White Sox prospects take five spots on Baseball America’s top 100 list

Baseball America published its top 100 prospects list this morning, and the White Sox came away with five spots. An above-average number is always a positive indicator of farm depth, but it’s especially impressive after a season in which three previous top-100 prospects graduated.

Eloy Jimenez replaced Yoan Moncada as the White Sox’ top-five prospect, coming in fourth after Ronald Acuna, Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Following Jimenez in the Sox system are Michael Kopech (No. 11), Alec Hansen (No. 57), Luis Robert (No. 58) and Dane Dunning (No. 82).

That’s a strong showing considering none of last year’s top-three prospects were eligible this time around. The Sox lost Yoan Moncada (No. 2), Lucas Giolito (No. 25) and Reynaldo Lopez (No. 31) from the 2017 BA list, with Kopech showing up as the first holdover a spot later.

Zack Collins was the only White Sox prospect to fall off the list for the wrong reason. He tumbled off the board all the way from No. 56 in 2017, which gives you some indication of the work in front of him. BA liked him when he was above-average bat with a chance to stick at catcher. The positional uncertainty is less forgivable after hitting .223 with 118 strikeouts in 101 games at High-A. That kind of bat no longer plays somewhere, so Collins’ path to the majors is now muddier. He spent instructional league working on reducing the hitch in his swing.

Fortunately, the Sox have replacements. Hansen had the reverse fortune, making a believer out of BA after its evaluators were reluctant to buy into his encouraging pro debut. Robert is a spot behind him, which is conservative but fair given the lack of stateside experience and visuals.

Dunning’s inclusion surprised me the most, in that he showed up comfortably within the top 100. I had expected bubble status, similar to Dylan Cease ending up on the other side of 100 on this list after ranking 97th last year. The final judgment on the Adam Eaton trade won’t arrive until at least one of the pitchers turns in an above-average performance, but with Giolito and Lopez deserving rotation spots on Opening Day and Dunning cracking these sorts of rankings, it’s off to just about the best start possible.

Speaking of best-case scenarios, only Ohtani’s jump to the United States kept Kopech out of the top 10, and Jimenez rose 10 spots from his 2017 preseason spot as a member of the Cubs organization.

If you needed a griping post, with Collins losing his membership card, Hansen is the only prospect acquired by the Sox via the normal routes of amateur player procurement. The Sox paid more than $50 million to sign Robert, and the other three came via trade of valuable major leaguers. Fernando Tatis Jr. (No. 9) would’ve counted if he weren’t traded, but alas, Marco Paddy’s biggest success is happening with the Padres. The Sox didn’t need to draft well to start the rebuild, but they’ll need better results in this area to reinforce it.

Also, as PauliePaulie noted, Blake Rutherford fell further than Collins, ended up out of the top 100 after a No. 45 ranking the previous year. Unlike the Eaton trade, the Tommy Kahnle deal leaves plenty to be desired at the onset.

In other prospect news, Keith Law is rolling out his top-100 list in two parts. He published the back half of his rankings today, and there isn’t a White Sox prospect to be seen. He was more bullish than anybody on Kopech last year, so I’d expect he and Jimenez to get top-10 spots. The question is whether he’s similarly enthusiastic about Hansen and Robert, or whether those two and Dunning are off the board entirely.

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Rutherford and Cease also jettisoned.

Law posted the second half of his Top 100. No clue what is says as I do not give ESPN $.

Eagle Bones

Probably bears mentioning that Cease was #97 last year.


Had plenty of room to move up.

IMO- This list shows the Sox should still be prioritizing talent acquisition.

Eagle Bones

Sure, but if he’s right outside there top 100 somewhere, that’s much different than the kind of drop Rutherford saw.

As Cirensica

No White Sox prospects in that bottom half list by Law


Wow, Walker Buehler getting the love 2 1/2 years after surgery. Will be interesting to compare his career to Giolito’s over the next decade.


