Following up on part one of this list, here's part two which ranks the White Sox' top-ten prospects.
Jacob May played for the Blue Sox in Austrailia over the offseason. Credit: James Woosha Worsfold, ABL
Let’s get this started with number ten and work our way down to number one …
10. Tyler Danish SP (19, 6’2”, 190 / Bats: R Throws: R)
Danish was drafted in the 2nd round last year out of Durant High School in Plant City, FL. In his first action in pro ball, Danish threw 26 innings with Bristol of the APPY league tallying one start and twelve relief appearances, pitching to a 1.38 ERA giving up 15 hits while having a 22/5 K/B ratio.
Then he made the jump at the end of the season to Kannapolis for only four innings where he gave up two hits and struck out six while walking nobody.
Some scouts have compared Danish’s arm action to Jake Peavy, leading to some projecting him to a reliever in the future. The Sox will give him every chance to be a starter and will most likely start him with low-A Kannapolis in 2014.
ETA: Mid-Late 2016
9. Carlos Sanchez SS/2B (21, 5’11”, 195 / Bats: S Throws: R)
Sanchez played all of 2013 with AAA Charlotte in his age 20/21 season, so he was very young in what was his first extended taste of AAA. He has done nothing but hit in the levels leading up to AAA, but has struggled since getting there for a brief stint in 2012 and all of 2013 (.242/.290.297 in 518 PA).
Sanchez has the ability to play 2B, SS and 3B. If and when he does go on to be an MLB regular, it'd most likely be at second base. As a switch hitter, Sanchez will be in competition with Leury Garcia, Micah Johnson, Marcus Semien, and others in the coming years. He will begin the year at AAA Charlotte again, but could very well get his first taste of the major leagues.
Carlos tore up the Venezuelan Winter League over the offseason and is looking good this spring, so hopefully he can carry that momentum into Charlotte.
8. Jacob May OF (21, 5’10”, 180 / Bats: S Throws: R)
May was drafted last year in the third round out of Coastal Carolina University. He only played 12 games with Great Falls hitting a robust .378/.481/.444. He was then promoted to Kannapolis for the rest of the season playing center field for 54 games hitting .286/.346/.461.
May is a dynamic playmaker that uses his speed to his advantage (24 SB in 30 attempts), but also has good pop (19 XBH in 251 AB). Look for him to be a fast riser through the system (he's already 22) that has top of the lineup ability along with playing above average defense in the outfield.
ETA: Late 2015
7. Chris Beck SP (23, 6’3”, 210 / Bats: R Throws: R)
Beck is coming off a successful season between A+ Winston-Salem and AA Birmingham. He had a very nice 3.07 ERA in 26 starts. The one thing that was very disappointing is the 4.8 K/9. If Beck wants to be a starter long-term in the big leagues, the strikeouts must trend upwards in 2014.
I expect Beck to get some spot starts in 2014 with the White Sox and be given a shot at the rotation full time in 2015. Hopefully he can repeat his success from 2013 while missing some more bats.
6. Marcus Semien SS/2B (23, 6’1”, 190 / Bats: R Throws: R)
Semien was probably the best offensive player in the White Sox farm system in 2013. He was named the Southern League MVP after hitting .290/.420/.483 with 21 doubles, 5 triples, 15 home runs and 49 RBI. He also added 20 stolen bases and walked 84 times while only striking out 66 times. Marcus was then promoted to AAA Charlotte where he OPS’d over .800 prompting him to get a September call up to the big leagues where he showed some promise.
The big problem for Semien is the fact that the major league roster is loaded with guys who aren’t getting passed over due to various reasons. He could become an on-base machine with decent pop and speed. I personally think that he is a perfect fit the #2 spot in the lineup.
The Sox will start him at AAA Charlotte, but we will see him in Chicago come this summer. A comparison we like to throw around for Semien is current St. Louis Cardinal Mark Ellis.
5. Micah Johnson 2B (23, 5’11”, 190 / Bats: L Throws: R)
Johnson is a guy with huge upside, and it really has to do with one elite tool: SPEED.
He led the minor leagues last season with 84 stolen bases (110 attempts). He knows that percentage of caught stealing needs to come down and he has put work into it. But he also has some power that lead to a very nice 46 extra base hits including 15 triples.
