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. 

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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. 

For on-the-rise White Sox, learning to win also means learning to lose

For on-the-rise White Sox, learning to win also means learning to lose

The White Sox lost Saturday night.

That’s baseball, of course, they’re not all going to be winners. And this rebuilding franchise has seen plenty of losses. But the feelings have been so good of late — whether because of Eloy Jimenez’s 400-foot homers or Lucas Giolito’s Cy Young caliber season to this point or a variety of other positive signs that make the White Sox future so bright — that losing Saturday to the first-place New York Yankees seemed rather sour.

Obviously there will be plenty more losses for this White Sox team before the book closes on the 2019 campaign. Back under .500, these South Siders aren’t expected to reach elite status before all the pieces arrive, and it would be no shock if they’re removed from the playoff race in the American League by the time crunch time rolls around in September.

But don’t tell these White Sox that an 8-4 defeat is a return to reality or a reminder that this team is still a work in progress. Even if, for a lot of players, development is still occurring at the major league level, the “learning experiences” that have been such a large part of the conversation surrounding this team in recent seasons and their daily goal of winning baseball games aren’t mutually exclusive.

“The Yankees are sitting in first place and they lost two games in a row,” catcher James McCann said Saturday night, providing a reminder of how the first two games of this weekend series went. “Just because you're expected to win and expected to be World Series contenders doesn't mean you're not going to lose ballgames. It's how you bounce back.

“And it doesn't mean you're going to win tomorrow, either. It's just, how do you handle a defeat? How do you handle a bad at-bat? How do you handle a bad outing, whatever it may be? But it doesn't mean that we step back and say, ‘Oh, we're back under .500, we're supposed to lose.’

“We expect to win when we show up to the ballpark. You can take learning experiences whether you win or lose. Do I think a game like tonight reminds us we're supposed to be in a rebuilding mode? No. We still expect to win, and we're going to show up tomorrow with that mentality.”

Maybe that’s a description of the much-discussed “learning to win” young teams supposedly need to do on the road to contender status. Maybe that can’t happen until a team figures out how to bounce back from a defeat — until it learns how to lose and how to act in the wake of a loss.

For all McCann’s certainty about the team’s expectations on a daily basis, his explanation was peppered with questions. He said he’s seen the answer to “how do you bounce back?” from this club, and his three-run homer in the eighth inning Saturday night was fairly convincing evidence that the White Sox didn’t use up all their fight just getting back to .500.

So while the White Sox know they won’t win every game — that no team will — they need to know how they handle defeat. Losing, it turns out, might end up being more instructive about when this team is ready to win.

“I think we've done a pretty good job (bouncing back),” McCann said. “You look at the road trip in Houston and Minnesota where we took two out of four from a good Houston team and then played really not very good baseball for three days in Minnesota only to come home and have an extremely good homestand.

“It's the big picture. It's not the very next day. It's not, ‘We've got to bounce back and win.’ It's not a must-win situation in the middle of June. But it's how do you handle yourself? How does a game like tonight, do you show up flat tomorrow and let it snowball into a three-, four-game spiral? Or do you fight?

“And that's what this team's been really good at doing is fighting and not giving in.”

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Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

The temperature is rising on the South Side, and if you look outside, you know it has nothing to do with Mother Nature.

Instead, it’s a heat wave coming from a fresh-faced 22-year-old slugger who’s crushing baseballs, igniting a fan base and screaming “Hi Mom!” to his actual mother whenever he spots a TV camera with its red light on.

Eloy Jimenez has arrived with the White Sox, and according to a New York Yankees All Star who has known him for years, the best is yet to come.

“Not this year, but next year, he’s going to be even better,” infielder Gleyber Torres said about Jimenez.

The two of them were signed by that team across town in 2013 when they were both 16 years old. They were practically inseparable back then, and they remain tight to this day.

“I talk with Gleyber pretty much every single day now. He’s kind of like my brother,” Jimenez said. “We haven’t lost that communication, and I think that’s good for us.”

Torres echoed similar thoughts about Jimenez.

“In my first couple years with the Cubs, he was my roommate every day. We’ve got a really good relationship. We’re like brothers. We are really good friends,” Torres said. “I’m just happy to see what he’s doing right now.”

Which, lately, has been just about everything.

There was that majestic home run Jimenez belted on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals that landed on the center field concourse at Guaranteed Rate Field, the two walks the next day when the Yankees decided to pitch around Jimenez as if he was a perennial All Star, and then the two-homer game on Friday: The first one gave the White Sox the lead, the second stuck a dagger into the Yankees, as well as the heart of his longtime friend.

“For sure, I didn’t like it,” Torres said with a smile about Jimenez’s two-homer, six-RBI game. “I’m not surprised. I knew Eloy before he signed with the Cubs out of the Dominican. He’s a big dude. The power is coming every day.”

How good can Jimenez be? Torres, who plays on a star-studded team with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius, sees Jimenez reaching the same stratosphere.

“He can be a star for all of MLB. He’s just a young guy right now, but when he matures a little more, he can do everything.”

Jimenez is turning up the heat in Chicago, and it’s not even summer yet.

The South Side can’t wait for the sizzle to come.

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