners find for Chicago, as he showed a velo boost almost immediately after he was drafted, but knee and elbow issues kept him out for most of 2022. Perez’s slider is death to lefties, but he really struggles to command his 93-95 mph fastball. An old-for-A-ball lefty, Sommer sits just 89 but throws a ton of strikes with his fastball, changeup and slider, with both secondaries missing plenty of bats even though his slider is of the extreme low-spin variety. He’s tracking like a depth arm. Schweitzer, the team’s 2022 fifth rounder, has been up to 96 but sits 89. His fastball has sneaky in-zone utility, and his curveball has enough depth to give him a second potential finishing pitch. He threw a Koshien-esque 143 pitches in the 2022 MAC Tournament Championship game, a contest that was also delayed by rain. Jeans is an older, deceptive lefty with a long arm swing and an above-average, plus-spinning downer breaking ball.

System Overview

There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that this system remains extremely shallow, one of the thinnest in all of baseball, as the White Sox continue to develop pitching en masse. The good news is that the very top of Chicago’s farm has rebounded quickly after several integral parts of the current big league club graduated in succession in 2020 and ’21. After the two Top 100 hitters at the system’s apex, there are several key role-playing bats who are quite near the big leagues, though some of them come with volatility.

That volatility extends into the pitchers running through the 40+ FV tier and at the very top of the 40s, and a big test of Chicago’s ability to actualize pitching will be ironing out the issues in that group. Finding sustained impact velo from Norge Vera, adding a third pitch and hopefully coaxing more arm strength out of Cristian Mena, and making relevant alterations to Peyton Pallette’s fastball shape are key among them. The upward trend of Colson Montgomery and Bryan Ramos into the Top 100 moves this farm system’s total valuation from $87 million at the end of the season to roughly $136 million now. That’s still likely to fall in the bottom third of baseball if historical rankings are any indication, but it’s a sizable step in the right direction.

The White Sox tend to deviate from international scouting norms, often eschewing early verbal deals with top Dominican or Venezuelan prospects and saving their bonus pool for late-market prospects, typically ones coming out of Cuba. They give up some control on player quality by proceeding this way, and end up at the mercy of whoever comes free from Cuba during a given signing period, but they’ve tended to make out pretty well, from Alexei Ramirez to José Abreu to Luis Robert Jr., and soon hopefully Ramos and Vera.

White Sox prospects tend to have poor plate discipline but good feel to hit, though many of them have room for that in their profile because they’re viable middle infield defenders. This is especially common among their international signees.

In the draft, relatively new amateur scouting director Mike Shirley seems willing to take high-priced gambles on high school pitching and also has a penchant for guys who are close to home in the Midwest. Noah Schultz ($2.8 million, out of Illinois) checks both boxes.





Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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diegodias
1 month ago

typo in the homepage headline for this, go Meg go!

edit: good article of course. sad for the sox but still rooting for yoelqui to somehow learn to be more patient.

Last edited 1 month ago by diegodias