Last season didn’t go as planned for the White Sox, but we did get to see the emergence of Carlos Rodon, one of the more exciting young arms in the game. The Sox followed a similar formula in the 2015 draft, selecting college righty Carson Fulmer in the first round. He might not be as quick to the show as Rodon, but Fulmer shouldn’t last long in the minors either. While rookie Carlos Sanchez held down the fort at the keystone in 2015, this year should bring another extended look for Micah Johnson. Tim Anderson could also get a shot this year. He’s a polarizing prospect on traditional lists but brings a high fantasy ceiling to the table.
Carlos Sanchez | Tyler Saladino | Carlos Rodon
Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.
Tim Anderson, SS | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats: 550 PA, .312/.350/.429, 5 HR, 49 SB, 4% BB, 21% K
Anderson has all of the physical tools to be a fantasy star, and really the only knock on him has been his patience at the plate. There’s double-plus speed coupled with an average bat and average power. That’s a hell of a combo if he can stick at short. It’s a typical risk-reward profile that could pay off big with a .280/15/30 ceiling.
Carson Fulmer, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: Rk/A+
2015 Stats: 23 IP, 1.96 ERA, 3.5 BB/9, 10.2 K/9
Fulmer should move quickly through the minors after being selected 8th overall in the 2015 draft. He has a double-plus fastball and a plus curve that offers the strikeout potential we look for in fantasy. He’s also relatively polished as well, with at least average command and control of his arsenal. There’s frontline starter potential with a high floor – worst case scenario he’d be a high-leverage reliever.
Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.
Trayce Thompson, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 417 PA, .260/.304/.441, 13 HR, 11 SB, 6% BB, 19% K
Thompson skirted under the rookie limits with 122 major league at bats last season. He played well, hitting .295 with five homers and a solid 19% strikeout rate. The 24-year-old has above average power, and how much of it he gets to will be the difference between an everyday role and a fourth outfielder gig. For what it’s worth, Steamer is giving him 12 dingers in 318 plate appearances for 2016. That grabs my attention in deep leagues.
Micah Johnson, 2B | Age: 24 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 370 PA, .316/.376/.466, 8 HR, 28 SB, 9% BB, 18% K
Johnson logged 100 at bats in the majors in 2015, but struggled to the tune of .230/.306/.270 with just three steals. It’s too small of a sample to draw anything from, and he fared well in Triple-A. 2016 should give him another shot unless Carlos Sanchez runs and hides with the second base job (I don’t think he will). For fantasy, it’s mostly a speed profile that works well in the middle infield slot…less so in an outfield/utility role, which is where he might wind up if his defense blows.
Trey Michalczewski, 3B | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 532 PA, .259/.335/.395, 7 HR, 4 SB, 9% BB, 21% K
Michalczewski (last time I’m typing it) is a good fit for this tier with average tools across the board. The fantasy value is a little dependent upon how much power he develops. Right now it looks like 15 homers but it could swing to 20 since he was just a 20-year-old in High-A and there’s some wiggle room. He’s worth a look in deeper formats with a relatively clear path to third base in Chicago.
Courtney Hawkins, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats: 330 PA, .243/.300/.410, 9 HR, 1 SB, 6% BB, 30% K
Hawkins is a toolsy outfielder with above average power and speed, but high strikeout rates have followed him around the minors. That makes it a risky profile to invest in, but one that could pay off if he hits enough to stick. A broken finger and plantar fasciitis limited him in 2015, but he’s playing in the AFL and should get another look in spring training if he’s healthy. He’s a decent buy low opportunity if you can stomach the strikeout risk.
Jacob May, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats: 449 PA, .274/.327/.333, 2 HR, 38 SB, 7% BB, 17% K
May doesn’t have the complete package like Hawkins, but there’s plenty of speed and better plate discipline. He’s a switch-hitter and would profile really well at the top of a lineup. He’s also a good center fielder thanks to his near elite speed, and that should help his chances of landing an everyday gig. He passed the Double-A test in 2015 and should split time between Triple-A and the majors this year.
