FutureSox 2023 Chicago White Sox prospect list: Outfielders

Yoelqui Céspedes (Caleb Probst / FutureSox)

FutureSox is highlighting the 2023 Chicago White Sox top prospects by position. This iteration includes the notable outfielders.

*Age listed in parenthesis

Seven international signings make up the core of this list and there’s a bonus name in the mix as well. Four countries are represented in total with an emphasis on Cuba, Nicaragua, the United States and the Dominican Republic. The American prospects were acquired via the Rule Four amateur draft and were day three picks in particular.

The outfield has been a rough spot lately for the Chicago White Sox. Right field has been a hole on the major league team for quite some time and the top player on this list is looking to put a stop to that negative trend. Others on this list could have big league futures but none of them seem particularly close to participating in Chicago.

Óscar Colás, CF/RF (24)

  • Last played: AAA Charlotte

Óscar Colás will be the primary right fielder for the White Sox in Chicago this season after blitzing three minor league levels in his 2022 stateside debut. The Cuban outfielder hit .311/.369/.475 with a 129 wRC+ in 59 games with the Winston-Salem Dash in High-A. He followed up that performance by posting a 139 wRC+ in Birmingham over the course of 51 games. Colás closed the season with seven games at Triple-A with Charlotte.

Oscar Colás clubbed 23 homers in just over 530 plate appearances last year. He has displayed plus power from the left side while showing average to above defensive skills in an outfield corner. He has some experience moonlighting in center field as well. The slugger is aggressive at the dish with alarming chase rates but the rest of the package is intriguing. He’ll be given every opportunity to succeed in the majors after signing for $2.7 million in January 2022.

Yoelqui Céspedes, CF/LF/RF (25)

  • Last played: AA Birmingham

Céspedes continues to be one of the more polarizing prospects in the White Sox’s organization. Signed in 2021 for just over $2 million out of Cuba, the 5-foot-9, 205 pounder was lauded as the top prospect in the international class by some publications. His career has been uneven after being heralded as an amateur. The outfielder strikes out too often and doesn’t walk enough while struggles against right handed pitching persist.

The 25-year-old has been stellar against left-handed pitching, displays a plus throwing arm and is an above average defender who can play all three outfield spots. Céspedes clubbed 17 homers in Double-A last year but it came with a 30% strikeout rate and just a 5.7% walk rate in 119 games. The hit tool will determine his future as he likely returns to the Barons for another season.

Wilfred Veras, LF/RF (20)

  • Last played: AA Birmingham

Wilfred’s father Wilton played in the big leagues as did his uncle, Fernando Tatis Sr. The bloodlines are evident here and they were likely a factor in the White Sox signing him for $200K out of the Dominican Republic in 2019. Veras possesses massive raw power and it showed in stateside contests immediately as he posted a .950 OPS in his Arizona League debut. He strikes out too often and doesn’t walk enough but there are strengths as well.

The 6-foot, 180 pounder was playing primarily first and third base to this point but he transitioned to the outfield recently in the Dominican Winter League. The shift could really enhance his prospect status. The 20-year-old hit .266/.319/.454 with a 110 wRC+ and clubbed 17 homers in Winston-Salem last season. In 12 games with Project Birmingham, Veras performed as well where he slugged .533 and hit three more homers.

Erick Hernández , CF/LF (18)

  • Last played: Dominican Summer League

Hernández was a rare teenage Dominican signing on the international market in 2022. After receiving $1 million, he spent his first professional season in the Dominican Summer League but he struggled at the dish. The left-handed hitter was able to post a 10% walk rate despite the struggles. The 6-foot, 170 pounder was nursing a knee injury for most of the season.

The 18-year-old was healthy in spring training and he’s expected to make his stateside debut in the Arizona Complex League this summer. Center field is a possibility now but he likely finds his ultimate home in an outfield corner. Hernández displays an all fields offensive approach with a solid grasp of the strike zone. He barrels the baseball consistently and plays with high energy.

Luis Mieses, CF/LF/RF, (23)

  • Last played: AA Birmingham

There’s plenty of first base risk with this prospect and the White Sox even listed him as an infielder during spring training. The soon-to-be 23-year-old originally signed out of the Dominican Republic back in 2016 . Mieses is a 6-foot-3, 200 plus pounder who hits and throws from the left side. He should play multiple positions for the Birmingham Barons in 2023.

