Just Missed: White Sox prospects just outside the preseason 2022 top 30

The White Sox farm system is no longer top heavy, deep or packed with elite prospects but there’s a lot of upside and potential leaving room to move up in rankings as we get deeper into the year. Overall, the system is in a much better place than when the rebuilding process broke ground in 2016 but it is pretty universally ranked as the worst current system in baseball by every major publication. Since our last list in August, Gavin Sheets has graduated out of prospect status and he’s expected to be in the big leagues in 2022.

That brings us to this list: 20 players who did not make the top 30 this cycle, but who our writers discussed and considered in some fashion. Check out our last version of this “just missed” group from the preseason. These are prospects on the edge of the radar and history suggests that some will contribute value down the line in some form.

Note: Players are listed in alphabetical order

James Beard; outfield

Beard was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 draft out of Loyd Star High School in Mississippi and he was considered to be a raw talent coming out of the state. The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder possesses plus bat speed and shows some power potential, but he struggled in 73 games with the Cannon Ballers in Low-A in 2021.

In addition to preparing all of the meals in the clubhouse, Beard smashed five homers and flashed defensive ability in the low minors so far. 80-grade speed is the outfielder’s carrying tool and it has been evident since he was drafted. Beard was recently named as the best defender in the system by MLB Pipeline. The 21-year-old should get an opportunity in High-A to begin 2022, but a repeat of Low-A wouldn’t be a huge surprise either.

Dario Borrero, outfielder

Ben Badler of Baseball America joined the FutureSox podcast recently and gave us an update on the Venezuelan outfielder. The 18-year-old only played five games in 2021 with the DSL White Sox after suffering an injury. When he was initially scouted, the outfielder was around 6-1. He’s now sprouted up to 6-5 and 190 pounds. Borrero hits and throws left-handed and he possesses plus raw power. This is a typical corner outfield profile. There’s huge raw power potential to go along with a loose and easy swing. Borrero should make his stateside debut in 2022 and he’ll likely play his games in the Arizona Complex League.

Taylor Broadway, right handed pitcher

The White Sox selected Broadway in the sixth round of the 2021 draft as an under-slot senior sign. Coming into the draft, Baseball America ranked the right hander as the #370 overall prospect in the class. He throws his fastball in the 91-95 mph range and touches 97. Broadway also possesses two breaking balls-a hard upper 80″s slider with vertical bite and a lower 80’s curveball with shape. There is good carry on his fastball as well.

The 24-year-old posted a 3.44 ERA with 66 strikeouts and 9 walks, posting a 3.44 ERA for Ole Miss as a senior. The 5-11 205 pounder is fearless on the mound and the White Sox believe he can move quickly. As a professional, Broadway tossed one inning in the Complex League before posting a 1.59 ERA in 5.2 innings with Kannapolis and then finished his season with six innings of 3.00 ERA ball in Winston-Salem. He should begin the 2022 season back in High-A but Double-A should be the destination at some point this coming season.

Cameron Butler, outfielder

The White Sox drafted Butler out of a small high school in California where he regularly competed against pretty weak competition. In the 15th round, the 19-year-old received $150,000 and he made his professional debut in the Arizona Complex League. Baseball America ranked Butler as the No. 210 overall player in the 2021 draft class. The athlete possesses a strong, athletic build and Mike Shirley gushed over his five-tool potential.

The 6-foot, 185-pounder could get to plus power in the future, but already shows a plus arm in the outfield while displaying plus run times as well. Butler is lauded for his quality makeup and his prolific tools make him an intriguing follow into the future. Butler likely begins the year in extended spring training before repeating in the ACL for the White Sox.

Theo Denlinger, right handed pitcher

The White Sox drafted Theo Denlinger in the seventh round of the 2021 draft out of Bradley University. As a 25-year-old, the righty didn’t have much signing leverage but he’ll be given an opportunity to advance through the syste, quickly. The 6-3 240 pounder struck out five hitters in two innings in the Arizona Complex League after signing before heading to Low-A to finish his first season. With the Cannon Ballers, Denlinger posted a 2.45 ERA while averaging 15.95 K/9 over the course of 14.2 innings. Off the field, the right hander is an accomplished blacksmith but he has some swagger on it as well. Bill Mitchell of Baseball America reported that the club was impressed with Denlinger during instructional league due to his intimidating presence on the mound and 94-97 mph fastball. He likely starts his first full season in Winston-Salem or Birmingham and there’s nothing holding him back from moving quickly if he performs.

