Chicago White Sox mid-season top 30: 1-15

1. Colson Montgomery, SS (No change)

  • Drafted 1st Round (22nd overall) in 2021

One year after being drafted out of Southridge High School in Indiana, Montgomery is a top 50 prospect in baseball. The 6-4, 205 pound former multi-sport star has clubbed nine homers across three levels of the minors this season while displaying an adept ability to reach base with the athleticism to stay at shortstop as well. The 20-year-old has drawn Corey Seager comparisons early on due to his frame, bat to ball skills and smooth left-handed stroke.

Once more strength is added, Montgomery could project for 25 plus homers annually. After posting a 112 wRC+ in his draft year, he burst onto the scene for real in 45 games with Low-A Kannapolis in 2022. In 205 plate appearances, the infielder hit .324/.424/.476 with a 12% walk rate and a 153 wRC+. In 37 games with the Winston-Salem Dash in High-A, Montgomery improved his walk rate further and posted a wRC+ of 123. He should start 2023 in Double-A with the Barons.

2. Oscar Colás, OF (Previous: 3, +1)

  • Signed from Cuba in 2022

Colás has really found his footing in Double-A with the Birmingham Barons after starting his season in High-A. The 6-1, 210 pound Cuban spent three seasons in Cuba’s Serie Nacional and also moonlighted in Japan before his baseball journey eventually landed him with the White Sox. After struggling with a hand injury, the 23-year-old posted a 128 wRC+ with 7 homers in High-A.

As a member of the squad in Birmingham, Colás has hit .319/.403/.611 with 10 homers and a .292 ISO% over the course of 29 contests. The Cuban has been more than adequate in center field which suggests that his defense would be at least plus in a corner while possessing a strong throwing arm. He signed for $2.7 million in the most recent international class and he could make his big league debut early in 2023.

3. ​Bryan Ramos, 3B/2B (Previous: 10, +7)​

  • Signed from Cuba in 2018

Ramos started this season like a house on fire, putting up an OPS of 1.102 in April with four home runs. Since that blistering start, Ramos has cooled. His current OPS sits at .821 in his assignment at High-A Winston-Salem. The 225-pounder still has massive power, smashing 19 home runs on the season and an ISO of .199, just underneath the .200 threshold for a power hitter. He makes contact, striking out 16.4% clip.

Defense has always been the biggest question mark for Ramos. In 85 games covering 737 innings at third base, he’s committed 11 errors. In 2021, he made six errors in 283 innings. If he continues to improve and gets more comfortable with his strong throwing arm, he could find a home at the hot corner. At 20 years old, Ramos has plenty of upside.

4. Norge Vera, RHP (Previous: 2, -2)

  • Signed from Cuba in 2021

Cuban right-handed starter Norge Vera has polish, upside and the look that makes him the top pitching prospect in the organization as of right now. Standing at 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, Vera signed in the same international draft class as prospect Yoelqui Cespedes and has shown flashes of brilliance in his first full professional season stateside.

Scouts credit Vera for his effortless delivery and a fastball that sits 93-96 while topping out at 100 mph. His fastball graded on the 20-80 scale was listed as 70 grade, according to Baseball America. He incorporates a “slurvy” breaking ball that hovers in the low-80’s and a changeup that is still a work in progress.

5. Noah Schultz, LHP (New)

  • Drafted 1st Round (26th overall) in 2022

The White Sox shocked the world when they drafted Oswego East’s Noah Schultz. The organization hasn’t taken a prep pitcher in round one in over 20 years and the 6-9, 220 pound southpaw has broken the mold. The 19-year-old didn’t pitch a ton this spring; mostly due to medical reasons (Mono). The franchise heavily scouted Schultz in the lead up to the draft as he pitched for the Prospect League.

The league is a summer circuit event and the hitters swing wood bats but the big lefty dominated any way. Schultz threw 19.1 innings over the summer and posted a 0.93 ERA while striking out 37 hitters. Schultz possessed one of the best sliders in the draft class. The pitch has low 80’s sweeping action with impressive spin rates too. The fastball was up to 97 mph this summer with arm side run. The changeup will need some developing but the White Sox were thrilled to pay him $2.8 million and buy out his commitment to Vanderbilt.

6. Cristian Mena, RHP (Previous: 20, +14)

  • Signed from Dominican Republic in 2019

Mena signed with the White Sox for $250,000 out of the Dominican Republic in July 2019. His professional career was delayed due to the pandemic in 2020, but he’s done nothing but ascend in the organization’s mind since he started pitching. Mena began 2022 at low-A Kannapolis and was promoted to advanced-A following 66 strikeouts in 53.1 innings across 11 starts. He turns 20 years old in December.