Adam Engel, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 608 PA, .251/.335/.369, 7 HR, 65 SB, 10% BB, 22% K
The stats pop off the page, especially the 65 stolen bases, and digging around on this guy the only ding I can find is the hit tool. The problem is that’s the tool that kind of carries everything else. I still think there’s something here though, since the speed and defense will find a home somewhere and the plate discipline passes the sniff test. As long as you’re prepared for him to be nothing more than a fourth outfielder, I think he’s worth putting on the radar.
Frankie Montas, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats: 112 IP, 2.97 ERA, 3.9 BB/9, 8.7 K/9
The Sox have kept Montas a starter despite every report you read on him mentioning the possibility he morphs into a high-leverage reliever. Control issues offset his strikeout upside, making him a better fit in deep formats. There’s fantasy value here either way, since he’s basically major league ready with a #3 starter ceiling and some holds/saves in his floor. He got a couple of starts in the bigs last year and should be in the majors this season…role to be determined.
Jordan Guerrero, LHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A/A+
2015 Stats: 149 IP, 3.08 ERA, 1.9 BB/9, 8.9 K/9
Lefty? Check. Control? Check. Projection left? Check. I’m a sucker for these profiles in deep leagues, even if the ceiling is limited to a mid-rotation starter. There’s just enough strikeout potential to be interesting and it’s not a high profile name that is going to cost you much to acquire. Guerrero should spend most of this season in Double-A with a chance to reach the show next year.
Tyler Danish, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats: 142 IP, 4.50 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 5.7 K/9
Danish is a pretty boring #4/5 starter profile that works better as deep league filler than somebody you want to build around. It’s more about investing in the high probability he makes it in the show thanks to his plus makeup and feel for pitching, and he could get a look as soon as this year.
Others: Jason Coats, Matt Davidson, Jake Peter, Chris Beck, Jace Fry
Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs.
Spencer Adams, RHP | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A/A+
2015 Stats: 129.1 IP, 2.99 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.7 K/9
Outside of Fulmer, Adams might have the highest upside of any arm in the White Sox system. The fly in the ointment is the distant ETA. He’s the whole package, with all the pitches in his arsenal grading average or better along with good control and command. There’s a frontline starter ceiling and it’s a name that should continue to gain helium as he progresses through the minors.
Micker Adolfo, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk
2015 Stats: 93 PA, .253/.323/.313, 0 HR, 3 SB, 6% BB, 27% K
Adolfo has loud tools and a high fantasy ceiling, but so far the strikeouts are woof and we’re still talking about a three to four year wait. The main tool to dream on here is the power, which is plus raw and could eventually yield 25-30 homers. If you take him on and stick with it, there’s a chance he develops into a Jorge Soler-type prospect in a couple of years.
Corey Zangari, 1B | Age: 18 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk
2015 Stats: 230 PA, .316/.358/.481, 6 HR, 1 SB, 6% BB, 23% K
Zangari is a big dude with plus power, and it’s the power that brings him into the fold for this fantasy post. You probably won’t see him cropping up on traditional lists, since he’s already pretty low on the defensive spectrum and scouts don’t see more than an average hit tool right now. He’s a converted catcher, so it’s an interesting bat to watch presuming he’s focused more on the offensive side of the game now.
Amado Nunez, SS | Age: 18 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: Rk
2015 Stats: 82 PA, .145/.207/.158, 0 HR, 1 SB, 6% BB, 24% K
I fall in love with shorstop prospects all the time, but Nunez probably isn’t somebody you need to worry about yet outside of super deep dynasties. There’s more upside here than what’s reflected in his 2015 stat line. It’s a sound profile all around, and there’s the chance he develops into a 15/15 type at short.
Others: Johan Cruz, Luis Martinez, Thad Lowry, Leon Barnum, Jhoandro Alfaro
2016 Minor League Preview Index
Hi Mike, two part question. Who would you rather have for a keeper, Carlos Correra or Kris Bryant and why? Thanks!
Correa, because it’s harder to find that kind of offense at the shortstop position
Mike, since you know prospects. If you are in contention and owned victor robles, would you be okay dealing him for yasmani grandal? 2 C dynasty. Lost Gattis’ elig. Or is Tom Murphy enough to get by as 2nd C?
