Chicago White Sox Top 28 Prospects by Eric Longenhagen April 27, 2022 © Kamil Krzaczynski-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 my own observations. This is the second 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. A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here. All of the numbered prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Top Prospects Team Lists 2022 2021 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG White Sox Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Bryan Ramos 20.1 A+ 3B 2024 45+ 2 Jose Rodriguez 21.0 AA SS 2023 45 3 Colson Montgomery 20.2 A 3B 2026 45 4 Oscar Colas 23.6 A+ RF 2025 45 5 Romy Gonzalez 25.6 MLB SS 2022 45 6 Jared Kelley 20.6 A SIRP 2025 40+ 7 Wes Kath 19.7 A 3B 2026 40+ 8 Caleb Freeman 24.2 AA SIRP 2022 40 9 Jimmy Lambert 27.4 MLB SP 2022 40 10 Sean Burke 23.4 A+ MIRP 2025 40 11 Norge Vera 21.9 R SP 2025 40 12 Matthew Thompson 21.7 A+ SP 2024 40 13 Andrew Dalquist 21.5 A+ SP 2024 40 14 Lenyn Sosa 22.3 AA 2B 2023 40 15 Kohl Simas 22.3 A SP 2025 40 16 Harvin Mendoza 23.2 A+ 1B 2024 40 17 Yoelqui Céspedes 24.6 AA CF 2023 40 18 Yolbert Sanchez 25.1 AA SS 2025 40 19 Jake Burger 26.0 MLB 1B 2022 40 20 Cristian Mena 19.3 A SP 2024 35+ 21 Kade McClure 26.2 AAA SP 2022 35+ 22 Davis Martin 25.3 AA SP 2023 35+ 23 Jonathan Stiever 25.0 MLB SP 2022 35+ 24 Gil Luna Jr. 22.7 A+ MIRP 2025 35+ 25 Hunter Schryver 27.1 AAA SIRP 2022 35+ 26 James Beard 21.6 A CF 2024 35+ 27 Tanner McDougal 19.1 R SP 2026 35+ 28 Yoan Aybar 24.8 AA SIRP 2022 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All 1B 2B SS 3B CF RF SP SIRP MIRP 45+ FV Prospects 1. Bryan Ramos, 3B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (CHW) Age 20.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/50 50/60 35/55 50/45 35/60 60 Ramos is still a fairly crude baseball player, but the fact that he has performed the way he has while also being described (mostly by scouts) as “raw,” means that if he starts to polish his impressive tools, he’s going to be a star. He takes some reckless swings, but he’s still a career .263/.354/.428 hitter in the minors, with all but his 2022 production coming during his teenage years. Most hitters who swing as freely as Ramos does strike out a lot, but he has tended to K at a 20% or lower clip throughout his pro career. He has plus bat speed, a compact, athletic swing that features a very flexible lower half and a hitting posture that allows Ramos to cover most of the plate with swings that generate lift. Based on his age and the quality of his statistical performance, ZiPS loves Ramos, ranking him 20th among all the prospects in the minor leagues. We knew Szymborski’s model had Ramos slotted that highly on its preseason rankings, which caused those of us working on the Top 100 to re-evaluate him heavily in the lead up to the list’s publication. Scouting sources generally agreed he was too risky and unpolished for that right now, but that Ramos has the tools for it. He also has flashes of brilliance on defense and his athleticism makes him extremely rangy over at third base, though that part of his profile may not be settled as Ramos has gotten reps at second and third in the past. In many ways, Ramos is like Rays prospect Curtis Mead, except a few levels lower in the minors. He clearly has feel for contact and generates exciting power when he makes that contact, but the plate discipline piece and unsettled defensive fit make him a prospect of extreme variance. He’s off to a tremendous statistical start in 2022 and could be a Top 100 prospect if even one of these issues is settled in his favor this season. 45 FV Prospects 2. Jose Rodriguez, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (CHW) Age 21.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 50/60 50/55 30/40 55/55 40/50 50 It’s going to be interesting to see how Rodriguez shakes out. He has some really exciting bat speed for a viable middle infield prospect, but his approach is bad, and his swing path tends to limit where in the zone he can do damage. 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 at Double-A. Rodriguez is best at damaging pitches down and in. He can rotate with ferocity while quickly getting the bat head on plane, with lift, through that quadrant of the zone. 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 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. Pitchers at Double-A are peppering the zone up and away from Rodriguez early in 2022 to limit the damage he’s doing, and because he likes to swing so much, he’s offering at them. He’s running a career walk rate just a shade under 5%, which is in red flag territory even though he has made it work so far (he’s a .293 career hitter) and has some margin for error because he’s a middle infielder. 