Organization Reports


2018 Organization Report: Chicago White Sox

by Chris Blessing

Organization Grades

Hitting: A- ... Pitching: B+ ... Top-end Talent: A ... Depth: B- ... Overall: A-

Minor League Affiliates

Triple-A: Charlotte (International League)
Double-A: Birmingham (Southern League)
High-A: Winston-Salem (Carolina League)
Low-A: Kannapolis (South Atlantic League)
Rookie: AZL White Sox (Arizona League)
Rookie: Great Falls (Pioneer League)

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1. Eloy Jimenez (OF) ... 6-4, 205 ... R/R ... 21 ... 2013 FA (DR)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2015Eugene (Nwst)232.284/.328/.4186810.357/3
2016South Bend (Midw)432.329/.369/.5325780.2714/8
2017Myrtle Beach (Caro)155.271/.351/.49010770.518/0
2017Winston-Salem (Caro)110.302/.375/.57010810.578/0
2017Birmingham (Sou)68.353/.397/.5597760.313/1
Comments: The centerpiece in the Jose Quintana trade, RHH OF improved on breakout 2016 campaign. Showed no ill effects from shoulder injury early in season, increasing his HR-to-fly ball ratio between two levels after trade. Has matured into discipline hitter, chasing at a far lesser clip. Profiles as RF long term due to strong throwing arm.

Development Path: Jimenez is expected to start 2018 in Double-A. A strong showing in spring training may garner a Triple-A push. He will likely be ready to make an MLB impact by August of this season.

Fantasy Impact: Jimenez is a top-5 fantasy prospect in baseball. The combination of hit and power should play in all formats. Expect 30+ HR seasons and high batting averages at full maturity.

Upside Grade: 9B

2. Michael Kopech (RHP) ... 6-3, 195 ... 21 ... 2014 (1) HS (TX)
2015Greenville (SAL)65.02.631.2303.
2016Lowell (NYPL)
2016Salem (Caro)
2017Birmingham (Sou)119.12.871.1504.511.72.6.177
2017Charlotte (IL)
Comments: Tall power pitcher with three-pitch arsenal of filth. High velocity FB with plus arm-side run makes it difficult to catch up to or square up. Tightly-wound SL has sharp, two plane break and is best when working FB up and down. CU is a solid third pitch with some tumble and late fade. Aggressive on the mound. Has transformed into a pitcher.

Development Path: Kopech conquered Double-A. His short stint in Triple-A showed he isn't long for there either. However, Kopech needs to ramp up innings and continue to work on his third pitch. Could make MLB debut early but CHW will likely put the brakes on extended time in the big leagues this season.

Fantasy Impact: Top flight starter with swing-and-miss stuff. The development of the CU has secured a starter profile. Stuff looks real good, and should be anchoring a fantasy pitching staff in 3 or 4 years.

Upside Grade: 9C

3. Luis Robert (OF) ... 6-3, 185 ... R/R ... 20 ... 2017 FA (CU)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2017Did not play in the US (--)0.000/.000/.0000000/0
Comments: Quick-twitch athlete yet to make US debut due to visa issues. Electrifying bat speed and significant power potential. Solid runner and defender. Profiles now as a CF. As body matures, may lose some foot speed and need to move off CF. Plus arm makes him candidate for RF.

Development Path: CHW has said Robert will likely make his full season debut in either Single-A or High-A. He hasn't faced quality competition for a year and a half and may need some adjustment time. Robert's earliest MLB impact won't be until late 2019 or early 2020.

Fantasy Impact: If all the international scouting reports are true, Robert projects as a superior fantasy profile, giving owners a little bit of everything. It's always good to temper hype coming out of Cuba, but Robert's skill set makes him very tempting.

Upside Grade: 9D

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4. Alec Hansen (RHP) ... 6-7, 215 ... 23 ... 2016 (2) University of Oklahoma
2016Great Falls (Pio)
2016Kannapolis (SAL)11.02.451.3603.
2017Kannapolis (SAL)72.22.481.1002.811.44.1.207
2017Winston-Salem (Caro)58.12.931.1503.912.73.3.194
2017Birmingham (Sou)10.14.351.7402.614.85.7.326
Comments: Big bodied, hard throwing RH with history of control problems broke out in 2017. Did a better job keeping his body in sync during delivery; uses height to create downward plane with FB. Best secondary is a two-plane tight SL; 11-5 CB not too far behind. CU is fringe average.

