Chicago White Sox Top 20 Prospects 2015

by Daniel Levitt | Posted on Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
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The calendar has flipped and spring training is fast approaching once again, meaning it is time for the baseball world to go crazy over prospect rankings for the forthcoming season. Based primarily on stats and potential, below is our list of the Chicago White Sox’s top 20 prospects for 2015.

1. Carlos Rodon LHP: Rodon is not just the best pitcher in the Chicago White Sox organization, he may just be the best in the entire minor leagues. Drafted 3rd overall in 2014, Rodon perhaps should have gone 1st, especially after Brady Aiken failed to sign with the Houston Astros.

The 6’3 left-hander pitched in 9 games between Single and Triple A last season, and posted a 2.92 ERA in 24.2 innings, while striking out 38 hitters. His plus-plus fastball sets hitters up for his devastating slider that is every bit of “wipe out”. The former NC State ace will compete for a spot in the rotation for the White Sox out of spring training, though General Manager, Rick Hahn, may opt for a few months of seasoning in Triple A before he starts the Carlos Rodon era in the south side.

2. Francellis Montas RHP: Similar to Rodon, Francellis Montas possesses a fastball in the upper 90s and a slider that hitters simply cannot hit. Montas, 21, was brought to the White Sox as part of the trade that sent Jake Peavy to the Red Sox. Signed originally out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, Montas regularly hit 100mph as a teenager.

He has cut that velocity down to 95-97 to aid his command since however. The righty pitched 15 starts in 2014 and posted a 5-0 with a 1.44 ERA across Single and Double A. Montas strikes out around a batter an inning and will look to continue his success in Double and Triple A in 2015, with an eye on a call up to Chicago at some point in the season.

3. Tim Anderson SS: Anderson would be #1 on most prospect lists, if not for the pair of pitchers ahead of him, which is a testament to both the White Sox’s minor-league talent and Anderson’s raw ability. Drafted 17th overall in 2013, Anderson has the tools to be an All-Star at the major league level. Though he plays at shortstop for the White Sox, the speedster has the capability of being a quality outfielder too.

The 21 year old runs better than most major leaguers and, with a solid approach at the plate, is able to reach base and cause havoc for opposing pitchers. Last season, Anderson played in Single and Double A and posted a .301 average, 9 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 83 games, including a .364 average in 44 at bats in Double A. Anderson will remain with the AA Birmingham Barons to start 2015, but expect him to see time in Triple A very soon.

4. Micah Johnson 2B: Johnson is another player who would be higher on the prospect lists of most other clubs, due to his exceptional speed and readiness for the major leagues. Front offices around the league love having a top-end prospect who plays second base, and the White Sox may be looking at their second baseman of the future.

At 24 years of age however, the time for Johnson to make the jump is now. Johnson showed that he is ready with his performance at the plate in 2014: .329 and .275 averages in Double and Triple A respectively. That also included 22 stolen bases and 5 home runs in 102 games. Johnson will expect to be part of the big league roster in some way coming out of spring training.

5. Spencer Adams RHP: Drafted in the 2nd round in 2014, the White Sox were surprised, and thrilled, that Spencer Adams was still available at #44. Adams was touted as a first-rounder, and Hahn quickly snapped his target up. After watching Adams at the Perfect Game, he has high hopes for the former second team All-American.

The right-hander owns three above average pitches already – fastball, slider and changeup – and has a curveball that, with some refining, could be a fourth major league offering. Adams got straight to work last summer, pitching in the rookie Arizona League. In 10 games, the 18 year old posted a 3.67 ERA in 41.2 innings, along with 59 strikeouts. It’s scary to think that Adams has the potential to be even more dominating once he adds arm strength and power.

6. Carlos Sanchez 2B/SS: At number 6 on our list is Carlos Sanchez, the highly regarded middle infielder. Sanchez has the ability to play both second and shortstop at a high level, due to great range and great glove and footwork. He split time at Triple A between the two positions a year ago out of Venezuela.

The 22 year old is another White Sox prospect that is major-league ready, after appearing in 28 games for the White Sox in last season, hitting .250 in 100 at bats. He dominated the International League with a .293 average in 2014, and will battle fellow prospect, Micah Johnson, for a place on the active roster out of spring training. Sanchez may pip Johnson due to his versatility in the infield.