The right-hander offers supreme command of a three pitch mix, which includes a fastball, curveball and changeup. Mena pounds the strike zone and often had low-A hitters fooled as he relied heavily on his curveball. Scouts want to see Mena’s velocity improve to average 92-95 mph, as his mechanics indicate there is mid-rotation potential attached to his profile.

7. Lenyn Sosa, SS (Previous: 22, +15)

  • Signed from Venezuela in 2016

Signed as a 16-year old out of Venezuela, it took Lenyn Sosa a while to get things going in pro ball. In fact, he was trending down at the beginning of this season, when FutureSox ranked him one spot lower than the list before that, at 22. This came on the heels of a 2021 campaign that saw Sosa hit reasonably well in Winstom-Salem, but struggle in Birmingham. The 28/2 K/BB ration that the then 21-year old posted in AA was worrisome, to say the least, and the complete lack of power (.522 OPS) implied that Sosa may have reached his ceiling.

Nothing could have been further from the truth, as Lenyn Sosa broke out in a big way in the early parts of 2022. After spending parts of the winter in the Dominican Republic, working with Barons hitting coach Charlie Romero on becoming a more complete hitter. Sosa mashed upon his return to Birmingham, as he hit 14 home runs, 2 triples and 10 doubles in 257 at-bats, to the tune of a .933 OPS. It earned him a call-up to the Majors in late-June, and a second one in August. Oh, and he also hit .275 with 8 XBH in 91 ABs in Charlotte in between.

As a result, Sosa has jumped 15 spots on our list to firmly within the top 10 and ahead of much more heralded prospects like Yoelqui Cespedes, Jose Rodriguez, Wes Kath and Jared Kelley, to name a few. He has struck out a ton in his first two stints with the big league team (10 times in 32 ABs), but it’s not like he’s getting regular playing time. If he did, the now 22-year old could really show if the work he’s put in transfers to the Majors as it did to AA and AAA.

8. Jose Rodriguez, SS (Previous: 7, -1)

  • Signed from the Dominican Republic in 2018 

Jose Rodriguez slides down one spot, but an aggressive affiliate assignment hasn’t kept the 21 year-old shortstop down for long, as he’s done nothing but mash since our list was formulated. The former $50,000 signing out of the Dominican Republic initially had a tough introduction to AA, as he put up an OPS’ of .617, .610, and .673 from April to June. The speed aspect of the infielder’s game was noticeable, stealing 21 bases through June. From July on however, Rodriguez has made adjustments  at the plate and adapted to the level, returning more to the 2021 version that saw him ascend up prospect rankings. Through 39 games in July and August (as of this writing), Rodriguez slashed .304/.391/.571 for a .963 OPS, .267 ISO, 150 wRC+, 12.0 BB% vs 13 K%, while stealing 19 bases. Defensively, “Popeye” demonstrates good footwork, actions, and arm strength on the infield while splitting time between second base and shortstop with the Barons. The White Sox believe that he has the tools to remain at shortstop. 

9. Sean Burke, RHP (Previous: 12, +3)

  • Drafted 2nd Round in 2019

In the preseason, we predicted Burke could be a fast riser if his command and changeup would improve. The 6-foot-6 righty must have heard us, because he came out of the gate blazing in 2022. Starting out the season in Winston-Salem, Burke ripped through the South Atlantic League in his first six games (five starts) and posted a 2.89 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 12 walks in 28.0 innings. The White Sox organization approached the Maryland product aggressively, and promoted him to Birmingham halfway through May.

In AA, Burke has produced a mixed bag: a few clunkers here and there, a few near-flawless outings, and everything in between. His current 5.53 is an improvement over his June (6.75) and July (7.71) ERA’s, when he struggled mightily at times, but the 75 strikeouts in 57.0 innings show he’s been missing plenty of bats in the process. Burke’s command still eludes him at times, which has led to him surrendering over a hit per inning, the occasional hit batter, near-double digit homeruns and 29 walks, but the raw stuff is still there. Burke is ending his year with a flourish, as he holds a 2.92 ERA in August with a whopping 22 K’s in 12.1 innings. He’s showing plenty of promise towards 2023, and has earned a spot in the FutureSox White Sox Prospect top 10.