Development Path: Hansen tasted Double-A in his first full season of pro ball. He will likely return there for an entire season. While concerns about command and control remain, Hansen is winning the battle more times than not. Should see a big league mound in 2019.

Fantasy Impact: Looks the part of a #2-#3 MLB starter. It could take awhile for Hansen to establish himself given his struggles repeating his delivery. Given how successful he should be in the minors, could be a great sell-high candidate now and a buy-low candidate after he struggles some in the big leagues.

Upside Grade: 8C

5. Dylan Cease (RHP) ... 6-1, 175 ... 22 ... 2014 (6) HS (GA)
2015Azl Cubs (Ariz)24.02.631.1706.
2016Eugene (Nwst)
2017South Bend (Midw)51.22.791.2604.512.92.9.201
2017Kannapolis (SAL)41.23.891.2703.911.22.9.219
Comments: Hard-throwing RHP acquired in Jose Quintana deal. Has grown tremendously with mechanics in past two seasons. Big FB, can get up to triple digits with late, plus movement. Changes eye levels with 12-6 hammer CB, also plus. Profile dependent on development of CU—was better in 2017, bit still lacks confidence in it.

Development Path: Talking with scouts, Cease took big step forward in Single-A with delivery, consistency and working on his craft. A High-A assignment is likely to start 2018. Could also earn a mid-season promotion to Double-A.

Fantasy Impact: Power pitchers are hard to come by; CHW has two Kopech and Cease. Like Kopech, Cease is similar in that scouts are looking for the CU to take a step forward. If it does, his projection will go through the roof. Get on him now, not later.

Upside Grade: 9E

6. Blake Rutherford (OF) ... 6-3, 195 ... L/R ... 20 ... 2016 (1) HS (CA)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2016Pulaski (App)89.382/.440/.6189730.382/0
2017Kannapolis (SAL)122.260/.326/.34810830.620/1
2017Charleston (Sc) (SAL)274.281/.342/.3918800.452/9
Comments: Acquired by CHW in July, the best prep hit tool in the 2016 draft had a so-so Single-A debut. Trying to tap into his raw power, NYY worked on improving swing trajectory. Natural LHH line drive swing, generates tons of top spin, which will depress HR totals. A solid runner and defender, arm projects best in LF.

Development Path: Rutherford's horrible finish in Single-A shouldn't cost a promotion to High-A to start 2018. CHW player development doesn't have a good track record finding power in prospects of Rutherford's ilk. However, a return to hitting form should be expected. MLB impact in 2020.

Fantasy Impact: Changing swing trajectories to enhance launch angles doesn't work for every hitter. In Rutherford's case, he's a solid prospect as-is. Take the average, the double-digit HR potential and you've got a solid contributor, even in the Statcast era.

Upside Grade: 8D

7. Micker Adolfo (OF) ... 6-3, 200 ... R/R ... 25 ... 2013 FA (DR)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2014Azl White Sox (Ariz)179.218/.279/.3807530.165/0
2015Azl White Sox (Ariz)83.253/.323/.3137700.240/3
2016Azl White Sox (Ariz)16.250/.333/.5636500.131/0
2016Kannapolis (SAL)247.219/.269/.3405640.165/0
2017Kannapolis (SAL)424.264/.331/.4537650.2116/2
Comments: Strong OF finally remained healthy and improved immensely in 2017. Shortened up swing and became less pull-happy. Pitch recognition skills got better as season wore on. Raw power is immense though hedging bets with 30-HR projection due to swing-and-miss issues. Solid runner, will likely lose foot speed as body matures. Big arm profiles in RF.

Development Path: Gaining reps against live pitching is paramount in Adolfo's development. An assignment to High-A is likely and will need a full season of seasoning at each level due to missed development time.

Fantasy Impact: Adolfo will be slept on in many formats. He was an older prospect in Single-A in a stacked farm system. His power potential is staggering and continued improvement with contact makes him a grab in most formats.

