Be afraid, baseball world. Be very afraid.
While "Winter is coming" in this weekend's Game of Thrones series opener, the White Sox version of the iconic phrase from one of television's most popular shows will be coming to a baseball diamond near you in a few years.
The White Sox farm system has gone from worst to first in the span of 15 months.
And it's only going to continue to get stronger as the White sox have a few more trade chips to sell off and they'll have a Top 5 draft pick in 2018. The organization will also have a few briefcases stuffed with cash to toss around to the loaded 2019 free agent class.
As most White Sox fans pick their jaws up from the floor when looking at MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospect list, we've done our best to construct the optimal White Sox lineup for the 2020 season.
1. Yoan Moncada (2B)
The top prospect in MLB is a five-tool talent who possesses the on-base skills (.385 in Triple-A) and speed (16 stolen bases in 2017) to set the table for the White Sox for the next decade.
2. Manny Machado (3B)
If the White Sox are going to throw big money at a free agent in 2019, Machado could be the guy. His age (27) when he hits the open market is right around the White Sox window of contention.
3. Eloy Jimenez (LF)
Some scouts believe Jimenez could be better than Moncada. His power and ability to hit for a high average make him an ideal candidate to hit No. 3 for the White Sox in 2020.
4. Jose Abreu (DH)
Abreu's leadership will still be imperative for the White Sox when they're ready to contend.
5. Luis Robert (CF)
Robert is the ultimate wild card in the White Sox system as he's yet to show off his skills in the United States. Another five-tool talent, Robert's upside is off the charts.
6. Avisail Garcia (RF)
Coming off his first All-Star appearance, Garcia could be an integral part of the White Sox future or the team could sell high on his 2017 season for more high-end young talent.
7. Zack Collins (C)
Collins low batting average (.220) and high strikeout numbers (90) in Single-A are alarming, but he's still only 22 years old, and his defensive abilities behind the plate have improved immensely since the White Sox drafted him.
8. Jake Burger (1B)
Burger's advanced bat and power will have him moving up the pipeline. It wouldn't be surprising to see him shift from third base to first base by the time he's ready to join the majors.
9. Tim Anderson (SS)
The first piece of the rebuild has gotten off to a bad start in 2017, but he's still an important part of the young core.
Nicky Delmonico (OF), Adam Engel (OF), Yolmer Sanchez (IF), Kevan Smith (C), Gavin Sheets (1B)
Engel is a must-have on the bench for the White Sox as he could be an important late-inning defensive replacement at any position in the outfield. Delmonico's left-handed bat and pop give him the nudge over a few other White Sox minor league outfielders. Sanchez can play all over the diamond and would be the perfect utility infielder for a contender. Smith and Sheets round out the rest of the White Sox bench.
1. Carlos Rodon
2. Michael Kopech
3. Alec Hansen
4. Lucas Giolito
5. Dane Dunning
While he hasn't shown consistency thus far in the majors, Rodon — the only holdover from the current White Sox rotation — has the dynamite stuff to be the ace. Kopech, who has topped out at 105 MPH, has the highest upside of any pitching prospect in the minors and if his command continues to improve he could challenge Rodon for the top spot in the rotation. The last three spots in the rotation could be a toss up because the White Sox have about 15 arms that are worthy of a starting spot. No matter how it shakes out, the White Sox project to have a strong starting five. Hansen, Giolito and Dunning — our projected No. 3, 4 and 5 starters for the 2020 South Siders — have the upside of being No. 2 starters if they were on a handful of other clubs.
Zack Burdi (closer), Andrew Miller (SU), Reynaldo Lopez, Dylan Cease, Carson Fulmer, Bernardo Flores
Burdi possesses an 80-grade fastball (the highest possible rating) and a potential wipeout slider. If Burdi can bounce back from potential Tommy John Surgery, he'll likely still be the White Sox closer of the future. Instead of inserting one of their young pitchers in the setup role, the White Sox will throw some money at the best reliever in baseball, Andrew Miller, because why the hell not? Lopez' fastball which can reach 100 and plus-curveball would be devastating in a 7th inning role before the White Sox turn the ball over to Miller and Burdi. Cease and Fulmer round things out.