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Chicago White Sox's Top 10 Prospects for 2014

Adam WellsFeatured Columnist IVDecember 5, 2016

Chicago White Sox's Top 10 Prospects for 2014

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    Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

    It took longer than most would have thought, but the Chicago White Sox finally bit the bullet and began a much-needed roster overhaul in 2013.

    Even though the results won't show at the MLB level for a few years, it's refreshing to talk about Chicago's farm system without having to mention how bereft of talent it is.

    Years of bad drafting, and trading away what little prospects they had, left the White Sox in the situation that they currently face. It's not ideal, but general manager Rick Hahn has implemented his strategy. 

    Two separate trades with Arizona landed Chicago very intriguing young players. Adam Eaton, who no longer has prospect eligibility, should be a mainstay in center field and at the top of the lineup for years. 

    Matt Davidson, who will feature high on this particular list, has good upside as a low-average, good power-OBP combination. He will face questions about his ability to play third base and hit enough to let the power play, but there's at least a good ceiling there.

    When you consider the White Sox only had to trade Addison Reed to get Davidson, he won't have to be a star to be more than worth it.

    Jose Abreu, who I didn't rank but included on the list because I don't consider a 26-year-old who signed a $68 million contract to be a prospect, offers a tremendous offensive ceiling that could play in the middle of a quality lineup.

    Another critical component of the rebuilding process is drafting. The White Sox still don't have a lot of players with huge upside, but they've taken steps the last two years to give themselves some hope.

    Here are the top 10 prospects for the Chicago White Sox heading into the 2014 season.

    Note: All stats courtesy of MiLB.com unless otherwise noted. Scouting reports and rankings are based on personal evaluations/opinions.

Bonus: Jose Abreu, 1B

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    Position: 1B

    DOB: 01/29/1987 (Age: 26)

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 255 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Signed: October 2013 (Cuba)

    ETA: 2014

     

    Scouting Report

    Big-time offensive potential; plus-plus raw power; adjustment to MLB-quality pitching makes it impossible to judge; has never faced elite velocity or premium breaking stuff; bat speed and control give solid projection. 

    First-base only type player; big bodied; slow, lumbering runner; must rake to provide any substantial value; kind of power you don't find from right-handed hitters anymore; star potential; period of adjustment early in season. 

     

    Ceiling: First-division regular; All-Star potential

    Risk: High

    Video via MLB Prospect Portal

No. 10 Chris Freudenberg, LHP

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 06/19/1993 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 195 pounds

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted: Eighth round, 2013 (South Mountain Community College)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Slowed by injuries in 2013, Chris Freudenberg still retains a high ceiling thanks to a live arm from the left side; strong frame with more room to fill out; lacks refinement; control is fringy, with command below-average.

    Curveball is best pitch; features tight snap, though lacks consistency; fastball has above-average velocity; needs to command pitch better in strike zone; big upside, though health and performance must improve. 

     

    Ceiling: No. 4 starter

    Risk: High

    Video via USA Select

No. 9 Jacob May, OF

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 01/23/1992 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 5'10", 180 pounds

    Bats/Throws: S/R

    Drafted: Third round, 2013 (Coastal Carolina)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Exciting athlete who can impact game in different ways; plus speed and range will play well in center field; still refining defensive skills and getting better jumps; underrated hitter due to slight frame; plenty of bat speed to hit premium velocity. 

    Biggest questions are power and arm strength; won't need elite arm to play center field, but already well below-average; no present or future power; good bat control to hit line drives all over the field; solid swing mechanics from both sides of plate; has leadoff profile, but will need to make more contact. 

     

    Ceiling: Second-division regular

    Risk: High

    Video via Future Sox

No. 8 Tyler Danish, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 09/21/1994 (Age: 19)

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 190 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: Second round, 2013 (Durant HS, FL)

    ETA: 2017

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    A 2013 draftee, Tyler Danish was welcomed into pro ball by pitching out of the 'pen, including a brief two-game stint in Low-A; big 6'2", 190-pound frame with more room to fill out and add velocity. 

    Works primarily with the fastball; heater has excellent life already and velocity to suggest plus projection; slider will play average at times, but gets too slurvy at present; changeup has solid-average upside with good fading action. 

    Delivery suggests reliever profile; uses nearly full sidearm mechanics; arm action is clean, but doesn't use height to generate plane on fastball; will have to prove delivery can get lefties out to start; stuff will play as high-leverage reliever. 

     

    Ceiling: High-leverage reliever

    Risk: High

    Video via Patrick Welter

No. 7 Chris Beck, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 09/04/1990 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 210 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: Second round, 2012 (Georgia Southern)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Frustrating prospect to evaluate; has stuff to be more than back-end starter; results don't show; perfect frame at 6'3", 210 pounds; mechanics will fall apart during games; doesn't repeat well; lacks consistent release point. 

    Fastball has above-average velocity; lack of deception and movement makes pitch hittable; changeup has plus projection with perfect separation from heater and excellent fade; slider gets too loopy, though will look average at times. 

    Should miss more bats given quality of stuff; repetition of mechanics will determine eventual role; could start, but more likely ends up as low-leverage reliever. 

