White Sox

2015 in review: How top White Sox prospects fared in minors

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2015 in review: How top White Sox prospects fared in minors

The White Sox haven’t had the 2015 season everyone dreamed of and with the team officially eliminated from the playoffs, it’s time to look ahead. 

While the South Siders may make a few additions in the offseason via free agency or trade, their farm system has developed some talent this year that could influence future moves.

Let’s take a look at how some of the top prospects in the system, according to MLBPipeline.com, did in 2015. 

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

1. Tim Anderson, SS (Class-AA: .312 BA, 5 HR, 46 RBI, 49 SB)

It’s no secret Anderson has been a prospect the White Sox have wanted to hold on to. Anderson took the next step in Birmingham this year, posting his best stats in the minor leagues so far. His display of speed on the base paths should be especially enticing for the White Sox front office, considering nobody on the major league team has over 17 stolen bases on the year. The only flaw Anderson still needs to work on, however, is his fielding as he posted only a .952 fielding percentage this year in Double-A. 

2. Carson Fulmer, P (Class-A+: 22 IP, 2.05 ERA, 25 K)

The No. 8 overall pick in this year’s draft didn’t get a lot of innings in the farm system this year but he certainly made the most of them. The right-hander was very effective at Winston-Salem, posting a 10.2 K/9. Fulmer is heading to the White Sox instructional league this fall and has continued to impress coaches despite his stature. Will he follow in Carlos Rodon’s footsteps? It’s too early to tell but Fulmer is certainly handling the transition from college well. 

3. Frankie Montas, P (Class-AA: 5-5, 112 IP, 2.97 ERA, 108 K)

Montas has already made the jump to the majors thanks to September call-ups. His first start with the White Sox didn’t go well, but his stuff has still been impressing his teammates. Montas provides the White Sox a nice, flexible option considering his electric stuff that could work well out of the bullpen but also his valuable experience as a starter. How the White Sox will use him in the future remains to be seen but Montas’ stuff makes him a piece of the puzzle going forward. 

4. Spencer Adams, P (Class-A: 9-5, 100 IP, 3.24 ERA, 73 K)

Adams, who was drafted out of high school in the 2014 MLB Draft, seems to be settling in nicely in the minor leagues. His solid numbers in Single-A speak for itself but when promoted to Winston-Salem, Adams continued his success, going 3-0 in 29.1 innings of work with a 2.15 ERA. He’s not ready for major-league work yet but the arrow continues to point up for Adams. 

5. Micah Johnson, 2B (Class-AAA: .315, 8 HR, 36 RBI, 28 SB) 

Johnson can hit. That’s never been any question about that. It’s always been about how he does in the field that’s prevented him from becoming a key component of the White Sox future. With the offense struggling as much as it is, it’s hard to see the White Sox keeping him in the minors. The question now becomes can he improve his defense and beat out Carlos Sanchez for the starting second baseman spot. 

6. Trey Michalczewski, 3B (Class-A+: .259 BA, 7 HR, 75 RBI)

Drafted out of high school in the 2013 MLB Draft, Michalczewski showed he can be a run producer in the minors with his RBI total. His power doesn’t leap out to anyone, especially with a .395 slugging percentage and his defense will need to improve (.934 percent). He’s still raw considering he’s only 20 but 2016 is a big year to show the White Sox front office if he’s someone they can count on in the future. 

7. Tyler Danish, P (Class-AA: 8-12, 4.50 ERA, 142 IP, 90 K)

2015 wasn’t extremely kind to Danish as he had a rough time with the Birmingham Barons. The right-hander posted his worst ERA in the minors since being drafted in 2013. One bad year isn’t a legitimate reason to panic over a prospect, but the team will need to see a bounce back year from Danish in order to count on him in the future. 

8. Micker Adolofo, OF (Rookie League: .253 BA, 0 HR, 10 RBI)

Adolfo fractured his fibula over the summer and will miss some time. He’s expected to be back by spring training. Adolfo’s still very young and the White Sox like his potential, but he’s going to need to get healthy before the team can really evaluate him going forward. 

9. Courtney Hawkins, OF (Class-AA: .243 BA, 9 HR, 41 RBI)

Things just haven’t clicked for Hawkins since being drafted in the first round by the White Sox in the 2012 MLB Draft. His powers numbers dropped off this year from 19 home runs to nine and just hasn’t been the same since his promising first year in the minors. It’s safe to wonder if Hawkins has become a bust. 

10. Jacob May, OF (Class-AA: .275 BA, 2 HR, 32 RBI, 37 SB)

May flashed the leather and the speed this year for the Barons. His fielding percentage was .991 in 2015 and his numbers on the base paths were solid. He’s not a guy who can hit for power but could be one who adds a quality glove and provide value on the bases. 