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. Set to turn 21 a few weeks after list publication, it’s fair to continue to project on Rodriguez’s defense and anticipate that it will polish up enough for him to remain at shortstop. The age portion of this equation makes us want to give grace to Rodriguez’s offensive immaturity, too, though that feature undoubtedly makes him riskier as a prospect. There’s evidence of special bat-to-ball skill here, which is the most important thing. We’ll speculate that Rodriguez is also a candidate to platoon in a way specific to swing plane/pitch plane matchups given how much damage he does down and in. 3. Colson Montgomery, 3B Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Southridge HS (IN) (CHW) Age 20.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 50/65 30/60 50/40 30/55 55 Lots of high-level decision makers ran to Indiana to see Montgomery as part of a late spring jaunt through the Midwest, and he was one of the buzziest high schoolers just as the draft approached, with some pre-draft smoke near the top 10. He ultimately fell to the White Sox at 22nd overall. Montgomery has uncommon athleticism for a 6-foot-4 infielder and actually looks okay at shortstop, even though his instincts and internal clock are not very good. Some of this could be because he’s a Midwestern prospect who has only just begun to adjust to the speed of pro ball. While his geographic background (and two-spot background —Montgomery was a high-level hooper in high school) is arguably a “late-bloomer” trait, Colson was well over 19 on draft day and began his first full pro season at age 20, so there’s some demographic push and pull happening in the guts of his profile. He was an average runner during the 2021 Complex League season but looked a little heavy-footed and slow-twitch during the spring of ’22, leaving scouts who had only seen him during that stretch to project him off of shortstop, with one source considering him a risk to move to first base due to his size. We’re not quite there, but it is easy to envision Montgomery needing to move to a corner, especially if potential bans on shifting make it harder to hide an eventual lack of range. That might still be fine. Montgomery’s power is impressive (he already has lots and he’s likely to grow into more), and if he hits enough, it will profile at any position. He is especially good at barreling pitches in the bottom third of the zone and sometimes ones that are beneath it. Eric watched him golf one off his shoe tops and send it on a frozen rope directly over a center fielder’s head during the spring. He was vulnerable at the top of the strike zone during his pre-draft summer and it will be key for him to close this hole as he climbs up the ladder. There is certainly risk here, but even if only some of the components that are currently lacking start to come together for Montgomery, he’s going to be a good big leaguer. If several of them do, he’ll be a star. 4. Oscar Colas, RF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2022 from Cuba (CHW) Age 23.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 209 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/50 60/60 35/55 40/40 30/45 55 Colas, who signed in January, has looked good this spring. His big lefty bat speed is as advertised, his feel for the barrel is better, and it’s exciting that he’s hit the ground running after such a long layoff from high-level baseball. 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 this year, subject to the bonus restrictions of international amateur players. He got $2.7 million from the Sox and came to camp in fantastic shape, which wasn’t always true while he was in Japan. He has been getting reps in center field, where some scouts who saw him this spring think he has a chance to stay, though Eric doesn’t, especially not in this org, where there’s a 7 defender in the big leagues right now. Colas might have the bat to profile in an everyday right field role. His swing is geared for power in the bottom of the zone, where his cut has lift, but Colas can move the barrel all over the place and is more of an all-fields slash-and-spray hitter in other parts of the strike zone. While he’s walking at a pretty good clip at High-A Winston Salem as of publication, he walked just 7% of the time in NPB and had an expansive approach during Eric’s in-person looks during the spring, which is part of how it became evident that he has such good bat control and hand-eye coordination as he swung at pitches out of the zone. Because he’s ticketed for a corner (a former two-way player, Colas’ arm strength is the only thing that was lackluster during backfield looks), the approach piece is important here, but early assessment of the feel to hit is encouraging and allows for a slight bump to Colas’ FV compared to before he signed. He’s now projecting as the larger half of a right field platoon. 5. Romy Gonzalez, SS Drafted: 18th Round, 2018 from Miami (CHW) Age 25.