When Robert signed, Law said Robert was a middle to back of the first round draft pick and had a full list of negatives about him.  I’d be shocked if he put him in his top 50 after his initial take.


Law loves guys with high upside, so Robert might sneak in there just because of what other teams have said since he signed.

But it’s very possible that it’s just Hansen, Eloy, and Kopech.


FWIW, Dylan Cease was 86th on Law’s list last year and as pointed out, 97th on BAs list. The entire industry must think he’s a bullpen arm at this point which is a little surprising.

Greg Nix

I’m curious what a guy like Law would have wanted to see from Cease last year. I don’t think he took a huge step forward by any means, but he moved up a level and doubled his previous career high in innings while largely maintaining his effectiveness. I don’t really see how that merits a drop in FV, but that could be my own ignorance talking.

Patrick Nolan

Knock on Cease could be innings per start.

He only recorded an out in the sixth inning in three starts last year, perhaps casting equal or greater doubt on whether that’s his long-term role.

Eagle Bones

Replying to gnix, was thinking the same thing.  I know people seem to have pretty divergent opinions on him, but if you liked him before this year, I don’t see why this year would have changed your mind really.

Josh Nelson

Not that surprising if you watched Cease pitched last year. He has a similar problem like Carson Fulmer where the stuff is great, but a hard time repeating it and will need to work on endurance to change people’s minds about his future potential role with the White Sox.


With these lists and where Cease was ranked, it may be more to do with others than anything Cease necessarily did wrong or didn’t live up to. He could be progressing as hoped/expected, but the gap between the guys around 100ish is probably tiny, so when someone does what someone like Hansen did, him shooting past isn’t a downgrade of Cease as much as recognition of progress and multi level jumps by Hansen.


Hi Jim, will Sox Machine have it’s own ranking of the top 20 Sox prospects?



This also shows how important this year’s draft is for the Sox. They need to hit on a couple of picks to build up another wave of talent to sustain contention.

Lurker Laura

Fernando Tatis, Jr. makes my head hurt. Love having 5 guys on the list, but him being in the Top 10 is painful.


More painful than having Shields in the rotation!


it’ll be interesting to see how many of these guys fall in the top-200 in May:  Cease, Rutherford, Collins, Sheets, Burger, Adolfo, Burdi . . .


Sox notes from the BA top 100 chat:

Cease and Rutherford weren’t particularly close. Rutherford needs a reset and Cease has a ways to go on FB command, secondary development and finding a 3rd pitch.

Rutherford needs to add strength and corresponding power to fit his projected spot in Corner OF. Still a prospect.

Everyone agrees that Robert has top 10 prospect potential. Just needs to show he can handle adjustment to full season ball.

If everything clicks for Hansen, he’s a #2-3 starter.


Did they say what’s missing from Hansen’s arsenal that would prevent him from being a #1 starter? He’s got 4 pitches that he can throw in any count. His fastball sits 96 with life. His slider has a sharp, late break. His curveball is above average. And his changeup is a solid out pitch vs. lefties. If “everything clicks,” that’s the type of guy I’d love to have headlining a rotation.


That’s the full quote. My guess is that “#2” means fantastic pitcher,but not a Kershaw/Sale/MadBum “Ace”.

I have not seen any reports on an above avg curve or anything more than a show me change-up at this point. Thought he made his biggest strides in his delivery and FB/SL command.



That’s the full quote. My guess is that “#2” means fantastic pitcher,but not  Kershaw/Sale/MadBum “Ace”.  Kopech


Longenhagen on Luis Robert and the mini hitting camp: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/fangraphs-audio-luis-robert-and-the-white-sox-covert-hitting-camp/


Skip the Jake Burger part of the convo. 25-50 mins. mark.


The podcast is totally unlistenable.  So much rambling… made me feel like Bart Simpson.


I’m not sure how Bart Simpson feels, but I’m assuming his hair feels like a hedgehog.