White Sox

Compiling the White Sox prospect lists

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Compiling the White Sox prospect lists

It's pretty well-accepted that the White Sox have the worst farm system in baseball. Kevin Goldstein (Baseball Prospectus) described it in two words: "Not good." John Sickels (Minor League Ball) described it in four: "The horror, the horror." Larry (South Side Sox) said putting his list together was "painfully difficult."

But thanks to the efforts of Goldstein, Sickels, Larry, Phil Rogers (Baseball America) and Marc Hulet (FanGraphs), we have five pretty reputable top prospect lists for the White Sox. With that in mind, I compiled a table looking at each prospect's ranking among the five lists -- of note, not all prospects were part of the White Sox system when these lists were made. For example, Simon Castro wasn't with the Sox when Fangraphs released its list, and Myles Jaye only appears on one list in part because the Sox acquired him on New Year's Day.

On to the table:

PlayerFGBProBASSSSickelsAddison Reed
1111
2
Nestor Molina
2
2
2
2
1
Simon Castro
NA
5
3
NA
NA
Trayce Thompson
4
3
4
7
4
Jake Petricka
6
4
5
5
6
Keenyn Walker
3
6
6
8
11
Jhan Marinez
148
7
Other
Other
Eduardo Escobar
8
7
NR
6
13
Tyler Saladino
7
10
8
3
3
Hector Santiago
10
NR
NR
4
5
Jared Mitchell
9
13
NR
10
12
Brandon Short
12
14
NR
9
Other
Juan Silverio
NR
12
9
NR
8
Gregory Infante
13
16
NR
Other
15
Andre Rienzo
NR
11
NR
Other
9
Charles Leesman
11
NR
NR
Other
14
Dylan Axelrod
5
19
NR
NR
8
Scott Snodgress
15
NR
NR
Other
18
Erik Johnson
NR
17
NR
Other
10
Mike Blanke
NR
18
NR
Other
Other
Kevan Smith
NR
NR
NR
NR
7
Nate Jones
NR
NR
NR
NR
16
Jeff Soptic
Other
NR
NR
Other
17
Jose Quintana
NR
NR
NR
Other
19
Blair Walters
NR
NR
NR
NR
20
Ozzie Martinez
NR
20
10
NR
Other
Myles Jaye
NA
9
NR
NA
NA
Pedro Hernandez
NA
15
NR
NA
NA

Number of prospects listed: 10 (South Side Sox, Baseball America), 15 (FanGraphs), 20 (Baseball Prospectus, Sickels)Other: Player was listed, but not rankedNA: Player was not in organization when list was made

--The biggest disagreement among these guys is on Hector Santiago, who both Larry and Sickels are high on but isn't ranked by Goldstein or Rogers. If Santiago becomes a full-time starter, his high ranking by Larry and Sickels should be justified; if he's a middle reliever, he's probably a fringe top-20 guy.

--Larry ranks Trayce Thompson the lowest of anyone, although he notes that "With more repetitions both at the plate and in the field, maybe this will be the breakout year."

--Jared Mitchell is firmly a fringe prospect. Being ranked in the Nos. 9-13 range in a White Sox system this thin isn't very encouraging.

--Sickels is the only one who even mentioned Kevan Smith, who put up gaudy numbers in rookie ball as a 23-year-old last year. We'll see if he can hit at the Single-A level and maybe justify Sickels' ranking, although even then, he'll be pretty low in the system for someone who will turn 24 in late June.

--There are plenty of power arms here, but few of those arms have a developed third pitch. The worry is that most of these pitchers will wind up in relief, leaving the Sox seriously short-handed in arguably baseball's most important commodity: young, inexpensive starting pitching.

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

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USA TODAY

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

As encouraging as the reports are on many of the White Sox’s minor-league pitching prospects, Carlos Rodon’s effort against the Athletics on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field could prove just as significant to the rebuild on the South Side.

Looking much like the ace the Sox envisioned prior to Rodon’s rough 2017 season that ended with shoulder surgery, the left-hander put together his most successful effort of ’18 during a 10-3 drubbing of the Athletics before a sun-drenched crowd of 21,908.

Making his fourth start of the season, Rodon matched a career-high by going eight innings. He yielded two runs on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Rodon earned his first win of the season to help the Sox salvage a split of the four-game series.

