Chicago White Sox 2019 Midseason Top 50 Prospects

Luis Robert (AFL 2018) - photo credit Benjamin Rush, forloveofbaseball on Flickr

The trade deadline has come and gone. The Chicago White Sox did not make any moves that impacted their farm system. There were rumors that circulated that seemed to propose the idea of the Sox trading to get top-end starting pitching that could help them in the next few years, but that proved not to be true. Instead, the Sox held on steady to their already strong farm system in hopes that the personnel they have can develop these prospects into everyday ballplayers. 

The White Sox top five prospects make a case to be the best five any team has. There is no doubt some potential in the White Sox system from top to bottom though. There are guys ranked here in the teen’s that, if they stay healthy (and that’s a big if), could very well be making an impact for the White Sox in the near future. With that being said, the injury bug has been arguably the biggest hindrance for some of these White Sox prospects. There has been potential stars that have had their development halted by an injury (or two, or even three in some cases).

Even with the vast amount of injuries going on throughout the system, I still think this is a top farm system in baseball. As mentioned above, the top five White Sox prospects shouldn’t be too surprising as they are all arguably top 50 prospects in the entire league. After these five is where the true depth of the Sox organization is shown. 


Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster


Tier 1:
1. Luis Robert, OF
Age: 21
2019 level: AAA Charlotte
Preseason Rank: #3
With Eloy Jimenez graduating from the top prospect list, it’s no surprise that Luis Robert finds himself at the top of this White Sox Top 50 list. One could even argue that Luis Robert has an even higher ceiling that Jimenez, who was once thought of as the #2 prospect in all of baseball. Robert has been a show all year showing off his true five tool potential. Robert has had one of the best years in all of minor league baseball and finds himself as a top 5 prospect in the entire league. I know many White Sox fans who want to see Luis Robert grace the outfield at Guaranteed Rate Field this year, but a more realistic expectation (unfortunately) is a 2020 debut. My first way-too-early 2020 prediction is that Luis Robert will win the AL Rookie of the Year Award. Robert is going to be special. 

2. Andrew Vaughn, 1B
Age: 21
2019 level: A+ Winston-Salem
Preseason Rank: N/A
The #3 pick in the 2019 MLB Draft finds himself #2 on my White Sox midseason top 50 list. Coming into the 2019 MLB Draft, Vaughn was one of the more talked about bats in the draft, with his positional value being his downside. As mentioned in my June article discussing the White Sox drafting Vaughn, drafting a first baseman with the third overall pick makes some a bit weary, but Vaughn’s bat certainly weighs out most of the concern. For fantasy purposes, I think Vaughn could put up some really strong stats once he reaches the show. I expect to see Vaughn sometime in 2020 as I imagine he is on a fast track through the minor leagues. 

3. Michael Kopech, RHP
Age: 23
2019 Level: N/A
Preseason Rank: #2
Like Robert and Vaughn above, Kopech is set to be a huge part of the White Sox rebuild when it truly comes to fruition in the next few years. Kopech has sat out all of 2019 so far due to him recovering from his September Tommy John surgery. Rehab is a long process when recovering from Tommy John, but Kopech had said on a recent White Sox broadcast that he has been able to throw all of his pitches and hopes to face some hitters in September. Knowing Kopech’s work ethic and mindset, it wouldn’t surprise me if Kopech came back stronger than expected. When healthy, however, Kopech has ace potential. Spring training can’t come soon enough for Kopech and the White Sox.

4. Dylan Cease, RHP
Age: 23
2019 Level: MLB
Preseason Rank: #4
Yes, at the time of this article, Cease is 1-4 with a ERA north of 6.00. Yes, he has surrendered 29 hits in just 28.0 innings and has a WHIP more than 1.50. Yes, the stats do not look great for the 23-year-old, but the stats do not tell the whole story on Cease. Cease’s stuff has looked sharp in his first four starts and has shown flashes of brilliance. I, for one, am not too worried about Cease. If Cease can mature more over the next year or so into a solid #2 starter, Cease can and will play a large role in the White Sox rebuild. Don’t panic just yet.

5. Nick Madrigal, 2B
Age: 22
2019 Level: AAA Charlotte
Preseason Rank: #5
Madrigal’s top prospect status is a hot topic for more prospect enthusiasts. On various top prospect lists, I’ve seen Madrigal rank in the 40’s, yet I’ve also seen him rank in the 100’s. While Madrigal’s power ability is always up for debate, what is not up for debate? Madrigal has one of the best plate approaches in the entire White Sox organization. Madrigal hit his way through AA, batting .341 with an OBP of .400. Throughout his time in Birmingham, he only struck out five times in 42 days. Nowadays, that kind of strikeout rate is unheard of. Madrigal will most likely never hit for that much power however, Madrigal is still a special, tier one talent. Chris Getz, the Director of Player Development, recently has said that he believes that Madrigal’s power rate could increase, making him a 10-12 HR guy. This should be music to the White Sox’s ears as his power, or lack thereof, has always been his largest criticism.

