Prospect Predictions 2018

Now that prospect rankings are starting to come out, I wanted to see how other fans felt about the players in our system, who they’re high on, who they’re low on, and the reasons for that (whether first hand viewing, scouting the stat line, or that swelling in your knee).  I’ll offer up the format below with my own predictions, but please feel free to copy/past it and fill in your own responses if you care to.  We can revisit this in October and see how we did.  Now, without further ado…

FIRST CALL-UP: RYAN CORDELL
Given Charlie Tilson’s sketchy health history, as well as Cordell’s overall versatility in the field, there’s just too many avenues for Cordell to make the jump early for me not to roll with him, though Casey Gillaspie could be a pretty early call-up also if the team finally tires of Matt Davidson.  Kopech will likely deserve an early call-up, but I think they’ll keep him in Charlotte as long as they can bullshit a reason for it.

BREAKOUT/MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: ALEX CALL
Call got lost in the shuffle in 2017 due to an injury-abbreviated campaign, but the talent is still there.  Strikes me as being a bit like Blake Rutherford (average-ish tools across the board) only without the hype due to his age for his level.

MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER: LUIS ALEXANDER BASABE
While I like Basabe’s potential, he’s exactly the kind of player the White Sox have consistently failed to help take a step forward in development.  I have low expectations, but if he turns things around, it will really help shift the narrative on the organization’s player development.

HOT TAKE: MICHAEL KOPECH IS OUR TOP PROSPECT
For this section provide something you think or believe that goes against the general group-think you’ve seen from writers, scouts, and fans alike.  For my part, I would rank Kopech ahead of Jimenez.  Both are elite prospects who seem to be sure-fire major league contributors in the near future, with Kopech being slightly closer to the bigs.  The only reason I’d put Kopech ahead of Jimenez is because, at his peak, Jimenez is going to be a slugger of limited (if not negative) defensive value.  Granted, there is still plenty of value to be had out of a guy who can hit the cover off the ball, but even if he’s an elite hitter he probably has a ceiling of 6-7 WAR.  Contrast that with Kopech, who has an arsenal which, given enough development in his control (which has already started happening), can be an 8-WAR pitcher and perennial CYA contender.  Yes, the risks are always greater with pitchers, but he has the talent to be a perennial top-5 pitcher in the league.

UNRANKED FAVORITE: VICTOR DIAZ
Remember him?  The fourth and final piece of the return in the Chris Sale trade, Diaz scraped the back end of the organization’s top-30 on arrival but fell of immediately after due to poor performance and injury, not to mention other arrivals in trades.  Has an arm like Thyago Vieira (or Robin Leyer, to use another unrated guy as a comp) and is roughly the same age, but somehow has even less control over the 100+ mph heat he’s throwing.  I’m mostly intrigued by the potential, as if the White Sox can instill even a modicum of control in him while developing his slider (and if he can stay healthy), he could form a ridiculous triumvirate of late inning fireballers with Vieira and Zack Burdi.  A lottery ticket unlikely to be a future major leaguer, but I’ll be following him closely early in the season.

SEPTEMBER SURPRISE: JAKE BURGER
Name a player nobody’s really expecting to see this season, but you think might somehow pop up on the expanded roster.  I’m rolling with Burger just because I think he’ll have a fine season in the minors and advance accordingly.  Given our lack of depth at third base it wouldn’t surprise me if the Sox need another body there by the end of the season.  Additionally, I think they might like to get a major league look at Burger to see if he can be the solution at the position they hope he can be.  At best, he’s playing the hot corner for us for years to come.  At worst, he can establish himself as a depth piece or trade bait if we sign Machado or Donaldson.


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yoyo
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yoyo

First Call Up: I’ll agree with Cordell for reasons you mentioned or possibly take a guess on a back end reliever like Danish/Covey/Goldberg.

Breakout/Most Improved Player: I would like to put all of the mid tier outfield prospects here, but I think Basabe stands out for me.  Age and tools gives him the edge, but my pick will instead go to Dylan Cease.  I think his fastball/curve combo gets a legitimate third pitch and he takes a HUGE step forward into top 25 talk.

Most Disappointing Player: Blake Rutherford is the biggest disappointment for me currently.  Sox gave up some good assets and Rutherford was the centerpiece of this deal.  He needs to show up big this year.

Hot Take: Several of these prospects have legitimate defensive concerns.  Jimenez, Collins, and Burger to name a few.  How will this play out long term?

Unranked Favorite: A trio of arms were selected last year (Henzman, Johnson, and McClure) that I think could produce a prospect into the top 30 list.  Justin Yurchak will be my favorite to follow this year though as he showed a little pop in rookie league while walking more than striking out.

September Surprise: Not sure if it would be a huge surprise but I think Hansen gets a look in September.

 

seven11
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seven11

Trooper, I like all of your picks and rationale except for Basabee. I’m still confident because he was very young for A+ ball and probably belonged in Kanny with Micker. Your reasoning is sound though because he could be another toolsy outfield prospect like Hawkins and Mitchell that fails to hit.

 

First call-up: Charlie Tilson

The reason I will go Tilson is because I think Cordell has a better chance of making the opening day roster than Tilson. Charlie hasn’t played much baseball in the past two years so I think they let him get at bats in Charlotte before coming up.