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/30 55/55 40/45 55/55 35/40 60 Gonzalez had a breakout 2021, slugging 20 homers in 78 games at Double-A Birmingham before a promotion to Charlotte for the final few weeks of the season. He has experience playing defense all over the field, seeing time mostly at shortstop, though he spent at least a little bit of time everywhere but first base and catcher in 2021. He continued to get run at a variety of positions during big league spring training but has only played short at Charlotte in the week and a half prior to publication. Gonzalez is a physical guy who’s a little bit stiff, but he is rangy with a strong, if sometimes erratic arm. Even if his actions aren’t slick and sexy, Romy does some stuff on defense that makes you think he can actually pass at shortstop, though he made 19 errors in 80 games there, which would easily lead the majors if you prorated that to a full season; Bo Bichette actually led in errors in 2021 with 24. I know we’re talking about errors, but that’s a big gap. He has had some throwing accuracy issues early on in Triple-A this year. Gonzalez’s feel for infield defense is much more polished than what he shows you in the outfield, though his speed under way and effort level make up somewhat for his lack of feel. It’s important that he find a way to play multiple positions since it’s a much more likely avenue for him to impact a big league club, as his hit tool issues will make it tough for him to play every day. Gonzalez’s carrying tool is his above-average raw power, but he has a huge hole on the inner half and swings through middle-middle and middle-in pitches with alarming frequency. Leave something up and away from him, though, and he’ll punish you. He has the strength to get extended on pitches on the outer third and do damage the other way. Big league pitchers are going to attack him with inner half velocity and dare him to catch it, and Romy may not be able to. As long as he’s playing some shortstop, it’s perfectly fine for him to end up being a 30 bat provided he’s getting to some of that power and helping enable managerial creativity through his versatility. 40+ FV Prospects 6. Jared Kelley, SIRP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Refugio HS (TX) (CHW) Age 20.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 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. Shoulder and elbow 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. That was before the shoulder injury, though, and Kelley came out this spring sitting 93-94. He looked to be in better condition, and he was using only his slider in Eric’s in-person look. That slider needs to develop, so it’s important for Kelley to use it heavily in the minors, which may impact how he’s performing statistically. During the spring, the slider was in the 83-87 mph range. It flashed above-average but was consistently below, with lots of hittable 30s and 40s. 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. Kelley has a lot of traits consistent with relievers before you even consider his injuries, but if he has the fastball/changeup combo he showed in college, he’ll be a very good one. 7. Wes Kath, 3B Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Desert Mountain HS (CHW) Age 19.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 45/55 25/50 50/45 45/60 50 The early portion of the pandemic made it hard for Kath to play a lot pre-draft summer showcase ball, as the events that would normally occur in the western portion of the country were moved to the Southeast. Instead he was seen frequently in a wood bat summer league in Arizona, at Area Codes, and at one Perfect Game event in October, before crushing varsity pitching the next spring. Kath has a good looking swing, but he often swung inside and underneath fastballs on the outer third at those showcase events. Because his participation against curated competition was fairly limited, these issues didn’t become part of Kath’s pre-draft narrative. He had trouble recognizing breaking balls during Eric’s in-person looks this spring. We now some evidence that Kath has both a plate coverage issue and potential breaking ball recognition issues, causing an overhaul of how we’re projecting him compared to our pre-draft assessment. There are still carrying tools here, though. Kath has a big, projectable frame (standing next to Colson Montgomery on the left side of the infield can make this easy to miss) and the long-term power projection that comes with it. He’s also a fantastic defensive third baseman already. Because the White Sox have Montgomery playing shortstop, Kath has been strictly limited to third in affiliated ball and in the instances when Eric has seen him during instructs and spring training. His footwork, hands, actions, and arm strength are all plus, and in most circumstances, it’d be worth sending him out at shortstop to see how it goes. While the contact-related warning signs here are worrying, there are still some obvious paths and precedents for Kath to be an integral big leaguer. Matt Chapman is a super-charged version of this overall profile (definitely not a comp), while Ryan McMahon and late-career Matt Carpenter are fair offensive comps, but have inferior gloves. 40 FV Prospects 8. Caleb Freeman, SIRP Drafted: 15th Round, 2019 from Texas Tech (CHW) Age 24.