The south side features an underrated system for fantasy purposes with plenty of openings on the big league side for the intrepid young hitters. 

 

1. OF Oscar Colas | 24 | AAA | 2023

I suspect you’ll see Colson Montgomery in the one spot everywhere else, and that’s cool if you’re not in any rush to collect stats from your prospects. I’m open to the case that Montgomery is the buzzier prospect stock at the moment, but Colas has dominated every step of the way and finds himself on the escalator this winter, by which I mean he could start the season hot and cruise right up the lists. Montgomery could climb quickly as well, but he’ll be doing so in Double-A, which won’t help us win in 2023 unless we can flip him for a redraft asset. How long will it take the dynasty world to notice if Montgomery comes roaring out the gate? Not long, probably, but Colas could open a sell-high window early in spring training with just a few good games. And even then, with offers raining down on you after Colas hits his second spring home run, you might struggle to move the 6’1” 209 lb left-handed bat with a chance to make the opening day lineup. He hit 23 home runs in 127 games across three levels last year, batting above .300 at every stop. Chicago has been tough on hitters the past few seasons, but Colas has enough thump to threaten 20-plus bombs if he gets the gig early. 

 

2. SS Colson Montgomery | 21 | AA | 2024

A 6’4” 205 lb left-handed hitter, Montgomery fits the new mold of enormous humans playing shortstop. Chicago snagged him with the 22nd overall pick in 2021, and Montgomery has made them look smart for it, graduating three minor league levels in about 1.2 seasons of professional baseball. He didn’t respond well to a late promotion to Double-A in 2022, slashing .146/.192/.292 with a 19 wRC+ in 14 games, but that’s just 14 games, and he had just posted a 125 wRC+ in 37 games at High-A and a 152 in 45 games at Low-A. My only hesitation: it’s a patience-powered profile. Montgomery isn’t hunting pitches to pull just yet, and that’s fine. That comes late for a lot of hitters, and I’m wondering if working on that was partly responsible for some of the struggles. Chicago has a new, late-season developmental plan called Project Birmingham, where many of the organization’s instructors work with their chosen prospects at Double-A. I just feel like Montgomery is being ranked as if he can already access his significant raw power in games against good pitchers, and we just haven’t seen that. 

 

3. SS Jose Rodriguez | 21 | AA | 2023

For a couple years now, Rodriguez has been the most underrated prospect in an underrated system. I ranked him first in last year’s Chicago White Sox Top Ten Prospects for 2022 Fantasy Baseball, and he didn’t disappoint, slashing .280/.340/.480 with 11 home runs and 40 stolen bases in 104 Double-A games against older players. His most impressive stat is probably the 13.6 percent strikeout rate, which pairs well with the 7.9 percent walk rate. Rodriguez isn’t just swinging at everything to keep the K’s down. The club is currently planning to let Romy Gonzalez contend for the 2nd base gig, which leaves a little room for Rodriguez to elbow his way into the picture. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him playing everyday in Chicago by July. 

 

4. SS Lenyn Sosa | 23 | MLB | 2022

The 6’0” 185 lb Sosa could earn a share of the second base job with a solid spring. He doesn’t offer any speed, but he hit 24 home runs in 130 games across three levels last season, and he struck out just 17.4 percent of the time (7.3% BB) in 57 Triple-A games after posting even better plate skills in 62 games at Double-A (13.8% K, 7.3% BB), where he slashed .331./.384/.549 with 14 home runs. Sosa hadn’t flashed that type of topside before, but he’s been adding strength over the past couple seasons and might be able to add a little more this winter. Interesting sleeper prospect for redraft leagues in 2023. 

 

5. 3B Bryan Ramos | 21 | AA | 2024

Ramos is a plus athlete at 6’2” 190 lbs, but it’s a little concerning that he stole just one base in 2022 after swiping 13 the prior year. Could be the muscle he added between seasons (I’d bet he was bigger than 190 this season) sapped him of some footspeed. Could be he just wasn’t focused on baserunning. Either way, he gets some love around the fantasy game because always been young for his level and shown plus plate skills. He continued the trend in High-A last season (122 wRC+) before flopping for a month in Double-A (70 wRC+). Ramos makes four straight guys on this list with plate skills they’ve demonstrated across multiple years and levels, carrying strikeout rates under 18 percent and walk rates above seven percent. All four are in the upper minors on the kind side of the age-to-level curve. Everyone in the top five has a major league regular outcome on their spectrum of possibilities. Fun group. 

