Baseball Prospectus White Sox Top 10 Prospects (2017)

Discussion in 'Trolling for Minors' started by FedEx, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. FedEx
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    (Full article: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=31105)

    1. 2B Yoan Moncada
    2. RHP Lucas Giolito
    3. RHP Reynaldo Lopez
    4. RHP Michael Kopech
    5. C Zack Collins
    6. RHP Alec Hansen
    7. RHP Carson Fulmer
    8. OF Luis Alexander Basabe
    9. RHP Zack Burdi
    10. RHP Dane Dunning
  2. y2chae
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    y2chae Panda

    Only player on last year's list was Fulmer and I think he was 2
  3. FedEx
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    1. Yoan Moncada

    The Good: He might have the best body in baseball. He is one of the best overall athletes in baseball. He’s got a good idea of what he wants to do at the plate and recognizes pitches very well for his age/level. He swings the bat quite hard from both sides of the plate. He has at least plus raw power from both sides of the plate. He’s a 70 runner. He has a strong arm.

    The Bad: I thought Moncada was capable of being an average second baseman, but he wasn’t there yet and it’s irrelevant unless he’s traded, because he’s never playing grabbing the keystone in the organization already employing the services of Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts. Reports on his defense at third—a position that should’ve suited his defensive strengths better—were mixed, and it’s far from a lock that his arm accuracy and hands will play long-term at the hot corner. Is he really beating out Benintendi or Betts for a corner outfield spot? Could he end up sliding all the way to first? If you want some offensive concerns, Moncada looked badly overmatched in his one-week MLB trial in early-September, and there’s always been just a little more swing-and-miss here than there should be given the rest of the profile.

    The Irrelevant: With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement capping bonuses at a small fraction of his, Moncada’s record $31.5 million bonus for a July 2nd international free agent is going to stand for a very, very, very long time.

    The Role:

    OFP 70—Perennial All-Star 2B or 3B
    Likely 60—First-division regular...somewhere

    The Risks: Is Moncada destined to be traded to a team that can develop him as a second baseman? [ed. Note: yes] If he stays in Boston [ed. Note: nope], he could end up much further right on the defensive spectrum than anyone thinks, and with those positions comes greater offensive responsibility [ed. Note: probably’ll be fine]. There’s some downside potential for the takes too many borderline strikes/swings through too many hittable pitches profile combination that can lead to an inordinate number of strikeouts at the major-league level.

    Major league ETA: Debuted in 2016 —Jarrett Seidler

    Ben Carsley’s Fantasy Take: Sure, Moncada has some warts, but he’s still the top overall dynasty prospect in the game. His eventual upside is as a five-category monster and potential top-10 pick, but when he gets to the Majors he’ll be interesting right away thanks to his speed and ability to hit for average. Factor in the likelihood that he’ll play in the infield and his relatively short lead time and there’s quite a bit to like. A future with a .280-plus average, 30-plus steals and 15-20 homers from 2B is very much in play. His floor might look something like Ian Kinsler’s career, which has been plenty rewarding to fantasy players. His ceiling might be something closer to Starling Marte, but on the dirt. He’s extra valuable in leagues that count Tom Verducci meltdowns as a stat.
  4. FedEx
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    2. Lucas Giolito

    The Good: Giolito’s curveball, on raw stuff alone, is one of the most promising pitches in prospectdom, a potential 80 grade pitch. His fastball has touched triple-digits and will sometimes comfortably sit in the mid-90s with tremendous downward plane. The change flashes as more than a show-me pitch. He has a good idea of what he wants to do on the mound. There’s a lot of past history and previous looks supporting the idea that he’s a potential ace.

    The Bad: Oh command, where art thou? Command was never the strength of his profile, but it disappeared for him in 2016, leading to huge struggles in the majors. He couldn’t spot his fastball very well, leaving both too many balls and too many hittable strikes. He could only throw the curve as a chase pitch, which meant that better hitters just laid off it. Early in the 2016 season, media reports indicated these struggles were the result of overworked mechanics, but it didn’t get a whole lot better after Giolito was reported to have gotten past that issue. Just to top it off a bit, his fastball velocity was noticeably down pretty much all season compared to earlier pro looks.