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops 55/60 50/55 55/60 40/40 92-95 / 97 Freeman is a high-probability middle relief prospect with mid-90s velocity and two good breaking balls. His fastball sits 95 mph and has vertical action. It plays great with his 78-82 mph 12-to-6 curveball, which spins around 2900 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. Freeman finished 2021 at Double-A, then went to the Fall League. Down several pitchers to start 2022, the White Sox have been forced to turn to some closer-to-the-majors arms who are further down this prospect list, but Freeman isn’t all that far off and has a shot to make a case for a big league roster spot at some point this year. He projects in consistent middle relief. 9. Jimmy Lambert, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2016 from Fresno State (CHW) Age 27.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 50/55 45/45 50/50 45/45 91-94 / 95 Lambert’s strikeout rate exploded from 16% in 2017 to nearly 29% in ’18. The cause? A slight uptick in velocity paired with an arm slot change that has him coming straight over the top, creating more life on his heater; it also creates more vertical action on his breaking stuff. This delivery appears tough to maintain, as Lambert has to contort his body to get to that slot, but he hasn’t been wild since making the change. While Lambert doesn’t have surgical control, he peppers the zone with his 92-94 mph fastball, he’ll occasionally reach back for 96, and all of his secondary pitches are pretty good. His slider typically finishes on the glove-side of the plate (though it sometimes catches a lot of it) while his changeup finishes in its lower third, and his mid-70s spike curveball provides him with an occasional change of pace option. After having TJ in the middle of 2019 and enduring a 60-day IL stint toward the end of the ’20 season, Lambert was healthy in ’21 and made four spot starts throughout the year. He figures to continue in a very important spot starter role on a top-heavy White Sox staff, but could probably take a turn every fifth day as a fifth starter. 10. Sean Burke, MIRP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Maryland (CHW) Age 22.4 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 30/40 30/40 91-95 / 98 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 (22 innings, 35 strikeouts) was electric, 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. While his repertoire has begun to develop, the strike-throwing piece is still rough around the edges. Burke sat 92-93 and was up to 95 during Eric’s instructs look, then was sitting 94-95 and touching 96 this spring. His upper-80s curveball has good depth but is somewhat easy to identify out of his hand, a pitch Eric grades as average on balance. Burke worked with more sliders this spring and that pitch is promising, sitting in the 85-88 mph range and at times operating like a nasty cutter. Eric has seen changeups anywhere from 84 to 91 but they are so infrequent that he doesn’t even have a grade in his notes; it should be considered a purely developmental pitch at this point. There are certainly some late-bloomer traits here since Burke has really only had one full season of pitching since 2018, but there’s a pretty big control/command gap to bridge if he’s going to start. 11. Norge Vera, SP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Cuba (CHW) Age 21.9 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 Vera sat 90-94 mph during pre-agreement workouts but averaged 95 in the 2021 DSL, where he pitched 19 totally dominant innings. The lack of innings count may have helped him maintain that kind of arm strength, though. He has a cutter, curveball and changeup, all of which are occasionally good, but inconsistent. He’s not expected to get going in extended spring training until late May due to a lat strain that the org disclosed to the media in early March. While he’s roughly the same as the two high school pitchers the White Sox drafted in 2019, Vera’s date of signing gives him through the 2024 season to polish his secondary offerings and build a starter’s workload. In addition to the present arm strength, Vera has a prototypical starter’s frame and a good looking delivery. You can project pretty heavily on his command (which was scattered during workouts) and his changeup based on how graceful and fluid his mechanics are, but that was also true of Andrew Dalquist and Matthew Thompson, who haven’t popped in a big way during their time in the org. 12. Matthew Thompson, SP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Cypress Ranch HS (TX) (CHW) Age 21.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 184 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 40/45 50/55 40/50 35/50 91-94 / 96 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 the spring of ’22. Thompson’s curveball doesn’t spin very much but it still has pretty good depth and is consistently average. The pitch data we sourced from team contacts in 2021 does not have him using a slider, but he was throwing what Eric thought was a new slide piece in the 83-86 mph range this spring. That pitch is below average, but assuming it’s new, it should continue to improve to a point of viability. Thompson’s changeup is also in the 40/45-grade area. He’s had good arm-side fastball and changeup feel during live looks, though his walk numbers indicate that portion of his game is still a little below average, too. Based on Thompson’s age, frame, and the grace and fluidity of his mechanics, we’re inclined to continue to project on enough components here that he profiles as a fifth starter. 