In 2022, Mieses posted a 108 wRC+ in Winston-Salem. He also hit 15 homers during the minor league season. The outfielder has decreased his strikeout rate but he rarely walks. Consistent hard contact is present in his game but he makes too many outs because of an aggressive approach that leads to poor swing decisions. Mieses has shown a plus throwing arm but is a below average runner. He profiles as the strong side of a platoon if he can manage Double-A.

Terrell Tatum, LF/RF (24)

  • Last played: A+ Winston-Salem

The White Sox selected selected Terrell Tatum in the 16th round of the 2021 draft out of North Carolina State. The 5-foot-9, 170 pounder can play all three outfield spots and is a plus defender in center field with well above-average speed. Tatum was suspended for amphetamines last year and also got injured during the Arizona Fall League.

The White Sox believe that there is some untapped upside here with a player who didn’t play much in college and developed late. Tatum works counts and draws walks but still strikes out too often. The profile includes bat speed and 15 home run potential is possible. In 2022, he hit .320/.528/.400 with a 119 wRC+ in 32 games in High-A after a promotion from the Cannon Ballers. Tatum should play in Double-A for the majority of the 2023 campaign.

Jacob Burke, CF/LF (22)

  • Last played: A- Kannapolis

Burke torched the Arizona Complex League upon arrival for five games prior to finishing his first season in Low-A Kannapolis. In 22 games with the Cannon Ballers, the outfielder slashed .269/.380/.410 while posting a 126 wRC+ and playing like his hair was on fire. The White Sox could push him to Winston-Salem for the start of 2023.

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-foot-1, 210 pounder hit 13 homers for the Hurricanes with a triple slash of .347/.425/.599. Burke 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.

Arnold Prado, LF/RF (18)

  • Last played: Dominican Summer League

Prado played in the 29 games in the Dominican Republic sporting the White Sox’s logo. He hit .345/.457/.460 while posting a 155 wRC+. The outfielder earned a 15.2% walk rate but did only hit one home run. Players who take part in fall instructs generally make their stateside debuts the following year and Prado should play in the Arizona Complex League in 2023.

A recent international signing who impressed league scouts during instructional league action this past year, Prado was signed last year out of El Tigre, Venezuela. The 6-foot-3, 195 pound outfielder throws and hits from the right side and put up solid numbers in a small sample in the Dominican Summer League.

Duke Ellis, CF/LF/RF (25)

  • Last played: AA Birmingham

The White Sox signed Duke Ellis for $20,000 out of the University of Texas after the abbreviated 2020 MLB Draft. The 25-year-old plays with an infectious energy that has thrilled the natives of North Carolina over the past two MiLB seasons. Ellis is a super athletic, high energy player who is a no-doubt center fielder long-term.

The 6-foot-1, 180 pounder hits from the left side and throws with his left as well. In 2022, the outfielder hit .318/.423/.500 in a nine game sample with the Barons in Double-A after posting a 109 wRC+ in High-A over the course of 100 games. He has 12 professional homers and should return to Double-A for 2023.

Godwin Bennett, CF/LF/RF (20)

  • Last played: Dominican Summer League

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+ in his debut. After his big offensive season in the Dominican Republic, he should make his stateside debut in 2023.

The 6-foot-2, 170 pounder repeated the DSL in 2022 and the now 20-year-old posted impressive numbers overall. He slashed .306/.430/.653 over the course of 41 games while smacking 11 homers. He strikes out too much and the batting average has suffered at times but the walk rates are high as well.

Abraham Nuñez Jr, CF/LF/RF (17)

  • Last played: N/A

The White Sox signed Abraham Nuñez Jr. as a member of their international crop this year for $700,000 out of the Dominican Republic. He is expected to start the season in the Dominican Summer League. He has participated in many tournaments and White Sox’s scouts have gotten plenty of eyes on him over the years. He is 17-years-old.

After the signing with the club, Marco Paddy said the following: “He’s got speed, he’s got power,” said Paddy. “But the one unique thing about Abraham is he has a feel for the strike zone. He knows how to adjust to pitches. He can recognize the breaking ball and he’s a guy who sprays the ball all over the field. He’s very aggressive. He played in various tournaments here in the Dominican where he did extremely well. Once again, he’s a kid that knows the game, knows how to play the game and his dad was his trainer. Obviously that helped him out a lot.”

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Trooper Galactus

Duke Ellis and Terrell Tatum are both personal favorites. Great defense and a speed/plate discipline combo that makes them legit players.

And I love Wilfred Veras, but I can’t believe I’m reading about him in an outfielders preview. I do not feel good about this experiment.