It’s been a long time since the Chicago White Sox’ system got people excited. There’s some talent there but most players either have fairly low ceilings or have had mixed results in the minor leagues. Our methodology for this list has been a little different. Nick Schaefer from Southside Showdown gave us a Top 10 list and we’ve supplemented it with some names of our own. Towards the top, we added a couple of players who haven’t played with the White Sox organization yet and then we added a few more prospects at the bottom.
Triple-A: Charlotte Knights (International League)
Double-A: Birmingham Barons (Southern League)
High-A: Winston-Salem Dash (Carolina League)
Class-A: Kannapolis Intimidators (South Atlantic League)
Advanced Rookie: Great Falls Voyagers (Pioneer League)
Complex-Rookie: AZL White Sox (Arizona League)
*note: This list was edited to reflect the 2014 minor league affiliates for the Chicago White Sox. They will be leaving the Appalachian League (the Pirates are taking over the Bristol team) and joining the Arizona League. Approval hasn’t been made final for the White Sox joining the Arizona League but, from what I understand, this is just a formality.
Tyler Danish – RHP
Date of Birth: September 12, 1994
Height/Weight: 6’2″/190 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2013 draft
|2013||18||2 Teams||2 Lgs||Rk-A||CHW||1||0||1.000||1.20||15||1||0||30.0||17||6||4||1||5||28||0||0||0.733||5.1||0.3||1.5||8.4||5.60|
Analysis: Danish is an interesting arm that most people think will eventually wind up in the bullpen. Pitching mostly with Bristol in the Appalachian League, Danish was outstanding coming from his deceptive low-three-quarters delivery with great movement on the ball. His good control is extremely promising for such a young pitcher, walking only five batters to go with 28 strikeouts. Despite the tendency for higher level hitters to be more successful against “deception” pitchers, Danish has the velocity (low-90s) and pitch repertoire (fastball/sinker, slider, changeup) to be more successful than most.
2014 Prognosis: If the White Sox want him to start, expect his progression to be a bit slower but if he remains in the bullpen he could reach Double-A in 2014.
Keon Barnum – 1B
Date of Birth: January 16, 1993
Height/Weight: 6’5″/225 lbs
Acquired: 1st round (48th overall) of the 2012 draft
Analysis: Barnum is on the list because of the power potential in his bat. While it hasn’t manifested itself in game situations just quite yet, Barnum still had a fairly solid .149 ISO at the age of 20 in the South Atlantic League. While he strikes out too much (a recurring theme among White Sox prospects) and could walk a bit more, Barnum is one of the real legitimate power bats in this White Sox system.
2014 Prognosis: With only 223 plate appearances in 2013, the White Sox might want to hold Barnum back but their aggressive promotion of other prospects could be a sign that Barnum is going to head to Winston-Salem in 2014.
Scott Snodgress – LHP
Date of Birth: September 20, 1989
Height/Weight: 6’6″/225 lbs
Acquired: 5th round of the 2011 draft
Analysis: Snodgress had a relatively pedestrian season, at least statistically, but scouts really like what the big lefty has to offer. He has a good fastball that can touch 95 mph and his curveball and changeup have average potential. His command improved to 3.7 BB/9 this season but his strikeout rate fell considerably making some analysts wonder if he’s going to become more of a groundball pitcher who pitches to contact.
2014 Prognosis: It really depends on Spring Training for Snodgress. If he comes out with guns blazing, he could make the climb to Triple-A but, judging from the low K%, he might benefit from another few starts in Double-A.
Daniel Webb – RHP
Date of Birth: August 18, 1989
Height/Weight: 6’3″/210 lbs
Acquired: Traded from Toronto with Myles Jaye for Jason Frasor on January 1, 2012; drafted by Toronto in the 18th round of the 2009 draft
|2013||23||3 Teams||3 Lgs||AAA-AA-A+||CHW||2||1||.667||1.87||42||28||10||62.2||45||21||13||1||27||78||1||1||7||1.149||6.5||0.1||3.9||11.2||2.89|
Analysis: Webb reached the major leagues in 2013 thanks to a meteoric rise through the high minors after becoming a full-time reliever. With successful stops in Winston-Salem, Birmingham and Charlotte, Webb not only maintained his strikeout rates but increased them as he got to Triple-A. His walk rate spiked in Charlotte but was more acceptable when he reached the majors on September 4. Webb still has his rookie status despite getting into nine games (and pitching 11 1/3 major league innings) and used his upper-90s fastball and power curveball to excellent effect at all levels.
