Chicago White Sox Top 31 Prospects

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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 our own observations. This is the fourth 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 we 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.

Editor’s Note: Jairo Iriarte (no. 5), Drew Thorpe (no. 6) and Samuel Zavala (no. 21) were added to this list following their acquisition from the San Diego Padres as part of the Dylan Cease trade. Prelander Berroa (no. 12) was added following his acquisition from the Seattle Mariners as part of the Gregory Santos trade. Dominic Fletcher (no. 15) was added following his acquisition from the Arizona Diamondbacks for Cristian Mena; you can find a scouting report and tool grades for Mena, formerly ranked no. 9 on this list, on the D-backs’ section of The Board.

White Sox Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Colson Montgomery 22.0 AA 3B 2025 55
2 Noah Schultz 20.6 A SP 2027 50
3 Bryan Ramos 22.0 AA 3B 2024 50
4 Edgar Quero 20.9 AA C 2025 50
5 Jairo Iriarte 22.2 AA SP 2024 50
6 Drew Thorpe 22.5 AA SP 2024 50
7 Nick Nastrini 24.1 AAA SIRP 2025 45+
8 Jake Eder 25.4 AA SP 2024 45+
9 Jacob Gonzalez 21.8 A SS 2026 45
10 Jonathan Cannon 23.7 AA SP 2025 45
11 Ryan Burrowes 19.6 R SS 2027 40+
12 Prelander Berroa 23.9 MLB SIRP 2023 40+
13 Alex Speas 26.0 MLB SIRP 2024 40+
14 Jordan Leasure 25.6 AAA SIRP 2024 40+
15 Dominic Fletcher 26.5 MLB CF 2024 40
16 Peyton Pallette 22.8 A SP 2026 40
17 Shane Drohan 25.2 AAA MIRP 2024 40
18 Ky Bush 24.3 AA MIRP 2025 40
19 Calvin Harris 22.3 A C 2026 40
20 Wilfred Veras 21.3 AA RF 2026 40
21 Samuel Zavala 19.7 A+ CF 2026 40
22 George Wolkow 18.2 R 1B 2028 40
23 Grant Taylor 21.8 R SIRP 2026 40
24 Sean Burke 24.2 AAA MIRP 2025 40
25 Seth Keener 22.4 A SIRP 2026 40
26 Jacob Burke 23.1 A+ CF 2027 40
27 Tanner McDougal 20.9 A SP 2026 35+
28 Javier Mogollon 18.4 R 2B 2028 35+
29 Maximo Martinez 19.7 R SP 2026 35+
30 Eric Adler 23.4 A+ SIRP 2026 35+
31 Eduardo Herrera 17.4 R 3B 2030 35+
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55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Southridge HS (IN) (CHW)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/45 60/60 45/60 40/40 30/50 50

Lots of high-level decision-makers ran to Indiana to see the high school version of Montgomery as part of a late spring 2021 jaunt through the Midwest, and he was one of the buzziest prospects just as the 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 looked like an absolute steal. Montgomery raked his way to Double-A in 2022, where he spent the last couple weeks of his first full pro season. His 2023 got off to a delayed start due to oblique and back issues that kept him on the complex in Arizona until July. Once he was back, Montgomery posted some of the best surface-level stats (.287/.456/.484 combined across all levels) and underlying TrackMan data in all of minor league baseball. His lack of chase (just 16%!), and the quality and amount of contact he made (8% swinging strike rate, 113 mph max exit velo just to name a couple data points) had Montgomery looking, on paper, like a near-ready superstar.

We think there’s rare plate discipline and power for a lefty-hitting infielder here, but we’re fairly resolved that Montgomery won’t be a big league shortstop defender, and we have some reservations about his hit tool. Montgomery did not look good playing shortstop late in 2023, though we suppose you could argue he looked the way he did because he was still recovering from injuries that may still have been impacting his mobility. We buy that there’s variance around this evaluation, but most of what Montgomery is doing on defense happens too slowly, and runners end up safe on otherwise routine plays. His hands and range are both comfortably below average, and 21-year-olds this size rarely stick at short. Montgomery hasn’t played anywhere but shortstop yet in pro ball, so we have him speculatively projected to third base, where guys his size tend to wind up.

Skepticism that his hit tool is as good as his 2023 data performance comes in part from Colson feasting on low-level pitching for a large portion of his 2023 output. His swing is also long and cuts through the bottom portion of the zone. On tape and in the Arizona Fall League, Montgomery struggled with belt-high fastballs and with barrel accuracy in general. Again, the on-base skills and power here carry so much water that we think Montgomery will still probably be an above-average everyday corner infielder (unless he moves to first base), but this evaluation is probably a shade below the general industry consensus based on our eyeball scouting.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Oswego East HS (IL) (CHW)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 9″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 70/80 35/45 30/50 93-96 / 97

After Schultz became the first high school pitcher selected by the White Sox in over 20 years, the lanky lefty missed much of his first season due to a flexor strain. Over the course of the 10 starts he did make, he allowed just four earned runs (all in the same game) and handily outmatched his Low-A opponents, who put a mere 13 balls in play while posting a measly .148/.179/.148 line. He pulled this off thanks to a mid-90s fastball and a devastating 79-82 mph horizontal slider that consistently sent confused bats a-flailing. The fastball/slider combo was more than enough to make Schultz stand out in 2023, and if he can improve on the consistency of his changeup, which currently flashes above average and saw an uptick in usage toward the end of the season, he could unlock a more robust arsenal and add to the impact of his slider.

His height, build, arm slot, and slider quality (seriously) have inspired inevitable comparisons to famed photographer Randy Johnson, though it’s far too early to hang such expectations on a 20-year-old with just 27 professional innings. His slider is that nutty, though. Schultz has filled out physically since being drafted, which is promising in terms of his durability and arm strength, but his season nevertheless came to an abrupt end when he went on the IL with a left shoulder impingement in mid-August. We want to see Schultz demonstrate starter durability before absolutely stuffing him on our overall prospect list, but he has the talent to be one of the top couple of pitching prospects in the sport if he can sit 94-95 like this across 120-plus innings.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (CHW)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/45 55/60 45/55 55/55 50/55 55

Ramos has a few well-defined warts, but we’re excited about the many things he does well on both sides of the ball, and think the good stuff will outweigh the bad enough for him to be Chicago’s everyday third baseman in the near future. For starters, Ramos is an astounding low-to-the-ground athlete whose powerful legs facilitate spectacular feats on offense and defense. He has plus range and is capable of making strong throws from all kinds of awkward body positions. The White Sox have tried Ramos some at second base, but we think the ceiling on his third base defense is big enough that they should just let him play there. For whatever reason, Ramos airmails routine throws more than is typical of a big league third baseman, or he at least misses enough to pull the first baseman off the bag and make things more interesting than they need to be. He has the physical ability to be a plus or better defender, but we’ll stop short of projecting him as such as long as this issue is present.