    The Irrelevant: Giolito is still eligible for this list, but should be out of prospectdom by the time his uncle’s reboot of Twin Peaks hits the air in the second quarter of 2017. Hopefully the central mystery of Season 3 won’t be his nephew’s missing fastball command.

    The Role:

    OFP 70—Possible top-of-the-rotation starter
    Likely 60—Mid-rotation starter or closer

    The Risks: The command might never come around, or it could take years and years and a bunch of teams and pitching coaches. The fastball/curve combination should give him a pretty good relief fallback, at least. As a Tommy John survivor, there’s always that little extra bit of risk, too. Also, he’s a pitcher. —Jarrett Seidler

    Major league ETA: Debuted in 2016

    Ben Carsley's Fantasy Take: Giolito is still the second-best dynasty pitching prospect in my book (I’ve been talked into Alex Reyes). The aforementioned command issues are worrisome, but there simply isn’t another arm in the minors who comes close to matching Giolito’s upside and proximity to the Majors. He might kill your WHIP at first, and the whispers of a future move to the bullpen are scary, but there’s also a meaningful chance that he’s a true SP1 with 225-plus strikeouts. His median fantasy outcome is Chris Archer, which makes his ceiling pretty special.
  5. FedEx
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    3. Reynaldo Lopez

    The Good: Lopez rode a post-April hot streak in Double-A to Triple-A and eventually an August-September major league residency. That residency included a 9 strikeout debut performance against the Dodgers and an 11 strikeout game versus the Braves. His plus arm speed generates a plus-plus fastball, an upper-70s to low-80s curveball that flashes plus, and feel for a potentially average cambio.

    The Bad: The walk rate spiked and strike throwing consistency diminished after the promotion. The fastball tends to stay straight. The curveball, its shape and use in the zone, is quite volatile. The changeup can get hard and lose effectiveness. The pitch inefficiency and fastball reliance could limit Lopez to a relief role.

    The Irrelevant: Lopez threw his fastest pitch of the year, a 99.7 mph heater, against the Mets on September 12th.

    The Role:

    OFP 60—No. 3 starter
    Likely 50—Power reliever

    The Risks: If the minor league walk rates and efficiency can follow Lopez to the majors, there’s still middle of the rotation potential to be realized. The fallback of being a power reliever who can miss bats isn’t a terrible fate either. The fate of being a pitcher though, always makes things a bit more cloudy. —Adam Hayes

    Major league ETA: Debuted in 2016

    Ben Carsley's Fantasy Take: Lopez may have a fairly low chance of actualizing as a no. 3 starter thanks to his size and command issues, but his strikeout potential and MLB ETA (of, you know, now) are too good for fantasy owners to pass up. Don’t pencil Lopez into your long-term rotation plans, but hope he turns into a 200-strikeout, high-WHIP no. 4 fantasy starter. A potential future at the back of a bullpen sooner rather than later gives him a lovely additional path to fantasy value, too.
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    4. Michael Kopech

    The Good: There aren’t much better places to start as a pitching prospect than with a fastball that can touch triple digits. Kopech sits there. He’d be the hardest throwing starter in the majors if he makes it to the majors a starter. He’s no one-trick pony either, as the slider shows sharp, two-plane break and the change improved in 2016. He has an ideal starter’s build

    The Bad: But he’s unlikely to stay a starter. There is effort in the delivery with a head whack and there is a reason no starter in baseball sits 99-100. The command profile is fringy, and the fastball lacks wiggle, which granted you care less about when there are three digits in the velocity. The change is improving but needs further improvement. We’ve already bemoaned vague makeup concerns dogging a player, but breaking your pitching hand punching a teammate is suboptimal.

    The Irrelevant: It’s not exactly Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe, but Kopech’s girlfriend, Bravo Reality TV bit player Brielle Biermann, does have him beat in the fame department. At least for now.

    The Role:

    OFP 60—No. 3 starter or fireballing closer
    Likely 50—Major-league setup dude

    The Risks: A 100-mph fastball with cover a multitude of sins, chemical or criminal. It is worth noting that the only starter who throws roughly as hard as Kopech is Noah Syndergaard, who has had a series of arm scares over the last 24 months. The fastball/slider combo gives him a pretty high major-league floor even in a pen role, but he is after all, a pitcher (who probably throws harder than man was meant to).