2014 Prognosis: Webb looks like he’ll make the White Sox’ bullpen in 2014.
Chris Bassitt – RHP
Date of Birth: February 22, 1989
Height/Weight: 6’5″/205 lbs
Acquired: 16th round of the 2011 draft
|2013||24||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A+-AA||CHW||11||4||.733||3.08||26||26||149.0||125||66||51||11||59||138||9||8||634||1.235||7.6||0.7||3.6||8.3||2.34|
Analysis: Bassitt is ranked a bit higher than Webb mainly because he’s still starting in the minors. Bassitt had a very good year split between High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham and was able to show some good control numbers even though his strikeouts fell off in Double-A. Bassitt struggled with his control in the Arizona Fall League, walking eight in just 10 innings despite giving up only one run.
2014 Prognosis: Bassitt will likely return to Double-A to start the 2014 season, giving him some more experience against better hitters before moving up.Mar 13, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Cleveland Indians base runner Cedric Hunter (62) is out at second by Chicago White Sox infielder Carlos Sanchez (77) after attempting to steal the base in the eighth inning during a game against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Beck – RHP
Date of Birth: September 4, 1990
Height/Weight: 6’3″/210 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2012 draft
|2013||22||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A+-AA||CHW||13||10||.565||3.07||26||26||1||1||146.2||143||61||50||11||45||79||6||3||1.282||8.8||0.7||2.8||4.8||1.76|
Analysis: Chris Beck was very good at keeping the ball on the ground in Winston-Salem but wasn’t able to keep the 1.77 ground out per air out ratio alive in his 28 innings in Birmingham. That said, his strikeout ratio wasn’t fantastic in High-A but it improved (as his ground ball ratio dropped) after his promotion to Double-A. Either way, Beck shows advanced control with his four pitches: a mid-90s fastball, decent slider, good changeup and a cutter that Jonathan Mayo really likes. If he works out some of his mechanical kinds, he could be a #2 or #3 starter.
2014 Prognosis: Back to Double-A to start the year for Beck but he could make the big leagues by year end.
Carlos Sanchez – IF
Date of Birth: June 29, 1992
Height/Weight: 5’11″/195 lbs
Acquired: International free agent out of Venezuela in 2008
Analysis: Carlos Sanchez isn’t a standout at any one thing but the fact that he’s already contributed (a fairly poor season) at the Triple-A level at the age of 21 is pretty impressive. Sanchez has torn up every other level that he’s played at with an exceptional hit tool that has seen him hit rack up solid batting averages (if not great batting averages), excellent OBPs and relatively few strikeouts. Sanchez doesn’t walk a ton, but he has never struck out more than 17% of the time in regular season work. If he hits like he can, he should be able to post a .280 batting average with a .330 OBP at the major league level Sanchez also hits from both sides of the plate, can play both shortstop and second base and runs fairly well.
2014 Prognosis: He’ll probably try to remember how to hit .300 in Triple-A Charlotte but will be on a shortlist to come up to the majors in case of injury.
Courtney Hawkins – OF
Date of Birth: November 12, 1993
Height/Weight: 6’3″/220 lbs
Acquired: 1st round (13th overall) of the 2012 draft
Analysis: Courtney Hawkins has been a fairly divisive prospect for some. Many scouts and writers are very high on him but the guys at Southside Showdown probably took his very poor hit tool a little more seriously than others. Despite getting tremendous power (an ISO of over .200) in 16 doubles, 19 home runs and three triples from Hawkins, he also only hit .178 and struck out 160 times in 425 plate appearances for an insane 37.6% K rate. That said, Hawkins was playing in High-A Winston Salem in his age-19 season and has plus power, plus speed and a plus arm. Tools, tools, tools.
2014 Prognosis: I can see the White Sox moving Hawkins to Double-A if he shows well during Spring Training. He still needs a lot of polish with the bat but I can see why the White Sox are in love with his potential.
Trayce Thompson – OF
Date of Birth: March 15, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’3″/215 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2009 draft
Analysis: Thompson is another athletic, toolsy player that the White Sox seem to love. In Double-A at the age of 22, Thompson failed to maximize his potential by showing how raw his hitting actually is. He only hit .229 and struck out 139 times (although, compared to Hawkins, this isn’t so much). He hasn’t been able to convert his raw power into as many home runs though, with only 15 blasts in 590 plate appearances. He’s earned cudos for his defense and can take a walk and steal a base, showing that he probably just needs to figure out the hitting thing.
2014 Prognosis: Another season at Double-A will only help Thompson as he tries to come through on his outstanding potential.