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

PHOENIX, Ariz. — One of the White Sox prized prospects will be on the shelf for a little while.

Outfielder Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and a strained flexor tendon that could require surgery. He could avoid surgery, though he could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

Though he hasn’t received the same high rankings and media attention as fellow outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Adolfo is considered a part of the White Sox promising future. He’s said to have the best outfield arm in the White Sox system.

Adolfo had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis.

Adolfo, along with Jimenez and Robert, has been generating buzz at White Sox camp in Glendale, with a crowd forming whenever the trio takes batting practice. Earlier this week, the three described their conversation dreaming about playing together in the same outfield for a contending White Sox team in the future.

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

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AP

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Some teams have it easy, with their 25-man rosters seemingly locked into place before spring training games even start.

The White Sox actually have a lot more locked-down spots than you might think for a rebuilding team, but this spring remains pretty important for a few guys.

The starting rotation figures to be set, with James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer the starting five. Carlos Rodon, of course, owns one of those spots once he returns from injury. But the date of that return remains a mystery.

From this observer’s viewpoint, eight of the everyday nine position players seem to be figured out, too: Welington Castillo behind the plate, Jose Abreu at first base, Yoan Moncada at second base, Tim Anderson at shortstop, Yolmer Sanchez at third base, Nicky Delmonico in left field, Avisail Garcia in right field and Matt Davidson as the designated hitter. More on the omission of a starting center fielder in a bit.

Omar Narvaez would be a logical pick to back up Castillo at catcher, and Tyler Saladino is really the lone reserve infielder with big league experience, not to mention he’s a versatile player that can play anywhere on the infield.

Leury Garcia also figures to be a lock for this 25-man roster. But will he be the everyday center fielder, as he was for a spell last season? He played 51 games in center in 2017 but battled injuries throughout the year. I think Leury Garcia will end up the starting center fielder when the season begins because of his bat. His .270/.316/.423 slash line isn’t going to make anyone do cartwheels, but it’s better than the offensive struggles of Adam Engel, who started 91 games in center in 2017 and slashed .166/.235/.282. Engel would still be a solid inclusion on the bench because of his superb defense, but to create that big a hole in the everyday lineup is tough.

How could that position-player group change? Keep your eyes in center field, where there are a couple other guys who could force their way into a roster spot this spring: Charlie Tilson and Ryan Cordell. Tilson has had a tremendous amount of trouble staying on the field since coming over to the White Sox in a 2016 deadline deal, but that hasn’t dampened the White Sox hopes for him. And Cordell got name-dropped by general manager Rick Hahn during SoxFest, when the GM said he’s received multiple calls about Cordell since acquiring him last summer. Cordell put up good numbers at the Triple-A level prior to a significant injury last year.

But the main battles figure to be in the bullpen. At times this winter, as the White Sox kept adding players to that relief corps mix, that the whole thing seemed wide open. But when you think about it, maybe there are only one or two open spots.

You’d have to think these guys are pretty safe bets to make the team: Juan Minaya, Gregory Infante, Nate Jones, Joakim Soria and Luis Avilan. Though Hector Santiago was just recently acquired on a minor league deal, he’s really the only long man of the group, and he could sub in if there’s an injury to a starting pitcher. That leaves two spots between the group of Aaron Bummer, Danny Farquhar, Jace Fry, Jose Ruiz and Thyago Vieira — not to mention guys signed to minor league deals like Xavier Cedeno, Jeanmar Gomez and Bruce Rondon.

Bummer had a 4.50 ERA in 30 big league games last year. Farquhar had a 4.40 ERA in 15 games. Vieira has gotten attention as a flame-thrower, but he’s got just one big league game under his belt, something that might or might not matter to the rebuilding White Sox. Guys like Gomez, who has 40 career saves including 37 just two years ago, and Rondon, who had multiple shots at the Detroit Tigers’ closing job in the past, could vault themselves into the mix as potential midseason trade candidates.

Then there's the question of which of those guys will be Rick Renteria's closer. Minaya had closing duties after most of the bullpen was traded away last summer. He picked up nine saves and posted a 4.11 ERA in his final 17 appearances of the campaign. Look to Soria, though, a veteran with plenty of closing experience from his days with the Kansas City Royals. If he's given the opportunity to close and succeeds, he could fetch an intriguing return package in a potential deadline deal.

But now it's game time in Arizona.

“The fun part of playing the game of baseball is playing the game of baseball," Renteria said earlier this week. "We prepare. I think they all enjoy what they’re doing in terms of their preparation. They take it seriously, they focus. But ultimately like everything that we do in life, I guess it’s a test. And the games are a test for us on a daily basis. And how we are able to evaluate them and take advantage of the opportunities that we have to see them in a real game situation is certainly helpful for us.”