13. Andrew Dalquist, SP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Redondo Union HS (CA) (CHW) Age 21.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/45 40/50 45/55 40/50 30/40 91-93 / 95 Dalquist and Thompson have moved together in scouts’ collective consciousness since both were $2 million bonus signees from the 2019 draft with projectable frames and precocious breaking balls. Dalquist’s fastball has more natural ride and while he’s progressed from a velocity standpoint, he has consistently walked about 14% of opposing hitters in pro ball and is starting to trend toward the bullpen. While his curveball, which has beautiful shape, was his most-used secondary pitch in high school, a mid-80s slider has since come to the forefront and was his most-used secondary in 2021. The combination of fastball carry and his two viable breaking balls give Dalquist a starter’s repertoire, but he has yet to show that he can work with a starter’s efficiency. It’s too early to totally cut bait on him starting since he doesn’t have to be put on the 40-man until after the 2023 season and he could still conceivably be deployed as a starter during his first option year. But because Dalquist hasn’t made real strides in this area, his forecast is starting to shift toward the bullpen. 14. Lenyn Sosa, 2B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (CHW) Age 22.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/55 40/45 30/40 40/30 30/40 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 anything close to 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. Sosa has below-average power and is a very aggressive swinger who has run walk rates in the low single digits throughout his career. There are scouts who think he is a second base-only prospect due to the lack of arm strength. If that’s true, then he’s likely a fringe big leaguer, an above-replacement upper-level depth option who can fill in at the keystone when there’s an injury. If he can actually play all over the infield, then he fits as a contact-oriented bench infielder in the 1 WAR area. 15. Kohl Simas, SP (CHW) Age 22.3 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 again this spring on the backfields. He seems to have found a more consistent release and has been pounding the zone so far in 2022. His mid-80s slider and upper-70s curveball are both consistently average and flash better than that. The whole package is already on par with many of the other starting pitching prospects in this system and the rate of Simas’ progression is exciting. It’s sometimes hard to know whether to extrapolate on very quick improvements like this or anticipate a regression to the mean. In this case, though, Simas has sustained a new level of stuff and command for long enough to feel resolve that the White Sox plucked an undrafted guy with a shot to pitch in their rotation. 16. Harvin Mendoza, 1B Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (CHW) Age 23.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 55/55 30/45 30/30 30/40 45 Mendoza is a squat, physical, lefty-hitting first baseman with tremendous hand-eye coordination and bat control, striking out at a 14% clip throughout his career. The short-levered Mendoza tracks pitches deep into the hitting zone and can decide at the last second whether or not he wants to swing, which helps him spoil pitcher’s pitches and stay on breaking balls later than most hitters. His operation in the box is pretty conservative, but he has super strong wrists and forearms that generate doubles. At a platoon advantage most of the time, Mendoza has the skills to be a role-playing 1B/DH and a potent bench bat, maybe even a short-term, low-end first base regular. 17. Yoelqui Céspedes, CF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Cuba (CHW) Age 24.6 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/30 60/60 40/45 60/60 45/45 80 While we continue to be skeptical of Céspedes because of his approach at the plate, his stock is absolutely up this spring because he is running much faster than last year and has given himself a chance to stay in center field. He has viable range out there now, and was posting average run times during the spring, looking plus under way. Céspedes does tend to get himself out by offering at early-count junk (he is running a 60% swing% as of publication, which would have ranked second in the big leagues behind Luis Robert in 2021), but if he can stay in center, even for a little while, he has enough power to support some kind of 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, too. 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 last year. His skill set is similar to that of a righty-hitting Brett Phillips. 18. Yolbert Sanchez, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Cuba (CHW) Age 25.