Similarly, Ramos has one specific offensive flaw that will require adjustment to remedy. His hands load late (there’s a little wrap, and he’s still separating while the pitch is in flight), and he is too long back into the zone to compete with fastballs around his hands. He’s easily at his best when he’s fully extended on pitches away from him. We love how loose and explosive Ramos’ hitting hands are through contact, though. His best swings are some of the prettiest righty cuts of any prospect in baseball, and Ramos is capable of doing huge all-fields damage because of his strength and bat speed. He’s also a discerning hitter. While a groin injury shelved him for the first month and a half of the 2023 regular season, thus limiting his data sample somewhat, Ramos barely chases and has especially steely nerves with two strikes. Many hitters have higher chase rates with two strikes than their all-count chase, but Ramos’ holds steady at an excellent 26%. There are going to be some pitchers whose fastballs live in Ramos’ Forbidden Zone, and they’ll be able to get him out at will if they can execute around his hands (barring an adjustment), but otherwise Ramos projects as a dangerous and exciting young position player the White Sox can build around.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Cuba (LAA)
Age 20.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 45/50 30/35 30/20 40/45 45

Quero is a switch-hitting bat-first catcher who started the 2023 season with the Angels’ Double-A affiliate, having leapfrogged his way there from Low-A after posting a 150 wRC+ at Inland Empire as a 19-year-old in 2022. His overall offensive numbers sagged slightly as a Trash Panda, but certainly not in an alarming way, and his walk and strikeout rates both moved in a favorable direction. He was dealt to the White Sox as part of the Lucas Giolito trade and spent the rest of 2023 at Double-A Birmingham, where he maintained a performance slightly better than league average despite being significantly younger than the average Double-A player. He’s impressively mature at the plate, rarely expanding the zone and boasting the third-lowest swinging strike rate in all of Double-A in 2023. It’s particularly difficult to sneak one by Quero as a righty; he’s more contact-oriented from that side of the plate and has a bit more power as a lefty. Quero’s swing is short and flat, which helps him make plus rates of contact.

While his bat is the most promising part of his overall profile, he’s made improvements on defense in the past year that sweeten the pot significantly. His receiving is cleaner, and he’s shown improvements in his lateral movement and blocking. And while many of Quero’s throws still one-hop second base, he has at least quickened his release enough to keep his pop times just below two seconds. Quero has rare bat-to-ball ability for a catcher and we think it will help him be Chicago’s primary backstop eventually. He doesn’t have to be put on the 40-man until after 2025, and it will probably be another season or two before we see him in the majors.

5. Jairo Iriarte, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (SDP)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 45/55 30/45 94-97 / 100

The uberloose Iriarte enjoyed a two-tick velo bump in 2023, with his fastball sitting 94-97 mph and touching 100 in his early-season starts before backing into the 93-96 mph range late in the year. He has had a plus sweeping breaking ball in his repertoire for some time now, and the movement of that pitch is mirrored by the nasty rise and tail action on his fastball. Watching Iriarte pitch is like watching Slender Man throw 97; he is extremely loose and has premium arm speed. He already features a huge stride down the mound and big hip/shoulder separation, and he still clearly has room for muscle on his frame. His low-90s changeup flashes huge tail, so much that Iriarte often struggles to command it, but his arm speed makes us want to project on this pitch in a big way. Iriarte is rather skinny and only showed premium velocity for roughly half of 2023. There’s risk he doesn’t maintain this velo bump, and he was “only” sitting 92-95 during a 2024 spring outing two weeks prior to the Dylan Cease trade, but because he’s still projectable, there’s also a possibility it will continue to trend up. There’s a mix of pretty substantial long-term ceiling here, and also some relief risk. We’re bullish and think the added time that the White Sox have to develop him as a starter (since they aren’t trying to win a title right now) gives him a better chance of maxing out.

6. Drew Thorpe, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Cal Poly (NYY)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
35/35 45/50 40/45 70/70 40/55 60/70 88-92 / 95

Thorpe came to the Padres in the Juan Soto trade and was poised to make an impact on their 2024 rotation before he was flipped to Chicago shortly thereafter in exchange for Dylan Cease. Pitchers with changeups as good as Thorpe’s and who throw as many strikes as he does tend to be high-floor propositions who pitch forever. His low-80s changeup, which he locates at will, has a ton of tail, and his ultra-short arm stroke helps trick hitters into seeing fastball out of his hand. The effectiveness of Thorpe’s slider (more average in terms of raw stuff) and fastball (below-average at just 90–92 mph) is enabled by his precise feel for location. He can sink his fastball down and to his arm side, or run a four-seam version of it past hitters at the letters. The Yankees coaxed a little more heat out of Thorpe (who sat 88–91 in college) during his time in their org, but not enough to give him impact velocity. The White Sox have not demonstrated a consistent ability to do that, and the 91-93 mph he showed during his 2024 spring run with the Padres may be all the velo he ever has. Thorpe will throw the occasional cutter or curveball in an obvious fastball count to keep hitters guessing, but those pitches don’t currently have any more utility than that, though we think the cutter eventually will. This is a very polished 23-year-old. We’re talking about plus command of a plus-plus changeup here; Jeremy Hellickson and Marco Estrada are fair recent comps.