Break-out/Most improved: Spencer Adams

Still quite young and should be getting stronger. If he adds a tick or two to his fastball this year he could end up in Chicago in the back end of the rotation.

Most disappointing player: Jordan Guerrero

He was bad in 2016 but bounced back with a good year repeating AA. I think he gets exposed in Charlotte against more experienced hitters who will sit on his change-up. There was a reason he was left off the 40 man and passed by in rule 5.

Hot take: Justin Yurchak is the real deal

He dominated rookie league, will dominate A ball and be promoted to A+ mid-season. Walks more than he strikes out, hits with power and hits for average. He has the good baseball face, I mean look at that face, he’s a baseball player.

Unranked favorite: Tito Polo

I would have said Yurchak but he’s already my hot take. Then I would have said Seby Zavala but Future Sox has him at number 16 this year so he’s disqualified. I’ll go with Tito Polo primarily because of his name but I also think he has just enough in his tool chest to be a big leaguer.

September Surprise:  Seby Zavala

The surprise being he gets the call before Collins and Smith when a 3rd catcher gets called up in September.

 

 

Right Size Wrong Shape
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Right Size Wrong Shape

First Call Up:  Thyago Vieira – I think the bullpen is probably the spot where guys will be cycled through to get a look, and I don’t think Vieira has much left to prove at AAA.

Breakout / Most Improved Player:  Blake Rutherford – If this is true, I will be really excited.

Most Disappointing Player:  Jake Burger – I just don’t see it.  I don’t think he’s athletic enough to play 3rd well, and I don’t think he’s an elite bat.  He seems like another AAAA first basemen to me.  I will be very happy to be proven wrong, though.

Hot Take:  Seby Zavala passes up Collins as the top catching prospect.

Unranked Favorite:  Ramon Beltre – Not much to base this on, maybe it’s just because he’s a 3B named Beltre, but I found myself checking his stats every day last year.

September Surprise:  Dane Dunning.  Don’t know that this is a big surprise, but I think we should be more excited about his ascent.

 

 

Smclean09
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Smclean09

First call up- Cordell, he will get some time to get everyday at-bats in AAA until they decide they need more production/versatility from either LF or DH.

Breakout- Luis Curbelo, 6’3 bat first SS looked pretty put together next to some of the guys at the hitters minicamp and was off to a good start before his injury last year.  Could end up being a really good 3B prospect to keep an eye on if he stays healthy and hits this season.

Disapointment- Hopefully I am wrong but I have a fear that Alec Hansen loses his control again at some point or Glasnow’s at the MLB level because of his size and command.  At least he has the elite stuff for a back end bullpen/multiple inning shut down guy.

Hot take- Jake Burger ends up as the best hitter taken in the 1st round last year. Obviously his lack of defensive value will keep him from being the best overal position player, but i like the infield version of Hunter Pence comp and that several scouts think his body type/unorthodox actions have people missing his otherwise athletic ability in the field and his contact/power combo at the plate. I didnt like the pick at draft time, so this is probably me talking myself into it.

Unranked Favorite- Jameson Fisher. Dude just has an awesome swimg and I think he hits enough to eventually become a all-star  platoon/bench bat.

September surprise- Noone grabs CF by the horns and Tito Polo gets a look on the back of a very solid defensive season across AA/AAA.

 

Patrick Nolan
Editor

Jordan Guerrero is gonna pitch PISSED. PISSED GUERRERO will make the major league team sometime this year. PISSED GUERRERO will dominate!

daggins
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daggins

First Call up – Brian Clark. Pick a reliever’s name out of a hat. Clark doesn’t have anything he’s particularly good at, but he’s close and the Sox are going to need relief help at numerous points in the season.

Breakout – I’ll say Gavin Sheets. Let’s say he shows the power he was drafted for and ends the season in Birmingham. This is just wishful thinking, since we really don’t have much for left-hitting power in the system.

Disappointment – Zack Collins – Of all the top-10 guys, Collins has the most work to do to become a major league player. I don’t think he gets it done.

Hot Take – Luis Robert has only a so-so season, and after graduations, whoever the Sox pick at 4 is left as the consensus top prospect in a suddenly average MiLB farm.

Unranked favorite – Kade McClure, 6’7″ RHP taken in the 6th round in 2017. Hoping for big (har) things from another former Louisville Cardinal.

September surprise – After a decent year in AA/AAA, a mostly forgotten Trey Michalczewski finds himself getting his cup of coffee.

PauliePaulie
Member
PauliePaulie

First- Yes, Cordell

Breakout- Rutherford. he finds his power stroke.

Disappointing- Collins. The hitch stays and advanced pitchers exploit. D remains poor.

Hot take- Robert ends the year at AA and a top 5 prospect on at least 4 national lists.

Unranked Fave- He’s Kade McClure. You may remember him as the unranked prospect who rocketed his way to AAA in 2018.

September Surprise- Charlie Tilson. Robotics technology takes a huge step this summer, allowing Tilson to become a Sept. call-up with his titanium bionic legs.

sausalito pale hose
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sausalito pale hose

Good list; only question is Collins. Most reports I have read is that he has been making solid defensive
improvements. (maybe its Hype)