Q&A: ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel about top White Sox prospects, Dylan Cease, and Chris Getz’s first offseason

White Sox prospect Bryan Ramos
Bryan Ramos (Danny Parker / Four Seam Images)

ESPN hosted a Zoom call with MLB Insider and author of Future Value: The Battle for Baseball’s Soul and How Teams Will Find the Next Superstar, Kiley McDaniel, to elaborate on his recent top 100 prospect list. The Chicago White Sox have three prospects in McDaniel’s top 100: shortstop Colson Montgomery (#8), left-handed pitcher Noah Schultz (#57), and third baseman Bryan Ramos (#90). Regarding Ramos being ranked, it’s mainly due to a consensus from MLB industry experts that there is a considerable drop-off in talent after the top 40 prospects. 

I got a chance to participate in McDaniel’s Zoom call to follow up about his thoughts on the top White Sox prospects, and of course, I couldn’t help but ask about Dylan Cease.

JOSH NELSON: The Chicago White Sox need a lot of help. Colson Montgomery and Bryan Ramos, what do you need to see from them during the Minor League season to give you confidence that they can join the Major Leagues soon?

KILEY MCDANIEL: Colson [Montgomery], I’m the high guy on. I don’t need to see much more. He’s almost a slam dunk to be an above-average offensive threat that can — I mean, he’s fine at shortstop. He’s probably a third-baseman. Just stay healthy and keep doing what he’s doing. 

Bryan Ramos is interesting because he was one of the guys I was trying to decide if he should be on the list. I got a resounding “No” from one team, and another team that values players similarly to that first team said, “Oh, yeah, he definitely should be on.” There’s a lot of different opinions about him.

Ramos doesn’t have a true plus on-field tool, but you could argue that all five tools are at least average, if not above. The fact that he’s been young for levels, performing pretty well, and still has untapped potential is what I gravitated to. I like all those qualities instead of taking a guy in a rookie ball that swings hard. That kind of guy doesn’t appeal to me in the top 100 at this stage.

Fans see the top 100, and they think Ramos is going to be an All-Star. No, this guy is probably not. But I think he’ll be a really good player, even if it’s not the traditional huge upside, giant BP power, and all that kind of stuff that everyone likes to get excited about.

Whereas if you like Noah Schultz — I’m imagining where you will go next — it’s a little more of that guy. Schultz is 6’9″ and kind of looks like a taller Chris Sale. I compared his frame to Gumby, and everything Schultz throws is plus [stuff]. Just seems terrifying, like create-a-player running amok.

NELSON: White Sox fans look at your list, and they’re searching for ballclubs that can possibly trade for Dylan Cease. What short list of teams have the prospects to acquire Dylan Cease? On top of that, if you were advising a Major League team, what would you be willing to give up in prospects to acquire a Dylan Cease?

MCDANIEL:  I would talk about someone like Bryan Ramos, that kind of guy that’s back half of the top 100. You can count on having three years of controllable starter for cheap. We saw in the Corbin Burnes deal, which was for one-year of control rather than the two you get with Cease, Joey Ortiz and DL Hall get dealt. They are the back end of the top 100 types. With Ortiz, not huge upside, and Hall might be a reliever. Those are the kind of guys I would feel comfortable trading for Cease.

The teams that still need pitching, it’s been fun watching everyone tap dance like they don’t need Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery. All these owners and general managers dancing with Scott Boras, like, “We don’t need those guys.” 

So teams have been proactively signing guys so they’re not forced by their owner telling them they have to sign Snell. I think a lot of teams have solved that problem, which is why I think the White Sox may have waited too long, and I know the buzz in the industry is that the White Sox have been asking for too much. But also, if Cease is the last guy on the market that can be acquired, maybe at the deadline or in-season is the right time to do it.

Obviously, the Orioles I think make some sense as a team that just added some pitching but probably needs one or two more sort of front line guys. But I think they’re one of those teams that might think those guys are sitting in the upper minors for them, so they’re hesitant to really go out.

