A Christmas list of White Sox prospects

When I’m compiling the top seven or top eight White Sox prospect lists, it usually sits in a mostly finished state for weeks until FanGraphs finally comes through with its list in April or May.

This time, Eric Longenhagen gave us a present by putting the White Sox way higher on his list. He posted the White Sox’s top prospect list on Thursday, with only the Brewers preceding them.

The bad news is only 26 prospects have a Future Value of 35+ or higher, as opposed to 28 last year. The good news is that it’s a detailed list that mostly checks out:

  1. Colson Montgomery
  2. Bryan Ramos
  3. Oscar Colas
  4. Noah Schultz
  5. Lenyn Sosa
  6. José Rodríguez
  7. Sean Burke
  8. Cristian Mena
  9. Gregory Santos
  10. Norge Vera

Basing the rankings on FV means that a weak system is susceptible to fringe reliever hogging a spot that could be better used on a less fungible prospect. It’s weird to see a guy the White Sox acquired via DFA this past week occupy the ninth spot, just like it didn’t pass the smell test to have Caleb Freeman eighth in 2022, or Zack Burdi sixth in 2021.

Setting that aside, the rest of the list holds up, with only minor quibbles. I’m surprised to see this sentence about Colás, for instance …

He only walked at a 7% clip in Japan and had a very expansive approach throughout 2022, slugging and BABIP’ing his way through it. The issue is drastic enough to keep Colas’ projection that of a corner platoon rather than an everyday right fielder. Perhaps there’d be enough power to support an everyday profile if Colas could play center field, but even though he spent a ton of time there while in A-ball, he trended more toward right field after promotion to Birmingham and Colas simply doesn’t have the sleek look or top-end speed of a viable center fielder.

… because one of the things that impressed me the most about Colás is how well he stayed on left-handed pitching for a lefty.

  • vs. RHP: .301/.358/.521 over 411 PA, 31 BB, 93 K
  • vs. LHP: .362/.417/.533 over 115 PA, 7 BB, 27 K

Perhaps Colás’ impatience is more exploitable by major-league lefties than minor-league lefties, and the ISO advantage against righties translates better to the highest level, but Luis Mieses he is not, at least to this point.

Other highlights include a Lenyn Sosa placement that makes more sense than his fringe-top-10 status, and a hard look at Wes Kath, who fell from seventh to 22nd. It’s worth perusing in between viewing of A Christmas Story, which you may remember me giving the Snopes treatment last year.

PERTINENT: Fact-checking the White Sox trade in ‘A Christmas Story’

Merry Christmas and happy eighth day of Hanukkah to those who celebrate, and a Sunday Funday to all.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Funny, my mind was so pre-occupied with wondering who the F Gregory Santos was and why his name looked familiar that I blew by the reference twice in the next paragraph.

But but Colas is ready to be the starting RF, White Sox scouting says so.

Augusto Barojas

I still have hope for Colas regardless of the comment here. He did pretty damn well last year and made his way into the top 100 prospects. I mean if there isn’t some hope for him, there might not be a lot for this team. Yeah he isn’t a sure thing, but neither is Moncada, Grandal, or whoever they will throw out at 2b. This is a team full of potential holes, we’ll see which ones are actual holes or not soon enough.

I’m not for writing off Colas before he plays a game, not after seeing Sheets out there where he didn’t belong last year. He’s got to have a decent change to be an improvement.


There’s just no reason not to give Colas a shot right now. We need his defense, he’s done well in the minors, and he’s 24. He should have been called up last year.

Right Size Wrong Shape

A team expecting to compete should go into the year with a legit RF and Colas should have to force his way into the lineup. FG doesn’t really like his defense either. I still have high hopes for him, but he shouldn’t be option 1.


This is the Sox. What better option 1 is there at this point?