    Major league ETA: Late 2018, but faster with a pen move

    Ben Carsley’s Fantasy Take: Kopech is one of the better sell-high prospects I can think of right now. Everyone is drooling over his stuff, he’s likely to post some gaudy numbers in High-A and triple-digit fastballs have seduced many a dynasty enthusiast. See if someone will give you a good MLBer now for Kopech, but don’t sell him just to sell. Sure, he might be a reliever, but if he is he’ll probably be a closer in time, and if he’s not he could strikeout 200-plus batters as a starter. That’s three (3) whole pitchers in a row I’m not advocating you avoid at all costs!
  7. FedEx
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    5. Zack Collins

    The Good: Collins is a potential 25-home-run catcher. There was, uh, one of those last year in baseball. He’s a big, strong kid, with above-average bat speed and enough loft to send the ball over the fence from foul pole to foul pole. There’s some length as he uncoils to get the plus power, but he has enough of an idea at plate and enough barrel control to have project average hit tool as well. He’s got enough arm strength to stick behind the plate, and...well framing is a somewhat teachable skill?

    The Bad: During our list-making process, it was very difficult to find people that think Collins can stick behind the plate long term. He can be stiff and unathletic behind the plate and his receiving skills are below-average. The bat can survive a move to first base, but he’d be more of a three true outcomes, second-division starter there due to the swing-and-miss issues.

    The Irrelevant: Collins knocked 69 base hits his junior season at Miami.

    The Role:

    OFP 60—Bat-first, first-division catcher
    Likely 50—Average major league first baseman

    The Risks: It’s a very big fall down the defensive spectrum if Collins can’t stick behind the dish. It’s also possible the length and loft in the swing get exposed against better professional arms and he’s more of a .240 hitter that doesn’t get all of the raw pop into games.

    Major league ETA: Late 2018/Early 2019 depending on where he ends up defensively

    Ben Carsley’s Fantasy Take: Collins is a much better fantasy prospect than IRL prospect because we don’t care if he’s good behind the plate, he just needs to be good enough to log 20-or-so games a year there. Even if he wasn’t a backstop, Collins would be a top-100 prospect thanks to his bat. He wouldn’t be altogether special at first, but he’d be better than, like, C.J. Cron. Put that type of production behind the plate and you get a potential top-3 fantasy catcher for years, though Collins isn’t the type of guy who’s going to catch into his 30s.
  8. FedEx
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    (If you want the rest of the Top 10 let me know and I'll post 'em too)
  9. Prope
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    Prope RIP soxwon

    Yes please.
  10. FedEx
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    6. Alec Hansen

    The Good: Hansen’s stuff well outpaces your average second-round college pick’s. His fastball sits comfortably in the plus velocity band, and he can run it up into the high 90s at times. The pitch shows sink and run as well, coming from a high release point (and a very tall hombre). There’s two potential plus breaking balls here. The slider was the party piece as an amateur, but he had more feel for the curve as a pro, a big 11-5 breaker that sits in the upper 70s.

    The Bad: Hansen was a second-round pick because he completely forgot how to throw strikes during his junior season. The White Sox and he seem to have remedied that issue somewhat, but given his height and the crossfire and effort in his delivery, the command profile is never going to get much past average. The curveball can flatten out and sit high, the mid-80s slider is a glove-side chase pitch at present, and the change has only made sporadic appearances as a pro.

    The Irrelevant: If Hansen had gone 1:1 in this year’s draft, he’d be the first Sooner to do so. Bobby Witt and Jon Gray currently hold the record for highest drafted Oklahoma alum. Both went third overall.

    The Role:

    OFP 55—Mid-rotation power arm
    Likely 50—8th-inning guy

    The Risks: Hansen looked like a candidate to go at the top of the draft in January. By the end of the minor league season, he looked like a guy who did go at the top of the draft. In between was kind of a disaster though, so he’s riskier than even your average pitching prospect—which he is, by the way.

    Major league ETA: 2019 I guess?

    Ben Carsley’s Fantasy Take: Hansen should definitely be in your watch list as he’s not far removed from showing stuff that might’ve made him an early pick in the 2016 draft. But until he shows that stuff consistently, he belongs on waivers.
  11. FedEx
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    7. Carson Fulmer

    The Good: Among prospect arms that don’t throw in the upper 90s—although he can run it up close—you could make a case Fulmer has one of the best fastballs. It’s 93-95 with explosive arm-side run that can almost mimic screwball action. His curveball flashes plus with hard, late break. I’d call it explosive as well, but you shouldn’t repeat adjectives like that. Google suggests “incendiary” as an adjective. This is—without a doubt—#thegoodstuff .

