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

Micker Adolfo (Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights)

The White Sox farm system came into the year ranked 30th out of 30 teams for pretty much every publication that produces rankings. Lots of growth has happened in 2022 however and, while the system as a whole still ranks near the bottom of the league, individual success stories have become prevalent. With two top 100 prospects, a few more in consideration and a focus on infusing pitching into the system, significant gains have been made in the organization.

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 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

Eric Adler, RHRP

The White Sox selected Adler in the sixth round of the 2022 draft back in July out of Wake Forest. The 21-year-old right hander possesses a plus fastball and curveball but he really struggled as a junior for the Demon Deacons.

Last year, the 6-2, 190 pounder was excellent in the Cape Cod League where he posted a 1.15 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 15.2 innings. There are concerns regarding Adler’s ability to consistently throw strikes. The righty owns a plus fastball that touches 98 mph with carry and his hard breaking ball features depth with slider velocity. Adler projects as a high leverage relief option if he can harness his stuff.

Micker Adolfo, OF

Perhaps the most polarizing player in the White Sox system, Micker Adolfo possesses jaw-dropping power, tantalizing arm strength and a laundry list of injuries. The Dominican outfielder returned to Triple-A Charlotte this season after being outrighted from the White Sox 40-man roster as spring training concluded.

The 25-year-old still showcases plus power and a plus throwing arm but the strikeouts have kept him from making his big league debut to this point. Adolfo has hit 11 homers in Triple-A this year but a 35% strikeout rate has kept his wRC+ right around 92 and that will need to improve for him to advance past his current state without ultimately heading overseas.

Brooks Baldwin, UTIL

The Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year signed with the White Sox for $125,000 after being selected in the 12th round out of UNC Wilmington this past July. The 22-year-old is known for playing all over the diamond and his success in the Cape Cod League really helped form a strong opinion for scouts. The switch-hitter slashed .347/.406/.621 in his final college season with solid bat speed and a line drive oriented swing firmly on display. The 6-2, 180 pounder is drawing walks so far in nine games in the Arizona Complex League but he’s struggled with the bat. He should report to an A ball affiliate for full season baseball in 2023.

Godwin Bennett, OF

Bennett is a Nicaraguan corner outfielder who was signed during the 2021 international signing period by the White Sox. During his debut in the Dominican Summer League, the right handed hitter slashed .235/.377/.471 with four homers and a 135 wRC+ last year.

The 6-2, 170 pounder has returned to the DSL this year and the 19-year-old has posted impressive numbers overall. He is hitting .298/.418/.640 in 141 plate appearances while smacking 10 homers. He strikes out too much and the batting average has suffered at times but the walk rates are high as well. Bennett should make his stateside debut next season in Arizona as a 20-year-old.

Dario Borrero, OF

Ben Badler of Baseball America joined the FutureSox podcast last year 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 with huge potential attached to is bat. Borrero made his stateside debut this season with the rookie level affiliate in the Arizona Complex League. He’s played lots of first base which is a red flag while hitting .302/.339/.352 in 45 games.

Jacob Burke, OF

The White Sox selected Burke out of the University of Miami in the 11th round of the 2022 draft and they paid him $225,000 which is top 8 round money. The 6-1, 210 pounder hit 13 homers for the Hurricanes with a triple slash of .347/.425/.599. The 21-year-old has been lauded for his makeup and Mike Shirley called him an “intriguing blend of tools, performance and makeup” and the club loved the profile as a physical athlete who should remain in center field. Burke was stellar in a five game sample in the Arizona Complex League and will finish the 2022 season in Kannapolis with the Cannon Ballers.

Johan Dominguez, RHSP

Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Xavier Cedeno trade back in August of 2018, Dominguez seemed like a bit of a late bloomer. The 6-4, 190 pounder participated in the Arizona Fall League last year and his stuff ticked up into the 96-97 mph range. The 26-year-old was Rule Five eligible but without that draft taking place, he ended with the Charlotte Knights in Triple-A. Dominguez threw at three minor league levels for White Sox’s affiliates in 2021 and he struck out 13 hitters in 12.2 innings this season before ultimately succumbing to Tommy John Surgery.

Duke Ellis, OF

This bundle of joy has been entertaining for the natives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina this season. It’s a fun brand of baseball that Ellis plays as a super athletic energy type that is a no doubt center fielder long-term. The 24-year-old was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Texas in 2021 and he’s posted a 108 wRC+ in the South Atlantic League. The 6-2, 180 pounder draws walks but he’s also clubbed 7 homers and stolen 49 bases on the season. The lefty profiles as an extra outfielder but he sure is fun to watch.

Caleb Freeman, RHRP

After struggling with command throughout his collegiate career, Caleb Freeman showed a composed approach on the mound last season to put himself on track to reach a major-league bullpen. The 24-year-old right-hander also made noticeable improvements with his curveball, which can be a plus secondary offering. The 6-1, 195 pounder has struggled in limited action in Double-A this year while dealing with injuries throughout.

With three potential plus pitches and a fastball that sits 94-97 mph consistently, Freeman could quickly get back on the big league radar with better health to close out the season. The right hander profiles as a high leverage relief option at his ceiling and he will be Rule Five eligible this winter.

DJ Gladney, 3B/OF

Gladney has smashed 33 career homers in 225 games in the low minors to start his professional career. An over-slot signing out of Iliana Christian High School back in 2019, the local product has posted a 110 wRC+ this year with the Cannon Ballers in Low-A. The 21-year-old has frequently put up solid walk rates in the 10% range but the strikeouts have continued to keep him in this just missed section.