Upside Grade: 9E

8. Jake Burger (1B,3B) ... 6-2, 210 ... R/R ... 21 ... 2017 (1) Missouri State University
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2017Missouri State (MVC)247.328/.443/.64815851.1322/3
2017Azl White Sox (Ariz)13.154/.353/.4627850.501/0
2017Kannapolis (SAL)181.271/.335/.4097850.464/0
Comments: Physically strong, bashed his way to 11th overall pick in 2017 by employing unorthodox approach. Patient hitter, will hit for average and slug for power at projection. His solid bat speed and swing plane could result in plus-plus power long term. Decent athlete despite bulky physique. Soft hands, quick reactions and plus arm.

Development Path: Spent 47 games in Single-A after collegiate season concluded. Burger held his own but was far from spectacular. CHW are usually aggressive w/ college hitters, setting up promotion to High-A to begin '18. Could make MLB impact sooner rather than later.

Fantasy Impact: The development of Burger's plus raw power will make or break his fantasy profile. His approach and pop should make him a good bet to be at least a solid performer.

Upside Grade: 8C

9. Zack Collins (C) ... 6-2, 210 ... L/R ... 23 ... 2016 (1) University of Miami
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2016Miami (ACC)190.363/.544/.66829721.4716/1
2016Azl White Sox (Ariz)11.091/.091/.0910360.000/0
2016Winston-Salem (Caro)120.258/.418/.46722680.856/0
2017Winston-Salem (Caro)341.223/.365/.44318650.6417/0
2017Birmingham (Sou)34.235/.422/.47124681.002/0
Comments: Former 1st rd pick was expected to fly through development. Struggled immensely after changing swing plane to maximize power potential and K rate skyrocketed. Still employs advanced approach, taking pitches and working counts. A bat-first catcher, has improved somewhat behind the plate. A below-average runner.

Development Path: CHW is likely to push Collins to Double-A, hoping adjustments made during Instructional league will remedy Collins' sudden swing-and-miss difficulties. He's still a season away from making any MLB impact.

Fantasy Impact: True story: there is no such thing as a top fantasy catcher prospect. However, like BAL's Chance Sisco, Collins is the closest thing we've got. The high-volatility of Collins' decline is worrisome. However, few catchers have his natural gifts. He should be held onto going into next season.

Upside Grade: 8C

10. Dane Dunning (RHP) ... 6-3, 190 ... 23 ... 2016 (1) University of Florida
2016Florida (SEC)
2016GCL Nationals (GCL)
2016Auburn (NYPL)
2017Kannapolis (SAL)26.00.350.5800.711.40.143
2017Winston-Salem (Caro)118.03.511.2702.710.33.8.244
Comments: Polished pitcher with three average or better offerings. Works down with everything rarely changing eye levels. Some effort in delivery. Heavy FB a true workhorse pitch with solid arm-side run and significant drop. 11-5 CB isn't likely to develop into out pitch; could transition to SL instead. CU much improved, as it mimics FB arm slot & movement.

Development Path: A reliever in college, Dunning's workload increased significantly in first pro season. He'll likely begin 2018 in Double-A, where he should work on an out pitch, something he lacks as a starting pitcher. He could relieve in big leagues today.

Fantasy Impact: Dunning mowed over younger competition in Single-A and High-A. His strikeout rate should start taking a hit against advanced hitters. Though Dunning's stat line screams solid fantasy starter, his stuff seems destined for something less than that.

Upside Grade: 8C

11. Carson Fulmer (RHP) ... 6-1, 200 ... 24 ... 2015 (1) Vanderbilt University
2016Birmingham (Sou)87.04.761.5305.
2016Charlotte (IL)16.03.941.1902.
2016Chi White Sox (AL)11.28.491.6305.
2017Charlotte (IL)126.05.791.5604.
2017Chi White Sox (AL)23.13.861.2405.
Comments: Max-effort RH has struggled with command since pro debut. FB and spike CB project as plus pitches. Added CT last season, turning the pitch into an effective weapon against LHH. CU still lags behind. Size, delivery and command point towards reliever profile long term.

Development Path: Fulmer has struggled mightily as a starting pitcher for most of his professional career. He will be given the opportunity to compete for a rotation slot in spring training. Eventually, CHW will look to move Fulmer to the pen full time.

Fantasy Impact: As a starting pitcher, it's tough to count on much fantasy value from Fulmer. In the pen, where his FB will play up and his command issues can be minimized, he has the potential to be a high-leverage arm.