With the Rangers, everyone is assuming they’ll sign Montgomery or maybe Snell. They obviously have a lot of prospects. If they don’t sign those guys, that would make some sense for Cease.

I would assume the White Sox are waiting for the dominoes to fall to see who is the desperate team willing to overpay at this point. I’m guessing it will be more in-season, not based on information or sourcing. You’ve got to let that part of the market play out, and I think it’s going to be in March before all that stuff is done based on how it’s going.

NELSON: Chris Getz is entering his first full regular season as general manager after two decades of Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams calling the shots. What are the impressions you’re getting of the new regime change?

MCDANIEL: Some curious texts were sent around after those two trades earlier this week. I wasn’t quite sure what the approach was, and that’s two of the handful of deals. You probably have a better sense than I do of the proactive moves that are not just arbitration signings and whatnot that Getz has made so far.

Those [trades] were peculiar. I don’t know why Getz needed to trade Gregory Santos to get guys who are not standout players. The Aaron Bummer deal was also interesting for both sides. 

There’s a lot of uncertainty in the industry about how good of an evaluator this front office under Getz’s supervision will be given his background. We don’t know what kinds of players he likes and being from the tree of the regime that was here before.

Until proven otherwise, we assume Getz will do a similar sort of thing that they have always done, which ran hot and cold. There were playoff appearances, teams full of stars, and underachieving teams that seemed like a nightmare from the beginning. We’ll probably need to wait until the deadline to understand his style, who he likes, and how he evaluates —the larger team-building approach.

You can probably tell; I wasn’t a huge fan of the hire but apparently knowing Jerry Reinsdorf for ten years was the first qualification for getting this job, which I think is insane. That’s why I don’t own a team, I guess.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
78 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
BenwithVen

Interesting take on Cease. A backend top 100 and a DL Hall-like player? Isn’t that what they got last year for 2 months of Giolito? I don’t know about that one.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Yeah Cease is definitely worth at least one prospect like Kjerstad or Cowser, top 30-ish. This person is way off on that.

However I do think it is likely true that Getz is over valuing him, and should be aggressively shopping him still. His value next winter as a 1 year rental will undoubtedly be less than what it was last July, or now. My guess is he will wind up being forced to take something less than the best offer that was on the table this winter or last summer. Which means, we can prepare to be disappointed, as usual. Kjerstad or Cowser as the headliner works for me, it would not take much else in addition to that if that’s what the market for Cease is. That would be much better than getting what the Brewers got for Corbin, or less, if they wait until next winter.

I doubt there will be a frenzy for Cease in July any more than there was last July or this winter. Teams are not trading great prospect packages for anybody nowadays, that’s just the reality of things. Cease isn’t close to Sale, who had 3 years left, Getz can’t expect to get something like that in return for 2 years or less of Cease.

HallofFrank

There’s no indication Getz is expecting anything like the Sale return. The Getz asks we’ve seen (packages built around Kjerstad *or* Cowser, Woo *or* Miller, and Lowder) leaked are rather light for headliner. Getz may be playing too much hardball down ticket. But he’s pretty clearly not asking for a Sale (or Luis Castillo) like package.

Matt Verplaetse

yeah, but most people considered that to be an overpay for Giolito.

BenwithVen

Doesn’t make it anywhere near an acceptable return for Cease though.

Matt Verplaetse

Yeah, no one said it did. However, it seems really likely based on all the reporting we’ve seen the most realistic return for Cease is closer to that than to what Getz has been asking. I don’t assume that Getz knows how to competently read the market.

BenwithVen

No. I think Getz knows how to read the market because he didn’t trade Cease for Joey Ortiz and DL Hall.

Matt Verplaetse

The fact that he did not trade two years of Cease for the price of one year of Burnes does not constitute overwhelming evidence Getz has a clue what he’s doing.

BenwithVen

Because you have conclusive evidence that he doesn’t?

dongutteridge

I believe they can get a top 50 player plus a top 100 and another player.