10. Peyton Pallette, RHP (New)

  • Drafted 2nd Round in 2022 (62nd overall)

The White Sox successfully floated the Arkansas right hander to their pick at #62 in round two of the 2022 draft with a $1.5 million bonus. The 6-1, 180 pounder looked like a potential top 20 overall selection coming into the season but he went down with an elbow injury in the spring and he’s currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. The righty has multiple plus pitches without the track record of performance to show for it yet but he should pitch in A ball in 2023 regardless. The 4 seam fastball sits in the 93-96 mph range and touches 99 with riding action. Pallette might’ve also had the best curveball (a hammer with high spin rates) in the entire draft class.

11. Jonathan Cannon, RHP (New)

  • Drafted 3rd Round in 2022 (101st overall)

On a recent episode of the FutureSox podcast, Brian Sakowski from Perfect Game told us all about Jonathan Cannon’s college exploits and expressed why he was so confident in the third rounder. The 22-year-old is finishing out the year in Low-A with the Cannon Ballers and he could move quickly through the system. With a 6-6, 215 pound frame, Cannon is a big and physical right hander that projects as a #4 starter down the road. After walking just 12 hitters all spring, the White Sox signed him out of Georgia for an over-slot bonus of $925,000 this past July. Cannon’s fastball clocks in at 92-96 mph on good days and his improved cutter is a plus pitch as well.

12. Romy Gonzalez, SS (Previous 13, +1)

  • Drafted: 18th Round in 2018

The baseball gods giveth, and they taketh away. Nobody in the White Sox system had a better 2021 season than the former 18th-rounder out of the University of Miami.  Gonzalez skyrocketed from Double-A Birmingham to making 33 plate appearances for the big-league club in 2021.  Defying the baseball gods with all that success has consequences, and Gonzalez was not immune to them. In 2022, injuries and illness have limited the middle infielder to 38 games at Triple-A Charlotte. Even when healthy, Gonzalez has not produced like he did a season earlier. With a 33% strikeout rate and a wRC+ of 67, the nearly 26-year-old has seen other middle infielders surpass him in the rankings.

Despite all this negativity, Gonzalez is making a late season run to inject himself into the middle infield conversation. Injury and underperformance led to a surprise promotion to Chicago. Gonzalez will need to make the most of this opportunity to rise in what has become a crowded middle infield situation at the top level of the minor leagues.

13. Davis Martin, RHP (New)

  • Drafted in the 14th Round in 2018

Right-hander Davis Martin underwent a Matt Foster-like stealthy path to the Majors, as his ascension up the Minor League ranks had gone largely unnoticed, until his sudden call-up on May 17. Martin made his debut for the Chicago White Sox against the Kansas City Royals, pitching five innings and giving up just five hits and one run, while walking just one and striking out seven. This brief taste of the Majors gave the Sox enough confidence in the 25-year-old to recall him in June, when he appeared in four more games (one start, 16 innings, 14 hits, 9 earned runs, 6 walks, 10 strikeouts, 5.06 ERA).

Sure, the second stint was less successful than his debut, but Martin has showed promise. The fact that he’s been pounding the strikezone in 2022, while registering a chase rate in the 88th percentile in the Majors, is encouraging. His four-pitch mix (fastball, slider, change-up, curveball) give him a nice arsenal to work with, even though none of them are true ‘out-pitches’. As long as he keeps throwing strikes and continues to locate his pitches, something he did to tremendous effect in his debut and in his most recent start against – again – the Royals on August 9 (5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K), Martin could develop into a useful back of the rotation/long relief pitcher for the White Sox.

14. Matthew Thompson, RHP (Previous: 9, -5)

  • Drafted 2nd Round in 2019

After a disappointing season in Low-A Kannapolis in 2021, some were surprised to see the 6-3, 195 pound right-hander get a promotion to High-A Winston-Salem to start the 2022 season. For the most part, Thompson has been up to the task, improving his ERA to 4.70 in 18 starts for the Dash and dropping his WHIP to 1.316.  At 21 years old and having missed the 2020 season due to the pandemic, Thompson shows solid command walking approx. three batters per nine while striking out an average of 7.8. Thompson has spent the month of August in Double-A Birmingham making four starts. With an average age of 24 at the level, it’s not surprising that Thompson’s numbers have ballooned.

His fastball touches 98 mph to go with a curveball, changeup and slider. His highlight reel defensive plays make him fun to watch. After a rough beginning to his career, the Texas native is starting to show why the White Sox drafted him in the second round in 2019.