Augusto Barojas

There are so many things this team should have done differently. I agree with your point, but the guys they needed to get to solve RF were Springer or Harper, not the guys available to them now. I don’t want to see them sign some 2 WAR mediocre outfielder to be the reason we don’t get to see what Colas can do. At least Colas has a chance to be decent, and probably has at least as much upside as anybody they could sign at this point.

I’ll bet at least one out of Grandal/Moncada has either a very unproductive season or health issues. And it’s probably a good bet that either Eloy or Robert will see significant DL time as well. And they have no legit 2b with any chance of being decent, really. Colas can field and is healthy, I’m hardly worried about him in comparison to the other problems they will surely have. This team has zero depth, and is built – by idiots – to fail.


A ‘mediocre 2 WAR player’ is a great outcome for a top prospect, let alone a prospect with a limited track record and real warts like Colas.


FG thinks his defense is fine, just that he’s a right fielder not a CF playing right.


Pena didn’t have to force his way into Houston’s lineup. I’m OK with it. They have good reasons to think he’s ready and prefer to invest their resources and attention elsewhere.



Is Colas as good as Pena? Most likely not. The Dodgers are going in to next season with Lux as their starting SS instead of spending on a free agent (and maybe even Busch at 2B or 3B). The Astros rolled with Pena. Good teams looking to compete roll with propsects in the starting lineup all the time. This isn’t some “Sox being cheap” situation.

Right Size Wrong Shape

The difference in both of those cases is that those rookies were/are surrounded by incredible lineups that can absorb their learning curve. When a team is rebuilding you can let them take their lumps, too. But we’ve seen all too often with the Sox what a black hole can do to your team when you have no depth.


Realistically, the Sox are not getting any significantly deeper to somehow better support Colás. If anything, what you’re suggesting means it makes more sense to have Colás start in RF on opening day, because the team is unlikely to be more healthy at a later point in the year— calling him up to start should theoretically let him ‘take his lumps’ to start the year while the rest of the talented lineup ~hypothetically~ produces enough to support him.


Pena didn’t have much of a learning curve


Peña is one example that we all know because he succeeded. Counter examples to this case are far more common, just less known.

Nevertheless, the main problem with starting with Colas in RF isn’t that he’s an unproven prospect. The main problem is the supposition that they shouldn’t sign a better OF because they have a guy who can handle the spot there already. I can promise you: even if the Sox sign another OF, Colas will play *a lot* of MLB games this year, whether he’s ready or not. Their OF is so thin and often injured, that Colas would practically be a lock for 300 PAs even if he started in AAA behind 3 other OFers. Whether he’s “ready” or not really isn’t the point. Sox fans should stop worrying about blocking prospects like this and let these prospects be the depth they’ll almost assuredly need, is the point.

Bonus Baby

Well, it’s settled then. We take Laureano and Kemp off Oakland’s hands, saving them around $7.5M this year and helping their rebuild along. We’ll even throw in Jose Rodriguez to sweeten the pot. We now have a starting-quality RHOF (projected by Steamer for 2.4 fWAR in 139 games), a starting quality LH2B (projected by Steamer for 2.3 fWAR in 131 games), and we get to keep Hendriks if we want. We only get to keep Kemp for a year and Laureano for 3 years before they hit free agency, but you can’t ask for everything.

And we’re done here. Someone let Rick and Kenny know.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bonus Baby
Augusto Barojas

I would not be unhappy if they signed an OF that was clearly better than Colas. But there isn’t anybody left, other than 4th OF types like Duvall who they might add for depth. What I didn’t want is somebody with questionable production/health who might not even be better than Colas in the first place. That was why I didn’t want Conforto, for 18M no less. His last good season was 3 years ago, and it wasn’t a high percentage bet that he would be healthy or better than Colas. I mean if Springer were available, you sign him to start in RF, like they should have done instead of leaving a hole in RF every damn year! Too late now. They can’t make up for doing nothing for almost 3 years, and there are no good options for them. For now, it’s Colas, or bust as far as RF goes. Which probably isn’t a great plan, but is hardly the worst thing that they have not taken into consideration with this woefully inadequate and ill conceived roster. They have potential holes all over the place. I’ll say again that I highly doubt Colas will wind up being their biggest problem.


