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Now that prospect rankings are starting to come out, I wanted to see how other fans felt about the players in our system, who they’re high on, who they’re low on, and the reasons for that (whether first hand viewing, scouting the stat line, or that swelling in your knee). I’ll offer up the format below with my own predictions, but please feel free to copy/past it and fill in your own responses if you care to. We can revisit this in October and see how we did. Now, without further ado…
FIRST CALL-UP: RYAN CORDELL
Given Charlie Tilson’s sketchy health history, as well as Cordell’s overall versatility in the field, there’s just too many avenues for Cordell to make the jump early for me not to roll with him, though Casey Gillaspie could be a pretty early call-up also if the team finally tires of Matt Davidson. Kopech will likely deserve an early call-up, but I think they’ll keep him in Charlotte as long as they can bullshit a reason for it.
BREAKOUT/MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: ALEX CALL
Call got lost in the shuffle in 2017 due to an injury-abbreviated campaign, but the talent is still there. Strikes me as being a bit like Blake Rutherford (average-ish tools across the board) only without the hype due to his age for his level.
MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER: LUIS ALEXANDER BASABE
While I like Basabe’s potential, he’s exactly the kind of player the White Sox have consistently failed to help take a step forward in development. I have low expectations, but if he turns things around, it will really help shift the narrative on the organization’s player development.
HOT TAKE: MICHAEL KOPECH IS OUR TOP PROSPECT
For this section provide something you think or believe that goes against the general group-think you’ve seen from writers, scouts, and fans alike. For my part, I would rank Kopech ahead of Jimenez. Both are elite prospects who seem to be sure-fire major league contributors in the near future, with Kopech being slightly closer to the bigs. The only reason I’d put Kopech ahead of Jimenez is because, at his peak, Jimenez is going to be a slugger of limited (if not negative) defensive value. Granted, there is still plenty of value to be had out of a guy who can hit the cover off the ball, but even if he’s an elite hitter he probably has a ceiling of 6-7 WAR. Contrast that with Kopech, who has an arsenal which, given enough development in his control (which has already started happening), can be an 8-WAR pitcher and perennial CYA contender. Yes, the risks are always greater with pitchers, but he has the talent to be a perennial top-5 pitcher in the league.
UNRANKED FAVORITE: VICTOR DIAZ
Remember him? The fourth and final piece of the return in the Chris Sale trade, Diaz scraped the back end of the organization’s top-30 on arrival but fell of immediately after due to poor performance and injury, not to mention other arrivals in trades. Has an arm like Thyago Vieira (or Robin Leyer, to use another unrated guy as a comp) and is roughly the same age, but somehow has even less control over the 100+ mph heat he’s throwing. I’m mostly intrigued by the potential, as if the White Sox can instill even a modicum of control in him while developing his slider (and if he can stay healthy), he could form a ridiculous triumvirate of late inning fireballers with Vieira and Zack Burdi. A lottery ticket unlikely to be a future major leaguer, but I’ll be following him closely early in the season.
SEPTEMBER SURPRISE: JAKE BURGER
Name a player nobody’s really expecting to see this season, but you think might somehow pop up on the expanded roster. I’m rolling with Burger just because I think he’ll have a fine season in the minors and advance accordingly. Given our lack of depth at third base it wouldn’t surprise me if the Sox need another body there by the end of the season. Additionally, I think they might like to get a major league look at Burger to see if he can be the solution at the position they hope he can be. At best, he’s playing the hot corner for us for years to come. At worst, he can establish himself as a depth piece or trade bait if we sign Machado or Donaldson.