Robles could be worth a lot more later ya know
sounds like it makes sense for your squad…especially if you’re in contention
Hey Mike, thanks in advance
This guy really wants Kris Bryant in my dynasty league. I won last year. Am I crazy to turn down getting longoria, vogt, braun and brantley for Bryant?
I already have gardner, eaton, hanley, gattis, revere, and gutierrez at OF
not crazy…I think I’d rather have Bryant too
Fulmer looks interesting, and he hasn’t really been on my radar yet. I should add him to my list.
My list is currently:
The list does not include players other teams have already claimed, which is why it’s such a short list, and it doesn’t have some of the more obvious names. It also doesn’t include players I already have, which turns out to be quite a few young pitchers. If there’s one thing that famous hippie and pitching phenom Tim Lincecum has taught me, it’s not to trust any pitcher over 30.
I’m guessing Otani isn’t going to make it to the Majors for a few years under the new posting rulues, since he’s worth a lot more than $20 million. I don’t know about Fujinami, but I’ll be watching closely. In any case, neither is available right now.
Now, of the other two, which one do you like better, Reyes or Fulmer?
hmmm, that’s a tough one. Reyes for me
Mike, in a dynasty league keep all, how do rank K. Hendricks, R. Ray, K. Maeda, B. Snell, and Samardzija? Snell and Mazda are out there for me. I have the other 3 SP. I could lose a reliever as well. What would you do?
I’d lose a reliever and grab Snell
It seems like some systems churn out prospects much better than others. Who in your opinion has the best farm systems, say top 5 if you don’t mind. I wan’t to invest in the top systems and hot hitters parks for my dynasty team. Also trying to build my farm team around power bats that meet the above criteria since it’s a much rarer commodity these days.
well, off the top of my head you’ve got the Astros and Rangers, Red Sox, Phils, Rockies, Dodgers, Pirates
Something can be said about organizational philosophy … Look at the number of CWS hitting prospects with <7% BB% last year …
yeah, that 6/7% number pops up a lot…the guys with double-digit BB% and <20K% start to stand out. you look at enough of these and you def start to see little things like that
@Mike: looks like a cub that drafts speed and signs power
This comment has several questions if you will. I’m joining a dynasty keep all league from scratch. It’s a 12 team, play 2 players at each position, 5 outfielders, 10 pitchers, so 15 hitters and 10 pitchers, plus OPS, and wins.
What would your strategy be, Draft established guys, hot shot prospects, a mixture? I know the obvious answer is a mixture but I’m always in a win now mode.
Are guys like Correa, Goldschmidt, Donaldson the way to go?
Who would be your no brainer picks in the first round?
I’m thinking of going with established stars and letting youth being the tie breaker, say Rizzo over Miggy, or Degrom over Felix.
What 4 or 5 prospects if available would you pick over a #3 outfielder or #4 starting pitcher?
Hopefully I’ve given you enough information about the league and my strategy. I’d really like your thoughts and others on this. It’s a $300 buy in so….
some of it is going to your style/philosophy but I think you’re on the right track with names like the ones you mentioned (Correa/Donaldson/Goldschmidt/Machado).
Let youth and upside be your tiebreaker, just like in redrafts, and also like in redrafts, it will come down more to what happens in the middle rounds. Finding an AJ Pollock or a Chris Archer for example.
Prospects get a little tricky, especially if it’s a hybrid draft. I’d recommend going with a prospect that’s no later than a 2017 ETA and consensus Top 50 if you’re going to gamble early. Mazara would be a good example of this type. I’d take him over an MLB OF that I’m not thrilled about if I had the choice.
The basic stuff I subscribe to is bats over arms, especially early, and that holds true for specs as well. Don’t invest in relievers long term and I would personally avoid pitching prospects if you can, unless a top guy who’s close to MLB falls to you. (Giolito/Snell etc)
Hope this isn’t too vague but the draft will start to take on a life of it’s own once you’re in there. You might see a trend toward a pitching or prospect run. Once that prospect cherry gets popped you might see a bunch drafted in the following round or two.
@Mike: Thanks. Very helpful.
I hate a boring danish