Chicago White Sox 2021 Midseason Top 50 Prospects

White Sox Top 50 design by @designsbypack on Twitter

The 2021 Minor League Baseball season signals the close of a strong era in White Sox player development and begins the retooling of a predominantly depleted system. The pipeline of talent that gushed core components for the contention window has been reduced to a trickle. Fortunately, the truncation of the 2020 and 2021 MLB Drafts has provided the team with a talent-rich environment from which to reload.

The performance of the 2021 draft class will go a long way in telling White Sox fans whether the system will return to its darkest days, or whether it will signal the beginning of a new golden age that evokes memories of 2017. That’s when the great debate centered around whether the Sox or Braves had the best farm system in baseball.

For White Sox fans it will be fun to unpack all of this in the months ahead.

White Sox Minor League Affiliates

Charlotte Knights – AAA
Birmingham Barons – AA
Winston-Salem Dash – High-A
Kannapolis Cannonballers – Low-A
White Sox – Rookie (Arizona Complex League)
White Sox – Rookie (Dominican Summer League)

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 a high likelihood of making the majors, but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players of interest, worth keeping an eye on, who have an outside chance of making their team’s 40 man roster

Tier 1

None

Tier 2

1. Colson Montgomery, SS (January rank N/A)
Age: 19
Current level: Rookie
Montgomery, the White Sox #1 pick in the 2021 MLB Draft offers athleticism, projectability, and present power on a 6’ 4” frame. Watching his development should be a fun ride.

2. Jake Burger, 3B (January rank #13)
Age: 25
Current level: MLB
After missing three full seasons the 2017 first-rounder returned to the field without a hiccup mashing (.322/.368.596) in AAA  before making his big league debut for the South Siders.

3. Gavin Sheets, 1B (January rank #9)
Age: 25
Current level: AAA
Sheets is a mountain of a man (6’5” 230 lb) with a technically sound swing, he has displayed good power and held his own with the bat over a small sample size opportunity with the big league club.

Tier 3

4. Jared Kelley, RHP (January rank #8)
Age: 19
Current level: Low-A
Kelley possesses the stuff to be an ace, most notably consistent premium velo and a plus changeup, the only thing lacking is experience and refinement, developing command will be key.

5. Micker Adolfo, OF (January rank #8)
Age: 24
Current level: AAA
Finally healthy, Adolfo is responsible for launching several highlight reel blasts. Out of options the White Sox may soon be faced with a difficult decision regarding his future with the organization.

6. Yoelqui Céspedes, OF (January rank #12)
Age: 23
Current level: High-A
The chiseled Cuban import has flashed some tools while making the adjustment to American culture and the grind of stateside baseball.

7. Jose Rodriguez, SS (January rank #25)
Age: 20
Current level: Low-A
Rodriguez has been a hitting machine for Low-A Kannapolis, consistently demonstrating excellent bat-to-ball skills, plus speed and an all fields hitting approach.


8. Bryan Ramos, 2B (January rank #28)
Age: 19
Current level: Low-A
Holding his own as one of the youngest players in low-A, Ramos offers plenty of offensive projection.


9. Jonathan Stiever, RHP (January rank #5)
Age: 24
Current level: AAA
The athletic Stiever is striking out 11.1 per 9 IP for the AAA Knights in a bandbox stadium that amplifies even minute pitcher errors.

10. Luis Gonzalez, OF (January rank #6)
Age: 25
Current level: AAA
The versatile Gonzalez offers a well-rounded toolbox and acquitted himself well with the big club during a recent cup of coffee.

11. Matthew Thompson, RHP (January rank #10)
Age: 20
Current level: Low-A
The energetic and athletic Thompson looks a lot like a young Dwight Gooden; he fields his position like a future gold glove winner and sports a loose delivery with plus velocity on a wiry projectable frame.

12. Norge Carlos Vera, RHP (January rank #11)
Age: 21
Current level: DSL
The fireballing right-hander possesses great baseball genetics, his father is a Cuban baseball legend, scouts laud his athleticism and projection.

13. Wes Kath, 3B (January rank N/A)
Age: 18
Current level: Rookie
Kath utilized his great swing plane and smooth left-handed stroke to win Arizona’s Gatorade Player of the Year award this past season; he elicits Michael Brantley comps.