Tier 2:
6. Steele Walker, RF
Age: 23
2019 Level: A+ Winston-Salem
Preseason Rank: #14
Although the stats don’t really jump off the page for Steele Walker, he has the tools to be a potential leadoff hitter for the White Sox at some point. He struggled during the month of July after a really strong stretch during June. Walker’s weak month of July as well as the logjam already in the Birmingham outfield has led to Walker staying put in Winston-Salem for the time being. Walker’s biggest issue that I’ve seen is his approach against lefties. His OBP is over .100 points higher in matchups against righties opposed to lefities. Although there was some struggle in July, Walker has lit it up so far in August. If he is not up in Birmingham within the next couple of weeks, he is sure to start there during the 2020 campaign. 

7. Gavin Sheets, 1B
Age: 23
2019 Level: AA Birmingham
Preseason Rank: #13
Sheets has spent the entire season as the Barons first basemen. As we all know by now, Sheets has the look of a ballplayer that can mash and he has shown that thus far in 2019. Last year with the Dash, he hit for six long balls and this year already has twice as many. In the Carolina league, his power to all fields has been on display. To sum it up, Sheets has shown his power in an unfriendly hitter’s league/park, will have a new career high in HR and RBI, and has cut down on his strikeout rate. 

8. Zack Collins, C
Age: 24
2019 Level: MLB
Preseason Rank: #10
To many White Sox fans’ delight, Collins had his time to shine in the majors as he spent about a month up with the Southsiders in June and July. Collins struggled during his time with the White Sox, however, the lack of consistent at-bats ultimately got him sent back down to Charlotte. Since being sent back down? Collins has on fire and has slashed .340/.446/.509. Collins should be back up in Chicago in no time. This time, hopefully, he will get some consistent at-bats and chances to hone in on his craft. Collins is still the catcher of the future for the White Sox.

9. Jonathan Stiever, RHP
Age: 22
2019 Level: A+ Winston-Salem
Preseason Rank: #35
It’s hard to believe that Jonathan Stiever was #35 on the January edition of my Top 50 White Sox prospect list. The highest jump for any player as Stiever has shown that he is a tier two prospect opposed to the tier four I originally had him as. He truly has shown some dominance this year and has been brilliant since being promoted to Winston-Salem in June. His curveball has made batters look silly and grades out as his strongest pitch alongside his fastball. Since being promoted, Stiever owns as 2.20 ERA, has held batters to a .193 AVG and owns a WHIP of 0.87. It’s looking like Stiever can be a nice addition to the future White Sox rotation. 

10. Dane Dunning. RHP
Age: 24
2019 Level: N/A
Preseason Rank: #7
One of the biggest issues the White Sox have faced this season has been the injury bug. Dane Dunning underwent Tommy John Surgery this past March and will be sidelined all season and part of next recovering from the surgery. Dunning’s sinking fastball, slider, and curveball rank out as his three best pitches and are all above average pitches. If it weren’t for the injury, I think we would be seeing Dunning on the South Side this summer. Instead, we will have to wait to see Dunning in White Sox pinstripes until mid to late next year. 

11. Blake Rutherford, OF
Age: 22
2019 Level: AA Birmingham
Preseason Rank: #6
Rutherford had one of the best months of Junes in the entire organization. His .365/.400/.471 certainly isn’t something to bat an eye at. On the flip side, even a 27 game span of batting .365 and getting on base 40% of the time doesn’t overshadow the rather disappointing season that Rutherford. It’s clear that he has the raw tools, but raw tools don’t always translate into game tools and Rutherford is a prime example of that. Rutherford has struggled against lefties throughout his young career and is something he will continue to work on during his path to the show. 


Tier 3:

12. Matthew Thompson, RHP
Age: 18
2019 Level: N/A
Preseason Rank: N/A
The White Sox drafted Matthew Thompson in the 2nd round of the 2019 draft and was one of the best prep pitching prospects in the entire draft. I had a chance to see Thompson at the Under Armour All-American Game last year and was impressed during his inning of work. His fastball won’t blow you away, but his breaking balls and offspeed pitches can take him to that next level. Being only 18, the White Sox hope to fine tune the natural things for a young talent like Thompson such as his command, control, and delivery. 

13. Micker Adolfo, OF
Age: 22
2019 Level: AA Birmingham
Preseason Rank: #9
The injury bug sure has come Adolfo’s way hindering his development so far in his young career. Adolfo has all the capabilities to be an elite prospect, talent, and contributor for the future Chicago White Sox. The White Sox have many contenders for the future RF spot and I think that Adolfo profiles as just that. Once healthy, expect Adolfo to put everything together and be that elite talent that was he was once thought of. According to FutureSox, Adolfo plans on playing in the Arizona Fall League which is a huge step in the right direction.

