An updated look at how our preseason rankings are turning out after two months of the season. From No. 1 Gordon Beckham to No. 25 C.J. Retherford, we take a look at every player in our preseason top 25. In early April, five posters from Soxtalk.com, FutureSox’s sister site, put together their own ballot of the top 25 White Sox prospects. The lists were then combined into an overall list using a point system similar to an AP college sport ranking poll. Players on the major league roster or with too much service time in the majors were left out of consideration, such as Chris Getz, Clayton Richard and Brent Lillibridge (in case you were wondering why they were not on the list). The players on the list are the ones we still considered “prospects” as of the beginning of the season.
Here is a quick look at how each of our top 25 is doing so far this season as well as what direction they would be moving on the list as a result of what we’ve seen in April and May.
1. Gordon Beckham (White Sox) Pos: IF Bat-Throw: R-R Stock up
Beckham did well enough in AA Birmingham to earn a promotion to Charlotte in late May and got off to a hot start with the Knights. His Major League debut came after just 7 AAA games. You could argue his stock is up since the start of the season, even though he was already the Sox top prospect by a wide margin, since he got to the big league club a lot sooner than originally expected. He switched to 3B with the Knights and will play a bit there with the Sox, for now. The move doesn’t seem like a natural fit for Beckham, whose arm has been in question, but it got him to the Majors sooner.
T-2. Dayan Viciedo (AA Birmingham) Pos: 3B B-T: R-R Stock unchanged
At 20 years old, holding your own in AA is impressive and that’s what Dayan has done so far. He hit just .234 in April, but showed significant improvement in May, posting a .297 batting average. Patience and power have not come yet (just six walks and 11 extra-base hits in over 200 AB), but as long as steady improvement remains evident it appears Viciedo is on track to do what the Sox thought he would.
T-2. Brandon Allen (AA Birmingham) Pos: 1B B-T: L-R Stock unchanged
The 6’2″ 235 pound slugger has done more of the same that we’ve seen from him the last two seasons. Allen has a batting average hovering around .300, a decent eye at the plate and notable power so far in his transition to AA.
4. Aaron Poreda (AA Birmingham) Pos: LHP Stock unchanged
The flame throwing lefty has done well in Birmingham dating to his mid-season promotion to the Barons last year. The White Sox are taking it slowly with him, but he likely will make his Major League debut this season in some fashion. The strikeouts are still there (better than one per inning), but his walks are up which is a concern. It still remains uncertain whether or not he will be a starter or a reliever in the Majors, but the Sox will give him every chance to be a starter.
5. Tyler Flowers (AA Birmingham) Pos: C B-T: R-R Stock unchanged
Despite a less than spectacular batting average, Flowers has a .439 OBP. It’s hard not to love that from a catcher, especially with a lot of power to go with it (15 XBH in 148 AB).
6. Jordan Danks (AA Birmingham) Pos: CF B-T: L-R Stock up
The younger Danks overcame a high strikeout rate when he started the season at Winston-Salem to earn a promotion to join the prospect-laden Barons. He’s hit for a high average and drawn a lot of walks for both clubs. Also, Jordan is hitting for the power scouts worried might never show up for him. The extremely athletic, slick fielding outfielder is now looking at an ETA of early or mid 2010 instead of 2011.
7. John Shelby (AA Birmingham) Pos: OF B-T: R-R Stock down
Shelby is still hitting for power and is drawing more walks, but is hitting just .246 in AA. The lack of contact is worrisome, but he has been hitting better in the last several games.
8. Dexter Carter (low-A Kannapolis) Pos: RHP Stock unchanged
The 6’6″ righty put up staggering numbers for Great Falls (89 K in 68.2 IP with a 2.23 ERA) after being drafted in the 13th round of last year’s draft. So far this year it’s more of the same for the Intimidators. The strikeouts are still coming in bunches and his walks are even down a bit from last season.
9. Jack Egbert (AAA Charlotte) Pos: RHP Stock down
Egbert got called up to the Sox in late April and got roughed up in two outings from the bullpen. Quickly he was sent back down and his numbers in AAA have not been encouraging. Recently he was put back into the Knights’ rotation for the first time since being a full time starter last year. The results have been better so far.
10. Jeff Marquez (AAA Charlotte) Pos: RHP Stock down
Four awful starts preceded an injury that has kept him out of action since April 28. It doesn’t look like Marquez has much of a future, which is a quick change from the Spring Training rumblings. If he can get healthy there might be hope, but it’s hard to like Marquez’s prospects right now.