Johan Dominguez, right handed pitcher

Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Xavier Cedeno trade back in August of 2018, Dominguez seems like a bit of a late bloomer. The 6-4 190 pounder participated in the Arizona Fall League recently and his stuff has ticked up into the 96-97 mph range. The 26-year-old is also Rule Five eligible but should start his season with the Charlotte Knights in 2022.

Dominguez threw at three minor league levels for White Sox’s affiliates in 2021. In 65.2 innings in High-A, the righty posted a 4.01 FIP while averaging 10.14 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. He then went on to throw 35.1 innings with the Barons in Double-A where a 4.33 ERA was posted while averaging 10.19 K/9 and 2.04 BB/9. Charlotte was a struggle in six innings to close out the season however.

Christian Edwards, right handed pitcher

The White Sox drafted Edwards in the 11th round of the 2021 draft and he signed for $150,000. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder posted a 2.48 ERA while surrendering 42 hits and compiling 83 strikeouts with 27 walks and a WHIP of 1.00 over the course of 69 innings with Jacksonville State. The 23-year-old has “loud stuff” according to Mike Shirley and the club was impressed when they saw him in person last year.

Edwards has a fastball that sits in the 94-98 range. He possesses a solid breaking ball as well while being a “plus athlete with starter materials and big velocity.” Edwards will develop as a starting pitcher, but has the traits to move quickly in a relief role as well. The righty threw nine innings in the Arizona Complex League and struck out eight with five walks while posting an ERA of 3.00. He should begin his season with one of the A ball affiliates.

D.J. Gladney, infielder

After getting drafted and signing out of high school, Gladney blasted eight home runs in the Arizona League. He hit .264/.309/.428. The local product out of Illiana Christian High School struck out 82 times in 220 plate appearances, which was a red flag and has unfortunately carried over. Gladney has a projectable 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame with room to grow. Scouts who saw him still believe in his power while also showing concern about his hit tool. Gladney has played some first base and he’ll need to stay at third to remain on the fringes of the prospect radar.

The 20-year-old struggled in Low-A with Kannapolis in 2022. The right handed hitter slashed .191/.293/.324 with seven homers in 71 games. Gladney posted a 73 wRC+ only but did sport a solid 10.5% walk rate. The 42% strikeout rate dragged him down though and he likely repeats Low-A tp begin this upcoming season.

Brooks Gosswein, left handed pitcher

Athletic southpaw selected in the fourth round of the 2021 MLB Draft that might already be the best left-handed pitcher in the system. The White Sox see Gosswein as a starter with a five-pitch mix including a slider and slurvy curveball to go with his two seam and four seam fastballs. The 23-year-old pitched at Bradley University and signed for $200,000 in July. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder sits in the mid 90s and shows big life on his sinker. In eight innings in the Arizona Complex League, Brooks compiled eight strikeouts and posted an ERA of 1.13. He finished his season with nine innings at Kannapolis in Low-A. Baseball America ranked Gosswein as the #27 overall prospect in the system recently. He should start the year in High-A with Winston-Salem.

Chase Krogman, outfielder

The 21-year-old will spend the entire season at that age and could reach High-A Winston-Salem if swing and approach changes that he’s work feverishly on pan out. The White Sox drafted Krogman out of a Missouri high school back in 2019 and paid him an over-slot bonus to pry him from Missouri State in the 34th round. The 5-11 180 pounder bats and throws left-handed and smashed 10 home runs with the Cannon Ballers in 2021. He’s a good fielder and has plus power potential from the left side. Over the course of 77 games in Low-A, Chase posted a 100 wRC+ with a walk rate of 15.8%. Strikeouts are the biggest deterrent currently as he whiffed at a 41.8% clip in A ball. There’s still plenty of upside here and he’s very young. Repeating Kannapolis is likely to start the year but he should advance to High-A and play most of the 2022 season with the Dash.