14. Sean Burke, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 21
Current level: Rookie
The athletic, 6’6″ power right-hander was regarded as a potential first-round talent, he dominated college hitters but suffered from occasional command lapses (4.9 walks per nine).

15. Lenyn Sosa, SS (January rank #16)
Age: 21
Current level: High-A
In addition to being a premier defender, Sosa’s improving plate approach helped him post monster July numbers for High-A Winston-Salem (.350/.391/.520).

16. Tanner McDougal, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 18
Current level: Rookie
The 6’6” right-hander has elite spin metrics, his fastball touches 96 mph, and projects for more. He has tremendous upside.

17. Andrew Dalquist, RHP (January rank #18)
Age: 20
Current level: Low-A
The promising young right-hander currently offers more polish than Kelley and Thompson without as much projection.

18. Yolbert Sanchez, SS (January rank #40)
Age: 24
Current level: AA
The sure-handed Sanchez held his own while also displaying quality bat-to-ball skills at High-A, but Birmingham will be the true test.

19. Romy Gonzalez, SS (January – unranked)
Age: 24
Current level: AA
The versatile workaholic has played every defensive position with the Sox organization (besides pitcher and catcher) and is experiencing an offensive breakout season at AA Birmingham.

20. Cameron Butler, OF (January rank N/A)
Age: 18
Current level: Rookie
Adam Virchis, the scout responsible for signing Marcus Semien, suggests that the freakishly athletic Butler has more tools than the MLB All-Star did at the same age.

21. Jimmy Lambert, RHP (January rank #22)
Age: 26
Current level: MLB
The right-hander has the arsenal of a back-of-the-rotation starter or swingman, take his poor Charlotte pitching statistics with a grain of salt.

22. Blake Rutherford, OF (January rank #14)
Age: 24
Current level: AAA
The former first-rounder has disappointed at Truist Field, home of the Charlotte Knights, where a player’s league-inflated offensive production typically amplifies expectations.

23. Jason Bilous, RHP (January rank #29)
Age: 23
Current level: AA
The lanky right-hander possesses a 80-16 K:BB ratio in 59 IP over two minor league stops in 2021.

24. Lane Ramsey, RHP (January rank #30)
Age: 25
Current level: AAA
The 6’9” power right-handed reliever started the season at High-A Winston-Salem, his ascension has been meteoric.

Tier 4

25. Luis Mieses, OF (January rank #49)
Age: 21
Current level: High-A
Mieses floundered with an aggressive assignment to High-A to begin the season but found a groove in Low-A displaying excellent bat-to-ball skills and developing left-handed power.

26. Andrew Perez, LHP (January rank #32)
Age: 24
Current level: AA
The athletic left-handed reliever is allowing more hits than ever in 2021 (10.3 per 9), he is also missing bats at a personal best clip (13.3 K per 9) while posting nearly a 6:1 K:BB ratio.

27. Bennett Sousa, LHP (January rank #33)
Age: 26
Current level: AAA
Sousa is another talented left-handed bullpen arm, he’s allowed fewer hits than ever in 2021 while also experiencing a statistical spike in strikeouts.

28. Carlos Perez, C (January – unranked)
Age: 24
Current level: AA
It’s hard not to get excited about a plus defensive catcher with a strong arm and elite contact skills (7% K rate in over 1400 MiLB plate appearances).

29Brooks Gosswein, LHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 22
Current level: Rookie
Polished left-handed starting pitching prospect with a legitimate three-pitch arsenal (FB, CB, SL) and a developing change.

30. McKinley Moore, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 22
Current level: High-A
Moore possesses a closer’s power arsenal equipped on his 6’6” frame, his fastball sits in the high nineties and frequently flirts with triple digits.

31Chase Krogman, OF (January rank #38)
Age: 20
Current level: Low-A
The sweet-swinging left-handed outfielder displays plus left-handed power and a strong throwing arm, just needs to tame the swing-and-miss.


32. Kade McClure, RHP (January rank #36)
Age: 25
Current level: AA
McClure had one clunker outing at Birmingham (1.1 IP 9 ER) which soiled his otherwise solid stat line; the ability to remove it from the record would drop his ERA to 2.78.

33Will Kincanon, RHP (January rank #24)
Age: 25
Current level: AA
A surgical clean-up procedure on his throwing elbow put the kibosh on his 2021 campaign after only four scoreless innings.