Johnson worked his way from low-A Kannapolis through high-A Winston-Salem all the way to AA Birmingham. He did struggle with the Barons during his final five games, but showed he can be a force on the base paths.
Johnson will most likely begin the year in AA after getting an invitation to Spring Training with the big league club where he has started very nicely (.455/.500/.455 in 12 PA). He will need to cut down on his strikeouts and hopefully keep his OBP up if he wants to be a top of the lineup type guy.
Also, defense at 2B or in the outfield will be a focal point to the beginning of this year.
ETA: Late 2014 / Early 2015
4. Courtney Hawkins OF (20, 6’3”, 220 / Bats: R Throws: R)
Hawkins was the White Sox' first-round pick in 2012. He ended 2012 with Winston-Salem as an 18 year-old and a slash line of .284/.324/.480 in 249 plate appearances. But 2013 was a different story completely.
The Sox kept the pedal down by making him the youngest player in the Carolina League with Winston-Salem and it didn’t go well. In 425 plate appearances, he hit a dreadful .178/.249/.384. A bright spot was the 19 home runs he hit, but he did strike out 160 times.
Hawkins will most likely be forced to start the season with Winston-Salem and prove that he can hit the pitching at that level. I am projecting him for a big bounce back year that is outlined in a recent piece you can check out by clicking here.
ETA: Late 2016-Early 2017
3. Tim Anderson SS (20, 6’1”, 180 / Bats: R Throws: R)
Anderson was the first round pick of the White Sox in the 2013 First Year Player Draft when the Sox selected him with the 17th overall pick out of East Central Community College.
Known for his speed, which most scouts put close to 80 on the scouting 20-80 scale, Anderson has a ton of upside to his game. He is still a bit raw at the plate and needs to recognize pitches better. Scouts have also said that they think some moderate power will come as he continues to learns at the dish along with the strikeouts coming down as well.
The worrisome spot is his defense. He had 19 errors in 63 games at shortstop. The White Sox believe he has the range and hands to be a good defensive player, but could speed up the process if they decide they like him better in the outfield.
He is the prospect that I will watch most closely in 2014. He will most likely start with Winston-Salem and could finish the year in AA Birmingham. Check out what to expect from Anderson this season by clicking here.
2. Matt Davidson 3B (22, 6’2”, 225 / Bats: R Throws: R)
Matt Davidson hopes to be the third baseman that the Sox have been looking for since Joe Crede left.
He was acquired this offseason in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks for closer Addison Reed. He got a cup of tea with the D'Backs last year in which he was just fine. He is known for his big-time power and fanning at a high clip.
This season will be a big one for Davidson as he will most likely start the season in AAA largely because of service time. He will be working on his approach at the plate and his defense at the hot corner. The White Sox see him as a future middle of the lineup guy that will have big power and on-base skills. Hopefully acquiring works out for the better in the very near future.
ETA: Mid 2014
1. Erik Johnson SP (24, 6’3”, 235 / Bats: R Throws: R)
Johnson has earned his place in the White Sox starting rotation according to pitching coach Don Cooper. The big righty looks to be at least a good no.3 starter and looks capable of eating a ton of innings.
He came up at the end of 2013 and made five starts going 27.2 innings and giving up 32 hits while having a 18/11 K/BB ratio and a nice 3.25 ERA. He has a chance to fit in very nicely with Ace Chris Sale and no.2 starter Jose Quintana.
Best case scenario for Johnson is that he is in contention for AL Rookie of the Year with Jose Abreu. If he pitches to his ability and stays healthy, there is no reason to believe he can’t be in the converstation.
So there it is, Grab Some Bench!’s top-20 Chicago White Sox prospects for 2014. One name I want to mention is the biggest free agent signing of the offseason and that of course is Jose Abreu.
We talked about putting him on the list, but we decided to leave him off since he's less of a prospect and more of a high-scale acquisition. He signed a 6 year, $68 million contract before the World Series started and is expected to do big things while getting the majority of the at-bats at first base.
Everyone hopes that he is the next great first baseman after one of the newest members of the Hall of Fame in Frank Thomas and the man that is entering his 16th and final year with the White Sox, Paul Konerko.
We hope you enjoyed this as much as we have coming up with the list and we also hope it lets you know the main guys to keep an eye out for in the near future.