14. Luis Gonzalez, OF
Age: 23
2019 Level: AA Birmingham
Preseason Rank: #12
Yet another White Sox OF prospect that has shown promise, Luis Gonzlaez comes in at #14 on the list. Coming into 2019, I was really high on Gonzalez, but he really hasn’t found his groove fully. He has shown flashes and has been on some hot streaks, but overall, Gonzalez has not lived up to my expectations coming into the season. On the bright side, Gonzalez has shown that he is one of the most polished defensive outfielders in the entire White Sox system and has shown promise in CF for the Barons

15. Luis Basabe, OF
Age: 22
2019 Level:  AA Birmingham
Preseason Rank: #8 
Yes, another OF on this list. Are you seeing a trend? The farm system is packed with outfielders with high upside and included in that group is Luis Basabe. Basabe has shown true promise recently has he has swung quite the hot bat to end the month of July and to begin August. It could be the lingering effects of an earlier injury that are starting to wear off for Basabe. 

16. Andrew Dalquist, RHP
Age: 18
2019 Level: N/A
Preseason Rank: N/A
The White Sox drafted Andrew Dalquist in the 2019 draft coming out of high school. Taking a high school pitcher high in the draft is always a high risk/high reward type of gamble, and the White Sox are hoping Dalquist pays off. Dalquist’s arsenal of a 4-seam, 2-seam, and curveball could develop in the near future as his body matures into his 6’1” frame. Dalquist, like fellow draftee Matthew Thompson, is expected to make his debut this month.

17. Kade McClure, RHP
Age: 23
2019 Level: A+ Winston-Salem
Preseason Rank: #44
Another big jump on the list, McClure has come back from his 2018 knee surgery and picked up right where he left off. In 2018, McClure was one of the best pitchers for Kannapolis before having his season cut short by knee surgery. McClure is quietly having himself a very impressive 2019 season as he owns a 2.83 ERA over 11 starts with the Dash. I’m hoping McClure could get the push towards Birmingham before season ends; he definitely deserves it.

18. Tyler Johnson, RHP
Age: 23
2019 Level: AA Birmingham
Preseason Rank: #32
Johnson returned from a lat injury in June and has been sharp ever since in a relieving role. I really think Johnson could play a large role as a reliever for the future contending White Sox teams. He recently was promoted to AA and deservedly so as he only let up two runs in 10.0 innings of work. Expect to see Johnson on the South Side at some point in 2020.

19. Will Kincanon, RHP
Age: 23
2019 Level: A+ Winston-Salem
Preseason Rank: N/A
Will Kincanon has come onto the scene in 2019 and has been one of the best relievers in the system. He has shined for the Dash this year posting a 1.80 ERA in 45.0 of relief work and was a Carolina League All-Star. He had some success last year in a similar role for the Intimidators, however, Kincanon’s 2019 success definitely puts him on Sox fans’ radar. Similar to Tyler Johnson above, Kincanon could play a bullpen role for the future Chicago White Sox. 

20. Jake Burger, 3B
Age: 23
2019 Level: N/A
Preseason Rank: #15
Burger was the first round pick for the White Sox in 2017, however, hasn’t quite lived up to his first round pick potential due to the injuries he has sustained in the recent past. Luckily, Rick Hahn recently said that Burger has resumed baseball activities. As ambiguous as that is, it’s a good sign for Burger who certainly has tools to make an impact in the majors. Due to Yoan Moncada’s rise as the 2019 White Sox third baseman and the plethora of bats before him, Burger’s future with the White Sox is a little bit more cloudy. 

21. DJ Gladney, 3B
Age: 18
2019 Level: AZL 
Preseason Rank: N/A
DJ Gladney may be one of my favorite prospects in the entire White Sox organization. The 16th round draft pick for the White Sox had an amazing start to his career for the AZL White Sox. He cooled off significantly to end July, however, he still batted over .300 during the month. Gladney is near the top of most batting statistics even though he is one of the youngest players on the team. Gladney has shown off some nice pop in his bat as well with 15 XBH over 37 games played so far in 2019.

22. James Beard, OF
Age: 18
2019 Level: AZL
Preseason Rank: N/A
Another very popular pick for the White Sox during the 2019 MLB Draft was selecting Beard with in the 4th round. Beard draws comps to Billy Hamilton due to his 80 grade speed. His quickness and speed makes him an above average fielder as well as a base stealer. His bat, however, is still a work in progress as he has never really faced high competition on the mound. Beard has plenty of raw talent and speed that you can’t teach. He certainly is a name to keep in mind being only 18 years-old.