Upside Grade: 8B

12. Zack Burdi (RHP) ... 6-3, 195 ... 23 ... 2016 (1) University of Louisville
2016Louisville (ACC)30.03.300.8702.714.15.2.159
2016Azl White Sox (Ariz)
2016Winston-Salem (Caro)5.05.401.2000.07.20.286
2016Birmingham (Sou)16.03.941.0005.
2017Charlotte (IL)
Comments: Hard-thrower will likely will miss 2018 after July Tommy John surgery. FB is high octane but flattens out and can be hit. SL is a plus offering with solid, tight 2-plane break. Uses deception to trick hitters into swinging through average CU. Struggles overthrowing FB and bouts of poor command. Violent delivery could be toned back.

Development Path: Likely out for the season, Burdi isn't expected to be ready for game action until 2019. Even then, he could use some seasoning in the upper minors.

Fantasy Impact: Few late inning guys bring the thunder like Burdi. While in most formats, you'll wait till his MLB debut to roster him, he has a great chance of becoming a solid MLB late-inning reliever. Potential is there to be dominant.

Upside Grade: 9E

13. Gavin Sheets (1B) ... 6-4, 215 ... L/L ... 21 ... 2017 (2) Wake Forest University
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2017Wake Forest (ACC)240.317/.424/.62916851.2421/1
2017Azl White Sox (Ariz)12.500/.625/.9172010001/0
2017Kannapolis (SAL)192.266/.346/.3659820.593/0
Comments: Power-first prospect had solid professional debut. Advanced approach, works pitchers and can spray power to all fields. Some length to swing but not susceptible to swing-and-miss. A shortened swing will allow for consistent harder contact. Doesn't run well; profiles as 1B defensively.

Development Path: Sheets made his full-season debut rather quickly upon signing in June, though he tired down the stretch. He is likely slated to return to Single-A to begin 2018. Sheets is at least 3 years away from MLB impact.

Fantasy Impact: Sheets has drawn comparisons to Lucas Duda early in his career. Duda didn't start tapping into his raw power until his age-24 season. Expect Sheets to follow a similar trajectory and become a potential middle-of-the-pack producer.

Upside Grade: 8C

14. Thyago Vieira (RHP) ... 6-2, 210 ... 25 ... 2011 FA (BR)
2015Clinton (Midw)31.06.971.7705.
2016Bakersfield (Calif)44.12.841.2403.710.82.9.218
2017Arkansas (Tex)36.13.721.2403.
2017Tacoma (PCL)17.24.581.4203.
2017Seattle (AL)
Comments: Power-armed RP who can fire plus FB into zone is becoming more of pitcher than thrower. Reached majors with improved command, but still only average at best. Hard SL becoming more consistent with power and shape while slower CB has potential. Delivery can get out of whack. Much better K rate since moved to pen in 2014 and could go higher.

Development Path: Despite getting to the majors in 2017, Vieira is likely to begin the season at Triple-A. The upside is nice, but he has things to work on, notably his control and sequencing. He should return to the majors when an opportunity arises.

Fantasy Impact: Acquired by CHW in an off-season trade, Vieira has the potential to earn save opportunities in the near-term and long-term. If and when he throws with consistent command, he could earn prominent time in the late innings and post high strikeout totals.

Upside Grade: 7B

15. Luis Alexander Basabe (OF) ... 6-0, 160 ... B/R ... 21 ... 2013 FA (VZ)
YearTeam (LG)ABBA/OBP/Slgbb%ct% EyeHR/SB
2014DSL Red Sox (DSL)148.284/.408/.48017760.830/13
2015Lowell (NYPL)222.243/.340/.40113700.487/15
2016Greenville (SAL)403.258/.325/.4479710.3412/25
2016Salem (Caro)22.364/.391/.5454860.330/0
2017Winston-Salem (Caro)375.221/.320/.32012720.475/17
Comments: Switch hitter took a step back after breakout 2016; both K rate and hard contact rate declined. Owns quick twitch swing but lacks pitch recognition skills. Still projected for solid power despite HR drop off. Athlete, brings plus tool shed that shines in OF and on bases.

Development Path: Basabe struggled mightily as his hit tool fell asleep in High-A. He'll return to High-A for a few months to start '18. Likely doesn't make MLB impact until 2020.

Fantasy Impact: There is 20/20 potential in Basabe's profile. However, struggles making hard contact could derail his fantasy impact. A good athlete to stash in larger formats.

Upside Grade: 8D

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