45+ FV Prospects

7. Nick Nastrini, SIRP

Drafted: 4th Round, 2021 from UCLA (LAD)
Age 24.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/60 55/60 40/50 30/40 93-96 / 98

Nastrini’s stock fell a bit during his final season at UCLA due to a pretty severe case of the yips that moved him out of the Bruins’ rotation. He looked nasty in a college summer league prior to the draft and buoyed his prospects. The Dodgers further harnessed his stuff — at best he was 94-97 with two plus breaking balls, and Nastrini put up impressive strikeout numbers at High- and Double-A in 2022. He was evaluated just outside the Top 100 prospects list that year, kept off by his poor control. When Nastrini returned to Double-A in 2023, at this time still with the Dodgers, his strikeout fell by nearly 10 percentage points, and he did nothing to allay concerns about his command. Positioned as a Pick to Click, his performance plateaued. Even while his numbers sagged, his swinging strike rate was still among the best in the minor leagues, and sure enough his overall numbers improved again after he was traded to the White Sox as part of the deal that sent Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly to the Dodgers.

Nastrini’s fastball alone will enable him to miss bats thanks to consistent mid-90s velocity and a healthy dose of vertical break. His robust arsenal of secondaries play well off one another. He’ll call upon his heater to miss bats, confounding hitters on both sides of the plate with its rise and cut. Then he’ll further frustrate his opponents with two distinct breaking balls – a slider and a curveball with drastically different shapes and velocities – or his changeup, which mirrors his slider in a way that makes it very effective against lefties. His entire arsenal is more vertical than horizontal, with all three secondaries featuring varying degrees of drop that allow them to complement one another.

But his command is still the sticking point, as the offerings he tosses out of the zone are usually big misses rather than strategically placed attempts to get chase swings. If he can hone that command, he could comfortably slot in towards the middle of a starting rotation, but if he can’t, he’ll still be impactful as a single-inning, late-game reliever. The White Sox have the luxury of letting Nastrini try to start for as long as possible during the early stages of their rebuild. Things might be bumpy early on, but over time a guy whose stuff is this good will find a way to be an impact pitcher of some stripe.

8. Jake Eder, SP

Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from Vanderbilt (MIA)
Age 25.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 70/70 40/45 40/45 92-95 / 97

Eder was drafted out of Vanderbilt in the fourth round of the truncated 2020 draft and his stuff exploded in pro ball. Eder made 15 starts in 2021, racking up a mid-30s strikeout rate and a 0.98 WHIP while sitting 94-97 and bending in a plus-plus slider, but he blew out and needed Tommy John surgery. His rehab was interrupted by an ill-timed foot fracture, which kept him off the mound until midway through the 2023 season, after which old co-workers Kenny Williams and Kim Ng swapped Jake Burger for Eder at the trade deadline. When he returned, it was with a lower arm slot, and Eder struggled to recapture the arm strength from before his injury, as his fastball sat in the 92-94 mph neighborhood during the 2023 regular season and again in the Arizona Fall League.

His fastball still has some top-of-the-zone whiff ability thanks to its shape and angle, but that pitch isn’t nearly as dominant as it was before he blew out. His slider is still a stunner, however, bending in at 77-81 mph with plus-plus break. Eder was clearly working on his changeup, especially after the trade and in the Fall League, where he used it in a left-on-left capacity a lot of the time. He has starter-quality feel for locating his changeup, though it still needs to fully develop from a movement standpoint. It’s a bit discouraging that Eder’s velocity didn’t totally return after TJ, as it’s often the first thing to be fully restored for most pitchers. At least we can project on Eder’s cambio and command enough to feel comfortable with him as a solid big league starter.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from Ole Miss (CHW)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/50 30/45 40/40 45/50 50

Gonzalez is a tough evaluation because he is coming off three years of great performance in the best college conference in the country, but there are some visual boxes that he doesn’t check. Namely, Gonzalez’s swing and the way he plays defense are both atypical of an impact big leaguer. After three seasons in the SEC, Jacob wrapped his career with a .319/.427/.561 career line and 30 more total walks than strikeouts. This level of statistical performance in the SEC is rare, and Gonzalez was barely 21 on draft day. This is usually the sort of prospect we’re tripping over ourselves to value, but Gonzalez’s swing had a huge hole at the top of the zone that Eric feared would be exploited in pro ball. He could be Bryson Stott (who had similar swing questions in college), or he could be JJ Bleday (ditto, and still he crushed the SEC).

Gonzalez also didn’t become meaningfully stronger in college, and in fact regressed a bit as an athlete during his time in Oxford. By the time he was underway for instructs in Arizona, his body and swing were both clearly starting to change. He looked buff in the fall, and while we don’t yet know what impact these swing tweaks will have, we at least know Gonzalez is open to change and making good in the weight room. His hands, actions, quick transfer, internal clock, and arm accuracy all made him a likely pro shortstop despite him lacking the traditional speed/range and max-effort arm of a big league shortstop, but now that Gonzalez’s physicality has begun to change, he might take a leap in those areas. Skinny Jacob often needed to wind up his whole body in order to swing hard, but now that he looks stronger, he may not have to make the mechanical concessions that left him vulnerable at the belt. This is an important baseball-wide prospect to monitor early in 2024 in order to gauge the impact of these changes, because Gonzalez has the underlying skill set to break out in a big way if they cure some of what we perceived to be his pre-draft ills.

10. Jonathan Cannon, SP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2022 from Georgia (CHW)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 213 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 55/55 50/50 40/40 55/55 45/55 92-96 / 97

Cannon was a high-profile 2021 draft prospect who missed a big chunk of that season with mononucleosis and, after a prolonged period of minimal activity to fight it off, wasn’t quite himself when he initially returned. 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 spent 2023 split between High- and Double-A and continued to throw a ton of strikes with heavy, sink-oriented stuff. He mixes four- and two-seamers at mostly 94-95 mph, and can climb the ladder when he wants. Aside from his rarely used changeup, all of Cannon’s secondary pitches have glove-side movement. His mix is super tough on righties, but he needs to sharpen his backfoot breaking ball consistency to have a platoon-neutralizing weapon. Even at his size, Cannon’s delivery is consistent and repeatable. He’s remade his body almost entirely since early in college and looks more lean and athletic than ever before. He likely won’t have monstrous bat-missing ability. but Cannon is a high-floored no. 4/5 starter prospect thanks to his repertoire depth and command. He doesn’t have to be put on the 40-man until after the 2025 season, but he’ll likely be ready to debut from a skill standpoint before that.

