Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (22) | 2013 (29) | 2012 (30) | 2011 (27) | 2010 (23)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [73-89] AL Central
AAA: [63-81] International League – Charlotte
AA: [60-80] Southern League – Birmingham
A+: [61-78] Carolina League – Winston-Salem
A: [62-75] South Atlantic League – Kannapolis
Despite another losing season, the White Sox are headed in the right direction. Cuban import Jose Abreu looks like a steal after leading the team on offense and winning Rookie of the Year honors. Chris Sale continued to pitch like an ace and won’t turn 26 until March. Lefty Jose Quintana proved to be a reliable arm as well and is the same age as Sale. The recent acquisition of Jeff Samardzija adds even more firepower to the rotation. As part of the return, the A’s received first base prospect Rangel Ravelo, who was included on this list prior to the trade. Adam Eaton and Avisail Garcia are two other young pieces ready to contribute in 2015 and are also good options in the fantasy game. Garcia lost most of 2014 to a shoulder injury but still managed seven homers in under 200 plate appearances. The bullpen was a battle all year, but the signing of David Robertson is an immediate boost and this year’s first round pick Carlos Rondon could contribute later this season before joining the rotation in the spring of 2016.
Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1. Carlos Rodon, LHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2015
Rodon was selected third overall by the White Sox in the 2014 draft and is already considered to be one of the better pitching prospects in the game. He has a plus fastball and a plus plus slider with a changeup that evaluators already grade as average. Like most young pitchers, controlling his stuff will be the true test. The White Sox already have a top-of-the-rotation lefty in Chris Sale, but they may have found another in Rodon. Drafted out of college, the southpaw will not need much time to polish in the minors before helping the major league club. His path will most likely be to start in the minors in 2015, help in the bullpen later this season, and lock down a spot in the rotation entering 2016. He’s an impact arm in fantasy if he reaches his ceiling.
2. Tim Anderson, SS | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016
Anderson is the heir apparent to the shortstop position once Alexei Ramirez is gone (Ramirez’s contract has a club option in 2016). Anderson provides a nice mix of power and speed from the middle infield and his hit tool is graded slightly above average. He got his feet wet in Double-A this season and held his own for 44 at bats, but spent most of the past year at High-A Winston-Salem. There he hit .297/.323/.472 with six homers and ten steals. The jump to Double-A is one of the most difficult and it’s where Anderson will likely start the 2015 season. If he shows he can handle the tougher competition his stock should jump quickly. Sticking at short would help his fantasy value so keep an eye on his defense too.
3. Micah Johnson, 2B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2015
Johnson’s best tool is his speed. I’ve seen it graded as high as 80 and he swiped a whopping 84 bags in 2013, but hamstring injuries limited him to only 22 stolen bases this past season. He could be a nice piece in fantasy if he stays healthy and translates that speed to the majors. Johnson reached Triple-A in 2014, where he stole 12 bags and hit .275/.314/.370. The injury label and a down season could present a buy low opportunity. The trade of Marcus Semien should clear up the path for Johnson to take a starting role in the infield at some point in 2015. One thing to like about Johnson in fantasy is that he’s not totally devoid of power for a burner.
4. Francellis Montas, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2015
Read anything on Montas, and it will mention that he looks destined to close games for the White Sox. That may be true, but for the time being the Sox will continue to work him as a starter. The problem seems to be in his delivery, which isn’t exactly a work of art and affects his control at times. He has a thick lower half. Only in prospect reports can I comfortably write about another man’s lower half on the internet. Montas has had a couple of minor knee injuries that have limited his innings over the past two years. His bread and butter is a 70-grade fastball that sits in the mid-to-upper 90s but he also features a plus slider and average change-up. It will be fascinating to see where he ends up in the White Sox’s plans.
5. Courtney Hawkins, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016
Hawkins was the 14th-youngest player in the Carolina League in 2014 and it showed in his plate discipline. This was his second full season at the High-A level. He just turned 21 and has some great tools for fantasy with plus power and speed. Baseball America ranked his power the best in the White Sox’s system. Hawkins will most likely end up as a corner outfielder (probably left) if he makes it. Strikeouts will be a part of his game but that can still work if he’s able to get to his power in games. He’ll move up to Double-A this year and remains one of the better fantasy options on this farm.
6. Spencer Adams, RHP | Age: 18 | ETA: 2017
Adams is still only 18 years old but has the upside of a number two starter. The White Sox selected him in the second round of the 2014 draft and in his first taste of pro ball he struck out 59 batters in just under 42 innings. His fastball and slider are both graded as plus pitches but it’s his advanced feel for pitching that will help him reach his ceiling. He already shows good control and is a third plus pitch (changeup) away from really taking off. He should see his first full season of pro ball in 2015 and could reach the majors quickly.
7. Matt Davidson, 3B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2015
The development of every prospect is different, and it is rarely a straight line. Davidson came over from the Diamondbacks and was expected to take the starting job at third base in 2014. Instead he went to Triple-A and really struggled. He’s a risky proposition in dynasty leagues since he could go either way in 2015 – bouncing back to a legit third base prospect or falling even further. He had a great 2013, is only 23 years old, and still showed good power with 20 homers for Charlotte. Beyond that, there are some question marks as to where he fits into the White Sox plans with Conor Gillaspie already in place with the big club. Of course in dynasties you can always buy low if the price is right.
8. Trey Michalczewski, 3B | Age: 19 | ETA: 2017
If Davidson tanks, there is another third base prospect on the horizon in Michalczewski. The less times I have to type this name the better, so I’ll just CTRL+V him from here on out to make sure I get it right. Michalczewski is a switch hitter and with average power. He is still only 19 years old so there is plenty of development time left, but he proved himself worthy of a promotion to High-A Winston-Salem for 19 games. He was the fourth-youngest player in the league for that stretch and it showed. He hit .194/.293/.222 in 84 plate appearances. He should head back to that level to start 2015 where he will still be one of the younger players. The upside is a 15-20 home run bat at third base with a good average.
9. Micker Adolfo, OF | Age: 18 | ETA: 2018
Adolfo is obviously still a few years away. He signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 and this season was his first taste of pro ball in the Arizona League (rookie ball). Evaluators like his plus raw power and plus baserunning and see him as a corner outfielder. Some of that power showed in his debut, but with it came a nasty strikeout rate that can be at least partially linked to his age and first year in the States. There is plenty of time for him to adjust his approach and tap into the raw tools. At this point he should be considered a lottery ticket in dynasty formats with deep minor league rosters.
10. Tyler Danish, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2016
Danish should begin the 2015 season in Double-A. He’s more of a 4th starter type with good control but no plus plus pitch. The White Sox took him in the second round of the 2013 draft and Danish has advanced quickly to this point. In his first 160 professional innings, the right-hander has posted a 1.9 BB/9 and a 7.8 K/9. He won’t provide the big strikeout totals that we typically like to see from our fantasy starters and there is still a chance he ends up in the bullpen, so there is some risk tied to him if you are buying in dynasty leagues. Still, he is quite young and could surprise. His command/control profile probably fits better in deeper leagues where back-of-the-rotation starters carry more value.