Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (29) | 2012 (30) | 2011 (27) | 2010 (23) | 2009 (16)
2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [63-99] AL Central
AAA: [65-78] International League — Charlotte
AA: [77-63] Southern League — Birmingham
A+: [71-69] Carolina League — Winston-Salem
A: [61-76] South Atlantic League — Kannapolis
Arizona Fall League Players — Glendale Desert Dogs
Chris Bassitt (RHP); Charlie Leesman (LHP); Stephen McCray (RHP); Kevin Vance (RHP); Micah Johnson (2B); Marcus Semien (SS); Brandon Jacobs (OF); Jared Mitchell (OF)
Avisail Garcia (OF); Josh Phegley (C); Jordan Danks (OF); Andre Rienzo (RHP)
The Run Down
Back in July I went on a brief rant, imploring White Sox brass to change their ways and improve their flaccid trajectory. It went like this: “There are several questionable farm systems in baseball, but the Chicago White Sox are certainly one that stands out. For years now, the Sox have maintained a firm MLB-first approach to player personnel. They’re a principled franchise that would rather allocate its baseball operations budget toward free agent signings and MLB extensions than toward draft spending. And when they do stumble upon a real-deal prospect, they usually like to trade him for a veteran dude, someone to help that playoff push. It’s a model that occasionally works — they won a World Series by it in 2005 — but it’s not one that’s built to sustain success. And now, in 2013, the White Sox are awful. They’re in total rebuild mode — everything is for sale. This is finally their opportunity to change direction, to try to build a system that cultivates and utilizes impact talent. They’ve already dealt Matt Thornton to Boston for Brandon Jacobs, an upside outfielder with a skill set that might be very useful in the fantasy game. Don’t stop there, Chicago. Tear it all down.”
Well, they couldn’t quite tear it all down — there were no Adam Dunn buyers in the market — but they were able to make some key moves and splash some youth into an organization that desperately needed it. Most notably, Avisail Garcia was an outstanding acquisition. He’s ineligible for this list, but he’d be an easy #1 were he still hanging onto his prospect status. Don’t get me wrong here, this system is still lacking, but it’s no longer the weakest in the game, and its overall direction has improved greatly. Please, blog, may I have some more?
I’m gonna double-dip on what I wrote a year ago in my week 23 MiLB report because 1) I think it still holds, and 2) I’m a double-dipper: “The Minor League Baseball season has reached it’s glorious culmination. Well, actually, it’s not very glorious. No, no one really cares who wins in the New York-Penn semis, or the International League title, or the Midwest League championship. It’s just not that interesting. Not even for me. Sure, organizations do their best to instill winning attitudes throughout their farm systems, and I absolutely agree that’s important. It’s why Jeff Luhnow is still tweeting crap like “#JETHAWKS WIN”. Yay, Jethawks… It’s fun for the players, I suppose. It’s fun for the small-town fans, too. And it’s a small source of pride for player development types. But that’s about the extent of it. All that said, the various MiLB playoffs are still worth keeping an eye on, if only for the handful of real-deal prospects who’re performing on a slightly grander stage than usual. So, to wrap up this year’s Minor Accomplishments series, I leave you with a brief rundown of what’s happening with some of the more notable prospects in their respective postseasons.” Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (30) | 2011 (27) | 2010 (23) | 2009 (16) | 2008 (30)
2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [85-77] AL Central
AAA: [83-61] International League — Charlotte
AA: [63-76] Southern League — Birmingham
A+: [87-51] Carolina League — Winston-Salem
A: [61-78] South Atlantic League — Kannapolis
Arizona Fall League Players — Salt River Rafters
Andre Rienzo (RHP); Santos Rodriguez (LHP); Salvador Sanchez (RHP); Taylor Thompson (RHP); Carlos Sanchez (2B); Andy Wilkins (1B); Trayce Thompson (OF)
Graduated Prospects of Note
Addison Reed (RHP); Jose Quintana (RHP); Hector Santiago (LHP)
The Run Down Please, blog, may I have some more?
The MLB Divisional Series are still raging and, for most, it’s a little early to start digging into 2013 previews of any sort. Alas, we have a schedule to maintain here. As usual, we’ll ease you into these team-by-team minor league previews, starting from the bottom, and working our way toward the more compelling organizations as we approach Opening Day 2013. So, here we are in the cellar: the Chicago White Sox. And believe me, it doesn’t get any lower than this. Perhaps, though, it’s unfair to bash the Sox for their lousy farm system. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf and President Kenny Williams have consistently approached their organization from a MLB-first perspective — they don’t spend much in drafts and their player development systems are lagging. But the White Sox aren’t ignorant to these flaws; they just don’t care. They’re a principled franchise, and they’re reasonably successful in what they do and how they do it. Frankly, I don’t endorse this baseball operations model — it kinda goes without saying that I’m a prospecty, build-from-within sort of dude. But while I watch other organizations tiptoe the line between development-first and MLB-first organizational philosophies, I must admit that it’s refreshing to see Sox standing their ground, flippin’ the bird to all the Keith Laws out there.