40+ FV Prospects

11. Ryan Burrowes, SS

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Panama (CHW)
Age 19.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/35 35/50 20/45 55/60 40/50 55

Burrowes signed with the White Sox out of Panama for less than $100,000 and has quickly become one of their system’s more exciting youngsters despite some data-oriented flaws that cropped up in 2023. Broad shoulders tapering down to a high, narrow waist give Burrowes the look of a Division-I cornerback, and allow for fairly exciting power projection for a likely long-term shortstop. Burrowes can move the barrel around the zone fairly well, but he is often late to the ideal point of contact, and he doesn’t seem to recognize spin well. His 6.7% walk rate on the complex last year would ordinarily be a bright red flag, but his underlying chase data, while still not great, isn’t quite as terrifying. Burrowes’ defensive projection gives him a good shot to be a utility guy, and if he can add strength to his frame (and the in-game power that should hopefully come with it), he can have a flawed hit tool and still be a second division regular.

12. Prelander Berroa, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (MIN)
Age 23.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
70/70 60/60 30/35 96-98 / 101

Originally a Twin, Berroa was traded to San Francisco as part of the awful Sam Dyson trade, then was traded to Seattle for Donovan Walton, and most recently to the White Sox as part of the Gregory Santos deal. He is a favorite of pitch data nerds because his 96-99 mph fastball has plus-plus quantifiable movement and his upper-80s slider generated an incredible 55% miss rate in 2023 per Synergy Sports. Berroa struck out 37% of opposing hitters at Double-A Arkansas in 2023 and has the raw stuff to pitch in the back of a bullpen if he can dial in his 30-grade control.

As the prophecy foretold, Berroa was finally moved to the bullpen after making five starts at the beginning of 2023 and joined the legion of wild arms who are now leading with their slider and using their fastball as a two-strike chase pitch. The line on his fastball, when located at the letters, sets his slider up to freeze hitters and then dive into the zone after they’ve given up on it. It’s not going to be an efficient operation, but Berroa has plus-plus arm strength and a nasty vertical breaking ball that are both capable of missing bats. If he can become a bit more mechanically consistent, he’ll work in higher-leverage spots.

13. Alex Speas, SIRP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from McEachern HS (GA) (TEX)
Age 26.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Cutter Command Sits/Tops
65/65 60/60 70/70 20/20 97-100 / 102

Speas stepped away from baseball for a year and, frustrated and constantly beset by injury, nearly hung it up at age 23. Now almost 26, he’s coming off another inconsistent but exciting season after remaking his repertoire and working out at Tread Athletics. For a while Speas was generating nearly twice as many whiffs as he was balls in play, which is absurd at any level, let alone at Double-A. After the Rangers promoted him, Speas’ wildness cropped up again and he walked 19% of hitters at Triple-A Round Rock across 28.1 innings. The Rangers DFA’d him to make room on the 40-man for Matt Bush, who was returning from injury, and the White Sox claimed him off waivers during the postseason. Even though Speas’ fastball is still topping out at an incredible 102 mph, he has begun utilizing a cutter-heavy approach because his feel for throwing that pitch for strikes is much better than any other. Those cutters tilt in anywhere from 89-95 mph with variable shape, and it can be tough to discern some of them from Speas’ 85-87 mph sliders, which he throws on occasion. The velocity gains that Speas’ lanky frame portended in high school have come to fruition, but because of his fastball’s underlying traits and his lack of control, his pitches are only getting swinging strikes as an average rate. The White Sox are in position to give him low stakes big league reps for the next couple of seasons to see how things go. It’s possible Speas will polish his elite arm strength enough to be a very good reliever over time, but initially he’s probably going to be frustratingly wild. Even at his age, he’s a prospect of extreme variance who could be Tayron Guerrero or could turn into a late-inning weapon.

14. Jordan Leasure, SIRP

Drafted: 14th Round, 2021 from University of Tampa (LAD)
Age 25.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Cutter Command Sits/Tops
70/70 45/50 55/55 30/35 96-98 / 100

Leasure has had a significant velo spike across the last couple of seasons, and leapt from the 94-96 mph range to 96-98 between 2022 and 2023 before the Dodgers traded him to the Sox as part of the Lance Lynn/Joe Kelly trade. Chicago sent him straight to Triple-A after they acquired him and, though Leasure had a high ERA there, he actually showed some developmental progress with regards to his curveball usage, which ticked up at Charlotte and then again in the Arizona Fall League.

Make no mistake, Leasure’s best pitch is his fastball, which also added a few grades worth of movement in 2023. Leasure’s violent, vertical-slotted delivery generates big carry on his heater, giving it in-zone bat-missing ability. His fastball execution, both with regard to throwing strikes and the quality of them, is well below average, but the pitch is nasty enough for him to get away with that. His most-used secondary is currently a hard, upper-80s slider/cutter that has variable shape because of Leasure’s mechanical inconsistency. It’s a nasty, late-breaking pitch that will be an effective second weapon if he can spot it more consistently as he gets comfortable with his relatively new arm strength. I’m not sure the curveball will be able to usurp it even though it theoretically should tunnel better with his fastball. It’s a 12-to-6 offering in the low-80s and looked about average in the AFL.

A fastball like this should enable him to be more than just a generic middle reliever, but there’s not quite enough secondary stuff to project Leasure as a setup man or closer on a contender. He stands a chance to work higher-leverage innings for the Sox in the coming season.

40 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Arkansas (ARI)
Age 26.5 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 188 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 50/50 40/45 50/50 40/45 45

Fletcher was a tweener SoCal high school prospect who matriculated to Arkansas. He has filled out in pro ball and added more power than his 5-foot-9 frame would suggest. He slashed .295/.366/.474 as a Diamondbacks minor leaguer prior to his offseason trade to Chicago for pitching prospect Cristian Mena. Fletcher made his big league debut in 2023 when Alek Thomas was sent back to Triple-A to rework his swing. He hit an impressive .301/.350/.441 in a 28-game big league stint, but his .263 xwOBA was considerably lower than his actual .340 mark. He has become surprisingly buff and strong for a 5-foot-9 hitter, his arms are gigantic for a person his size, and Fletcher has done so while retaining fluidity in his hips and shoulders, both of which are evident as he finishes his swing. The sweeping nature of his bat path means Fletcher does most of his extra-base damage against slow stuff he can scoop at the bottom of the zone. He inside-outs a lot of fastballs the other way, and pitchers can limit his damage by approaching him with heat. Contrary to the way he was projected in high school, he now has a power-over hit profile.

