White Sox quite popular on Top 100 prospect lists

MLBPipeline released their Top 100 prospect list Saturday evening on MLB Network. In total, seven Chicago White Sox prospects earned the honor:

4) Eloy Jimenez

10) Michael Kopech

28) Luis Robert

54) Alec Hansen

61) Dylan Cease

92) Dane Dunning

99) Blake Rutherford

Overall, the White Sox only trailed the Atlanta Braves in the total number of prospects in the Top 100 (Braves 8, White Sox 7). These ranking come after Baseball America had five White Sox prospects for their Top 100, and Keith Law from ESPN had four.  With three of the major publications releasing their Top 100 this week, Patrick Nolan and I analyzed the lists to share our thoughts about the quality of the Sox farm system heading into 2018.

What was your first impression seeing the Top 100 lists?

Pnoles: I wasn’t all that surprised by the rankings of the White Sox players. We figured we’d see Eloy Jimenez in the Top 5 and Michael Kopech in the Top 15. Hansen and Robert were no-doubters to make the lists and would likely be more toward the middle. It also made sense that there was no sign of Zack Collins, Dylan Cease, and Blake Rutherford some of the lists, all of whom have enough doubt about their future to keep them out of the Top 100. It was also nice to see Baseball America reward Dane Dunning’s strong season with a spot on their list.

Josh: After setting up the Prospect Database for this year (check it out here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DNqjZj3Jr7V0X4by1yu8GIdkHYILufHRzA964n3Hyq0/edit?usp=sharing), I realized that even the experts have a widespread opinion of who should be considered Top 100 worthy. For those that pay attention to the minors and draft, we have a pretty good idea who the Top 50 prospects are. After that, it’s a toss-up of who you like more, which scouts you speak with and the opinions you hear from others. That’s why it’s very encouraging to see the White Sox have four Top 50 prospects that are in the pipeline waiting to join Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, and Reynaldo Lopez who graduated from prospect status this year.

After those four players there are question marks, especially for the position players, that unless the White Sox get more active in trades and Free Agent signings will need to be counted on in fulfilling their promise in becoming a major leaguer. That’s Zack Collins, Blake Rutherford, and Jake Burger. It’s a big year for them this year, especially for Collins and Rutherford who didn’t have the best years in 2017.

Out of all the White Sox prospects, which one are you most excited for in 2018?

Pnoles: I’m most excited for Eloy Jimenez because it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a bat this dynamic come out of the system and there’s a very high chance he’ll be making his major league debut this year. However, he’s ranked the highest, so that makes this something of a boring answer. If I had to pick a player from off the Top-100 radar, I think I’d go with Micker Adolfo. We’ve been following him for what feels like forever (particularly during years when it was a depressing slog to follow the White Sox farm system) and he started to show encouraging signs of translating his raw power to games last season.

Josh: I really like the Micker Adolfo pick because it a big group of outfielders from A to AA ball I think he can rise above them all. Yes, even Blake Rutherford.

My pick is Luis Robert. It’s been a fun nine months following his journey from the next Cuban phenom to taking cuts at the White Sox hitting camp. Soon, we’ll start seeing perform in games and watch how he handles playing in the States. For those that like to travel, it would be worth making a trek to Winston-Salem this year.

Who needs to improve the most in 2018 for you to have confidence they could one day contribute in the majors?

Pnoles: As much as I want to say Blake Rutherford for this answer, for me it’s Jake Burger. They both had their struggles in the Sally League, but Burger’s a full year older and with much less defensive versatility. Burger made a lot of contact last season, but the biggest issue is his batted ball profile. Barring a dramatic improvement to his defensive outlook, he’s going to have to hit for some serious power to contribute in the major leagues, which will involve hitting the ball in the air with authority a lot more often. Contact is nice, but Burger hit half of his batted balls on the ground last season (which is especially bad when you can’t run) and hit a whopping 13 infield pop-ups (which are just extra strikeouts) in just 200 plate appearances. To his credit, Burger has reportedly spent the offseason trying to add loft to his swing. That’s a change he’ll need to make to get anyone excited enough about his bat to justify the “where will he play” debates.

Josh: If you’re going with the 2017 first round pick, I’ll go with the 2016 first round pick in Zack Collins. He’ll be in AA this year which seems to be the toughest test for White Sox hitters. We’ve heard from Arizona that Collins is making a swing adjustment that will hopefully help him get more balls in play. Also need to see if his defensive progressions from last year, primarily throwing out base stealers, translate to a new level. While Collins has to worry about himself making changes, behind him is Seby Zavala who had a great 2017 hitting the ball. Both are question marks on defense, but if Collins struggles to make contact again while Zavala is hitting .300-plus and posting similar power numbers the White Sox may have a new number one catching prospect in their system.

Who would be on your Top 10 White Sox prospect list?