PauliePaulie

Giolito was traded with ReyLo. And Quero was no longer viewed as a top 100 player by the majority of publications at the time of the deal.

BenwithVen

Ok, Joey Ortiz isn’t a consensus Top 100 guy either.

JazznFunk

Regarding Santos, I am guessing they are wary of his injury history. Otherwise, I have the same thought. If he keeps developing, he is worth more. And though trading Bummer made sense, it was odd to take what was effectively a team’s surplus in return.

GrinnellSteve

At the time of the Santos deal, I said it reminded me of the Sergio Santos deal, except Sergio was coming off a 30-save season and they got the totally head-scratching Nestor Molina. This time we gave up someone without the same track record and got 2 guys, not 1, who might be interesting. Better prospects, I think, and two shots at scoring on the trade.

Still, a curious trade. I imagine health or that intangible “culture” is at the core of it.

DocGreedo

I think the real score was the draft pick along with the money it brings in. Since they can only only pick outside top 10, they can package the comp pick money to negotiate a higher sign on with someone inside the top 10.

GrinnellSteve

I forgot about that part of it. That tips the scales a little more toward this trade making sense and being better than the Sergio deal I compared it to.

PauliePaulie

They have the 5th pick this year. But your point still stands.

calcetinesblancos

He could easily come back down to earth next year and be a serviceable but just ok reliever.

dongutteridge

I hated to see Bummer coming into the game. I was glad they got someone to take his contract.

The Santos trade? Only time will tell if they traded him at the right time. I would rather error on the side of too early than too late with relievers.

ParisSox

yeah so glad to see Bummer gone. I’m really not trusting McDaniel’s opinions here, but what do I know?

burning-phoneix

 I compared his frame to Gumby, and everything Schultz throws is plus [stuff]. Just seems terrifying, like a creative player running amok.

I think what Kiley was saying here is not “creative” but that Schultz is like a “Create-a-player running amok” like some weird freak made in a create-a-player mode in a videogame.

Last edited 22 days ago by burning-phoneix
PauliePaulie

Kiley saying good things about Colson assuages some of my fear about him.
The rest reaffirms my take Getz’s first offseason. And I don’t like it.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Yeah, while I thought the trades last weekend were interesting, I suspect Hahn to Getz will be very difficult to tell any difference. Neither with the balls to tell Jerry he needs to spend on big time players.

As Trooper said, only the A’s are with the Sox in not having signed a 9 figure deal. Just pathetic, and a much bigger reason for Sox history than any GM.

dongutteridge

I’ve read almost every prospect list and Montgomery is in the top 20 on almost all of them. The worst is Law who has him in the 40’s.

All say very good to great offensively. SS defense is just passable to fine. I’m not worried. Really good player. At worst, needs to move to 3B eventually.

Amar

Great questions Josh

Adam

I think the judgments on Getz at this point are pretty silly. He took over a 100 loss team with little talent and an initiative to cut payroll. That’s a lot all at once. I’d say we need 2 years to judge but jeez, how about 1 game? Can we let this guy do his job for a bit before we say he’s this or that?

HallofFrank

That, and the national guys that actually know him (Law and Passan) are big fans. They think he’ll be good, even though we can all agree the hiring process was crap and JR will make his job more difficult.

Matt Verplaetse

The guys to whom he’s pretty clearly fed information have a favorable take on him? Shocking.

HallofFrank

Are you saying Law and Passan’s opinions on front offices are determined by who feeds them info? Lmao.

Matt Verplaetse

Are you saying reporters don’t try to maintain relationships with front office people in how they report on them? LMAO

HallofFrank

Of course they do. But you don’t hear national guys like that blowing smoke up every front office for this reason.

But I suppose if you must interpret anything good anyone ever says about the White Sox in the least charitable way possible, that’s… something for you to latch onto!

PauliePaulie

On a Soxmachine pod, didn’t Law specifically state that he likes Getz for that exact reason? Don’t recall anyone saying they think he’ll be good. Just that they like him.