Gil Luna Jr., left handed pitcher

The diminutive southpaw was a ninth round selection by the White Sox in the 2021 draft. The latest signing from longtime amateur scout John Kazanas had a stellar start to his professional career. In 15 innings across the ACL and Low-A, Luna Jr. gave up no runs with a WHIP of 0.72 and .106 batting average against. The 5-10 173 pound lefty also punched out 24 batters and walked just six in that span.

The 22-year-old throws a 94-96 mph fastball from a lower release point and the pitch is very deceiving. His slider flashes plus at times but looks more like an average offering. The 28th ranked prospect in the system at Baseball America needs to improve his breaking ball but he currently uses his changeup quite a bit to stymie right handed hitters. He should begin the 2022 season in Winston-Salem with the Dash.

Davis Martin, right handed pitcher

This is the first appearance on the list for Davis Martin but he improved his stock a bit in 2021. The former 14th rounder out of Texas Tech shows command of four pitches and his velocity increased last year. The 25-year-old right hander posted a 5.32 ERA and 4.56 FIP while averaging 10.37 K/9 and 3.46 BB/9 in 67.2 innings in High-A. The 6-2 200 pounder then earned a promotion to Birmingham where he posted a 3.54 ERA in 20.1 innings. The strikeout rate went down with the Barons and the walk rate stayed pretty much the same. Martin was a top 200 draft prospect at MLB Pipeline back in 2018 as well. There is some pedigree here and he should begin the 2022 season with the Barons in Birmingham.

Jefferson Mendoza, catcher

Mendoza makes his reappearance on our just missed list after being included in the top 30 at midseason 2021. Signed out of Venezuela for $300,000 in 2017, the 6-foot, 220-pound catcher has excellent blocking and receiving skills behind the dish as well as a plus throwing arm. More known for his defensive prowess, Mendoza may have the ability to provide average power potential in the future.

The 21-year-old also uses a middle of the field approach at the plate. If Mendoza is able to reach his ceiling, he could very well be a major league starting catcher. Otherwise, a career as a defensive-minded backup may best suit the young Venezeulan. 2021 was a step back for Mendoza as he posted an 89 wRC+ with five homers in the Arizona Complex League. He strikes out too much and has conditioning issues as well. He’s worth keeping an eye on after posting a 141 wRC+ in the DSL back in 2019 however. He should make his full season debut in Kannapolis to begin the 2022 season.

McKinley Moore, right handed pitcher

The 6-foot-6, 225-pound flamethrower out of Arkansas-Little Rock made his his debut on the top 30 list at midseason. Moore has a mid-to-upper 90s fastball that is his best offering and he pairs that with a mid-80s slider that flashes plus. The ability to throw strikes consistently has been an issue for Moore, but he struck out 13.9 hitters per nine in Kannapolis and 12 per nine in Winston-Salem. He averaged 5.5 BB/9 in Low-A and improved the mark to 3.5 after his promotion to High-A. The former 14th rounder is very imposing on the mound and throws hard. He’s an arm strength guy that is still more thrower than pitcher at this point but he should still receive an opportunity to pitch in Double-A this year. Moore has high-leverage or closer type potential, he just needs to improve his control and limit the walks.

Victor Quezada, infielder

The 6-1 185 pounder throws and hits right handed and was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $525K in January 2021. Now 18-years-old, he made his debut with the White Sox’s affiliate in the Dominican Summer League as a 17-year-old this past season. In 49 games, he slashed .250/.353/.436 with six homers and 20 runs batted in over 184 plate appearances. Quezada posted a 120 wRC+ with a wOBA of .383 while compiling a 28.3% strikeout rate and 14.1% walk rate. Quezada is physically advanced with a strong build and raw power.

The swing is simple with all fields power on display. The teenager also possesses a plus arm at third base. His bonus was a significant one and he should debut stateside in Arizona later this year. Ben Badler of Baseball America had lots of positive things to say about the infielder on a recent edition of the FutureSox podcast as well.