 

6. OF Luis Mieses | 22 | AA | 2024

Luis Mieses always looks good to me. Nothing flashy about his line, or even his game, I suppose, but whenever I watch the games, he catches my eye. The profile is swing-intensive at the moment, and it’s getting to the point where I don’t know if he can change that. He’s got kind of a Jesus Sanchez problem. He can make contact with a lot of pitches, even if they’re out of the strike zone, so he swings at a lot of pitches, even if they’re out of the strike zone. Fouls a lot of them off, to his credit, and he’s big enough (6’3” 220 lbs) and quick enough through the zone that he could do major league damage if he becomes selectively aggressive. 

 

7. OF Yoelqui Cespedes | 25 | AA | 2023

Cespedes has power and speed like his brother, but the plate skills have a long way to go. The age-to-level curve will never favor him after Cespedes lost some key seasons to the defection process and then the pandemic, but prospect development is not linear, and I’m half-expecting a leap of some kind in pitch-selection. Can certainly get into trouble going down the rabbit hole of reps lost while trying to realign age-based expectations, but here we are, in the rabbit hole together, and it’s not so bad, so far. Cespedes hit 17 home runs and stole 33 bases in 119 games. Didn’t get a late-season bump to Triple-A, but now that we’re here I can safely speculate that it was related to Project Birmingham. Struck out 30.1 percent of the time. Walked just 5.7 percent. He knows what he needs to work on, and one nice thing in his favor is a double-plus throwing arm that helps make him an impact defender even if he’s slumping. I feel so optimistic at the end of this blurb at the bottom of this rabbit hole with you. Weird year already. 

 

8. LHP Noah Schultz | 19 | NA | 2027

The 26th pick in the 2022 draft, Schultz is a 6’9” 220 lb lefty with a low three-quarters release who happens to throw in the upper nineties. He’s also got a slider with extreme sweep. Could be the Puk that was promised. Who, by the way, I recently traded for in the Highlander Dynasty Invitational: AJ Puk. Cost is low. Topside is high. Good time to try it, I thought, and still do, and figured I should mention here in the Schultz blurb where it’s relevant. Guys built like this are more likely to become relievers than starters, probably, but if they ever do find command, health and a rotation job all at the same time, like Puk seems to have now, I’ll be looking to acquire their services. 

 

9. RHP Gregory Santos | 23 | MLB | 2022

A shoulder, a groin, and a PED suspension walk into a south side bar. It’s Gregory Santos. He orders a shot of tequila, slams it, and orders another. “Heard you’re looking for a closer,” he says. 

“You heard wrong, friend,” says the barkeep, pointing to a signed Liam Hendricks jersey on the wall. “Don’t need a set-up man, either,” he adds, turning his back to show the letters GRAVEMAN written across his shirt.

Cut to Santos, devastated, wishing he were somewhere warm. 

Sorry, got carried away there. Been a long road for Gregory Santos, is all I’m saying here. Once a coveted young starter, he’s now on a one-way ticket to bullpensville, where he’s no lock to be effective despite a high-90’s fastball and double-plus slider. Good pickup for the Sox nonetheless, I think. Maybe they can help him find something that pairs better with the slider than his current fastball does. 

 

10. RHP Norge Vera | 22 | AA | 2023

Vera looked good early in his first full season and graduated High-A on his own merit after eight starts with a 1.88 ERA. Things didn’t go as smoothly after that, but the outcomes were still more positive than negative. His 2.13 WHIP in eight Double-A innings doesn’t matter, even if it gets a little stuck in my brain as I type it out. I’m trying to calibrate myself to this Project Birmingham thing, but it’s a bit awkward. Vera remains a high upside fireballer with a smooth delivery and a relative lack of innings on his arm who didn’t make it into the fifth inning one time this season. 

Thanks for reading!

 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

25 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
goodfold2
goodfold2
21 days ago

2nd round just started in that 30 teamer way too early 6 round slow draft. league where only time all year we can get not in majors prospects is now (unless called up, and waivered, but if that happens they only get that year deals, if drafted get very many years and clock doesn’t start till they go over 130 in MLB).

i went t.johnson PIT at 1.9 soon up again. after going through your most recent top 100 (late august) there are still these out there (i could use a pitcher here at some point, but bibee/w.flores both just went so no more from that left):
k.carpenter (man nobody wants that guy right), a-mart (CLE)/e.valdez (BOS) (i’m way deeper in MI elig guys (we’re only MI/CI/C/OF/SP/RP/P), g.mccray, kavadas, de paula, j.diaz (OAK), quero (could use catchers too, i for the most part stopped stashing them as the good ones cost too much, the lesser ones rarely turn into MLB useful (if they even make it at all) and can be won in waivers or bidding anyway), p-ram, barrosa.

