FutureSox publishes multiple editions of top prospect lists each year. The list is created by a voting system, much like AP college sports rankings, with the votes coming from six of our knowledgeable prospect gurus. We got a little behind this year and missed our preseason list, but here now is the latest edition of the FutureSox Top 25 Prospects!
Below you will find our list, followed by an analysis of the results, showing current and previous rank as well as change from the last list. The point system has a maximum of 180.
OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES (in order of points): Josh Phegley, Miguel Gonzalez, Carlos Sanchez, Jose Martinez, Jhonny Nunez, Nathan Jones, Michael Blanke, Marcus Semien, Juan Silverio, Kyle Bellamy, David Herbek, Jon Gilmore, Christian Marrero, Cameron Bayne, Paul Burnside, Rangel Ravelo, Jim Gallagher, Darwin Matos
The best word to describe the White Sox farm system is…thin. A combination of injuries, trades, forfeited draft picks and lack of player development have kept the system at basically the same disappointing level of prospect depth that it has had for a number of years. Maybe we can blame our late publishing on a lack of excitement about the system.
One positive sign for the farm system (but a negative for the current list) is that the Sox did “graduate” two players from the November 2010 edition: Chris Sale (#1) and Brent Morel (#3), who have both found full time roles with the big club. There were a couple formerly ranked players who also exited the system: outfielder Stefan Gartrell (#26) and reliever Clevelan Santeliz (#36).
But there is still talent there, and some players worth keeping an eye on. The 2011 amateur draft left the Sox with no true first round pick (compensation for the Dunn signing), but they did manage to draft and sign some good talent and the overall assessment at this very early point is that the team did reasonably well with the picks they had.
Honors for top prospect in the system go unanimously to OF/3B Dayan Viciedo (#2 last list), who has been tearing up AAA pitching to the tune of a .325/.374/.535/.909 line thus far. GM Kenny Williams and others have declared the 22-year-old ready and Sox fans have declared they are ready for him to replace light-hitting Juan Pierre as soon as possible.
From there, the list looks much different than our last iteration. 2010 pick Addison Reed shot up 10 slots to #2, as he quickly ascends through the system baffling hitters at multiple levels (1.38 ERA with 74 K against just 8 BB in 52 IP across Low-A, High-A and AA). Raw and toolsy outfielder Trayce Thompson shows up at #3 as his power potential starts coming to fruition while flamethrowing pitcher Jacob Petricka advances from #8 to #4. 2009 1st rounder Jared Mitchell struggled getting back into a groove after missing 2010 to injury, but has put up a .354/.483/.688/1.171 line so far in July and comes in at #5.
Shortstop Eduardo Escobar moves up a slot to #6 as he tries to show he can hit AAA pitching. 2011 supplemental pick Keenyn Walker debuts at #7, bringing a seemingly similar skill set to Mitchell and starting his career at Great Falls. Catcher Tyler Flowers dropped from 5th to 8th on the new list as his strikeouts still loom large, but he was also just called up to replace the injured Ramon Castro, and we’ll get a good look at him in the coming weeks. 20-year-old shortstop Tyler Saladino jumps from 20th all the way to a tie for 8th on the new list and talented but whiff-prone outfielder Jordan Danks rounds out the top 10.
Outside the top ten, there a lot of new names. Lefty reliever Hector Santiago, recently promoted to the Sox from AA to show off his shiny new screwball, comes in at #15 (tie), and he’s immediately followed by 2011 draft pick pitcher Erik Johnson at #17. Tyler Kuhn, the hitter with no position, has batted his way to #21, and Steven Upchurch re-appears after an absence from the list at #23. Another 2011 pick, catcher Kevan Smith (a favorite sleeper pick among some of the FS staff) breaks in at #24.
Three of the biggest ascents on the list are pitchers who have been in the organization a while: starters Dylan Axelrod (35th to 19th) and Terry Doyle (30th to 22nd) and reliever Dan Remenowsky (33rd to 20th). The most precipitous drops include reliever Kyle Bellamy (20th to 35th, injured), third baseman Jon Gilmore (19th to 37th), catcher Miguel Gonzalez (14th to 27th) and reliever Nate Jones (21st to 31st). A whopping six players who received votes on the last list dropped off entirely: Charlie Shirek (#22), Santos Rodriguez (24), Anthony Carter (29), Nevin Griffith (32), Justin Greene (34) and Kyle Colligan (37).
Tell us what you think of our rankings! How would you rank the prospects? Leave us a comment here or at our Twitter account (@FutureSox).