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 45/45 30/35 60/60 50/55 60 Sanchez spent 2019 in the DSL due to visa issues and faced competition often four and five years his junior, so 2021 was the first season 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. Sanchez can also play all over the infield. He has mediocre range but checks every other defensive box there is, and he’s a viable shortstop defender. Because Sanchez seems to be making so much of his contact in the bottom of the zone, rather than all over it, it’s possible upper-level pitching will find a way to handle him. Remember, this guy spent most of 2021 as a 24-year-old in A-ball, and that puts his statistical performance in an important context. He’s a high-probability big leaguer, though, probably as a glove-first utility infielder. 19. Jake Burger, 1B Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Missouri State (CHW) Age 26.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/40 60/60 45/45 30/30 35/35 60 Burger persevered through a myriad of severe injuries (including two Achilles ruptures) and found a way to get reps during 2020 by playing for the Normal CornBelters in a makeshift league put together after COVID squashed the minor league season, teeing himself up to earn a 40-man spot after a good showing at instructs. Finally playing affiliated ball again in 2021, he clubbed 18 homers at Charlotte and got a two-week cup of coffee in the big leagues. This alone is a triumph, and by all accounts Burger is an affable young man with a great sense of humor. But due to his size, his general stiffness, and his injury history, we don’t view him as a great long-term fit at third base, and his swing-and-miss issues (27% K% at Triple-A in 2021, 35% in a small big league sample) are scary, whether or not you consider him a 1B/DH-only fit. Still, you can squint and see some avenues through which Burger can contribute. Yandy Díaz has similar stiffness issues that limit him at third base, for instance, so maybe Burger can be a power-over-hit version who gets hidden at third base on occasion. 35+ FV Prospects 20. Cristian Mena, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (CHW) Age 19.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 30/45 50/60 40/45 25/55 88-92 / 94 Mena is a projectable young righty with precocious feel for spin. He needs to throw harder, as his fastball lacks the movement to be effective at his current velocity. He was in the 90-92 mph range for Eric this spring, which is where he was throughout most of 2021. His slurve-y curveball sits in the low-80s and has great bite and depth; it’s a potential plus pitch. There’s also some feel for a changeup here, though it resides in the upper-80s and either needs a little more power action or to find a little more of a velo gap between it and his heater. Now at Low-A, Mena is a developmental starter prospect on pace to compete for a spot starter role in 2024 and perhaps something more substantial in the years after. 21. Kade McClure, SP Drafted: 6th Round, 2017 from Louisville (CHW) Age 26.2 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Splitter Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/55 45/50 40/45 45/50 92-94 / 95 McClure missed 2018 due to a knee surgery, then pitched well (especially from a strike-throwing perspective) across two A-ball levels in ’19. In the fall of 2020, he was also throwing harder: after sitting 89-92 mph and touching 94 in 2019, McClure was suddenly sitting 92-95 with a host of viable secondary pitches. He held most of that velocity increase in 2021 when he sat 92-93 and pitched well at Double-A, striking out 27% of opposing batters. His finishing pitch is a firm, tight, mid-80s slider with short, late bite. He can create some arm-side action on his changeup but the slider is the only above-average pitch here. The White Sox left McClure off their 40-man this offseason, but given their relative lack of upper-level pitching depth, he’s probably in line to play a spot starter role at some point in 2022. 22. Davis Martin, SP Drafted: 18th Round, 2018 from Texas Tech (CHW) Age 25.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 40/45 50/50 30/30 40/45 92-95 / 97 Martin had two consecutive seasons of strong peripherals (a roughly 25% K% and 7% BB% combined in 2019 and ’21) while he also ran an ERA over 5.00. He’s sitting 93-94 mph and touching 97 as a starter, his fastball has carry at the letters, and he has two fair breaking balls that play pretty well off his fastball. His feel for location is not as good as his raw walk totals might make you think, but the shape of his fastball gives him margin for error in the strike zone. He’s tracking like a spot starter. 23. Jonathan Stiever, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from Indiana (CHW) Age 25.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 45/50 45/45 40/45 50/50 93-96 / 97 Stiever has had some injury issues since his 2019 breakout and velocity explosion, most recently a lat surgery that ended his ’21 campaign and has him shelved to start this season. He was throwing hard in 2021 and his peripherals were pretty good, but he still ran a 5.84 ERA at Triple-A and was homer-prone. At peak, he looked like a No. 4/5 starter, but he has been on the fifth starter/reliever fringe for most of his tenure as a prospect, and the severity of this most recent injury is opinion-altering. 