your top 15 1st year guys list and 2 internationals (yoshida/senga) have been cleaned out now (besides p.graham). i’m going over the team lists so far vines ATL highest ranked at team out there.

for reference my roster is: (130 mil budget total, guys in minor slots don’t count against it)
(C) (1)
(CI) (2): j.turner 16.1 (23) (matched in bidding, was probably best CI in FA or close and others cost more)
(-): kirilloff (OF) .4 (24)
(MI) (2): r.castro .4 (CI, 25)
(-): i.paredes .4 (CI, 24)
(OF) (3): adell .4 (24)
(-): fraley .4 (24)
(-): k.calhoun 8.7 (23)
(util) (1): e.rosario 14.67 (24, it costs half the money to cut at half per year if cut, so 7.335 to cut rosario each of this and next year, he was bid up to that and matched since FA pool is so bad often last year at this time)
(BN, 8, 26 max active): trammell .4 (24), e.rios .4 (24)

SP (want at least 5, if not 6, start 3 with 3 RP and 3 P):
(-): p.lopez .4 (23)
(-): c.hernandez .4 (probably more likely RP, 24)
RP: (6): (-) w.crowe .4 (24)
(-): d.bednar .715 (23)

hitter prospects: (all of these till end of 26 unless mentioned, clock only starts if/when they go over 130/50, max 40, i can cut some for last 4 draft picks)
(MI): t.johnson, k.watson, n.gonzales (so that’s last 3 years my 1st rounder best player was a MI guy), e.delacruz (supplemental pick last year), bracho, w.perez, k.howell, a.rondon, preciado
(CI): l.butler, b.denton, m.vientos, d.ellis (if called up has to stay up), c.mayo, g.lavalley, k.padlo, k.smith (MI, has to stay up if called up), a.tejeda
(OF): a.pages, t.ornelas, b.bailey (WSOX), v.garcia (ex STL), d.cozens, v.mesa (to the 2nd, a wasted 1st rounder likely), g.whitley (ex TB, another likely wasted 1st), b.packard
(SP): b.bello (has to stay up if called up again, and i hope he’s up), j.bowlan (how was he not up last year), b.chandler, j.kochanowicz, j.soriano (LAA), m.thompson, n.swiney, c.morris (CLE, the SP), j.delacruz (ATL), m.sauer
(RP): f.kilome, c.rodriguez (LAA), j.guzman (SF)

anybody on these last 9 teams (esp pitchers) that were close to your top 100 if it was updated? i might find others similar to vines (high up on their respective teams lists), as i’m not done going over your so far 21 team lists.

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  goodfold2
20 days ago

holy crap, just seen for me ever seen most known player that’s not in fantrax:

joey ortiz MI BAL (should be that)
only ortiz on BAL is a luis (SP) in there.

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  goodfold2
20 days ago

hehe, not a minute later, yep joseph BAL, they have a weird alphabetical order thing going on in there (2 L’s and 2 J’s first names prior to the A’s and so on?)

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  goodfold2
19 days ago

so far got
t.johnson (9th)
b.barriera (45th, yes i know TINSTAPP esp on high school pitchers, but guy’s got all the pitches and control, seems safe as it gets for real life 1st rounders with floors and ceilings at 45th, when i need SP’s, would’ve went bibee or w.flores if they hadn’t just gone)

j.ferris is still out there though at near end of 2nd round (yet hjerpe just went, along with prielipp who i almost went), his tools seem quite good. some other hitters i’ll probably go though (down to like 4 names out of last top 100 left, some teams completely cleaned out for these top 10 lists (WAS, nearly CIN/CUBS almost)

Smitty
21 days ago

Itchy brother! Our last deep discussion was regarding B. Witt and how quick he’d be up, etc. Been a long time! Love that you’re bold enough to tout Colas at #1 partly because I took him in a recent DC draft. Again, we’re on the same page. Love his potential – the kid can rake! Rock on

Ray Guilfoyle
Ray Guilfoyle
21 days ago

Hey Itch! Great work as always.

I am in a 12 team, 4×4 NL only keeper league where I am in a rebuild.
Made a bunch of trades this offseason for the following:
Nick Gonzales
Elly
Cartaya
Eury Perez
PCA

Also have picks 1,3,6, 10,11,15 in the farm draft.