Tier 4:
23. Konnor Pilkington, LHP
Age: 21
2019 Level: A+ Winston-Salem
Preseason Rank: #29
Pilkington started the year off hot with the Intimidators and earned a well-deserved promotion to Winston-Salem. Since being promoted, however, Pilkington has struggled to find his groove for the Dash. In his six starts with the Intimidators prior to the promotion, Pilkington was holding opposing batters to a strong .132 AVG. Since being promoted, hitters are teeing off with a .282 AVG; Pilkington’s WHIP has nearly doubled since being promoted to Winston-Salem. The White Sox hope that the 2018 draftee can find his groove in the next month or so to wrap up the Dash’s season.

24. Jimmy Lambert, RHP
Age: 24
2019 Level: AA Birmingham
Preseason Rank: #24
Lambert ended the 2018 season five strong starts for the Barons. Lambert hoped to carry that success into 2019, but has yet to find that same beat. Lambert has a similar strikeout rate as he did in 2018 which was solid, however, has walked batters at a much higher rate. The White Sox hope Lambert can find his control as Lambert turns 25 this November. 

25. Bernardo Flores, LHP
Age: 23
2019 Level: AA Birmingham
Preseason Rank: #37
An injury for Flores in late May has sidelined him from AA action since then. Flores recently returned from injury and pitched in the SAL for the Intimidators. Although the numbers weren’t great, he went three innings with no pain, which is always great after recovering from any discomfort in the arm. Keep your eye on Flores though as we end the MiLB year and into next year as he gets back to 100%.

26.Bryce Bush, 3B/OF
Age: 19
2019 Level: A Kannapolis
Preseason Rank: #42

27. Lenyn Sosa, SS
Age: 19
2019 Level: A Kannapolis
Preseason Rank: #34

28. Codi Heuer, RHP
Age: 23
2019 Level: AA Birmingham
Preseason Rank: N/A

29. Kyle Kubat, RHP
Age: 26
2019 Level: AAA Charlotte 
Preseason Rank: N/A

30. Seby Zavala, C
Age: 25
2019 Level: MLB 
Preseason Rank: #20

31. Yolbert Sanchez, 2B/SS
Age: 22
2019 Level: N/A
Preseason Rank:N/A

32. Alec Hansen, RHP
Age: 24
2019 Level: AA Birmingham
Preseason Rank: #11

33. Zack Burdi, RHP
Age: 24
2019 Level: AA Birmingham 
Preseason Rank: #16

34. Lincoln Henzman, RHP
Age: 24
2019 Level: AA Birmingham
Preseason Rank: #36

35. Benyamin Bailey, OF
Age: 17
2019 Level: DSL
Preseason Rank: N/A

36. Luis Mieses, OF
Age: 19
2019 Level: ROA Great Falls
Preseason Rank: #43


Tier 5:
37. Lency Delgado, SS

Age: 19
2019 Level: ROA Great Falls
Preseason Rank: #25

38. Taylor Varnell, LHP
Age: 24
2019 Level: A Kannapolis
Preseason Rank: N/A

39. Jose Rodriguez, SS
Age: 18
2019 Level: AZL
Preseason Rank: N/A
Watch out for this kid. He’s someone I like a lot.

40. Yermin Mercedes, C
Age: 26
2019 Level: AAA Charlotte
Preseason Rank: #48

41. Avery Weems, LHP
Age: 22
2019 Level: ROA Great Falls 
Preseason Rank: N/A

42. Dan Metzdorf, LHP
Age: 23
2019 Level: ROA Great Falls 
Preseason Rank: N/A

43. Tyler Frost, OF
Age: 23
2019 Level: A+ Winston-Salem
Preseason Rank: #21

44. Alex Destino, OF
Age: 23
2019 Level: A Kannapolis
Preseason Rank: N/A

45. Ian Dawkins, OF
Age: 24
2019 Level: A Kannapolis
Preseason Rank: N/A

46. Luis Curbelo, SS
Age: 21
2019 Level: ROA
Preseason Rank: #18

47. Joel Booker, OF
Age: 25
2019 Level: AA Birmingham
Preseason Rank: #50

48. Jason Bilous, RHP
Age: 21
2019 Level: A Kannapolis
Preseason Rank: N/A

49. Danny Dopico, RHP
Age: 25
2019 Level: AA Birmingham
Preseason Rank: N/A

50. Danny Mendick, UTIL
Age: 25
2019 Level: AAA Charlotte
Preseason Rank: N/A




About William Shea 5 Articles
William Shea is the Chicago White Sox correspondent for Prospects1500. An Illinois resident, William attends over 30 baseball games throughout the season ranging from MLB, MILB, or even Independent League games. William, a sports memorabilia and fantasy baseball fan alike, can be found on Twitter @0Runsin1st.

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