Blake Rutherford

White Sox place seven players in MLB Pipeline's list of baseball's top 100 prospects

White Sox place seven players in MLB Pipeline's list of baseball's top 100 prospects

You might've heard something about the White Sox having a good farm system.

MLB Pipeline put out its much-anticipated top 100 prospects list Saturday night, and the South Side rebuild was well represented.

A total of seven players landed on the site's list: outfielder Eloy Jimenez ranked fourth, pitcher Michael Kopech ranked 10th, outfielder Luis Robert ranked 28th, pitcher Alec Hansen ranked 54th, pitcher Dylan Cease ranked 61st, pitcher Dane Dunning ranked 92nd, and outfielder Blake Rutherford ranked 99th.

Jimenez has generated tons of buzz ever since coming to the White Sox organization in last summer's crosstown swap with the Cubs. He's only played a handful of games above the Class A level, though plenty of fans want him on the South Side as soon as possible. Jimenez hit 19 home runs last season in 89 minor league games. MLB Pipeline has Jimenez ranked as the No. 2 outfield prospect in baseball.

Kopech, who recently voiced that he's ready whenever the call to the big leagues comes, dazzled last season at Double-A Birmingham and was named the Southern League Most Outstanding Pitcher. Ranked as the No. 3 right-handed pitching prospect by MLB Pipeline, Kopech could very well reach the White Sox major league roster this summer should all go well at Triple-A Charlotte.

Robert is just 20 years old and has yet to play a game of minor league baseball in the United States, but he has plenty of folks inside and outside of the organization excited. Manager Rick Renteria brought an eye-popping scouting report back from the Dominican Republic, and there's been talk of the possibility that he could start the 2018 season at Double-A.

Hansen was among minor league baseball's leaders with 191 strikeouts in 2017, and he recently earned a sparkling scouting report from White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, who said Hansen has a curveball that "breaks like a freaking firecracker."

Cease was acquired along with Jimenez in the trade with the Cubs and has great promise after turning in a 3.28 ERA and striking out 126 batters last season.

Dunning is another one of those potential candidates for the White Sox starting rotation of the future. He had a sub-3.00 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 2017 between Class A Kannapolis and Class A Winston-Salem.

Rutherford was the centerpiece of the return package in that seven-player trade with the New York Yankees last summer. Though he slipped from a much higher ranking last season — he was the White Sox No. 4 prospect heading into the offseason — he could still be a big part of that outfield of the future on the South Side.

Be sure to check out NBC Sports Chicago's entire Meet the Prospects series, profiling 25 different pieces of the rebuild that are hoped to turn the White Sox into a perennial contender.

Meet the Prospects: Blake Rutherford

Meet the Prospects: Blake Rutherford

The White Sox rebuild is in full swing. While it might still be a year or two before the big league team is expected to start competing for championships, the minor leagues are stocked with highly touted talent fans will be eagerly following in 2018. With that in mind, it's time to Meet the Prospects and get to know the future of the South Side.

Blake Rutherford

Rutherford, the 20-year-old outfielder, was the highest-rated piece of the return package that came back to the White Sox in the seven-player deal that sent Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees last summer.

A California native, Rutherford was the 18th overall pick in the 2016 draft. After only playing rookie ball post-draft in 2016, he played 71 games with Class A Charleston last year before the trade, slashing .281/.342/.391 with 20 doubles and 30 RBIs to go along with a pair of home runs. After the trade, Rutherford played in 30 games with Class A Kannapolis, slashing .213/.289/.254 with 26 hits and 13 walks.

As of their most recent rankings, MLB Pipeline had Rutherford rated as the No. 4 prospect in the White Sox organization.

Get to know Rutherford in the video above.

How Baseball America envisions the White Sox starting lineup of the future

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USA TODAY

How Baseball America envisions the White Sox starting lineup of the future

The White Sox rebuild is going just swimmingly, according to the fine folks at Baseball America.

The publication does its own rankings of each organization's top prospects every offseason, and their top 10 rankings of the players in the White Sox farm system is unexpectedly impressive, what with how general manager Rick Hahn has acquired so much minor league talent over the past year-plus.

But one of the fun things Baseball America also does is project a starting lineup for a few years down the road. That's been a favorite pastime of South Side baseball fans ever since Hahn kicked off the rebuild with those trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton more than a year ago. Now you can see how your fantasy future White Sox lineup matches up with Baseball America's.

They flash forward all the way to 2021, a year past when most White Sox fans have been dreaming about as the apex of the rebuild and when the South Siders start becoming perennial contenders. Notably, Baseball America also expects the White Sox to give long-term deals to Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia — not bad moves by any stretch — who are both currently under team control only through the end of the 2019 season.

Here's how Baseball America sees Rick Renteria's starting nine in 2021:

Of course, Baseball America goes a little more in depth than that, ranking the top 10 prospects in each farm system and laying out their picks for which players have the best tools in each organization.

Here are those respective lists for the White Sox:

Get ready, White Sox fans. The future's coming.