The 6-3, 195 pounder has improved his strikeout rate but it still falls in the 32% range. He’s added some outfield work to his resume in addition to playing at third and first base regularly. DJ has driven in 65 runs while smacking 18 homers this season on his way to a successful campaign. He should reach High-A for the first time in 2023.

Misael Gonzalez, OF

A toolsy, speedy outfielder from Leadership Christian Academy in Puerto Rico, Gonzalez really burst onto the scene in 2021. A cutdown on his strikeout percentage, increased walk rate, and development of power in Arizona helped Gonzalez own a 151 wRC+ and .439 wOBA through 21 games with the ACL White Sox before earning a promotion to Kannapolis.

Gonzalez has struggled in a full season ball but still possesses some tools. Through 67 games in 2022, the outfielder is posting solid walk rates but he’s striking out too much and not hitting for power while posting a 74 wRC+. He has youth on his side, though, as he’s still just 21-years-old.

Brooks Gosswein, LHSP

Athletic southpaw selected in the fourth round of the 2021 MLB Draft that is already one of the best left-handed pitchers 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 last July. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder sits in the mid 90s and shows big life on his sinker.

The southpaw posted a 4.77 xFIP in Low-A with Kannapolis over the course of 82 innings this season. He was recently promoted to the Winston-Salem Dash and likely ends his season in High-A. Gosswein has averaged nearly one strikeout per nine but allows too many walks.

Adam Hackenberg, C

Taken in the 18th round of the 2021 draft out of Clemson, the long-scouted Hackenberg was selected for his plus defense. Despite his durable 6’2” 225 frame, he suffered numerous injuries at Clemson and only showed flashes at the plate. His success at the dish changed dramatically upon arrival in Kannapolis.

In 86 plate appearances, he slashed .346/.384/.457 with an 18.6% K rate. Couple that with a 130 wRC+ and an .841 OPS and you get a tantalizing performance that landed him on our top 30 list last year. Hackenberg has struggled some in Winston-Salem this year but he’s been solid defensively and has hit seven homers. He’s one of the more valuable catchers in the system.

Carlos Jiménez, OF

This 20-year-old Panamanian was just alright during his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League over 156 plate appearances in 43 games last year. The 6-4, 220 pounder profiles at first base so he’ll really need to hit to advance through the system, but his raw power plays and he’s had more success in year two. The left-handed hitter has slashed .326/.390/.545 with five homers on the year. Jiménez’s strikeout rate sits under 20% with a 9% walk rate and he’s posted a 143 wRC+. He’s too advanced for the DSL and he should compete in instructional league later this year with a ticket stateside in 2023.

Gil Luna Jr., LHRP

The diminutive southpaw was a ninth round selection by the White Sox in the 2021 draft and is another signing from longtime amateur scout John Kazanas who 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. Luna Jr. only threw six innings in High-A before getting injured in 2022.

Yohemy Nolasco, RHSP

Yohemy Nolasco was one of the highlights of the White Sox’ extended spring training squad, according to Baseball America. The 19-year-old Dominican right hander has drawn physical comparisons to Cleveland right hander Triston McKenzie for his tall and slender frame. After posting a 3.81 FIP in the Dominican Summer League, Nolasco hasn’t been as sharp in the complex league. In 32.2 innings in Arizona, the righty has displayed a 92-96 mph fastball with life while showing feel for a slurvy breaking ball. The 6-3, 160 pounder should see some velocity gains as more strength comes.

Wilber Sanchez, SS

Wilber Sanchez has fallen off the top 30 list from the pre-season after compiling a rough statistical season in 2022. After posting a modest .269/.313/.385 line in the ACL, the White Sox were aggressive with the Venezuelan and sent him to Kannapolis to finish out the 2021 campaign. Unsurprisingly, Sanchez endured offensive struggles, batting .200/.254/.339. The 20-year-old is thought to possess solid bat-to-ball skills, however the bat is still developing. It’s been a rough offensive season but Sanchez has plus speed with defensive skills that will keep him at shortstop.

Tyler Schweitzer, LHSP

Schweitzer spent two years in the Ball State bullpen before bursting onto the scene in 2022 as the MId-American Conference Pitcher of the Year. The 6-0, 185 pound lefty shows a low 90’s fastball possessing vertical break and great spin characteristics.

The 21-year-old southpaw also has three average secondaries but he really knows how to pitch. His slider and curveball have flashed plus in the past and the White Sox believe the stuff can be improved further. Schweitzer was drafted in the fifth round of the 2022 draft due to his feel to pitch, ability to locate and improved control and command. He projects as a back end starting pitcher.

Yoelvin Silven, RHRP

Silven cracked some publication top 30 lists last year but he’s stumbled a bit in 2022. 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.

Silven made it to Double-A where he’s thrown just over 37 innings this season. The White Sox have constantly tinkered with his 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”. The 23-year-old should finish the season with the Barons and he’s Rule Five eligible this December.

Wilfred Veras, 3B

Wilfred Veras may not have been the most heralded signing of the 2019-20 international class, but he made his presence felt once he got into game action. The then 18-year-old had a 949 .OPS, a 147 wRC+, 11.8 BB%, and four home runs in his first taste of professional baseball with the ACL White Sox.

Veras is known for his bat, and more specifically, his power potential that could grow bigger as he matures. The 19-year-old has played first and third base for the Cannon Ballers this year and has smashed 17 homers while driving in 66 runs in 100 games in Low-A. Veras has posted a 110 wRC+ while slashing .264/.318/.454 but his walk rate has decreased while his strikeout rate remains over 25%.

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