24. Gil Luna Jr., MIRP Drafted: 9th Round, 2021 from Arizona (CHW) Age 22.7 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 173 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 45/45 55/60 30/35 91-95 / 97 John Kazanas, Chicago’s four corners area scout, may have plucked another ill-performing college arm out of the University of Arizona who is now in the midst of a breakout in pro ball. In 2019, Avery Weems ran a 7.15 ERA in Tucson but looked so good during instructs that fall that the Rangers traded for him. This year it’s Luna, who threw more innings in a 2019 collegiate summer league than he ever did during a season at U of A. He also had an ERA over 7.00 as a junior and went back to school for a fourth year. He pitched well but only threw 21 innings, and his college season ended early due to an arrest and subsequent suspension, as he and two teammates were involved in an off-campus fight during which another student suffered a concussion and other injuries; Luna and his teammates were charged with assault, a case which has yet to resolve. Luna struck out more than a batter per inning in college even while his fastball averaged 91 mph. At instructs, he was up to 96 and sitting 92-95, and because he is little and gets way down the mound, his heater plays at the top of the zone. His changeup is also consistently above-average or plus, while his mid-70s curveball is behind. The whole package is that of a quick-moving middle reliever if Luna can retain the new velocity. 25. Hunter Schryver, SIRP Drafted: 7th Round, 2017 from Villanova (TBR) Age 27.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/55 45/50 90-93 / 94 Schryver was acquired in a small 2018 trade with the Rays, then was pushed to Double- and Triple-A during his first full season with the Pale Hose, pitching well in Birmingham but not in Charlotte. He was a 2020 non-roster invitee but blew out and needed Tommy John in February, missing the entire season. And yet there was some light industry buzz that he was being talked about as a Rule 5 draft sleeper because Schyver’s pitch data is superlative in a specific way. Namely, his release point is really, really high (in the top 20 among minor league lefties in 2019) and yet, because he doesn’t take much of a stride down the mound, his extension is just a shade over five feet, which is very low. His release point is unique due to this combination, and it creates really weird angle on his fastball, which spins a lot relative to its velocity. Conversely, his slider has almost no spin. It’s weird. He’s a sleeper who we expect will be an up/down option year reliever. 26. James Beard, CF Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from Lloyd Star HS (MS) (CHW) Age 21.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 40/45 30/35 80/80 40/70 40 Beard remains a long-term project as a hitter, and his crude feel to hit may ultimately prevent him from reaching the big leagues. But he can really fly and that could eventually translate to impact center field defense, which might make him rosterable on its own. His swing is athletic and Beard takes a pretty good rip; he’s not a featherweight. He has a propensity to swing over the top of breaking balls, though, and he might eventually do well to become more of a slasher than he’s currently trying to be, but it’s too early for that. He was sent back to Low-A to start 2022 and needs to show progression from a bat-to-ball standpoint to stay on here. 27. Tanner McDougal, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from Silverado HS (NV) (CHW) Age 19.1 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 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 is likely to miss all of this season. 28. Yoan Aybar, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (BOS) Age 24.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/55 30/35 93-96 / 98 After four fruitless pro seasons as a Red Sox outfielder, Aybar moved to the mound in 2018, and was traded to Colorado for infielder Christian Koss. He has since hopped around the waiver wire and landed with the White Sox. The 2021 season was his first actually pitching at a Rockies affiliate, and was spent entirely at Double-A throughout his second option year. He has big time arm strength, sitting 95 mph and touching 100, and at times his breaking ball looks good. It’s hard for a breaker with vertical action, it just lacks depth and is vulnerable in the strike zone. Aybar doesn’t have great feel for location, which hinders his ability to miss bats since his stuff, especially the breaking ball, is dependent on him locating it. A conversion arm who missed a year and who throws this hard still fits in this tier, but the converted guys who end up hitting it big tend to do so quickly. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. More Relievers Anderson Severino, LHP Bennett Sousa, LHP Tyler Johnson, RHP Jason Bilous, RHP Theo Denlinger, RHP Zach Cable, RHP Brooks Gosswein, LHP Garrett Schoenle, LHP Severino signed as a minor league free agent after spending more than a half decade in the Yankees system. He has big time arm strength but scary control. Sousa is more consistent but his stuff isn’t as nasty, a tier below what I typically think of as the second lefty out of a bullpen. Both Severino and Sousa have been in the big leagues this year, which is an indication of the health-related misfortune the org has dealt with already this season. Johnson will also likely be called upon in 2022. He’s a right-handed version of Severino, walk-prone and with gigantic arm strength. Bilous is repeating Double-A as a 24-year-old after he had a 6.51 ERA in 2021. He is on the White Sox 40-man, sits about 93 mph and has an above-average changeup. He’s a spot starter right now but his best long-term fit is as a fastball/changeup reliever. The rest of this group comes from the 2021 draft. Denlinger, a self-taught blacksmith, was hurt a lot at his first college, then transferred to Bradley University and showed big arm strength there, sitting in the mid-90s with a good breaking ball but a really weird, short-striding delivery. Cable was breathing fire at 95-98 mph this spring but he also has rough command and a 40 slider. Gosswein, the club’s fourth rounder, has a good looking delivery and curveball but his fastball lacks explosion and sits about 91-93. Schoenle is a lanky three-pitch lefty who lives in the low-90s. Schoenle and Cable were signed as undrafted free agents. Catching Depth Carlos Pérez, C Xavier Fernández, C Adam Hackenberg, C Pérez and Fernández are upper-level depth types who have good feel to hit. Pérez has 40 bat speed and a 30 arm, but he’s a good receiver. He has a 10-to-1 ball-in-play-to-swing-and-miss ratio so far this year. Fernández’s contact rates are merely above average but he has more juice than Pérez. He’s repeating Double-A. Hackenberg is a strong, athletic catcher who had considerable profile in high school, then shared time behind the dish at Clemson because teammate Jonathan French is also pretty good. Any of this group could be a passable third catcher on a 40-man. Wilber Sanchez Wilber Sanchez, SS The 20-year-old Sanchez is a twitchy little middle infielder who could be an above-average defensive shortstop or plus second baseman, but the bat is light and it’s unlikely he develops more than 30-grade raw power. He’s a lot of fun to watch and could be a bench utility guy if he hits enough. Power-Over-Hit Types Luis Mieses, OF Micker Adolfo, DH DJ Gladney, 3B Wilfred Veras, 3B Misael Gonzalez, RF Benyamin Bailey, DH This is a pretty self-explanatory group. Everyone here has water-carrying raw power, but in many cases, they have approach issues that limit their ability to make enough contact to really get to it in games. Mieses has the best pure feel to hit of this group, and a huge, impressive frame, but he swings at everything. Adolfo was outrighted this year and seems like a fit in Asia. Gladney (who signed baseballs for my cousin’s kids as they caught him exiting the bathroom this spring — they really appreciated it) hits the ball in the air consistently but ran a K% over 40% in 2021. Veras and Gonzalez put up big numbers on the complex last year but beware of their approaches. Bailey’s athleticism and explosiveness have dialed down. System Overview This is the worst system in baseball but it got that way because the White Sox graduated (or traded players for) guys who now comprise the core of a contender. It’s less an indictment of the club’s ability to acquire and develop talent and more an indication that they’ve done a good job. They may be outmuscled at the trade deadline, though, as most other clubs have more ammunition to make a deal, and the team’s array of early-season injuries make it more likely that the Sox will need to make some. This club is not very proactive on the margins and doesn’t scoop up players with workable traits who become freely available via waivers. That’s the way clubs like the Rays and Dodgers find their John Curtisses and Phil Bickfords and manifest upper-level depth out of thin air in a way the White Sox badly need to right now. New amateur scouting director Mike Shirley has now shepherded two drafts, both featuring lots of early picks in the region of the country where he lives. They’ve taken a shot on an over-slot prep arm in each of his two drafts (Jared Kelley, Tanner McDougal), but it’s probably too early to start finding meaningful patterns in the org’s behavior here, since it’s been just two drafts and one of them was only five rounds. Internationally, the White Sox continue to be more active in the Cuban market than most other teams, waiting to commit their pool space later than most clubs in pursuit of whichever Cuban players come free later on. This strategy often leads them to put their eggs in just a few baskets during a signing period, but it’s worked out pretty well, and Bryan Ramos, Oscar Colas, and Norge Vera are the next potential wave.