Fletcher is an average runner from home to first and doesn’t have the pure speed to play center field regularly, but his reads and routes out are good enough for him to moonlight there in an emergency. He projects as a part-time corner outfielder that a team can win with, but probably isn’t one who you’re going to win because of.

16. Peyton Pallette, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Arkansas (CHW)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 55/55 55/60 30/45 92-95 / 97

Pallette was highly touted as an amateur despite the many hurdles that kept him off the mound during his time at Arkansas — first the pandemic, then Tommy John surgery in 2022. Despite that, his athleticism and mouth-watering pitch data were enticing enough for the Sox to draft him in the second round anyway. We wondered if aspects of Pallette’s delivery would be altered during his rehab in order to help his fastball play a bit better, but when he returned his delivery looked more or less the same as it had prior to surgery, which is to say that it’s still rather violent and his arm action is still on the longer side. Adjustments to his delivery may be necessary if Pallette keeps walking hitters at a nearly 13% clip like he did in 2023.

Pallette made 22 starts at Low-A last season, with his fastball sitting 92-95. That’s not quite the peak pre-surgery arm strength that made him a potential top 15 pick, but it’s still hard enough to project him as a big leaguer. Pallette’s curveball is still a plus, high-spin offering to the eye, but this is a situation where the pitcher’s fastball plane and curveball shape don’t seem to mesh, and Pallette’s changeup is now generating better results. His cambio has a ton of arm-side action and should mature into a plus pitch if it isn’t already. The raw movement of Pallette’s secondary stuff is exciting, but he needs to throw more strikes, and he might also need to make some other changes so his breaking ball’s results can match its visual beauty. With little to no progress in these areas, he’ll be a middle reliever.

17. Shane Drohan, MIRP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Florida State (BOS)
Age 25.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 40/45 45/45 60/60 40/45 90-92 / 95

Drohan has transformed in many ways since he was drafted out of Florida State in 2020. He recently traded his red socks for white ones as the Southsiders scooped him up in the Rule 5 Draft. Perhaps most notable, however, is the degree to which he has shortened up his arm action. He steadily climbed through the Red Sox system and had an incredible beginning to the 2023 season with six starts at Double-A, during which he boasted a 0.82 WHIP and allowed just five total earned runs. Due largely to his lack of precision working in the strike zone, his stat line sagged upon a promotion to Triple-A, as Droahn’s HR/9 grew more than sevenfold. Eleven of the 19 dingers he allowed at Charlotte came on belt-high beach balls. While his in-zone swing-and-miss took a tumble, his chase rate stayed in the mid-30s across both levels, and although he throws his slider more often, his changeup is his standout secondary in this regard, with a combined chase rate across the two levels of around 46%. He rarely threw the pitch to lefties, but righties struggled mightily against it, posting just a .154/.236/.262 slash line against the cambio in Drohan’s 89 innings post-promotion. Drohan’s Triple-A struggles were the first obvious stumbling block of his professional career, and if he can regain the command that allowed him to dominate at the lower levels, he could earn a role as a back-end starter. If not, he’s got the arsenal to be a changeup-heavy multi-inning reliever.

18. Ky Bush, MIRP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from St. Mary’s (LAA)
Age 24.3 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 250 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 55/60 50/55 45/50 30/40 92-93 / 96

Dealt to the White Sox as part of the Lucas Giolito trade with the Angels, Bush’s 2023 season left much to be desired. After a standout 2022 headlined by an appearance in the Futures Game, Bush’s 2023 was peppered with several starts where he was on the unsavory end of a blowout. He missed spring training due to a groin injury, returning to the mound in early June and struggling to maintain his excellent performance from the season before. In 2022, he held opposing offenses to one or fewer earned runs in more than half of his starts with Double-A Rocket City, but he accomplished that feat in only five of his 17 starts in 2023, and he got shelled after he was traded to the White Sox. In particular, he has lost much of his ability to garner swings below the strike zone, which accounted for much of his success in 2022.

There have been points in Bush’s prospect past when he’s thrown very hard, but last season his heater averaged just 92.5 mph and his fastball became incredibly hittable. Unless his arm strength rebounds, Bush will need to make effective and strategic use of his secondaries to hold down a big league role. His mix includes a slider that flashes above average, a mid-70s curveball with enough movement to play as a strike-getter in the zone, and a changeup that seemed the rustiest of his offerings after missing time. Bush ramped up the usage of his changeup after arriving in Birmingham post-trade. He wants to pepper the area at the top of the strike zone with his heater and then bury his two breaking balls off of that, but his fastball doesn’t get enough chase for him to do this efficiently. He could pitch backwards with his breaking stuff and then use his fastball as a finishing pitch above the zone (the more velo the better), but any way you slice it, if he’s only sitting 92, he’s more likely to find his way into the bullpen as a multi-inning reliever than he is to profile as a starter.

19. Calvin Harris, C

Drafted: 4th Round, 2023 from Ole Miss (CHW)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 40/45 30/40 40/40 30/50 40

Harris is a well-rounded, lefty-hitting catcher with a great swing and an impressive college slash line during his career at Ole Miss. He’s short to the ball, which allows for good zone coverage, including against the upper and outer edge heaters that many freshly drafted prospects struggle with. After being drafted in last year’s fourth round, he spent a short while on the complex, then moved up to Low-A for a 30-game stint and wasn’t phased by professional pitching, finishing the year right around league average. He posted an impressive 17.7% strikeout rate during that time that he nearly matched in walks (15.4%). He was stationed behind the dish in 23 of those games and saw opposing baserunners swipe 33 bags on him, as his arm is only so-so for a catcher. But his swing is very good and his demonstrated ability to hit to all fields should buy him some time to develop defensively, and may ultimately be solid enough for him to slot in as an everyday catcher despite the middling defense.

20. Wilfred Veras, RF

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (CHW)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 60/70 40/55 40/40 30/45 55

Despite his huge raw power, we have tended to be skeptical of Veras because his profile is a heuristic nightmare. He’s a righty-hitting corner guy who has trended down the defensive spectrum (from third base to right field) and has shown bottom-of-the-scale plate discipline (he swings at a roughly 60% rate, with walk rates between 5-6% the last two years), attributes that together are a prospecting red flag. But Veras has mashed at every level despite this. He’s a .283/.335/.474 career hitter in the minors and clubbed 21 extra-base hits in 38 Double-A games to close the 2023 season while he was still 20 years old.

