White Sox

A look at the updated Cubs Top 20 prospects

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A look at the updated Cubs Top 20 prospects

When Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over and built their new front office with the Cubs, they preached the importance of building a sustained winner from within, with an emphasis on adding impact prospects to the farm system.

One of their first moves was acquiring young first baseman Anthony Rizzo in January for Andrew Cashner, and they haven't looked back since.

After the trade deadline and the signings of international man of mystery Jorge Soler and 2012 first-round draft pick Albert Almora, it was time to take a look at an updated list of the Cubs' top prospects, which is exactly what John Arguello over at CubsDen compiled Thursday.

Here are the 20 in order as John sees it:

1. Javier Baez, SS
2. Jorge Soler, OF
3. Albert Almora, OF
4. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
5. Brett Jackson, OF
6. Josh Vitters, 3B
7. Christian Villanueva, 3B
8. Matt Szczur, OF
9. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
10. Pierce Johnson, RHP
11. Dillon Maples, RHP
12. Gioskar Amaya, 2B
13. Junior Lake, SS
14. Dan Vogelbach, 1B
15. Trey McNutt, RHP
16. Arismendy Alcantara, SS
17. Ronald Torreyes, 2B
18. Duane Underwood, RHP
19. Tony Zych, RHP
20(t). Marco Hernandez, SS
20(t). Logan Watckins, 2B

Vizcaino (4) and Villanueva (7) were acquired from the Braves and Rangers, respectively, at the deadline.

Those two join Soler, Almora, Johnson, Torreyes and Underwood as Top 20 players acquired by Epstein and Co. since they took over roughly nine months ago. Add Rizzo to that list and the new front office has acquired eight Top 20 prospects since taking over, averaging out to almost one a month. That's incredible stuff.

That being said, the organization still lacks pitching prospects, namely in the starting rotation. Vizcaino's shaky injury history may mean he's more suited for a relief role in the future (though he could be a dominant setup man or even closer). All other pitchers below him on this list are still years away from the big leagues, if they even make it at all.

It'll be curious to see what John's Top 20 prospect list looks like if the Cubs do wind up trading Matt Garza this winter. He could fetch two or three impact prospects.

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

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AP

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

Coming to you from Washington DC, we speak with Dylan Cease who competed in the MLB Futures Game along with his Birmingham Barons teammate Luis Basabe. 

Cease talks about the White Sox loaded farm system, what players have impressed him the most, where he gets his composure on the mound and more. 

Check out the entire podcast here:

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fernando Tatis, Jr. is one of the brightest future stars in the game. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the No. 3 prospect in all of baseball, one spot behind Eloy Jimenez.

He’s a five-tool shortstop slashing .289/.359/.509 at Double-A San Antonio with 15 home runs, 42 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 85 games. He’s bilingual, charismatic, the kind of guy who could be a face of a franchise.

And two years ago, he was property of the White Sox.

That was until they traded Tatis, who was only 17 at the time, to the Padres for James Shields. Tatis had yet to play a single game in the White Sox farm system, so it was tough to predict his future. However, speaking with Tatis before he competed in the MLB Futures Game on Sunday, the trade was definitely a shock to him.

“I was surprised. It was weird. For a kid that young to get traded, I had never heard of it. When they told me that, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’” Tatis said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

No front office is going to bat 1.000, and when it comes to Tatis, this is a trade the White Sox would love to have back.

But first, more perspective.

In June of 2016, six months before the White Sox started their rebuild, they were 29-26, a game and a half out of first place. With Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and a healthy Carlos Rodon anchoring their rotation, they felt that with the addition of Shields, they could compete for the division.

Unfortunately, perception didn’t meet reality. Shields struggled on the mound with the White Sox in 2016 and 2017. His numbers have improved considerably, and he could return the White Sox another prospect if he’s dealt before the trade deadline. However, it’s unlikely they’ll receive a player with the potential that Tatis has right now.

“(The trade) was about getting a good starter so they could get to the playoffs. I understood. I know this game is a business,” Tatis said.

Before the trade occurred, Tatis looked into his future and saw a day when he’d be the White Sox starting shortstop.

“Yeah, that was my goal when (White Sox director of international scouting) Marco Paddy signed me,” Tatis said. “We talked about it when I started and that was the goal.”

His goal now is to make it to the major leagues with the Padres.

“I’m pretty close. I want to keep working. When they decide to call me up, I’ll be ready.”

As for his former team, he’s impressed with the talent the White Sox have assembled.

“They’re building something special. They have really good prospects. I wish the best for them.”

You can’t help but wonder what the rebuild would look like if Tatis was along for the ride. He’s the one who got away.