4th OF types might not be better than Colas, in some scenarios, but there’s also a chance, perhaps a very strong chance, that Colas is completely unplayable and a 4th OF type is far better than Colas. You have to think probabilistically.

Go look at Jo Adell from 2018-19 in A+/AA. He was a much more highly-regarded prospect than Colas, and was 3-4 years younger at those levels. He had similar (if not better production) at those levels. The Angels went into multiple seasons saying “We don’t need to sign someone, we have a top-10 prospect in baseball to play RF”. He failed spectacularly. They seemed to have learned their lesson this offseason (after one GM got fired, that is) and traded for Hunter Renfroe as a serviceable stopgap outfielder so they don’t have to rely on Adell.

If the White Sox go into the season saying “We don’t need to sign someone, we have Oscar Colar to play RF”, they would be doing the same thing with a worse prospect, who had worse minor league production at the same levels while being 3-4 years older. They seem to have no desire to sign minor league free agents (outside of Victor Reyes who sucks) as a backup plan, and don’t have any other prospects who could take over the RF job if Colas struggles.


I expect Colas will still have to unseat Gavin Sheets. That may sound silly to fans who saw Sheets play RF last season, but he will have to show he’s at least a replacement level bat — and that’s a higher bar than this team has set for getting PT at that position in the past.

I’m not pessimistic about the outfield picture at this point. I actually feel better about Reyes and Hamilton as depth pieces than I did about Haseley and Engel. While of course anything can happen, I think most would expect Benintendi to be less an injury risk than Pollock. And with Payton off to the NPB, I expect this team continues to shop for minor league FAs.

Augusto Barojas

“Probabilistically”, the Sox could have problems all over the place. Start with 2b, where there is virtually no chance of anybody playable at the position, currently. If either Grandal or Moncada is hurt or not a ton better than last year, that’s another gaping hole. If Robert can’t play 100+ games for the first time in 3 years, that’s another. Eloy, same. I think there is a better chance that Colas is decent than there is that they will have no holes between Grandal, Moncada, Robert, and Eloy – none of which they have a major league level plan B for. Colas isn’t ideal, but he will probably play closer to 140 games than any of those other 4. At least he’s healthy and hasn’t sat half the games since 2020. We’re stuck with a bunch of potential holes with no backup plan, modus operandi for this front office.


There are two separate, but related, issues here. First, comparing other options to Colas. I grant that I’d rather start with Colas than Duvall. But there are other options than only free agents. They might consider a trade, for example. But your Conforto commentary is off the mark. Conforto is pretty clearly a better option than Colas—that is, he’s a much better bet to be a major league regular caliber player in 2023. That’s based on past production and projections. Colas, simply put, is a gamble. But a “win” for that gamble is basically what you’d *expect* from Conforto: a ~2 win player.

The second issue is being willing to add depth even if it means Colas starts in AAA. For example, you say you aren’t interested in options that *might* not be as good as Colas? That’s highly ambiguous, for one thing, but, for another, why not? Let Colas be the depth you know you’ll need. Colas himself may not be the biggest problem on the roster, but OF depth might be. By adding another OF and starting Colas in AAA, you help that immensely.

Finally, what else do you want them to do? The same issue replays itself at 2B: there are no elite options available, so why not play Lenyn Sosa or Romy Gonzalez? After all, they *might* be as good as the ~2 WAR player they could sign as a free agent.