“I felt good today—a lot of strikes,” Rodon said. “It was good to go eight and just be ahead of guys.”

Helping matters for Rodon was an offensive explosion by the Sox, led by Yoan Moncada’s career-high six RBIs. After falling behind 2-0, the Sox plated five runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings as Moncada cleared the bases with a double off the base of the wall in the fifth and launched his 10th home run of the season to drive in three more an inning later.

“Today was a great day,” Moncada said via a team interpreter. “I just went out to play the game the way that I play. Just to have fun. It was a very good game for me.”

Daniel Palka and Yolmer Sanchez also homered as the Sox won for just the second time in their last 11 games.

Rodon was the happy recipient of the run support to win his first game since Aug. 21, 2017, against the Twins. On Sunday, he threw 99 pitches, 69 for strikes and was consistently in the mid-90s with his fastball.

“I’m looking to do that every time out,” Rodon said. “Just show up and establish the strike zone with the fastball and be aggressive.”

The 25-year-old’s second-inning strikeout of Khris Davis was the 400th of Rodon’s career. It is a career that is continuing after a surgery that was a setback, but one that did not derail Rodon’s confidence that he would again pitch effectively.

“There are up-and-down days when you go through shoulder surgery or any surgery for any player,” Rodon said. “You've just got to work through it and try to make your way back. I'm here now and it’s looking up and I’m trying to get better.”

So is it reasonable to view Rodon as the future ace after all?

“You certainly can’t discount that,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He has to go out there and continue to get his feet underneath him and get through the rest of the season healthy and climbing.”

In other Sox pitching news, Renteria said starter Dylan Covey, who was removed in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game due to a hip flexor injury, “felt better” Sunday and the team will continue to monitor the right-hander’s progress.

Meanwhile, veteran Miguel Gonzalez made a rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte as he continues to recover from inflammation in his right rotator cuff. Gonzalez went three innings and allowed one hit with a walk and a strikeout. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez belted his first homer for the Knights in the game.

Joakim Soria knows he is turning into a valuable trade asset for White Sox

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USA TODAY

Joakim Soria knows he is turning into a valuable trade asset for White Sox

No one knows better than Joakim Soria that the more successful he is as the White Sox’s closer, there is an increased likelihood that the veteran right-hander will be headed out of town at some point.

Soria has not only solidified the back end of the bullpen, the 34-year-old has emerged as perhaps the Sox’s most valuable trade asset to a contending team in need of relief help.

Over this last 14 appearances, Soria has not allowed an earned run and has converted all seven save chances with five hits allowed, two walks and 15 strikeouts.

“My body feels good and my arm feels good,” Soria said before the Sox defeated the Athletics 10-3 on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. “I come to the ballpark expecting to pitch and … I try to be out there and help this team win.”

While the Sox haven’t done a whole lot of winning of late—Sunday’s win was just their second in their last 11 games—when they are victorious it’s accompanied by a Soria save. With the Sox’s rebuild in full swing, Soria understands that general manager Rick Hahn won’t hesitate to flip him in a trade.

“Players say they don’t think about it but you have to think about it,” said Soria, who was acquired from the Royals on Jan. 4 in a three-team trade also involving the Dodgers. “When you have a family with three kids and a wife you have to be prepared for everything. But it’s not like I come to the field thinking about that. It’s just God’s plan and whatever happens it’s a business and you prepare.”

Soria has 215 career saves, including 162 in seven seasons with the Royals, but hadn’t been a full-time closer since notching a combined 24 saves with the Tigers and Pirates. With the Sox, Soria won the closing job over fellow veteran Nate Jones in spring training and has been nearly unhittable in recent weeks.

Over his last 13 2/3 innings pitched, Soria has held opponents to a .109 batting average and sports a 2.89 ERA for the season. He has issued five walks in 28 innings and is averaging 10.29 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

The two-time All-Star has settled in nicely in a Sox clubhouse featuring a mix of veterans and promising talents. Soria has to balance that with the knowledge he might not be around as the season progresses.

“It’s something I can’t control,” Soria said. “I have a really good relationship with these guys and the chemistry with this team is very good. I can’t think outside of the box because (a trade) hasn’t happened yet. You have to keep focused and be ready for today’s game.”