Veras has monstrous raw power for a 21-year-old hitter and is capable of doing all-fields damage in games. He has hit at least 17 bombs each of the past two seasons and had 39 doubles in 2023 despite lacking great feel for airborne contact. He was a 55% groundball guy last season and had an average launch angle of just four degrees, yet still hit for huge power by virtue of his strength and bat speed. Veras’ dad played pro ball all over the world for 15 years, and he’s Fernando Tatis Jr.’s cousin. You can see some of the family’s ability in Veras’ best swings. We’ll never be all-in on a prospect like this, but Veras has started to defy convention and put himself in a position to play a power-hitting role in the middle of a lineup despite his flaws. Especially if he develops better feel for lift, Veras will have a window where he’s a dangerous 5-to-7-hole hitter with a frustrating OBP.

21. Samuel Zavala, CF

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (SDP)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/30 40/55 20/45 50/50 30/50 60

Zavala was pretty drastically re-evaluated last year even though he had a strong season when you look at his surface-level stats. Before he had turned 19 in the middle of July, Zavala was hitting .258/.405/.411; a strong second half left him with a .267/.420/.451 line with 14 home runs and 20 stolen bases at Low-A Lake Elsinore. Why the bearish projection then? Zavala has a bottom-hand dominant swing that causes him to cut underneath an awful lot of fastballs in the zone. This is an issue that tends to be exposed more thoroughly as hitters climb the minors, and that’s what is anticipated here. Zavala ran a 67% contact rate in 2023, which is near the bottom of the acceptable big league range, and he posted it against Low-A pitching. The strikeout issues here make Zavala very volatile and are reminiscent of the way Jeter Downs looked as a lower-minors hitter. His OBP skills and power will need to carry all the way through the minors in order for him to profile as an everyday player, and at Zavala’s modest size, his raw power will probably settle closr to average.

There is a positive development here, and it’s Zavala’s defense. Previously projected to a corner outfield spot, his range and ball skills are a fit in center field. Zavala’s ability to play center field is very important to his overall profile and if he can become an impact defender out there, it will raise his floor as a player to that of a part-time outfielder. There’s substantial bust risk here, which is baked into the way Zavala is graded.

22. George Wolkow, 1B

Drafted: 7th Round, 2023 from Downers Grove North (IL) (CHW)
Age 18.2 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/30 60/80 25/60 45/40 30/50 55

Wolkow was one of the most exciting power-hitting prospects in the 2023 draft and stands a chance to grow into elite raw power. He already has a ton of juice and was putting balls out of Chase Field with ease during the Combine. Plus, Wolkow was still 17 years old on draft day and is a well-built 6-foot-7 with room for much more mass and strength as he matures. Is he going to hit? There was enough length, stiffness and barrel imprecision to give Eric serious pause prior to the draft. At his size, Wolkow is likely to end up at first base, or at least near the very bottom of the defensive spectrum (the White Sox played him in center and right field during his post-draft stint on the complex), so he needs to get to most of that power. Prior to the draft, he was evaluated as more of an power-driven flier of extreme variance rather than a high-probability big leaguer. If Wolkow and the Sox can quiet his operation and get his contact rates into a range with more big league precedent (he had a 66% contact rate against high school pitchers in Synergy Sports’ sample, which is at the very bottom of the demonstrated range of major league viability), or if he can show that he’s going to get to huge power while striking out 35% of the time, then we’ll re-evaluate.

23. Grant Taylor, SIRP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2023 from LSU (CHW)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
60/60 40/50 50/55 30/40 93-96 / 99

Taylor would have gone higher in the draft had he been healthy last spring, and given the dearth of college pitching in his class, he may have come close to the first round. Taylor was a 2022 Cape Cod breakout guy, throwing strikes there after working out of LSU’s bullpen the spring prior. It looked like he’d seize a rotation spot along with Ty Floyd and Paul Skenes, but instead his elbow blew out just before the 2023 season and he needed Tommy John. Healthy Taylor works in the mid-90s with riding life and downhill angle; the latter detracts from the effectiveness of the pitch somewhat. He has a classic upper-70s overhand curveball to go with it, as well as a slider he barely throws. Taylor’s longer arm action and somewhat violent delivery were bullpen indicators even before he got hurt. He has a non-zero shot to work in key spots if his peak velo returns in 2024 post-rehab. His signing marked the second straight year the White Sox drafted someone coming off of TJ.

24. Sean Burke, MIRP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Maryland (CHW)
Age 24.2 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

Shoulder inflammation delayed the start to Burke’s 2023 season and then ended it, as he was put back on the IL and moved to the 60-day in late July. He never really looked himself even when “healthy,” though his stuff has been so up and down since college that at times it’s difficult to know which Burke is the real one. Peak Burke struck out 31% of opposing hitters at Double-A Birmingham in 2022; for most of that year, his fastball was parked in a career-best 93-95 mph zone while touching 97. You could project heavily on his strike-throwing (which wasn’t great, even when he looked his best) and his secondary pitches because he was a serious multi-sport high schooler (hoops) who also missed a year of college reps because of TJ, and as a result was much less experienced than most other college prospects when he was drafted. Now that we’ve had years of mixed velo and injury, it’s prudent to project Burke in the bullpen.

His impact heater has top-of-the-zone utility, and it’s the best weapon in Burke’s four-pitch mix. Usage of his mid-80s slider/cutter has ticked up in pro ball, becoming Burke’s best secondary pitch, while his changeup and curveball are deployed less frequently. Even though Burke’s curveball can be easy to identify out of hand, it became more surprising for hitters to see once it became his third pitch, and it actually garnered the best whiff rate of all of his offerings when he was last healthy for a long period of time. It’s possible a bullpen move will mean scrapping his changeup.

The 2024 season will be Burke’s 40-man evaluation year, and if he’s healthy and back to throwing hard, we expect he’ll be added after the season and play a multi-inning role starting in 2025. Because we’re talking about a shoulder injury here, we’d like to see him healthy before pushing his FV grade back into the 40 or 40+ tier.