Augusto Barojas

Conforto is off the board so discussion about him is irrelevant, but anybody with a huge health issue whose last good season was 3 years ago hardly pencils in as a sure bet to be better than what Colas might give them. I mean you who are almost always one of the most overly optimistic people on here seem to view Colas as a huge long shot to be adequate in 2023. I do not. I agree he isn’t a wonderful first option for a team wanting to win, but this is a crap ownership that isn’t serious about winning or they would have gotten a real RF 3 years ago. I mean they’ve settled for Mazara, Eaton, and Sheets, to the tune of a negative WAR in RF for 3 years! Colas should easily wind up better than all, I sure hope so. They can add OF depth like Duvall without sending Colas to AAA. Something like that seems more likely to be what they actually do than them signing or trading for a mediocre RF that would result in benching or demoting Colas. I think it’s a pretty good bet that Colas is their plan to be in RF on opening day, come what may.

As for 2b vs RF, Segura may not be elite but is a much better player (WAR of 3.7 in 2021 and 1.8 last year in only 100 games) than any FA outfielders remaining that I am aware of. He should be their top priority. And Colas is much more highly rated than Sosa or Romy, so your comparison of my hopeful projection for Colas to Sosa/Romy is a bit nonsensical. I think most people would concede that Colas has a much better shot to be adequate in 2023 than Romy or Sosa, and that 2b is a much bigger hole that they cannot possibly afford not to address. But then again, this ownership can’t be counted on to address anything beyond half-ass.

I mean I don’t disagree that Colas is less than ideal. But like it or not, he is the best they have right now, on a roster with several other potential problems. I doubt he will be bad enough to be unplayable, like their RF situation has been the past 3 years.


You’ve forgotten Ryan Cordell


I’m still very bullish on Colas. I think what he accomplished, offensively, last year after a long layoff is pretty damn impressive. And, a solid defensive RFer has a lot of value, as well.

Not worried about him. Probably needs some more time in AAA though and I hope the Sox give him that.


I trust Longenhagen more than I trust mlb.com, and WAY more than I trust the Sox. Really hope Colas is not plan A, and they acquire enough depth to push Sheets to AAA.
Merry whatever holiday you celebrate. If you’ve been bomb cycloned, I hope you’re staying warm and with power.

Last edited 2 months ago by PauliePaulie
Bonus Baby

I’m not sure whether I trust Longenhagen or mlb.com more as a general matter. But I will say that I noticed that Longenhagen was consistently skeptical of Luis Robert’s hit tool, even as he tore up every level of the minors.

At least in that case, I think he’s been definitively proven wrong. Upon “graduation” from the minors, he still only had Robert’s hit tool as 35/45 — but Robert’s career BA at this point is .283, and I expect it to climb (given poor rookie season and injuries).

Now Colas is tearing up the minors, and Longenhagen is skeptical of his hit tool (he has it as 30/40, while mlb.com has it as 50). I wouldn’t be surprised to see Colas prove him wrong as well.

Relevant Longenhagen notes from his last write up on Robert in April 2019, and from his current Colas write up:

“Robert does have plate discipline issues. He chases a lot of breaking balls out of the zone and it took a lot of convincing from industry folks to move him as high on my Top 100 as I did even though Robert has the surface-level traits that tend to make me irrationally excited.”

“Both visual and measurable evaluations of [Colas’] power put it in the present 55/60 area, but there are justifiable questions about whether he’ll hit enough to get to it despite his surface-level performance. In this case, it’s less about barrel control issues (aside from his inability to lift pitches on the outer third, Colas has fair in-zone feel for contact) and more about chase, an aspect of Colas’ game that was tough to know about entering the year.”

I do remember Robert having a lot of issues chasing sliders away his first year, though, which helped limit him to a .233 BA. Hopefully Robert can pass down some wisdom to Colas in this regard.


The one thing this organization has done well consistently is scout Cuban talent. It seems the organization is bullish on Colas and I’m inclined to defer to them on that.

Having a guy learning on the job at one position is alright with me. Having a guy learning on the job in right and at second base is not ok with me. This is where the Sox get themselves into trouble.

Trooper Galactus

I wouldn’t say they’re any better at scouting Cuban talent than anybody else, it’s just the one area where they’ve actually been willing to pay the market rate. It’s not like other teams weren’t aware that Colas, Robert, Abreu, and others were potential stars, the White Sox were just willing to bid to the market (and have a bit of a legacy that perhaps gives them an advantage). They’ve got more than enough duds they spent significant money on out of Cuba that other teams chose to avoid (Yoelqui, Yolbert, Viciedo, etc.).