    The Bad: Fulmer has a high-effort, up-tempo delivery with head violence. The number of walks in the stat line above are not an accident. He struggles to throw strikes consistently with the fastball and the curve. His changeup lags behind the other two pitches. He’s added a cutter—as you do with the White Sox—which is a promising pitch, but still a work in progress.

    The Irrelevant: Are there any fun facts about Vanderbilt left at this point in list season?

    The Role:

    OFP 60—Major-league closer
    Likely 50—Major-league setup dude

    The Risks: Fulmer’s probably a reliever in the near-term, and he hasn’t thrown enough strikes in the recent past. He’s also an undersized pitcher.

    Major league ETA: Debuted in 2016

    Ben Carsley’s Fantasy Take: Fulmer is still a top-100 dynasty prospect thanks to his proximity to the majors and his upside, but there’s no doubt that his star has faded considerably. Understand that he might be a reliever, but feel free to value him just as you would, oh, Robert Stephenson. A potential future as a high-strikeout SP5 is still within reach, but I wouldn’t bet those odds.
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    8. Luis Alexander Basabe

    The Good: Basabe is a premium athlete with potential above-average grades on four tools. He’s an above-average runner with a good second gear. There’s above-average raw in the frame, even as a teenager, although it only plays in games from the left side at present. There’s enough arm for any spot in the outfield, but the athleticism and improving instincts make him a potentially above-average center fielder. We are quickly veering into Lake Wobegon territory now.

    The Bad: Basabe has some interesting tools on both sides of the ball, but he is also still quite raw on both sides as well. The approach is aggressive from both sides and there’s swing-and-miss against A-ball spin from both sides too. The right-handed offensive tools are less developed, not uncommon for a young switch hitter. The defensive skills still need refinement.

    The Irrelevant: Multiple times while discussing Basabe internally I referred to the wrong Basabe. At least they are on other teams now.

    The Role:

    OFP 60—Above-average everyday outfielder
    Likely 45—Enough pop and glove to play all over the outfield and start in a pinch

    The Risks: Basabe is still a high-risk prospect. 2017 could be a big breakout year, or he could suffer through a summer swoon against more advanced arms in Double-A. There is not one clear carrying tool for the profile yet—admittedly a lot to ask of teenager—so the development path may be bumpier in the future than it was in 2016.

    Major league ETA: 2019

    Ben Carsley’s Fantasy Take: This is your last chance to buy lowish on Basabe. He comes with his fair share of risk, but gambling on power/speed guys in the mid-minors is a tried-and-true dynasty strategy. In a down year for dynasty prospects, there’s a chance Basabe sneaks onto the back of our top-100 list, and if not he’d almost certainly be top-125.
  13. FedEx
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    9. Zack Burdi

    The Good: I generally bristle at the idea of drafting a reliever in the first round—perhaps a function of being a Mets fan during the Omar Minaya years—but if you are going to draft a no-doubt reliever early in the Rule 4, picking the guy that touches 100 and has a present plus slider is the one to take. Burdi checks both those boxes, The heater isn’t arrow-straight either, as he gets some hard arm-side run from his low-three-quarters slot. The slider is a potential plus-plus wipeout offering with additional refinement.

    The Bad: Burdi’s never going to have the world’s finest command and control. The delivery is high-effort with a whirlwind of torque. Lower arm slot gives lefties a long look, and while he has a better changeup than you’d expect from this profile, it isn’t going to be a meaningful part of his late-inning arsenal. He might be a bit of a tightrope act as a reliever against major-league hitters.

    The Irrelevant: Burdi cites Buca de Beppo, a family-style Italian chain with a location in Louisville, as his favorite restaurant. He does looks like a man who likes his carbs, but we encourage him to check out Ricobene’s once he hits the South Side.

    The Role:

    OFP 55—Good late-inning arm
    Likely 50—Standard fireballing 8th-inning type

    The Risks: He’s just about major-league-ready. He was always going to be a reliever all the way, so really there isn’t anything to men...oh right, he’s a pitcher.