Pnoles: My Top 10 would be:

1) Eloy Jimenez
2) Michael Kopech
3) Luis Robert
4) Alec Hansen
5) Dane Dunning
6) Dylan Cease
7) Zack Collins
8) Micker Adolfo
9) Blake Rutherford
10) Jake Burger
That ordering gets increasingly rough after the top six. Collins had a late-season surge with the bat at Birmingham, which inspired some hope despite questions about his contact skills and framing ability. The last three are where I get a little funky. Burger and Rutherford both struggled in A-ball, but Burger is more than a full year older and has defensive concerns (that could yet be quelled) limiting what I perceive to be his ultimate potential, so I feel comfortable slotting him behind Rutherford for the time being. Adolfo performed better than both at Kannapolis and had such a tantalizing upside in the power department that I slotted him ahead of both, despite serious concerns about his contact ability. That’s my rationale, but I wouldn’t seriously argue about most re-orderings of those last four guys.
Josh: My list:


Who outside of your Top 10 do you think is primed to make a leap in 2018?

Pnoles: I think Ian Hamilton is a strong possibility. He’s probably not one of the 20 best prospects in the system, but if he has a breakout campaign at Birmingham (where he’s still young for the level), we could see him in Chicago before the year is out. His added velocity and newly-sharp breaking ball make him a dark horse candidate to collect some saves in Chicago before the year is through.

Josh: I’m not giving up on Spencer Adams. After he heals from his finger injury, I look forward to how he handles AAA and wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a few spot starts for the White Sox in 2018.

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Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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Did you guys forget Zack Burdi? To me he seems like an obvious top 10 guy despite the injury.


Patrick Nolan

I didn’t forget him.


My list, taking into account the systems strength s.












A guy I like more than consensus as a possible breakout is Casey Gillespie. Sox have a ton of recent success with later peaking switch hitters, and injuries probably set him back a lot last season.


After Jimenez and Robert, this will be an interesting season to follow our young outfielders with the hope of finding Avi’s replacement in 2020. We have Nicky-D, Tilson and Cordell who could all be battling it out this spring for starting spots. After that, there are several possibilities already in the system for 2020 spots with Rutherford, Micker, Basabee, Call, Fisher, Polo and Gonzalez. Let’s hope every one of them breaks out and become viable outfield major-leaguers so we can keep 2 and trade the other 8 for the 2020 world series run!

sausalito pale hose

Mind boggling to me what so many are trying to get rid of Avi.  Is the strategy here to get prospects to the all star level and then; trade them for more prospects?  That would remind me of the A’s who develop young prospects and immediately sell them for more because they won’t put out the money for ‘ arriving stars. (Cespedes, Donaldson, Gray, etc. Deciding to get rid of Avi before we know his ceiling would be nonsense.  As Hahn said; we have plenty of time to make a decision on Avi, Abreu.  Must be something about Avi’s personality that bothers so many.  It is not a question of his ability



I think it has more to do with that he was so terrible for so long (over 1,000 abs) before we saw the change. At this point yeah let it play out but I wouldn’t be upset if he were moved at possibly his apex. This situation is very different than Oakland.

Brett R. Bobysud

The Collins-Zavala comparisons will be interesting, especially considering that they’ll both likely be at the same level at Birmingham, just as they were at Winston-Salem last year.

I’m probably one of the minority of fans that still has high hopes for Collins as an everyday catcher in the majors, but I get why some have seen their expectations for him diminish.


The guys as razzball had a really insightful analysis on White Sox prospects. I enjoyed listening to them more than the mlb pipeline or BA guys














I think Basabe has the tools to impress and could surprise us with a good season.  Maybe Robert jumping up to W-S will light a fire under his backside as he sees his future competition for a roster spot.  My dark horse guy (to jump into the top 30 mix) would be Tyler Johnson.  He struggled with a move up to Kanny but the guy has a knack for piling up the strikeouts.


Maybe it’s just the phrasing here, but is there some indication you know of as to why Robert would need something to “light a fire under his backside”? Everything I’ve seen indicates he’s highly motivated, works said “backside” off at every opportunity, and really wants to succeed and make an impression already. Have I missed something?

lil jimmy

I like Blake Rutherford to have a big bounce back. He has too much talent, and brains to not. His take that he was reacting not acting at the plate, being defensive, robbed his ability to drive the ball. Causing weak contact. If the game slows down for him, I believe he will gain control of his at bats, and be back on track.

A dark horse to move up is Justin Yurchak. He always has a plan at the plate, and does not strike out. I think his bat can take him a long way.

Patrick Nolan

I hope Rutherford does. He could be a damn good one.


Oh my god i just got it. Patrick Nolan. Pnoles. Its all making sense now.


I  believe the “p” is silent, though. Like pneumonia, or psychopath, or pnyanahnyanahnana.