Okay, it’s more of a blog post than an awards show, but it’s still really effing prestigious. Well, maybe it’s not prestigious either, but no one watches sports award shows anyway, and I think we can all agree that the ESPY’s would be much better if it were simply a short-form blog post. I’ll be digging into team-by-team 2013 previews in the coming weeks, so what we have for you here is one last look around the 2012 Minor League Baseball action. Enjoy. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Back in May, while previewing some draft prospects, I mentioned that Marcus Stroman was well suited to climb the ladder quickly. And then just three weeks ago in my Week 18 MiLB report, I reiterated that sentiment, this time suggesting that Stroman might even be in line for a September call-up. Well, a lot can change in just a few weeks, especially when, during those few weeks, you test positive for something called Methylhexaneamine. That’s what Stroman did. And in case you hadn’t deduced it already, Methylhexaneamine is banned substance in baseball. Hence: Stroman was slapped with a 50 game suspension. The Jays’ first-rounder won’t see a pro ball field ’til late next May, and that’s truly bad news for a guy who should’ve been competing for a spot on the big club in spring training. With big time heat to go with a plus slider, Stroman has immediate high-leverage reliever potential. He certainly could’ve entered 2013 with hype similar to that with which Addison Reed entered 2012. Not anymore. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Trayce Thompson | OF, White Sox | Born: 3/15/1991
As usual, roster activity around the minors has increased greatly as the MiLB regular season approaches its final weeks. A slew of notable prospects are on the move to new clubs at new levels, and I’ve been doing my best to keep y’all informed in my weekly Minor Accomplishments posts. Well this past Sunday, I neglected to mention that Trayce Thompson, a big swinging outfielder in the White Sox system, was bumped up to Double-A Birmingham in the Southern League. The reports on Thompson have always been consistent: extremely toolsy, but extremely raw. With a huge swing from the right side he generates big time bat speed, translating to plus-plus power. Thompson hit 24 homers and posted an ISO of .216 last year at Low-A, and the power didn’t cease this year when the Sox moved him to High-A: 55 XBH (22 HR) in 510 PA, .232 ISO. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Once considered an elite prospect, Brett Wallace now has few lingering believers. The 2008 1st round pick has already been with four organizations, and is currently passing time in the Pacific Coast League at Oklahoma City, Triple-A affiliate of the Astros. Houston gave Wallace ample opportunity to prove his worth in 2011, but he effectively squandered the 350+ PA, posting a .259 AVG and a .110 ISO, which is pretty miserable coming from a 1B. During a brief stint in the bigs earlier this year, the 25-year-old was much improved, batting .333/.429/.583 in 42 PA. Granted, it’s a small sample, but it conjured memories of why we touted Wallace in the first place — outstanding plate coverage, lightning-quick hands, beautiful lefty stroke, advanced approach, power potential… the works, really, from a hitting perspective. Jeff Luhnow — Houston’s brilliant 1st-year GM, and the man who drafted Wallace in 2008 while handling player procurement for the Cardinals — recently acknowledged that the first baseman should resurface in the bigs before long, which is kind of an ambiguous timetable. Regardless, Wallace’s Triple-A production has been big of recent (.371/.476/.600 through last ten), and he could be useful in NL-Only and deep mixed formats should he return to Houston anytime soon. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The fantasy baseball world waits impatiently for the arrivals of Anthony Rizzo and Wil Myers. Some owners have been stashing one or the other on their rosters for months now, as folks like me keep spewing lines like “arrival is imminent” — whatever that means. Truth is, these call-ups are utterly unpredictable. They’re based more on opportunity than readiness, and “opportunity”, it seems, is defined differently by every GM in baseball. Both Jed Hoyer and Dayton Moore are claiming patient approaches with their prospects, hinting that we won’t see either player in the majors this year. But who can believe these guys? Rizzo and Myers have combined for 55 homers on the season, and I’d love to see them join Trout and Harper in MLB’s 2012 prospect party. When that might happen, though, is tough to gauge. Until then, arrival is imminent. Please, blog, may I have some more?
(Note from Grey: Please welcome Scott to the Razzball family. He’s going to be taking over as our prospects writer. He charted prospects in the Midwest League in 2008, has a sound understanding of player development and said my mustache was robust. Flattery will get you everywhere!)
Chicago White Sox 2011 Minor League Review
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America:
2011 (27) | 2010 (23) | 2009 (16) | 2008 (30) | 2007 (25) | 2006 (14) | 2005 (12) | 2004 (20)
2011 Affiliate Records
MLB: [79-83] AL Central
AAA: [69-74] International League – Charlotte
AA: [71-69] Southern League – Birmingham
A+: [69-71] Carolina League – Winston-Salem
A: [76-62] South Atlantic League – Kannapolis
R: [24-44] Appalachian League – Bristol
R: [42-34] Pioneer League – Great Falls
The Run Down
In terms realistic fantasy value for 2012, the White Sox farm system has very little. The system that Baseball America ranked 27th prior to the 2011 season graduated most of its big league-ready talent (Chris Sale, Brent Morel, Dyan Viciedo, Tyler Flowers), leaving it severely depleted and perhaps the worst in baseball. Starting pitching depth is a major organizational concern, and I suspect Kenny Williams will look to bolster that area during the offseason. An abundance of promising relief arms in the Minor Leagues and an already deep Major League bullpen should allow for some trading leverage, but not much. And while the Sox surely have a few exciting athletes in the offensive pipeline (see Thompson & Mitchell), no one appears ready to make an impact with the bat. Beyond Addison Reed and Dylan Axelrod, I don’t really believe that any of these highlighted prospects will have much fantasy value in 2012. Maybe Kenny Williams Jr. Please, blog, may I have some more?