15. Yoelqui Céspedes, OF (Previous: 4, -11)

  • Signed from Cuba in 2021

Yoelqui Céspedes has the talent to be a starting-caliber outfielder for the White Sox. He flashes plus power, a strong arm and enough speed to make pitchers think about him on the basepaths. However, he’s plagued by inconsistency and a swing-and-miss percentage that will only continue to grow at the upper levels, barring a change to his approach. Céspedes, 24, posted a wRC+ of at least 100 for the second straight season (at the time of this write-up), which was highlighted by a stretch of 24 games between July 7 – Aug. 7, in which he logged a .306/.427/.565 slash line.

He was slightly less pull happy this season and put the ball in the air on a more regular basis. Céspedes reached the 20-stolen base plateau with the Barons this year, although his weighted stolen base runs (wSB) actually fell in the negative (-1.3). He contributed pristine defense and made just two errors in nearly 200 opportunities patrolling center and right field.

Prospects 16-30

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Wayne

Christian Mena is the guy I am most interested. Those who focus on the White Sox (FutureSox, Sox on 35th, and South Side Sox) are higher on Mena than the “national” perspectives (MLB Pipeline, Baseball America, Fangraphs, etc).

This is probably due to him needing to continue to increase FB velocity as he fills out his frame. His Change-up probably needs to stay at its velocity as the FB speeds up to increase its differential to be anything more than average. And his curve is best the closer it is to 12-6 and not the slurvey curve that he sometimes gets. But he has shown to have command of his pitches this year and profiles as a mid-rotation guy.

I am guessing Mena is up the local lists due to a perceived higher floor and seeing an ability to fill a rotation spot at some point. But Cannon, Pallette, Burke have a higher potential due to “stuff”, but a much higher bust potential.

Jason.Wade17

I don’t get the love for Norge Vera or I should say the claim that he’s a “starter”. He’s already 22, not exactly destroying A ball levels, and less than 50 professional innings under his belt yet. Still has value, but just a bullpen piece.

upnorthsox

Don’t think I agree with your analysis but do agree that many seemed to be blinded to his “freckles”. Maybe its because he’s the best arm we’ve got.

Wayne

He is an older Cuban prospect, which the White Sox seem to love. He has a Plus-Plus (70 grade) fastball per BA and Pipeline. That goes with above average breaking ball, average change-up, above average control for a profile that is Average to Above Average MLB Starting Pitcher.

Then you tie in that he is a family friend to Jose Contreras, and that should help transition him the US and eventually MLB.

He needs to build innings for sure. And he needs to prove he has command by lowering walk rate. But he is the top pitching prospect, and he has time to develop in the minors.

Jason.Wade17

A fastball and one breaking pitch with below average control. That’s exactly what I said, a reliever.

He could have Babe Ruth as twin brother, don’t see how that’d make a difference as to his severe lack of work and that his only success has come when he was 21 playing against high schoolers.

Right Size Wrong Shape

There’s absolutely no reason to move him off of SP. Health is the only concern with Vera at this point.

Jason.Wade17

Really? The only concern?

I guess thats my point, just understand the love fans have for him.

BenwithVen

It probably has something to do with his rather large upside.

Like, even if he doesn’t stick as an SP for whatever reason, he has to the stuff to be a premium bullpen pitcher. Kind of like ReyLo

upnorthsox

But to Jason.Wade17’s point, what are you basing that from? A half year of A ball where he didn’t even avg 3IP/G? Certainly not from his 21 yr old romp thru the DSL kids last year.

BenwithVen

I mean his pure stuff alone gives him that upside. Will he reach it? I don’t know. But it’s easy to see why people are excited about him.

upnorthsox

Why? Because of his FB? 100+ is a dime a dozen these days. I’m not down on the kid but I’ve been waiting to see the hype and am not impressed yet.

a-t

Patience. Robert’s first year stateside wasn’t too sparkling either, also due to injury. Control/command cannot be developed any other way but reps, so it’s expected that he walks a lot of guys. That he’s overwhelming hitters with strikeouts even with such high walk rates is a pretty good sign. Cease’s Low-A season wasn’t too different statistically from Vera’s year. He was younger then, but that has to do with being drafted out of high school vs having to defect from Cuba.

upnorthsox

On the Corey Seager comps, Seager had quite a bit more power in the minors which is also what makes him special in the majors. Colson really needs to flash more power next year to keep up with the comp.
Also with the Seager comp, it would indicate a 2025 arrival with a September callup in 2024.

Wayne

Corey Seager also struggled in his transition from A to High in in-season. Colson did not.
Your timeline does make sense based on the past for the White Sox and how Seager progressed. Seager also struggled in Fall Laegue the year he moved from A to A+.