     

    Ceiling: No. 4 starter

    Risk: Moderate

    Video via Nathaniel Stoltz

No. 6 Trayce Thompson, OF

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 03/15/1991 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 215 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: Second round, 2009 (Santa Margarita HS, CA)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Tremendous athlete; big, powerful hitter with average speed; good baseball instincts help tools play up; plus raw power; doesn't play in games as much as it should; huge holes in swing with ton of strikeouts.

    Works deep counts; will draw plenty of walks; has to shorten stroke with two strikes; appears to plan for pitches instead of reacting; excellent tools that won't play at high level due to offensive holes; defense is fringe-average; baseball instincts are below-average.

     

    Ceiling: Second-division regular

    Risk: Moderate

    Video via Christopher Blessing, Bullpen Banter

No. 5 Carlos Sanchez, 2B

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    Position: 2B

    DOB: 06/29/1992 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 5'11", 195 pounds

    Bats/Throws: S/R

    Signed: May 2009 (Venezuela)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Carlos Sanchez fits every annoying cliche; gritty gamer with guts and heart; doesn't possess one elite tool, but has such a high baseball IQ; fits into Kolten Wong mold; solid skills across the board; will turn into solid big leaguer. 

    Bat is carrying tool; excellent feel for the zone; control and poise in box are mature beyond years; struggled in Triple-A last year, but was young for league; fringe-average power projection; can spray line drives all over; will get beat by premium velocity on hands. 

    Solid-average runner; good range at second base; improved footwork gives above-average defensive projection; solid arm strength, but won't need it at position; going to be long-time big leaguer, though not a star. 

     

    Ceiling: Average regular

    Risk: Low

    Video via MLB Advanced Media

No. 4 Tim Anderson, SS

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    Position: SS

    DOB: 06/23/1993 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6'1", 180 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: First round, 2013 (East Central Community College)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2013 Stats 

     

    Scouting Report

    Explosive tools got Anderson drafted early in first round; questions due to lack of competition in college; best tool is plus speed; overall game still lacks refinement; has tools to be starting shortstop on playoff team. 

    Bat will determine level of success; fringy power upside; has bat speed, but struggles to drive velocity; hasn't seen quality breaking stuff; more likely to hit for average than power, though must prove capable of hitting even average pitching.

    Defense at shortstop still crude; has speed to make plays in hole; arm strength is just average; could move to second base, which lowers ceiling; big tools; could be No. 1 on this list by midseason. 

     

    Ceiling: First-division regular

    Risk: High

    Video via Christopher Blessing, Bullpen Banter

No. 3 Matt Davidson, 3B

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    Position: 3B

    DOB: 03/26/1991 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 225 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: First round, 2009 (Yucaipa HS, CA)

    ETA: 2014

     

    Scouting Report

    Without a spot in Arizona, Davidson was flipped to the White Sox in the offseason; has turned himself into a solid-average prospect; power is carrying tool; plus raw pop that is showing up more in games; will always have high strikeout totals, but has cut down percentage last two years. 

    Patient approach; works deep counts and draws enough walks to post respectable OBP totals; should hit 18-20 homers at U.S. Cellular; will get beat by velocity and quality off-speed stuff; will occasionally cut down swing, but wants to hit the ball hard with every swing.

    Defense has improved; projects as fringe-average at third base; lacks side-to-side quickness; limited range; arm is average.

     

    Ceiling: First-division regular

    Risk: Low

    Video via MLB Advanced Media

No. 2 Courtney Hawkins, OF

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 11/12/1993 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 220 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: First round, 2012 (Mary Carroll HS, TX)

    ETA: 2016

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Aggressive push to High-A at 19 exposed Courtney Hawkins; still has big raw tools and upside, though stock will be down; good news is power already plays in games; drafted thanks largely to plus raw pop; slugged 19 homers and 38 extra-base hits in 103 games. 

    Questions have surrounded hit tool since draft night; explosive bat speed; can crush anything in the zone; big swing will cause problems against even average stuff; must develop some kind of approach/patience; underrated runner; can cover a lot of ground in right field; plus arm strength; ideal right field profile.

    Should start 2014 back in High-A; will still be young for league; bat has to take steps forward; exciting tools; incredibly raw in all aspects of the game.

     

    Ceiling: First-division regular

    Risk: High

    Video via Northeast Baseball Prospects

No. 1 Erik Johnson, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 12/30/1989 (Age: 24)

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 235 pounds

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted: Second round, 2011 (California)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2013 Stats

     

    Scouting Report

    Solid all-around profile, Johnson doesn't have top-of-the-rotation stuff but will contribute for a long time; slow-moving college arm has gotten better every season in pro ball; workhorse body; some injury history to be cautious of. 

    Stuff is very good; fastball is plus offering with mid-90s velocity and some movement; really attacks hitters in zone; slider and changeup project as plus offerings; slider has excellent tilt that will generate swings and misses; still getting feel for changeup, but has good fading action. 

    Simple, easy mechanics; controlled delivery; stays over the rubber well; tends to pitch up in the zone, which can cause problems; effective mid-rotation starter. 

     

    Ceiling: No. 3 starter

    Risk: Low

    Video via MLB Advanced Media

    If you want to talk baseball, hit me up on Twitter. 


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