Fangraphs had Robert ranked 18th in ’19and 7th before ’20, with a 60FV. Write-ups consistently mentioned injuries keeping scouts from getting good looks and stunting his development. The pre ’20 write-up talked about the changes and advances a finally healthy Robert had made.
I’d say they nailed it.

Bonus Baby

They nailed it with “45” as a hit tool? Seriously?

Not to mention that Longenhagen himself admitted that it took “a lot of convincing from industry folks” to put Robert as high on the Top 100 list as they did.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bonus Baby
Augusto Barojas

Well they did get the injury prone part right. I mean both Robert and Buxton could be elite players. But will either play 120 games? Or even 100? Will Grandal catch 80 games? Even 50? Will Eloy finally last a season without injury?

That’s why I’m hardly concerned about Colas. The Sox entire lineup is full of very iffy propositions, questionable health or production, with little depth. Colas may be the least of their problems. 2b is the most certain “hole” at this point, and should be a much bigger priority than worrying about Colas.

Last edited 2 months ago by Augusto Barojas

Robert still chases sliders a ton. His chase rate is top 5 in baseball. He’s just adjusted to be able to spray those the other way instead of miss them entirely like his first year; a rare credit to Menechino. But this year it seemed to create some power on contact issues, because he was force fed those, and spraying grounders is not a power hitter’s ideal. I think it would be more of an issue if Robert didn’t generate such high EVs with a simple swing. Longenhagen wasn’t wrong about Robert’s hit tool then. Luis worked and improved it, while still not *not* swinging at the damn sliders. A player adjusting and getting better in a way he never showed in the minors is a credit to him not a knock on the prospect hounds.

Colás I think is probably going to be similar: the power on contact will keep him afloat. The platoon thing is archetypal, not about what he specifically does vs lefties, and will only be proved wrong if he is beating up higher quality LHP in bigger sample sizes. It’s cool that he’s done it to this point, but that’s not a huge sample size yet.


My eye test view of Robert and low outside sliders is the same as Tim’s (and Abreu’s for that matter). When he’s on, he has no problem laying off. When he’s struggling, that’s where he struggles.

Nellie Fox

Bottom line is the sox are going into spring training and the upcoming season with the same injury prone lineup from last year. Can Robert or Eloy stay on the field, can moncada or grandal improve, can the pitching staff improve, can the indians, indians and tigers continue to improve, will there be enough for another wonderful 81 win season. Wow, spring training will come in 2 months and the story will be told.


Merry Christmas to all of Sox Machine! We may all be suffering White Sox fans, but it’s not because of this community. Here’s to a much better 2023!

Trooper Galactus

It really weirded me out that they talked up Kath’s defense so much and even implied he could potentially move up to shortstop. The guy led the Carolina League in errors at third base, and while some of that is a product of his playing time, a .910 fielding percentage doesn’t exactly suggest to me a guy whose defense is a strength.


Fielding percentage conveys consistency of plays a guy can make, and says nothing about range or arm strength. Not to be trusted esp for a recent high school draftee

Trooper Galactus

I agree it doesn’t speak to an overall body of defensive work, but nothing I’ve seen from Kath in the video I’ve viewed looks like a guy who is going to be a good third baseman.

Joliet Orange Sox

I’m going to call attention to the picture Jim used at the top since no one else has mentioned it. I didn’t know about the Light the Knights Festival at Truist Field in Charlotte until I did some googling after seeing the picture. There’s an outdoor ice rink (that hosts minor league hockey practices), a tubing hill, a light show, and a Christmas market. I also learned that people who live in Charlotte are called Charlotteans pronounced with 4 syllables, Char-lo-tte-ans.

Last edited 2 months ago by Joliet Orange Sox