A day before Marco Paddy was named International Scout of the Year at the Winter Meetings, Baseball America indirectly showed why Paddy deserved such recognition.
BA released its 2023 preseason list of the top 10 White Sox prospects on Wednesday, and international signings make up more than half of it.
Here are those 10 White Sox prospects, with Paddy’s signings in bold:
- Colson Montgomery
- Oscar Colás
- Bryan Ramos
- Noah Schultz
- Sean Burke
- Cristian Mena
- Peyton Pallette
- Norge Vera
- José Rodríguez
- Lenyn Sosa
This is a huge jump over previous years, when the White Sox were lucky to have two hand-signed, homegrown international prospects in their top 10.
There’s also more diversity among the international signings who make the grade. Prior to this year, Paddy’s signings were typically older Cuban prospects who signed for seven or eight figures, with Colás and Vera continuing the pattern previously established by Yoelqui Céspedes and Luis Robert (José Abreu never counted as a prospect due to BA’s eligiblity rules).
Colás and Vera are still there, but they’re outnumbered by traditional international signings; the kinds of guys who signed for six figures and made their organizational debuts as teenagers. Sosa received a $325,000 bonus, followed by Ramos at $300,000, Mena at $250,000 and Rodríguez at $50,000.
Better still, this doesn’t represent the best-case scenario. Vera was limited in his first stateside season, Céspedes’ hit tool remains a big project, and Yolbert Sánchez lacks impact contact. Those prospects still have enough going for them to represent system depth despite their struggles, with guys like Luis Mieses, Wilfred Veras and Erick Hernández providing their own reasons for optimism from outside the top 10.
The talent has to coalesce further before it can be relied upon. Sosa is Paddy’s first standard signing to reach the majors for the White Sox (alas, Fernando Tatis Jr. doesn’t count here), Rodríguez has to overcome a hamate injury, while Ramos and Mena face challenges at Birmingham. The prospects behind Ramos might not make the top 10 in most other systems, but they’re highly concentrated here because of the White Sox’s struggles developing second-day picks in recent years.
If enough of these players can maintain their progress at this time next year — and if Colás can stick as an everyday right fielder by the end of 2023 — the White Sox will finally have something resembling a pipeline after a decade of construction.
FOR PATREON SUPPORTERS: A record of White Sox international signings during the Marco Paddy era
When Baseball Prospectus posted its top 10 White Sox prospects list last month, it gave me the opportunity to list the prospects whose rankings most intrigued me due to the potential for vastly different reads.
Mena (fifth on BP) and Sosa (11th) ended up in the same neighborhood on BA’s list, but Vera ranked four spots lower than his fourth-place finish for BP. The difference lies in witnessed velocity, as Ben Spanier saw Vera when he threw 94-98, while BA referenced the drop to the low-90s at the end of the year.
Sosa’s finish still strikes me as strangely low, although at least there’s more internal consistency here, since Sosa’s best-ever season resulted in his best-ever placement on a BA list. With BP, Sosa had finished one spot higher in 2020 despite having accomplished far less, and despite the system being far stronger.
How much better would Paddy’s body of work look if the Sox didn’t trade away significant bonus pool money several times over the last 5 years? What about if they had even an average player development pipeline to support these prospects?
100% agree. But we seem to have both new ideas in International Signing and Rule 4 Drafts. And the organization seems to be doing a bit better in the player development pipeline. We will see if that continues to play out.
Hopefully the Sox let this next wave of talent develop, and don’t use it as fodder for some quick fix trades. There’s a good argument to be made that the Sox won’t break thru until this next wave of prospects starts hitting the MLB roster. If you can’t or won’t play in the big waters of free agency, then they need to hold the line on player development in the minors. It’s all on Chris Getz now since the MLB FO has been officially castrated, and for good reason.
With Xander Bogaerts signing with the Padres, what would it take for the Sox to get Jake Cronenworth?
Doubt they want to trade him since they actually want to win.
They have too many infielders even if they move Tatis to the outfield
Just your average, $340 million left fielder. Yipes.
Right Fielder. Soto is manning left unless they feel the need to DH him for some reason.
Soto hasn’t played LF since Harper left the Nationals.
That’s not quite accurate. Soto played LF for the World Series team in ’19, with Adam Eaton in RF. Soto didn’t move to RF until the very end of the ’20 season.
Vaughn + a sweetener the Sox don’t have?
Im guessing Wil Myers is the one who’s available. Anyone interested in a righty 1B/OF with average power who can’t defend? We hardly have any!
Myers is a FA but yes
Well just about all of the players listed had better turn out to be pretty damn good. It appears the roster is not going to get help from anywhere else.
Sox fans waiting for a farm system ranked near the bottom to save this team. Yeah, that is sure to work out well.
