Andrew Vaughn

ESPN ranks White Sox farm system in MLB's top 10

ESPN ranks White Sox farm system in MLB's top 10

Baseball farm system rankings are a mix of art and science, and ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel tried a different approach for his latest crack at ranking each team’s set of prospects.

McDaniel evaluated prospects by putting a dollar amount on them. The number was “what a team would bid for each prospect if he was at auction and the team was trying to value its six to seven controlled years in the big leagues before the player hit free agency.”

By coming up with the number of prospects with notable value and an overall dollar amount to each farm system, he showed how top-heavy and deep a farm system is. The White Sox, who ranked eighth, are apparently top-heavy but not deep (which is a trend in these rankings).

Overall, McDaniel found that there are 1,182 prospects worth $6.53 billion of surplus value in the minor leagues.

He described the White Sox system (which he valued at $251 million) as one with elite prospects but not much depth. But that’s nothing new. Few teams can match the foursome of Luis Robert, Michael Kopech, Andrew Vaughn and Nick Madrigal. After that, there aren’t many high-upside talents in the system.

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One scout thinks White Sox prospect Andrew Vaughn is 'way better' than Paul Konerko

One scout thinks White Sox prospect Andrew Vaughn is 'way better' than Paul Konerko

With all the attention paid to the major league White Sox this offseason, some of the further away prospects haven’t been front and center as much.

For example, Andrew Vaughn is eight months removed from being the third pick in the draft and is one of a trio of elite position player prospects the White Sox have, but hasn't been talked about much this offseason. That may not last for long.

Eric Longenhagen updated his top 100 prospects in baseball over at FanGraphs on Wednesday. Four White Sox prospects were included: Luis Robert (No. 7), Michael Kopech (No. 19), Vaughn (No. 37) and Nick Madrigal (No. 41). What was said about Vaughn is sure to catch some eyes.

“Vaughn has a very selective approach, letting strikes he can’t drive pass him by unless he has to put a ball in play, a skill I compared before the draft to Paul Konerko‘s (I mentioned this to a Special Assistant who scoffed and said he thought Vaughn was way better),” Longenhagen wrote.

Way better than Paul Konerko?! Well, that’s certainly not conservative. Konerko is obviously a legendary White Sox first baseman who helped the team win the 2005 World Series. He was also a six-time all-star who hit 439 career home runs with career averages of .279/.354/.486.

If Vaughn is even as good as Konerko, the White Sox would take that in a heartbeat. But way better?

Granted, lines like this are how prospects get overrated. Some baseball executive or scout sees someone on a good day, extrapolates and suddenly a prospect is being compared to a several-time all-star or Hall of Famer. Still, it goes to show how highly regarded Vaughn is.

“Vaughn’s post-draft TrackMan data is also supportive, and suggests he could be a .300/.400/.500 hitter,” Longenhagen added.

Yeah, that would work.

Vaughn played in 55 minor-league games after the draft last year and finished in Single-A Winston-Salem. He hit .252/.349/.411 in 29 games with the Dash. That’s not setting the world on fire, but Vaughn was still getting adjusted to pro ball.

He could start 2020 in Double-A with the expectation that his production will start to match the crazy things said about him in scouting reports. Until then, here he is taking casual swings in spring training.


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White Sox position player prospects ranked best in baseball

White Sox position player prospects ranked best in baseball

The White Sox are shifting from rebuilding to win-now mode as some of the team’s top prospects make it to the majors and the front office has beefed up the team via free agency. However, the farm is still stocked with some premium talent, especially when it comes to position players.

MiLB.com ranked each team’s farm system in terms of position player prospects and the White Sox came out on top. Considering how MLB Pipeline ranks Luis Robert (No. 3), Andrew Vaughn (No. 16) and Nick Madrigal (No. 40) in its overall prospect rankings, this isn’t a big surprise.

Robert signed a major-league deal this offseason and is expected to be the Opening Day starting centerfielder. Vaughn could start the year in Double-A and is probably about a year away. Madrigal figures to be up sometime early in 2020.

Luis Alexander Basabe, Blake Rutherford, Micker Adolfo, Gavin Sheets and Zack Collins also got mentions, although all of those prospects have some pockmarks on their resumes when compared to Robert, Vaughn and Madrigal.

“It's a group with plenty of potential and is spread out well across the diamond,” Joe Bloss wrote. “It's MiLB.com's top group of position-player prospects going into the 2020 season.”

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