25. Seth Keener, SIRP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2023 from Wake Forest (CHW)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 60/70 40/45 30/40 92-95 / 97

Keener moved back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation as a sophomore and junior at Wake, and it’s plausible that some of his current issues (changeup quality and consistency, overall command) have late projection due his lack of college reps, while some of his other problems (like the way the angle/shape of his fastball detracts from its quality) need more significant dev intervention. Prior to the draft, Eric had Keener evaluated as a likely middle relief prospect ballparked in the fourth round, and he ended up going in the third. He worked 12 slider-heavy innings after the draft. There’s an impact slider here, a nasty two-plane sweeper in the mid-80s, and if Keener eventually experiences a velo spike out of the bullpen, he might have another plus offering. He should be developed as a starter with the hope that changeup feel comes and that his fastball movement can be improved, but Wake tends not to leave a lot of meat on the bone, especially as far as fastball effectiveness is concerned.

26. Jacob Burke, CF

Drafted: 11th Round, 2022 from Miami (CHW)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 208 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 45/50 30/40 55/55 40/50 50

Burke spent two years at Southeastern Louisiana before transferring to Miami for his draft year, and proceeded to slug .599 and set a career high in homers (13) with the Hurricanes. He has continued to mash in pro ball and is a career .291/.393/.439 hitter through High-A. He has quick wrists and a compact swing that generates doubles power with ease. More importantly, Burke has played center field well as a pro and projects as a viable big league defender there. He lacks the premium offensive tools of a regular or an oft-used platoon partner, but there’s enough here to consider Burke a likely fifth outfielder.

35+ FV Prospects

27. Tanner McDougal, SP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from Silverado HS (NV) (CHW)
Age 20.9 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 93-96 / 97

An over-slot eighth-round high schooler from the 2021 draft, McDougal’s amateur prospectdom was driven by his mid-90s arm strength. McDougal had Tommy John surgery in late October of 2021 and missed the entire 2022 season. Healthy for all of 2023, McDougal made 21 starts, totalling 69.1 innings, 80 strikeouts, and 43 walks. That statistical trio paints a picture of his abilities as well as his issues. His fastball sat 93-96 throughout the year, a return to his pre-injury velocity. His upper-70s curveball has above-average depth and could be an impact pitch at maturity. But McDougal’s lack of athleticism and mechanical consistency both contribute to the bullpen projection here, as does his downhill fastball plane, which makes it more important that he eventually throws even harder. McDougal also has a seldom-used (7%) changeup that, in addition to his command, needs to improve is he’s going to start. None of this is particularly surprising given that McDougal was coming off TJ in 2023. His arm strength and raw breaking ball quality make him a prospect, but the rest of his craft is still in progress.

28. Javier Mogollon, 2B

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Venezuela (CHW)
Age 18.4 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 35/45 20/40 50/50 30/50 40

Mogollon is a compact second baseman who had one of the more statistically impressive 2023 seasons in the DSL, as he clubbed 10 homers and slashed a nutty .315/.417/.582. He makes consistent, flush, airborne contact by virtue of his feel for the barrel and consistent hitter’s timing. Landlocked at second base due to poor arm strength, Mogollon is going to have to hit enough to be an everyday second baseman because he probably won’t be a versatile defender. Because he’s so short and lacks big long-term power projection, he’ll have to sustain the plus rates of contact he made in the DSL to keep that projection in play. The diminutive Mogollon will be one of our more important 2024 extended spring training evals to see if he has the athletic verve to compete with big league athletes as he matures.

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Venezuela (LAD)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 40/50 50/55 30/40 20/45 93-96 / 99

Martinez, who was acquired from the Dodgers as part of a trade for international bonus pool space in 2023, has been a complex-level prospect of note for the past three seasons. He was sometimes humming his fastball in at 95-98 mph while still a few months shy of his 18th birthday, but elbow injuries have ended each of his last two seasons and prevented him from leaving the Camelback Ranch nest for an affiliate. Martinez’s fastball doesn’t have big life and it gets tagged when it’s in the meat of the zone, but he has a compact, repeatable delivery, and the visual evaluation of his strike-throwing is superior to the small and potentially health-compromised sample Maximo has put forth on the complex.

His best looking secondary pitch is his upper-70s curveball, which has big depth and plus raw movement, but it doesn’t play great off of his fastball. Martinez often uses a mid-80s slider (it bites late, but lacks length and is almost cutter-y) and an upper-80s changeup; both pitches are below average right now. He is much more physically mature than most other pitchers his age, his build more akin to a catcher’s, so there isn’t an obvious path toward more velocity here. That will be fine if Martinez can maintain his current level of arm strength and simply develop crispier secondaries. He hasn’t been consistently healthy for a minute, but Martinez is a good young pitching prospect to monitor when he returns.

30. Eric Adler, SIRP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2022 from Wake Forest (CHW)
Age 23.4 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 92-96 / 98

Adler was dominant on the 2021 Cape and looked like a potential second rounder, but he really struggled to throw strikes during his draft year and fell all the way to the sixth round. Adler has power relief stuff, with three potential plus pitches. After his fastball typically sat 92-95 in college, he lived at the upper end of that boundary in 2023, when his heater sat 94-96. He can vary the shape and speed of 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 in the 86-89 mph range. It’s a pretty nasty collection of pitches, Adler just hasn’t ever really thrown strikes aside from that Cape Cod stint, and his mechanical inconsistency harms his breaking ball quality in addition to his control. He’d need to be a bit more reliable than we’re projecting to grab a meaningful relief role.

31. Eduardo Herrera, 3B

Signed: International Signing Period, 2024 from Venezuela (CHW)
Age 17.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/35 45/60 20/50 30/30 30/50 55

The White Sox have tended to stash bonus money in the international space in the event a Cuban prospect hits the market late in the process, but things appear to be changing, as they signed Herrera, a power-hitting third baseman from Venezuela, in January for $1.8 million. The risk associated with Herrera’s hit tool is significant and he seems relatively new to third base, as I spoke with multiple international scouts who had him listed as a catcher.