    Major league ETA: 2017

    Ben Carsley’s Fantasy Take: Friends don’t let friends draft reliever prospects.
  14. FedEx
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    10. Dane Dunning

    The Good: Shows strikeout potential, reliable command of his low to mid-90s fastball with late life. Clean mechanics paired with a deceptive delivery created by a late break in his hands pair well with his effective changeup.

    The Bad: Having pitched out of the bullpen due the Florida Gators’ overstocked pool of arms, there are legitimate questions as to how Dunning will hold up as a starter. His 11-5 curveball hasn’t shown the promise of his other pitches, and failing to get a handle on it could force a permanent relocation to the pen.

    The Irrelevant: Dunning will often pitch wearing those strange hybrid glasses/goggles. Word is still out on his bespectacled splits.

    The Role:

    OFP 50—Fourth starter or set-up man
    Likely 45—Fifth starter or reliable middle reliever

    The Risks: Without much starting experience, Dunning may have trouble pitching deep into games. Failing to command his curveball would limit him to a fastball/change repertoire that would function fine out of the bullpen but likely prevent him from starting. Also, he’s a pitcher.

    Major league ETA: 2018 —Will Haines

    Ben Carsley's Fantasy Take: Think of all the other things you could do with a roster spot instead of wasting it on a potential back-end starter who’s several years away. You could hold on to a sleeper closer candidate. Maybe stash a speedster who can pad your SB totals when your starters are sitting. Heck, you could get really crazy and even use it to stream a back-end starter who could help you right now, rather than one who might help you years down the line. You can pass on Dunning.
  15. Cheeses
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    Cheeses Depraved Pervert, Wilco Fan Cupcake Mod

    What's OFP? (Yeah you know me :D )
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  16. y2chae
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    y2chae Panda

    I disagree with their assessment of Sox and international amateur FA's. They just instituted a hard cap, which the Sox were for. It's a relatively small number too, I'm sure the Sox will spend up to the cap. The Sox also signed Micker Adolfo, who hasn't panned out but he was highly touted at the time. The Sox got Fernando Tatis Jr. who is on Law's top 100 now (although he was given away in the disastrous Shields trade). They signed Vlad's nephew last year for $1.1 million. Tatis Jr. wasn't even the highest regarded signing of this class, that was Franklin Reyes. Don't look at Reyes' brief minor league stats though if you want to remain positive about him.
  17. y2chae
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    y2chae Panda

    I also disagree they wouldn't sign Harper or Machado come 2019. They will have a low payroll and if they have a successful 2018 (either near .500 or a dark horse run), I think they will spend. Look at the offseason where they brought in Melky, Robertson, Laroche. When they signed Abreu they gave a lot of money for an unproven talent. And Rodon was paid what he wanted as a Boras client.
  18. FedEx
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    FedEx Delivers

    You can understand why the author in this case would call into question the Sox desire to get a big ticket free agent though. I believe they are one of two teams to not hand out a $100M contract yet. Basically since Albert Belle, this team has not been directly in the market or in the running for big ticket free agents. Harper and Machado will both command top tier money and while history doesn't mean the Sox won't, you can understand why the assumption would be made.
  19. y2chae
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    y2chae Panda

    Yes that makes sense. Harper and Machado will be unique in that they will hit FA after their age 25 season. Teams should have no problem giving them 10 year deals. It will be the money that's the sticking point. Will the Sox go up to $300 million? I don't think it's out of the question. If 2018 is considered a success, signing Harper or Machado would be a huge PR boost and energize the fanbase for a title run in 2019.
  20. Cheeses
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    Cheeses Depraved Pervert, Wilco Fan Cupcake Mod

    The SOX execute a 10-year deal successfully?

    :kobe2:
  21. FedEx
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    FedEx Delivers

    I hope you're right but unfortunately things don't work in a vacuum. So long as Jerry is atop the organization I have a tough time believing the Sox are handing out a 10-year, $300M deal to anyone. As much as it sucks.
    chops likes this.
  22. maurice
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    maurice Gangster of Love

    Typically shitty BP analysis. Copy and paste what everybody else has already said, then add a quirk that makes no fucking sense.

    Unlikely that Giolito is the only starter in the group that includes (but is not limited to) 3 of the top 10 RPH prospects in baseball. Equally unlikely that their ceiling is 3rd starter.

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