Jim Margalus

Kinda. Law liked Getz because he was a reliable point of contact for the White Sox system, and felt he offered realistic reads on their players.

HallofFrank

In addition to what Jim said, Law also called Getz a curious mind and forward thinker (I think those are verbatim, but at least it’s close). The picture was very positive.

PauliePaulie

Were you able to find where one of the national writers stated that he’d be a good GM?

HallofFrank

Sorry, in addition to him being very positive and saying he liked Getz as GM, Law thinks he’s good at evaluating players, a curious mind, and forward thinking.

I should really be more precise, I guess!

GrinnellSteve

Exactly.

Joliet Orange Sox

I’m a wait-and-see guy on almost every hiring, firing, and trades (although I’m now pretty firm in my beliefs that the Sox trading away Tom Bradley and later Stan Bahnsen were good deals for the Sox and that acquiring Steve Kemp was a bad deal for the Sox).

That said, I usually don’t get annoyed by fans who do make snap judgements ever since I realized that those snap judgements in the Sox Machine comments have surprisingly small impact on how things play out.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Cynicism about this team usually proves to match future reality enormously more often than undeserved charitable optimism, which also has no impact on how things play out.

Joliet Orange Sox

I agree the snap judgements go both ways and neither way has any impact on how it plays out.

I think there’s a lot of black and white takes on this message board (and in the world) about things that are various shades of gray.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Hard to see much “gray” surrounding a team with a sordid 4 decade history of ownership by a villain to all forms of happiness and goodwill, and one full season over .500 during the past 10.

With the White Sox and Jerry, I think is mostly various shades of pitch black, lol.

Matt Verplaetse

Keeping an open mind would have been much easier with a hire from outside the organization. It’s hard to give him a clean slate when he played a role in starting the dumpster fire he’s currently trying to extinguish. Reinsdorf also did him no favors in lying about rationale for hiring him with all of the “quick turnaround, no evaluation period” nonsense.

dongutteridge

I can’t comment on the opportunities that he may have passed up but I’ll go on the record right now and say that I have no problem with any of his trades, individually. I think they’re gonna work out fine for the Sox.

I’m guessing that he’s operating under the spend no money directive from above.

Matt Verplaetse

On the podcast, Dan Szymborski talked about evaluating moves through two questions: does it help you win now? does it help you win later?

Most of these moves are inconsequential in that the answer is pretty solidly “no” to both. i predicted before the offseason that we’d see a lot of random activity and people would confuse that for productive movement towards a goal, and that’s essentially what’s happened. they’re not any better off now or long term than they were before the offseason. I could maybe see a future where Fletcher helps, but does he have a more impactful career than Mena? Not a slam dunk by any means.

Last edited 22 days ago by Matt Verplaetse
BillyKochFanClub

I don’t believe it’s an issue of fans being confused with random activity. Some see the underlying logic behind focusing on run prevention with improved defense and are taking a wait and see approach. There is certainly potential downside to the approach and you’re not a fan. I can understand that, but the idea that others are letting things play out simply because they are they’re just happy with activity is rather condescending.

Matt Verplaetse

I go back to Szymborski’s questions then. Does having potentially better defense while totally eschewing hitting in the form of singing old glove-only vets make them closer to winning now? Later? Will they really be better at run prevention anyway given that the other half of that equation, the pitching, projects to be relatively terrible?

BillyKochFanClub

The pitching being rather terrible means young pitchers from the minors cutting their teeth in the majors. Having a defense behind guys like Nastrini and Eder that doesn’t hemorrhage runs like crazy definitely helps more than hurts regarding helping them acclimate to the majors. Having a strong defense prevents more runs from scoring than a terrible one, I don’t think that’s a controversial take.

Acknowledging that a strong defense is much better than a horrible one isn’t the acceptance of offense being eschewed. The downside is there, but there are benefits to a strong defense, so those allowing things to unfold aren’t without reason to do so.

