Tim Anderson has climbed to the top of the White Sox farm system as Baseball America named him the club’s top prospect on Monday.
The shortstop and 2013 first-round pick tops a revamped list, one altered by last month’s trade for third baseman Todd Frazier.
Last year’s first-rounder Carson Fulmer is ranked second while Spencer Adams moved up to third when Frankie Montas was included in the three-team Frazier deal. Baseball America originally had Trayce Thompson ranked fifth and Micah Johnson at No. 8 until they also went to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the deal for Frazier, a two-time All-Star.
The 17th pick of the 2013 draft, Anderson produced a .312/.350/.429 slash line with five home runs, 46 RBI and 49 stolen bases at Double-A Birmingham last season.
He also continues to make defensive strides. One National League scout who didn’t see Anderson until late in the season after having seen him in spring training was impressed by the strides the third-year pro had made.
Back in spring, Anderson showed a flair for making spectacular plays and impressed the White Sox coaching staff in big league camp. The White Sox think Anderson is on the cusp of the majors and he’s expected to be at big league camp again in February. But the team also wants to give Anderson — who was drafted out of community college and is considered baseball young — time to further hone his approach and refine his defense. Last season, Anderson, whom Baseball America had rated as the No. 92 prospect in baseball, struck out 114 times and walked 24. He also committed 25 errors.
While he’s close, Anderson is expected to start the season at Triple-A Charlotte. But general manager Rick Hahn has said Anderson could force the issue with a strong start to 2016.
Whereas last year’s top prospect Carlos Rodon was in the majors by the third week of April, Fulmer isn’t likely to follow the same path. Drafted eighth overall out of Vanderbilt, the right-hander excelled in 10 minor league appearances. He finished with a 2.08 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 26 innings, including a three-inning performance against Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League playoffs. But the White Sox intend to take their time and allow Fulmer to develop.
Adams excelled in his second season after a strong debut in 2014. The 6-foot-3 right-hander went 12-5 with a 2.99 ERA in 24 starts between Single-A Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. A year after he posted a 59:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the Arizona Rookie League, Adams struck out 96 batters and walked 18 in 129 1/3 innings.
Trey Michalczewski, Jacob May, Tyler Danish, Adam Engel, Jordan Guerrero, Courtney Hawkins and Corey Zangari round out the rest of the club’s Top 10.