How would you rank the following:
Chourio
Marte
Druw Jones
Endy Rodriguez
Elijah Green
Collier
Alex Ramirez
K Parada
Andrew Painter
Mervis
Canario
Rushing
Merrill
Amador
Winn
Samuel Zavala
Gavin Stone
Kyle Harrison
Jose Ramos
Josue Depalma
Berry

Jake from State Farm
Jake from State Farm
22 days ago

Brother Itch!!! Awesome as always. Question, how high is Emmanuel Rodriguez stock right now. I have 3 guys in my dynasty hounding me for him. Thank you!

Allen
Allen
22 days ago

How many times did you fall asleep while researching the back half of their system?

Hey, where you seeing Ethan Salas going in your FYPDs?

Thanks Itch

Ryan
Ryan
22 days ago

Great read Itch! I have the first overall pick in my dynasty league and have a tough choice. Jones, Holiday and painter will all be available for me at 1.1. I came in last place last year but made some moves for guys with low value and if they rebound, I might have a shot at making the playoffs (Albies, Eloy, Robert, wander). Who would you go with first overall there?

leon
leon
22 days ago

What are your thoughts on Jose Barrero an Brujan for 2023? would you try and shop them for whatever you can get at this point?

leon
leon
Reply to  leon
22 days ago

also, would you be buying low on Gorman right now?

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  leon
21 days ago

fairly sure he’d be buying gorman if there’s a discount. he was lower on him than many spots but pretty sure that’s since he got too high last year. a CI only power mostly only type. brujan from hit tool i doubt he’d be dumping much too cheap, barrero i don’t know, CIN really seems to want to play anybody else for some reason. TB at least seems to want to keep brujan up for util role at least.

NJW
NJW
22 days ago

Hi Itch,

Do you feel like Gunnar Henderson is a *can’t miss* type of prospect? I’m working on a potential large deal in a keeper league, but I don’t know how to treat him.

NJW
NJW
Reply to  The Itch
22 days ago

I appreciate the detail in your answer here. I’m having the same thoughts – watching him, I like what I see. He definitely comes across as steady to me.

I guess his stats don’t jump off the page (young and small sample, of course) – not sure if he’s a differentiator in any fantasy relevant stat, but perhaps he is one of those guys who will contribute at least something in every category.

Jimmy
Jimmy
22 days ago

Happy New Year Itch…13 team 5×5 dynasty…Nick Gonzalez or Addison Barger…can keep one…I think Barger could play a lot this at 2nd…thoughts? Thank you!

NUX
NUX
22 days ago

Itch, Hope that 2023 has been treating you and the fam well so far.

I missed my chance on the Jays post. Any thoughts on Rainer Núñez and his Rookie of the Year award in LIDOM? Was he close to making the Top 10? I hadn’t read much of anything or even heard about the guy before seeing news about LIDOM stuff, so thought it would be worth checking in.

Also late to the party for the Red Sox. David Hamilton… swiper of 70 bags last year at AA. I see they protected him on 40 man over Jeter Downs. Maybe he is up some time in the summer, doing the things we were hoping JDuran would be doing last year? Obligatory SAGNOF!!!! Snagged him late at the end of the year, just before the wire closed until opening of 2024 season in spring. I didn’t expect to see him on the Sox list but just wondered where in the list he would end up if you extended it… off top of your mind. Mostly due to proximity of course. Slightly ahead or behind Thad Ward/mid-teens (if he was not R5’ed to Nats)? I saw you mention that to another commenter. Appreciate any insight ya got, as always.

You can expect some ChiSox Q’s from me in a couple days or so I’m sure ?

Be well bruthaman

junior56
junior56
22 days ago

Morning Itch! Great List! My first 16 team dynasty draft is 02/02. I traded back into the first Round at #9. Hoping Colas falls to me there but have my doubts.I have Colson on my roster do you see him sticking at SS or does he slide to 3B?

Matt
Matt
22 days ago

Great write up! Puk has been out of sight, out of mind for so long….worth a cheap shot though!

Two dynasty type questions in a 12 team Roto obp league (salary cap)

1. I have Jung and Walker at 3b as milb guys. How bad would you be going after 3b help? Or roll with those two early in the year? Money could go to other positions…

2. I have a pretty cheap Cease ($11 of a $280 cap). Worth trading now to fill 2b (maybe go after Abrams and a few others) or Shwarber and an milb pick? I like cease ks but that control worries me…

2ndCitySox
2ndCitySox
22 days ago

Thanks Itch! I don’t feel so horrible about my team’s farm anymore. 2B and RF are obvious black holes on the team right now. It would be great if Rodriguez or Sosa could competently fill the former while Colas holds down the latter.