7. Amado Nunez SS: Nunez has above average tools wherever you look. On defense, he has the hands and range to man any of the middle infield positions comprehensively. On offense, his power and ability to put bat on ball consistently has been likened to a young Alex Rodriguez.

Nunez was signed in the international free agency period out of the Dominican Republic. At just 17 years of age, his 6’2 stature may fuel a move to the hot corner in the future, like Rodriguez did successfully. Wherever Nunez ends up, the White Sox have a mainstay in the infield for the future.

8. Jhoandro Alfaro C: Jhoandro Alfaro was ranked a couple of places behind Nunez in last summer’s international prospect rankings, and stays behind him on our list for now. Alfaro, younger brother of Texas Rangers prospect Jorge, is known more for his offensive production, though his defensive tools are still above average.

Alfaro owns a lot of power for his young age, but speed was not one of his gifts as a youngster. Still, once he matures as a ball player and learns the way of life of professional baseball, White Sox fans could be seeing a lot of Alfaro at the big-league level. Only 17 years old, the Columbian has plenty of time to develop.

9. Tyler Danish RHP: Danish’s height and mechanics arguably cost him in the 2013 Draft, yet the White Sox still took him in the 2nd round. Standing 6 feet tall, Danish has a high-effort, low-arm delivery, which raised concerns in 2013, and continues to do so to this day.

Despite this negativity surrounding Danish, the 20 year old has yielded results the White Sox can be elated about. In 2014, the righty pitched in 25 games and produced an 8-3 record with a 2.08 ERA. Danish is high on the radar of the front office, and will start 2015 with the Double A Birmingham Barons.

10. Courtney Hawkins OF: 21 year old Hawkins has been recognized as a top prospect for his speed and power all of his life, and has carried that over to the professional game. Where he falls down however, is his inability to consistently reach base via the bat.

Hawkins slugged 19 home runs for the Single A advanced Winston-Salem Dash in 122 games in 2014, but managed just a .249 average. His overwhelming power draws a lot of walks, meaning his OBP was .331 a year ago, but he will have to improve his consistency at the plate if he is to be a mainstay in the majors. Still just 21 years of age, Hawkins has the time to put it all together.

11. Chris Beck RHP: Beck was projected to be a first-rounder out of Georgia Southern in 2013, but fell to the 2nd round. Still, the right-hander is on the cusp of making it at the highest level, due to his maturity on the mound and command to both sides of the plate.

Beck’s stuff suggests he should accumulate more strikeouts than he has done thus far in his pro career, though he does draw his fair share of swings and misses. In 2014, the 24 year old played in 27 games across Double and Triple A and had an ERA of 3.54. With the Triple A Charlotte Knights, he struggled slightly – in 7 starts, he posted a 4.05 ERA. Beck will compete for a spot in the rotation out of spring training, with the projectability of a back-end starter.

12. Trey Michalczewski 3B: Measuring 6’3 and weighing in at 210 pounds as a 19 year old, Michalczewski has all the makings of a big-league third baseman. He has the power and overall hitting ability to hold his own at the highest level, and plays decent defense at the hot corner.

Michalczewski is regarded as the highest ranked third baseman in the White Sox farm system, and will look to continue to fulfil those lofty expectations in 2015. In 2014, the lefty batted .273 and hit 10 home runs for the Single A full Kannapolis Intimidators, but struggled after being promoted to the advanced Winston-Salem Dash, batting .194. He’ll look to iron out his swing to produce big in the future.

13. Jacob May OF: The White Sox have a lot of talented outfielders in its minor-league system and Jacob May might end up being the best. May owns all the tools needed to succeed: he hits and steals bases well, and has great range in the outfield.

With the Single A Winston-Dalem Dash in 2014, May averaged .258 in 122 games, while stealing 37 bases. The switch-hitter isn’t going to slug many home runs in his career, but more than makes up for that with his other tools. The 22 year old will be expected to start 2015 in Double A.