Matt Verplaetse

Building the rest of the roster to accommodate guys like Nastrini and Eder, who are by no means upper tier prospects, is definitely a choice. I’m not saying that’s not the rationale they used, but if it is, then I’m even farther out on Getz than I already was.

i think people are overestimating the effects improved defense is going to have. It might make the pitchers look better than they otherwise would have, but Chris Flexen is still Chris Flexen, regardless of the defense behind him.

BillyKochFanClub

No, it’s not specifically for Nastrini or Eder, those are simply examples, but it assists young pitching in general, including a young bullpen.

I don’t believe anyone thinks it will turn Chris Flexen into Verlander, but it’s a taking one weakness, which was bottom of the league defense, and turning it into a strength. That’s a step forward even if there are other weaknesses still there.

Matt Verplaetse

Building a strong defense to prop up a pitching staff that likely won’t include players who help the White Sox win meaningfully at any point just isn’t good enough rationale for me to totally punt on getting on base and scoring runs.

BillyKochFanClub

Nastrini and Eder are both 45+ FV prospects. Just because they are projected more middle to back of the rotation than top of the rotation doesn’t mean they won’t have an impact with future Sox teams. You also have Shuster, who fits the same mold. Cease will eventually be traded and young pitching will likely be part of the return. Not to mention relief pitching. Nobody knew or cared about Gregory Santos going into last season. Relievers come out if of nowhere most of the time, so I pushback at the idea that there isn’t going to be opportunities for young pitchers that could help with future Sox teams.

Matt Verplaetse

Relievers do come out of nowhere most of the time and have high volatility, so relievers that perform well on a team that will be among the league’s worst have very little chance of being around for the next competitive Sox team, unless the front office displays the same inertia as previous iterations and keeps guys around forever.

“We have to have to good defense to help our young starters” might work if you had better young starters or if Schultz was closer. However, even with this dumpster fire, Nastrini and Eder don’t figure into the Opening Day rotation plans, and Eder is no sure bet to ever reach the big leagues.

BillyKochFanClub

Really good relief pitching is always a commodity, so they can trade them for players that will potentially be on the next good team if they’re concerned with volatility. Having good young relievers is never a bad thing.

If the pitching is as terrible as you say it is, there will be plenty of roster churn with the rotation. That rotation that starts the year is unlikely to be the one that ends the year.

Matt Verplaetse

Having good relievers on a bad team is maybe about the least important asset you can have. Even if you can trade them, the return won’t be game changing.

in an offseason that should have spent acquiring guys with upside, they went with no ceiling vets (DeJong, Maldonado, etc.) and guys that likely wouldn’t make most major league rosters (Flexen, DeJong again). Say what you will, but since Getz has taken over, they haven’t improved their short or long term outlooks. Losing with better defense is still losing.

BillyKochFanClub

“Having good relievers on a bad team is maybe about the least important asset you can have.“

If they were acquiring relievers or simply focusing on it and not all pitching, I would agree, but developing good young pitching of all types is essential for any team. You’re also underrating the potential returns of a young elite reliever. It’s not going to land you a haul, but certainly a nice piece.

If you’re not a fan of Getz off-season, you certainly are not without basis, but my original point of contention was that those that see the potential benefits are also not without basis to see how it works out.

JazznFunk

Defense is also the one thing the team can become good at without spending a lot of money

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Best case, the defense greatly helps pitchers numbers and makes Flexen, Fedde, Soroka and others have more trade value. Other than that, getting players who can’t hit a lick and won’t be here in a year or two has little to do with the future of the team, or any lasting improvements/strengths.

Apart from Fletcher, all defensive improvements are temporary. If this team is even relevant in 3+ years, their defense will have nothing to do with DeJong, Lopez, or Maldanado, and will be entirely what they get from Montgomery, Ramos, JRod, Quero. Hopefully somebody is enormously better than TA7 was at SS.

Last edited 22 days ago by LamarHoyt_oncrack
BillyKochFanClub

I think there is more to it. Best case is that it helps young pitching acclimate to the majors along with helping build trade value for the veterans. If it helps develop young pitching, that’s long-term value and not simply temporary.