Micah Johnson – 2B
Date of Birth: December 18, 1990
Height/Weight: 5’11″/190 lbs
Acquired: 9th round of the 2012 draft
|2013||22||3 Teams||3 Lgs||A-A+-AA||CHW||131||601||536||106||167||24||15||7||58||84||26||50||98||.312||.373||.451||.824|
Analysis: One of the fastest players in the system, Johnson got off to a great start in Kannapolis (.342/.422/.530) before falling back to earth in Winston-Salem. The second baseman doesn’t have a lot of power but has crazy speed, stealing 84 bases over the entire season. At 23, he’s not old for the level if when he repeats at Double-A but it will be necessary for him to get on base in order to use his speed. Have I mentioned that he’s fast?
2014 Prognosis: He had a few at bats in Double-A at the end of the season and will likely start there in 2014. The White Sox have a lot of depth in the middle infield so an early promotion will depend on what’s going on above him in the organization.Sep 4, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Erik Johnson (45) pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Jose Dariel Abreu – 1B
Date of Birth: January 29, 1987
Height/Weight: 6’2″/258 lbs
Acquired: Free agent out of Cuba (6 years/$68 million)
2013 Stats: Did not play
Analysis: Abreu has wowed teams with his outstanding power from the right side and his gaudy numbers in the Cuban league. It was probably his performance in the 2013 World Baseball Classic that sealed the deal for Abreu, hitting a double and three home runs in six games.
2014 Prognosis: The White Sox are hoping to get what the Athletics and Dodgers got in Yoennis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig: an every day player who can step into the lineup immediately and fill the big shoes of 15-year White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko.
Matt Davidson – 3B
Date of Birth: March 26, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’2″/225 lbs
Acquired: Traded to the White Sox from the Arizona Diamondbacks for reliever Addison Reed on December 16, 2013; drafted by Arizona in the 1st round (35th overall) of the 2009 draft
Analysis: Davidson was one of the big White Sox acquisitions this offseason and gives the club a young third basemen with gobs of potential who acquitted himself well in his first exposure to major league pitching last year with the Diamondbacks. Throughout his minor league career, Davidson has been a solid-batting-average, high-OBP, good-slugging guy. He hasn’t blasted the ball out of the stadium, even in stops in the California League and Pacific Coast League but he has outstanding gap power and will hit his share of home runs. He’ll strike out a lot but when he has .350 OBPs combined with slugging percentages in the .400s, it won’t be too much of an issue.
2014 Prognosis: Davidson could easily be the opening day third baseman for the White Sox. He might head back to Triple-A for some more seasoning but is likely ready for the majors.
Tim Anderson – SS
Date of Birth: June 23, 1993
Height/Weight: 6’1″/180 lbs
Acquired: 1st round (17th overall) of the 2013 draft
Analysis: At 20 years old the White Sox drafted Anderson with the 17th pick in 2013’s draft, assigning him immediately to Class-A Kannapolis where he he played very well. The Sox were enamored by his athleticism and the fact that he plays shortstop, running very well and having the potential for an above-average hit tool. Like many of the Sox’ prospects, Anderson strikes out too much but is likely to be able to overcome that as he shows he can hit for a solid average. Anderson will have to work to show that he can stick at shortstop which is something that not all are convinced he can do.
2014 Prognosis: He’ll head to Winston-Salem to keep working on his issues with contact. If he works out, he could be a nice player in the long run.
Marcus Semien – SS
Date of Birth: September 17, 1990
Height/Weight: 6’1″/190 lbs
Acquired: 6th round of the 2011 draft
|2013||22||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-AAA||CHW||137||626||518||110||147||32||6||19||66||24||5||98||90||.284||.401||.479||.880|
Analysis: The boys at Southside Showdown like Semien a lot, as evidenced by his #2 ranking. Like Carlos Sanchez, Semien doesn’t stand out in any one category but puts a lot of very good tools together for a nice package that could play at second base. With a floor as a utility infielder, there’s a lot to like about Semien who hits for a good average, gets on base, can swipe a bag or three and has shown some surprising pop in the last couple of years.
2014 Prognosis: Semien wasn’t overwhelmed in his first exposure to the major leagues at 22. The one concerning stat from his major league debut was the 22 strikeouts to just one walk. He’ll probably go into Spring Training with the opportunity to make the bigs.
Erik Johnson – RHP
Date of Birth: December 30, 1989
Height/Weight: 6’3″/235 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2011 draft
|2013||23||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-AAA||CHW||12||3||.800||1.96||24||24||3||1||142.0||100||35||31||7||40||131||5||1||0.986||6.3||0.4||2.5||8.3||3.28|
Analysis: Johnson came on strong in 2013, starting in Double-A and finishing in the major league, making five solid starts. Scouts think that Johnson will be able to be a solid, unspectacular workhorse at the major league level, throwing in the low-90s with a good slider, solid curveball and still developing changeup.
2014 Prognosis: Johnson sticks with the big club, throwing 200 innings if he can remain injury free.