We will see how Project Birmingham and AZFL goes for Colson. I am interested to see if he starts in High A next year or AA. That could change the perceived timeline quite a bit.

_________

Also, Colson my be below Seager in SLG (.441 to .473), but he is doing better in OPS (.841 to .824)

Last edited 29 days ago by Wayne
upnorthsox

Colson was riding an incredible hot streak, once that ended so did his momentum.
I’m keeping happy thoughts for the kid but he needs to hit the weight room this winter.

BenwithVen

Popeye is the guy who intrigues me the most. If that plate discipline and power stick, he’s going to be an extremely fun player.

Josh Nelson

Too bad his season got short because of surgery. Rodriguez was on a tear, flexing some power as of late.

As Cirensica

Thank you for creating this list. Enjoyed reading it. One thing if you allow me to suggest, could you please add the age of the prospect in parenthesis after his name. I always find very insightful to know how old a prospect is. I am aware you mentioned his age in the narrative…but it is not in all of them. This is not a critique, just a suggestion 😋

IllinoisJones

I don’t think this farm system is as much of an issue as I was led to believe. Some really interesting names here, albeit not many clear-cut stars at the top quite yet.

joewho112

So the top 2 guys have a decent chance of being above average starters and that’s it. What a depressing list

BenwithVen

Nah, a truly depressing list is one where Addison Reed is your #1 prospect.

As Cirensica

That was a depressing farm (2012), in many websites, the top 5 had names like Tyler Saladino or Nestor Molina, Simon Castro, Dylan Axelrod…mamma mia.

Dingo_Sox

The Christian Marrero Reading Room comes to mind. We’ve gotten spoiled by having real prospects in the last number of years, potentially (and rightfully so) blocking from memories that: Addison Reed was a #1 a decade ago, Jhonny Nunez in his first runneth the org was a top prospect after getting him in the Ozzie trade with the Marlins, Clevelan Santeliz, Thompson Royce, Kyle Bellamy, and so many other unmentionable horrors in out top prospect lists just 10 years ago. We’ve gotten spoiled

Last edited 29 days ago by Dingo_Sox
Dingo_Sox

That should have been Jhan Marinez not Jhonny Nunez, both former top prospects but description was wrong.

a-t

That’s a little too dour. ZiPS really loves Ramos and it’s probably only going to love him more after this season. He’s still pretty raw as a ballplayer but his peripherals are even stronger than his statline.

soxygen

Thanks for the write up and rankings!

I mostly think in groups and tiers, which to me are…

Top tier: Montgomery, Colas, Ramos

Second tier: Vera, Rodriguez

Third tier: Mena, Sosa, Cespedes, Sanchez, Burke

After those three tiers/top 10 guys it’s all groups of question marks…

This year’s top 3 picks: Schultz, Pallette, Cannon

The 3 young guns who need to prove something in 2023: Thompson, Kelly, Dalquist

Other guys who could make an impact: Burrowes, Chapelli, Erick Hernandez, Sprinkle, Kath

Wayne
  • Colson and Colas clear top 2, in that order
  • Ramos, Sosa and Rodriguez are grouped together as IF in Tier 2 (Ramos top bat, but other 2 can play middle)
  • Vera, Schultz make up Tier 2 Pitchers (our top pitchers)
  • Tier 3 (2nd group of pitchers), rounding out the top 10/11 in some way are pitchers Pallette, Burke, Mena and Cannon.
soxygen

I think we’re generally on the same page, though:
(A) I am hesitant to put the guys we just drafted into tiers yet
(B) ditto the pitchers who were drafted out of high school who have shown some signs of improvement this year but not proven that they can consolidate the gains and move up the ladder
(C) I have Ramos ahead of the other infielders, but if I had to rank my top tier/the top 3 it probably would be Montgomery, Colas, Ramos

PauliePaulie

When the majority of the previously top rated prospects fall dowen the list and are replaced by the most recent sign and draft class, that’s a bad sign. More alarming is that it’s occured in consecutive seasons.
There is no rational reasoning for a well run, well staffed org., to be pulling the prospect “development” stunt the Sox are attempting at AA.

Wayne

There is no rational reasoning for a well run, well staffed org., to be pulling the prospect “development” stunt the Sox are attempting at AA.

Grouping non-rookies together and getting extra coaches for individual drills and skills makes sense. Also, it opens spots in A ball to go to guys who may have been at short season that MLB deleted. If it was a dumb idea, then I would have expected some of the anonymous sources to say that, rather than most other organizations watching it closely.