Other Prospects of Note

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

Sleeper Arms with a Plus Breaking Ball
Juan Carela, RHP
Connor McCullough, RHP
Jonah Scolaro, LHP
Mason Adams, RHP
Shane Murphy, LHP

Carela, 22, was acquired from the Yankees at the 2023 deadline in exchange for Keynan Middleton. He’s a kitchen sink righty with a 90-92 mph fastball and a good cutter. He also had more strike-throwing success in 2023 than he’s had in the past and is a pretty high-floored spot starter type. McCullough had the most statistically successful season of any honorable mention prospect here. His excellent slider carries most of his profile’s weight, as he sits 91 and is a 40-grade athlete. Scolaro is a 25-year-old lefty with a good slider and a sneaky upper-80s heater. Adams sits 90-92, also has a good slider, and climbed three levels to Double-A last year. Murphy is 6-foot-5 and was drafted out of an Arizona JUCO two years ago. He’s a command-oriented, four-pitch lefty who sits just 89, but he still carved Low-A as a slightly old-for-the-level prospect in 2023.

Well-Known Fallen Prospects
Braden Shewmake, SS
José Rodríguez, 2B
Norge Vera, RHP
Matthew Thompson, RHP
Kohl Simas, RHP
Jared Kelley, RHP
Yoelqui Céspedes, RF
Wes Kath, 3B

Often this section of the list serves to anticipate players readers might want to know about even though we don’t think they’re prospects. Shewmake is a former first round pick who came over as part of the Aaron Bummer trade, which Eric wrote up here. We still like Rodríguez’s rotational athleticism and think he gets on top of some pitches that few other hitters can, but successful big league hitters don’t chase as much as he does, and the ones who do make up for it with in-zone contact skill that hasn’t followed Rodríguez to the upper levels. Vera looked like he’d have an 80-grade fastball when he first debuted in the U.S., but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy and has only been sitting 92 when he’s pitched the last couple years. Thompson and Simas may still be upper-level depth arms. Thompson was a low-90s/curveball dev project in high school and has never really gotten better. Simas was a mess in college and looked better upon his initial entry to pro ball, but he has since plateaued as a low-90s vertical fastball/curveball guy with below-average control. Kelley was a high-profile high school pick with a mature build and great changeup. His velo and command have backed up. Céspedes would still be on the main section of the list if we felt like he could play center field. His approach is too aggressive for him to get to his power. Kath was a second round pick from a couple years ago and has struggled adjusting to pro quality stuff.

Bat-to-Ball Sleepers
Ronny Hernandez, C
Brooks Baldwin, CF/INF
Mario Camilletti, 2B/3B
Rikuu Nishida, LF

Hernandez is a young catcher who has had two good statistical seasons in rookie ball. There isn’t a consensus as to whether or not he’ll be able to catch, and his scouting report has a lot of 40-grade tools besides his contact ability. That will be okay if he turns into a viable defender. Baldwin is a sweet-swinging switch-hitter who played all over the field in college. His defensive versatility and average bat-to-ball ability could earn him a multi-positional part-time role eventually. Camilletti and Nishida are wee little grinders who can handle the bat. They’re probably too small to hit for big leauge-worthy power.

Developmental Arms
Christian Oppor, LHP
Luis Rodriguez, RHP sa3021816
Mathias LaCombee, RHP
Bryce Collins, RHP

Oppor is a well-built JUCO lefty with a 90-94 mph heater and a promising slider. Rodriguez is a 20-year-old, 6-foot-2 righty who dominated the 2023 DSL with an 88-90 mph fastball and an above-average curveball. LaCombe is a 6-foot-2 French righty drafted out of an Arizona JUCO in 2023. At times during his draft spring, he was up to 97. More often, though, he sits about 92 and has a promising two-plane slider. Collins began his college career at Arizona but followed Jay Johnson to LSU, where he struggled to throw strikes. He was sitting 94-96 and bending in a good curveball at Tread Athletics when the White Sox signed him during the offseason.

System Overview

While this farm system still isn’t among the strongest in baseball, it’s significantly deeper than it was a year ago, strengthened by several key acquisitions at last year’s trade deadline, including Edgar Quero, Nick Nastrini, Jake Eder and Ky Bush. That trend has continued with the trade of Dylan Cease. Chicago has as many players with the potential for high-end impact — Colson Montgomery, Bryan Ramos, Noah Schultz, maybe Eder if his velo comes back — as a lot of the top systems, though all of those guys missed time due to injury in 2023.

New GM Chris Getz was promoted from within, so even though the org will likely change somewhat as it works to execute his vision for the club, expect more continuity here than typically accompanies a regime change. For instance, Getz told Eric at the GM Meetings that the White Sox would likely alter their approach to international scouting, which for the last many years has seen them save pool space to target Cuban players who hit the market late. For too long the White Sox have tied one metaphorical hand behind their back by largely ignoring amateur Dominican players, and it seems like that will soon change.

In the domestic draft, director Mike Shirley has now been in place for a couple of years. In addition to the White Sox targeting high-profile players from the Midwest during his tenure, they’ve prioritized pitching prospects with premium breaking stuff, drafted a lot of scrappy little college infielders in the middle rounds, and often found a way to mix a huge-framed power hitter in there somewhere. There has been no real pattern at the very top of Chicago’s last few drafts. Jacob Gonzalez is a model-friendly prospect because of his age and stats, while Montgomery (old for his class) and Schultz (a prep arm) were toolsy, projectable high schoolers. Schultz became the first high school arm the team had selected in the first round in over 20 years.

The White Sox pro department got to target players via trade last summer and again this offseason. Chicago has so far taken a quantity-first approach to this rebuild, perhaps more because this system is pretty thin and they feel like it’s a prudent way to get the ball rolling than as a reflection of some long-term strategy or overarching philosophy.

Ultimately, Jerry Reinsdorf is in charge. People in baseball consider him a bit meddlesome and think he is a bit more involved than is ideal, and sometimes believe his fierce loyalty prevents him from moving on from people or processes that aren’t helping the team. At times under Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams, it felt like there were too many cooks in this kitchen. Getz’s track record of developing players in his previous role was mixed, partly because the franchise was so far behind conceptually and technologically when they hired him, but some of the communication breakdowns and behind-the-scenes drama should go away now that the GM is a person who had to effectively communicate across a whole department as a core aspect of their job.

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4 months ago

I feel slightly less depressed.

4 months ago
Reply to  bighurt35

It’s like saying that you know a raging alcoholic that’s starting to drink a little less.