“the White Sox will finally have something resembling a pipeline after a decade of construction.”
Or is it more of a blip? Is it back down to 2 next year? I could certainly see that but we’re still on the left side of the spike so its easy to see the rise in the wave.
The cynic in me ponders whether this has more to do with a data analysis of the demographics of their fanbase over a data analysis of their scouting and development system.
The optimist in me doesn’t care as long as it’s sustaining.
It might represent some improvement, but this team’s international strategy is still so flawed. Signing like 6-8 guys for mid-6-figures, vs. most other orgs who have classes of 20-30 guys, including a bunch of guys who sign for <$100K. Of course, those orgs have dozens of international scouts vs. like 3. And competent player development operations to actually put time and effort into that many players.
This strategy might produce some prospects, but basically guarantees the White Sox won’t ever get lottery tickets like Jose Ramirez, Jose Altuve, the Astros 4 international SP (Javier, Urquidy, Valdez, Garcia) since they won’t even play in that pool.
Imagine, hiring someone proven from outside the org to fix your problems!
The natural question: how can we frame Rick Hahn for skimming bonuses?
The degree of incompetence he brings should be a crime worse than skimming bonuses. A GM this inept shouldn’t have a steady GM job for more than 2 decades. Imagine a doctor botching surgeries after surgeries, or an engineer whose buildings and bridges keep falling down. They would be fired and will have to do something else to earn a living. Hahn must be one of the luckiest man on earth. He has a high paid job that he has no clue how to do, and he keeps it. That does not happen unless you are the son of the owner (and sometimes, not even that).
Rick Hahn has one a poor job in the job with the limitations he knew he had. He was not able to convince his Owner to spend a different way. He was not able to convince players to come here. He bet on the prospects he signed would be good and gave them the contracts. When they did not become superstars (yet/ever?) then the team falls flat for sure. I am not sure how many others would have succeeded in the spot, 3rd (sometimes 4th) in line as a decision maker, with some very peculiar limitations. But he is part of an organization that will benefit from a complete change over on the baseball side.
The Dodgers somehow have a top 3 rated farm system after a decade without a season with less than 90 wins, and no picks in the top 20. Would it be possible for the Sox to find out who a few or a couple of their key scouting and player development people are, and hire them away from the Dodgers (or Rays)? Double or triple their salaries, whatever it would take. Those people don’t make absurd amounts of money I assume. I would think that could be accomplished very cheaply relative to players salaries.
I don’t know if that sort of thing just isn’t done, or is not possible. But as it stands, if ownership literally won’t spend a dime on players of any quality in free agency, the only way for a team like that to improve is through minor league players. Which basically means the Sox have to operate like Tampa, and get people who are much smarter and better at scouting and development than everybody else.
No, it would not be possible. Hiring qualified people from other organizations and giving them a voice at the table would mean less power for the incompetents in every baseball ops department, who would rather see the team be mediocre than give up their control.
Special Advisor to the Vice President of Special Advisors to the Chairman.
It’ll take the incomps 3 years to figure out what he/she even does and by then they are sayonara.
Why would they need to hire anyone from the outside when they have Ken Williams Junior as their Minor League Assistant Director of Player Development? I’m sure he had all the right experience, credentials and track record to qualify for such an important position in the organization. In a few years he’ll probably be running the whole show down on the farm.
I feel better knowing that the White Sox organization is kinda sorta doing one thing right.
Brandon Nimmo back to the Mets for a reasonable number…Of course we probably didn’t even talk to him
8 years, $162 million – half of that would be a record free agent signing for the Sox.
Related, is Benintendi going to get a 9 figure contract now? I was thinking $60 million over 4 years before free agency started, but most players are getting longer contracts. I can see somebody giving him $100 million over 6 or 7 years.
Could be. Though I’d expect more like $14M AAV in a contract of that length. Fangraphs predicted Nimmo’s AAV ($20M) pretty accurately, but missed on length (predicted only 5). If the same kind of thing occurs with Benintendi, it’d be 6 for $84M or 7 for $98M (Fangraphs predicted 4 yrs for $56M).
It kinda seems like it’s trending that way, but man, absolutely nothing about Andrew Benintendi says “$100M player” to me
When the White Sox do finally come around to spending money again, boy are they gonna be in for a huge shock!
Time to sell the team, Jerry.
The only reason salaries can be skyrocketing is that teams are making money hand over fist. Undoubtedly the Sox are no exception, and yet they do nothing.
I agree, and I would also say absolutely nothing about Brandon Nimmo says “$162M player” either. Good player, makes any team better, but my goodness. Can’t help but be reminded of Heyward, personally. Although Nimmo has played 100 games just twice. Heyward had done it in every season prior to Cubs’ signing him