14. Trayce Thompson OF: Trayce descends from a family of basketball stars – his father Mychal was the number 1 overall pick in 1978 and his brother is Klay of the Golden State Warriors. However, Trayce is embarking on his own baseball journey, and doing very well indeed.

Thompson was drafted in the 2nd round in 2009 and has performed solidly ever since. In 2009, Thompson averaged .237 and hit 16 home runs for the Double A Birmingham Barons, while also stealing 20 bases. The 23 year old will aim to make quick work of Triple A and make an appearance in the big-leagues at some point in 2015.

15. Luis Martinez RHP: Signed out of Venezuela in 2012 for $250,000, Luis Martinez was not on many teams’ radar. Because of that, the White Sox managed to lure the then 16 year-old for a nominal fee. Three years on, and the signing of Martinez is proving to be a very astute piece of business.

Martinez stands at 6-5 and weighs around 200 pounds. He has all the makings of a big-league starter. In 2014, he spent time in two rookie leagues, accumulating an ERA of 2.93 in 12 games, while striking out 62 hitters in 58.1 innings. White Sox fans may not see Martinez for another couple of years, but for now, he will be busy working on readying himself for the major leagues.

16. Mason Robbins OF: Number 16 on our list is Mason Robbins, who was drafted in the 25th round of last year’s draft. The former Southern Miss Golden Eagle played predominantly in right field until his junior year, when he focused on increasing his stock for the draft.

All of Robbins’ hard work is paying off thus far in pro ball. In 2014, the left-hander played in the rookie Pioneer League and fared well, hitting 7 home runs, 32 RBIs and a .304 average in just 54 games. The Mississippi native will look to develop his natural power in 2015, and make a quick rise through the minor-league ranks.

17. Andre Wheeler LHP: Wheeler is another late-rounder that has performed well in the organization’s minor-league system. A left-hander, Wheeler moved into a starting role last season, after pitching in just 31 innings over 18 games in 2013.

His move to the rotation for the Kannapolis Intimidators proved to be a great move. The 23 year old pitched in 16 starts and produced a sterling 3.04 ERA over 74 innings, including 83 strikeouts in that time. He’ll look to make it to Double and then Triple A, in 2015.

18. Micker Adolfo OF: Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 for $1,600,000, Micker Adolfo may be the best international prospect the White Sox have signed this decade. Equipped with a laser arm and plus power, many scouts liken Adolfo to Yoenis Cespedes of the Detroit Tigers.

Adolfo too plays in the outfield and managed to get 46 games under his belt in 2014 in the Single A rookie Arizona League. He slugged 5 home runs and 10 doubles, yet only managed a .218 average. Adolfo doesn’t run too well, so a switch to third or first base may be a suitable option as he matures with age.

19. Miguel Chalas RHP: Despite a rocky start to pro baseball in America, Chalas excelled towards the end of 2014. The righty was struggling for one of the Orioles’ Single A affiliates, when they decided to try him with their Triple A affiliate. There, he pitched in 7 innings and yielded just 2 hits and 1 run. He’ll start 2015 once again in Triple A, but will strive to make it to the south side of Chicago instead.

In 2014, the former 2nd rounder used his curveball, slider and changeup to accumulate a 3.28 ERA in 42 Single A games, though none of them were starts. The 23 year-old clearly has the arm, he just needs to prove himself in the upper ranks of the White Sox farm system before fans can take him too seriously.

20. Nolan Sanburn RHP: Sanburn holds all the tools to be a decent major leaguer and rounds off our list nicely. Armed with a fastball in the low to mid-90s, Sanburn often strikes out over a batter per inning due to three average-to-above-average complimentary pitches.

In 2014, the former 2nd rounder used his curveball, slider and changeup to accumulate a 3.28 ERA in 42 Single A games, though none of them were starts. The 23 year-old clearly has the arm, he just needs to prove himself in the upper ranks of the White Sox farm system before fans can take him too seriously.

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Daniel Levitt
About the Author

Daniel has been following the minor-leagues since 2012, and is BHC's go-to guy for all things prospects. Daniel is eager to enthral you all with his love and passion for baseball. Follow Daniel on Twitter @DanielLevitt32.

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