PauliePaulie

If I may play devil’s advocate on this notion that good d will somehow make a young pitcher’s entry to the bigs easier.
Wouldn’t the flip-side of that be that they are overly tense, stressed or cautious because they know if one run scores they will get an L.
I’m thinking specifically of the look on Quintana’s face after giving up a single run, because he knew the game was over.

BillyKochFanClub

It’s certainly a valid concern and one of the downsides I alluded to. However, not trusting a defense could lead pitchers trying to avoid contact and just trying to throw past everyone, basically altering their approach, whereas not getting enough runs to back their performance would theoretically just lead to increased frustration and not necessarily any alterations. Quintana’s performance really didn’t suffer even though he was likely very frustrated.

ndsoxfan

Getz was on MLB network this morning. I was impressed. He provided real and direct answers to the questions asked. So much more interesting than listen to Hahn regurgitate a bunch of the same old sayings.

Most interesting comments – he flat out said that there was no truth to the rumor that they could have chosen Fletcher or McCarthy from Arizona. He was open that they discussed different players on both sides but that it wasn’t a take your pick either or type of deal. Also mentioned that he saw some of the deals as “floor raisers” and that was part of his process in all of the roster turnover.

dongutteridge

I really do think that floor raising is his first goal – not have a disaster at any position, especially defensively. Thus, Lopez, De Jong and Fletcher plus the two veteran catchers.

He wants to start with a sound defense at the minimum and I don’t blame him for that.

Matt Verplaetse

Maldonado is washed to the point where his defense no longer comes close to justifying the black hole he creates in the batting order.

Adam

I agree. I’ve mentioned this before but I live near Cleveland and this was their approach coming out of the 1-15 / 0-16 back to back seasons. Talent wasn’t good enough. They needed to raise the floor. Bring in upgrades, even minimal ones all over the field. Even at backup positions and special teams. And then once you’ve got that increased talent level, the big upgrades are more meaningful. I think we’re going to see those major upgrades from the deadline and next offseason.

calcetinesblancos

“Some curious texts were sent around after those two trades earlier this week. I wasn’t quite sure what the approach was, and that’s two of the handful of deals.”

Uh, what? The “approach” is that we need corner outfielders badly, especially ones that are actually good at playing the outfield and can get on base.

Matt Verplaetse

I wonder if it has to do with the age of the prospects acquired. Both Fletcher and DeLoach are on the older end of the prospect spectrum.

PauliePaulie

In the next 2 pargraphs he further explains the reasons for and context behind those texts.

dongutteridge

I really enjoyed that. Thank you! Great questions.

GrinnellSteve

The unrelenting negativity is tedious and exhausting.

I see progress in the organization. I choose to hope. That’s what being a fan, particularly in spring training, is all about.

As Cirensica

100%
I am gonna try to enjoy 2024 with whatever we have. Will it make me happy? It depends. I can’t be all negativity because I know I will watch more than 90% of the White Sox games. That’s what fans do. Well, at least some fans.

StockroomSnail

Toxic positivity does the exact same thing.

mrridgman

Have you seen a lot of that here?

StockroomSnail

I see a lot of things, maybe (waits to be slipped $20).

mrridgman

It will cost me more to wire it (I’m old) than it’s worth.

FishSox

This is simply theoretical, correct?

FishSox

It’s more the unending regurgitating of the same self redundant opinions with not much new to offer that I find exhausting.

670WMAQtheElder

Getz is upgrading the team to be better than 2023–better defense, in particular–and stocking the farm system, but he is not making long term contractual commitments to any of these off season pickups. Getz is clearly constrained by JR’s 2024 budget and the out of market contracts with Eloy and Moncada. As for Cease his trade value goes up as long he’s healthy. Some of these other “contending” teams are kidding themselves that they have enough quality starters–or they are just negotiating. BAL, NYY, NYM, CIN, STL, SFG, AZ could all use a Cease right now.