11. Brent Morel (high-A Winston-Salem) Pos: 3B Stock unchanged
The Sox 3rd rounder last year has struggled with contact, but has brought some power and good defense. He’s not a top tier prospect, but adds some depth in the system at the hot corner.
12. Dan Hudson (high-A Winston-Salem) Pos: RHP Stock up
Along with his former Old Dominion teammate, Carter, Hudson put up sparkling numbers at Great Falls after being drafted in the 5th round last year. He started this year for the I’s and had a jaw dropping 30-2 strikeout to walk ratio in 22 innings. That was good enough to get him moved up to the Dash, where he has been less impressive. So far he has walked 10 in 24 innings, which is odd considering the great control he showed between two levels as a pro.
13. Eduardo Escobar (low-A Kannapolis) Pos: SS B-T: S-R Stock down
Escobar has to be one of the biggest disappointments of the young season in the White Sox system. A hot start at Great Falls earned him a promotion to Kannapolis last year with below average results. At only 20 years old, he got some attention on the prospect radar, but this season he has regressed. Escobar got rave reviews for his defense, but will have to hit better for his glove to carry him if it is as good as advertised.
14. Lucas Harrell (AA Birmingham) Pos: RHP Stock down
More of the same for Harrell, good production with mediocre peripherals. He has bounced back decently from his shoulder injuries that cost him all of 2007 and two months in 2008. Still though, it’s hard to see Harrell as much of a prospect, but if he continues to pitch like this he has a slim chance at getting a look as the last guy in the bullpen down the road a la Egbert or Wes Whisler.
15. Jose Martinez (low-A Kannapolis) Pos: OF B-T: R-R Stock unchanged
Martinez has been hurt all year.
16. Justin Cassel (AAA Charlotte) Pos: RHP Stock down
Justin is 1-6 so far for the Knights. It’s too soon to completely write him off, but several guys have passed him on the White Sox depth chart.
17. Jon Link (AAA Charlotte) Pos: RHP Stock up
After leading the minors in saves last year with 35, Link is doing ever better this year for the Knights. With a sub 2 ERA and a K-BB ratio over 3 to 1, he should at least be on the radar of the White Sox.
18. Steven Upchurch (extended Spring Training) Pos: RHP Stock unchanged
Upchurch will likely pitch for Great Falls after pitching for Bristol last year.
19. Brian Omogrosso (AA Birmingham) Pos: RHP Stock up
Omogrosso has been converted into a full-time starter this season. His ERA is below 4, but he is walking far too many to be considered a good prospect as a starter. It’s not unthinkable that he has a moderate future as a reliever though. His mid 90s fastball keeps him on the Major League radar.
20. John Ely (AA Birmingham) Pos: RHP Stock up
Ely has transitioned well to AA this year. He’s not blowing away the competition, but he is outperforming a few other Barons’ starters.
21. Lance Broadway (Mets organization) Pos: RHP
Broadway was traded to the Mets for catcher Ramon Castro after splitting time between the Knights and the Sox. It seems like a good return for Broadway, who has a limited future in the Majors.
22. Jon Gilmore (low-A Kannapolis) Pos: 3B B-T: R-R Stock unchanged
This far down the list, expectations aren’t that high, but Gilmore has big upside. He’s been streaky this season and has shown improvement as the season has gone on, but his overall numbers still remain poor.
23. Nathan Jones (high-A Winston-Salem) Pos: RHP Stock up
Another high upside guy towards the bottom of our rankings, Jones has Major League stuff with no control. The control has been improving this season and he earned an early promotion from Kannapolis. He has given up just two hits and no walks in his first 7.1 IP for the Dash. Hopefully Jones has begun to figure it out.
24. Charlie Shirek (high-A Winston-Salem) Pos: RHP Stock unchanged
Shirek is replicating his Kannapolis stats from a year ago. If he continues this at AA next season, he will shoot up the prospect rankings.
T-25. David Cook (AA Birmingham) Pos: OF B-T: R-R Stock unchanged
Cook isn’t hitting for a high average, but his OBP and power remain high. He is barely a prospect as is because of his age (27), but he keeps performing well.
T-25. C.J. Retherford (AA Birmingham) Pos: IF B-T: R-R Stock up
Retherford has hit well at every level, especially so far this season with the Barons. It might be time to think about him as a possible utility player in the Majors.