In exchange for LHP Zach Duke, the White Sox received fourth-outfield prospect Charlie Tilson from St. Louis. Tilson is a plus-plus runner with good bat-to-ball skills but doesn’t project as a regular because of his complete lack of power.
A Chicago-area high schooler, Tilson blew up a bit at the Area Code Games as a rising senior when he stole seven bases in three days of play. The Cardinals selected him in the second round of the 2011 draft and gave him $1.275 million to turn pro instead of heading to Illinois. He missed all of 2012 while recovering from surgery to repair a separated (non-throwing) shoulder, began 2013 in full-season ball and has made a ton of contact ever since. He was hitting .282/.345/.407 with Triple-A Memphis before the trade.
Tilson has just average bat speed, no leverage in his swing and very rarely extends enough to really punish the baseball, resulting in 30-grade game power. He can play all three outfield positions, though his arm is fringe average and fits best in center and left. His ability to play center field while making a lot of contact is probably enough to win him a major-league roster spot, but unless his defense in center greatly outpaces present projections, he only profiles as a bench outfielder or below-average regular.
Despite a relatively humble collection of tools, Tilson ranked 81st on Chris Mitchell’s updated KATOH rankings.
Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.