Johnny Ray, right handed pitcher

Ray pitched at Illinois State and John Logan Community College before landing at TCU with the Horned Frogs. The White Sox were very familiar with the Quincy, Ill., native and selected him in the 12th round of the 2021 draft, securing his services with a bonus of $150,000. The 23-year-old possesses multiple above-average offerings, but his fastball was beat around last year causing his fall to day three of the draft.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder was ranked as the No. 220 overall player in the class, but his lack of a track record and poor results really hurt his stock. Ray has worked to lower the intensity of his violent delivery, but he does struggle to repeat his delivery. His fastball touches 97 mph and he should get better results than he does currently. The righty threw 12 innings in the Complex League and posted a 9.75 ERA while averaging 11.25 K/9. In 2022, he should begin the season with the Cannon Ballers in Low-A.

Blake Rutherford, outfielder

Rutherford was seen as one of the best prep players in the 2016 draft class coming out of California and the Yankees gave him a bonus north of $3 million in the first round. The White Sox acquired him in a trade for Todd Frazier and David Robertson in 2017 and the outfielder has never really lived up to expectations as the centerpiece of the deal. The 24-year-old shows an all fields approach and still has a smooth left-handed stroke, but he doesn’t hit for enough power to make up for a fringy arm that likely forces him to left field and just average speed.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder heated up late in the year with the Knights, but his bat must carry him as a prospect and he’s struggled in the hitter friendly league that the Knights play in. In 2021, Rutherford hit just .250/.286/.404 with 11 homers. He has walked less than 5% of the time and posted a wRC+ of 80. There’s still time for him to turn it around, but the lockout really hurts a guy like him. Rutherford is on the 40-man roster so he won’t be able to join his teammates in minor league camp or report to Charlotte until the issues are resolved.

Luke Shilling, right handed pitcher

Shilling was drafted in the 15th round of the 2018 draft out of the University of Illinois and injured his lat muscle almost immediately after signing with the White Sox. He was released in 2020. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder improved his body and delivery while he was away from the organization and he returned to the organization on a minor league deal last January. Pitching for the Winston-Salem Dash in High-A, it was evident that Shilling’s stuff had returned. He was throwing in the upper 90s with a nasty cutter/slider that outside scouts called a “plus pitch” while also displaying an inconsistent curveball as well.

He appeared to be on the fast track to the big leagues and internal evaluators thought he could move quickly in a relief role. Shilling had another career setback and underwent Tommy John surgery last June. The 24-year-old was a minor league free agent but he chose to re-sign with the White Sox. He would’ve had interest after averaging 13.5 K/9 and he could move quickly once healthy.

Yoelvin Silven, right handed pitcher

Silven is the #25 overall prospect in the system according to Baseball America in their most recent update. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic in May 2018 and immediately went to the Dominican Summer League. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound right-hander posted a 3.66 ERA and struck out nearly 10 hitters per nine in 64 innings in the DSL. In 15 games, his 2.78 xFIP produced 71 strikeouts in 64 innings. In 2019, Silven started in the AZL where he threw 44 innings. The righty punched out 51 hitters and induced lots of weak contact while only walking just over one hitter per nine. He posted a 3.48 ERA with an xFIP of 3.05. The White Sox have constantly tinkered with the right hander’s breaking balls and adding velocity to his slider has been a focus. He pitched at three levels in 2021 and the organization likes that he’s a “bulldog on the mound”. Silven should return to Double-A Birmingham to begin 2022.

Emilio Vargas, right handed pitcher

The White Sox were awarded Vargas on waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks in November 2020 and they’ve since effectively out-righted him to the minors. The 25-year-old right hander started 15 games with the Barons in 2021 and threw 83.2 innings. The righty posted a 2.90 ERA with a 3.62 FIP while averaging 10.65 K/9 and 3.01 BB/9. The 6-3 220 pounder shows an athletic and repeatable delivery. He possesses a decent fastball that is well commanded with a breaking ball that has two plane break. The numbers have been solid and he has backend starter potential. It’s possible that his stuff would play up in a bullpen role as well. He’s rule five eligible and likely starts the season as a member of the Charlotte Knights starting rotation.

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James Fox
James Fox
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