The top seven top 10 White Sox prospect lists for 2022

When it comes to compiling the final across-the-board comparison of how the various prospect evaluators arranged the White Sox farm system, we’re always at the mercy of FanGraphs. Sometimes it knocks out the system in January, and other times we’re left waiting a month or more into the season.

This year slanted toward the latter, as Eric Longenhagen finally published his top 28 White Sox prospects on Wednesday. Finally, the big board is complete.

I’d be curious how Longenhagen’s rankings would look had he not had the benefit of a few weeks of minor league play. Maybe I’m just bitter because it’s a cheap way of losing my status as the one driving the Bryan Ramos bandwagon. Had I known Ramos would come out of the gate hitting .407/.444/.644 over his first 14 games with Winston-Salem, that might’ve given me the confidence to place him top three, too.

Anyway, the lists are below, along with a handful of observations:

#SMFSBAMLBLawBPFG
1ColásMontgomeryMontgomeryMontgomeryMontgomeryMontgomeryRamos
2MontgomeryVeraCéspedesColásKathCéspedesRodríguez
3BurgerColásVeraRodríguezColásBurgerMontgomery
4VeraCéspedesKathCéspedesGonzalezVeraColás
5RodríguezKathRodríguezVeraDalquistRodríguezGonzalez
6CéspedesBurgerDalquistKathThompsonKathKelley
7RamosRodríguezBurgerBurgerBurgerThompsonKath
8GonzalezKelleyKelleyGonzalezVeraStieverFreeman
9SánchezThompsonBurkeRamosRodríguezKelleyLambert
10BurkeRamosThompsonKelleySánchezAdolfoBurke

*While I have to hand over the keys for Ramos, I still have the slightest of edges with the Yolbert Sánchez train.

*Baseball Prospectus’ list was published before the White Sox officially signed Oscar Colás, so that explains his absence there.

*The split on Yoelqui Céspedes is unlike any I’ve ever seen, with two No. 2 slots, and two lists ranking him well into the next 10. One of those rankings is somewhat affected by FanGraphs’ FV system, which gives Céspedes, Sánchez and Jake Burger the same 40 FV ranking, but they end up nine to 11 spots behind Caleb Freeman, who leads that particular tier. FanGraphs gave ack Burdi a No. 6 ranking under similar circumstances last year, and that looked equally sketchy.

As for Keith Law ranking Céspedes 12th, he just isn’t a fan.

*Jake Burger also has a claim to the Most Divisive Prospect title, ranking anywhere from No. 3 to No. 19, but FanGraphs’ system is the only one to omit him from the top 10. Burger is hitting .272/.314/.469 with elite exit velocities at the MLB level, and while he’s a mild liability at third base and has to close his strikeout-to-walk gap, his in-game power is already evident, so I’m inclined to consider the No. 19 ranking debunked.

*Wes Kath and Norge Vera have milder discrepancies. I’m primarily responsible for Kath, as I left him just off my top 10 due to my requirement of personal enthusiasm, and none of his described assets had yet to translate to a professional field. Vera figured to be all over the place because of the variance in scouting reports and the laughable competition int he DSL, and the season-opening lat strain doesn’t help clarify matters.

*What little consensus formed with regards to the trio of prep pitchers seemed to favor Jared Kelley, but a re-rack of the order would probably result in Matthew Thompson leading Kelley and Andrew Dalquist by a few lengths, as the early returns show that Thompson beat the pack to throwing strikes.

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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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Trooper Galactus

Nice to see FanGraphs is almost as high on Popeye as I am. LOTS of these lists have been sleeping on Ramos, who should have been an unquestioned top-10 choice even before he started killing it this season. I’m also with you on Kath; I don’t see what the hype is about, even from a projection standpoint, and see no reason to put him in the top-10 (much less…holy shit, second? WTF, KL?).

As Cirensica

Who is this Popeye again?

Trooper Galactus

Jose Rodriguez.

BenwithVen

I honestly don’t know why FG has him #2 because the write up makes him sound like Leury Garcia. Kath, Montgomery, and Colas had way more optimistic write ups.

Trooper Galactus

Because he’s still two weeks from his 21st birthday and he’s in AA. He doesn’t have a weak tool across the board, and while that doesn’t make for a highly exciting prospect, in a system which has prospects with a lot of variance and a long road to the majors he stands out.

jhomeslice

The Burger number 19 ranking by FG is just nuts. They don’t have 18 prospects better than him. Very weird.

HallofFrank

I completely agree. I know it’s controversial and I’ve said it before: but I think Burger is the best prospect in the system. He was a top 20-ish draft prospect in his class who’s shown that the strengths (bat, power) play at high levels and the weaknesses (defense, 1B/DH only) should be fine. And because of the lost time to injuries, I still think there’s development room here. 

I get the knocks on him: the injuries and the age. But he looks past (and almost better for!) the injuries. And while age is very important, I think it’s *generally* overrated by prospect evaluators. I’m looking for how good this guy projects to be over the next 7 years or so. 

I think Burger is a big-league regular with an upside of making a few All-Star games. Some guys in the system have more upside—but I’m not sure the upside outweighs what I think their 50% outcomes will be. (I’ll add: Ramos could be an exception here, as that’s quite a write-up from FG.)

Torpedo Jones

Agreed. And I think all of the hard work he’s had to put in to overcome the injuries should be a vote in his favor. His effort will never be in doubt. It’s weird that some evaluators are so down on him. Even as “just” a potential 1B/DH, his bat is already showing major league value.

dongutteridge

Burger is absolutely playable at third base. And, he’s gonna be a solid bat with power.

He’s likely to be a starter in this league for many years. I think he could fetch a decent starting pitcher in return.