34Harvin Mendoza, 1B (January rank #45)
Age: 22
Current level: Low-A
Mendoza consistently demonstrates a solid understanding of the strike zone and a discerning eye. He’s also incredibly limber for a big-bodied first base type.

35Taylor Varnell, LHP (January rank #50)
Age: 26
Current level: AA
The left-handed starter uses smarts and control over raw stuff to achieve excellent results, and a recent promotion to AA Birmingham will offer more clarity about his long-term outlook.

36. Luke Shilling, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current level: High-A
Possessing elite spin and velo, Shilling has as much upside as any reliever in the system. If he wasn’t currently derailed by Tommy John surgery he would have ranked much higher.

Tier 5

37. Caleb Freeman, RHP (January rank #34)
Age: 23
Current level: AA
Freeman is a power-armed relief prospect with two plus pitches (FB/CB), and he has the potential to ascend rapidly.

38. Alex Destino, OF (January rank #31)
Age: 25
Current level: High-A
Destino boasts an impeccable baseball resume along with plus power from the left-hand side and a strong throwing arm, but as an older prospect he’s going to have to mash.

39Benyamin Bailey, OF (January rank #15)
Age: 19
Current level: Rookie
Bailey torched the DSL in 2019 but was completely overmatched when aggressively assigned to Low-A Kannapolis to begin the 2021 season.

40DJ Gladney, 3B (January rank #27)
Age: 20
Current level: Low-A
Gladney’s card-carrying tool is his impressive raw power.

41Luis Curbelo, 3B (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current level: High-A
Curbelo is a jacked third baseman that hits the ball hard when he’s making contact, who profiles as a power-hitting third baseman with a solid glove and strong arm.


42Bryce Bush, OF (January rank #26)
Age: 21
Current level: Rookie
In 2018 Bush began his professional career with a bang, but unfortunately, his development has been hampered by health issues. His future is still bright if he can get back on course and stay on the field. 

43. Misael Gonzalez, OF (January – unranked)
Age: 20
Current level: Rookie
Gonzalez, who received a healthy $185K signing bonus as the White Sox 12th round pick in the 2019 Draft, possesses plus-plus speed with power potential and is posting solid numbers at the Arizona Complex League.

44. Anderson Comas, OF (January – unranked)
Age: 21
Current level: Rookie
Comas has a power hitter’s frame and hits from the left-hand side. He needs to develop an approach as evidenced by his minuscule 3% BB rate.

45Victor Torres, C (January – unranked)
Age: 21
Current level: Low-A
Torres has displayed the tools necessary to be an extremely gifted defender behind the dish, and improvement to his hit tool will be key in establishing his ceiling.

46. Randel Mondesi, OF (January rank, N/A)
Age: 18
Current level: DSL
Mondesi’s professional baseball career is in its infancy as he takes on the Dominican Summer League, but much like organization teammate Elijah Tatis, he possesses great genetics as the son of Raúl and brother of Adalberto.

47Shawn Goosenberg, SS (January rank, N/A)
Age: 21
Current level: Rookie
Viewed as a 5th round talent by White Sox scouts, the offense-minded Goosenberg finished second in the Big Ten with 14 home runs. The Sox were thrilled to select him with their 19th round pick.

48. Elijah Tatis, SS (January rank, 46)
Age: 20
Current level: Rookie
His body currently looks like it belongs to a high school freshman. He has the skills, just needs to gain grown-up strength.

49. Johnny Ray, RHP (January rank, N/A)
Age: 22
Current level: Rookie
Ray is a high upside right-hander with a fastball that sits mid-nineties and is capable of touching 98, paired with promising secondaries, he could be a fast-rising bullpen arm.

50. Tyler Osik, 1B (January rank #35)
Age: 24
Current level: High-A
Osik encountered nothing but injuries and setbacks during a brutal 2021 season that ended prematurely due to a broken hamate bone. When healthy he can rake, which he’s going to have to do in 2022 to get back on track.




About Dan Victor 5 Articles
Dan Victor grew up in the fandom of the White Sox and Cubs in a place commonly referred to as “da region.” He has been extensively covering and tweeting about the White Sox farm system since 2016. He currently resides in North Carolina within an hour and a half circle of three White Sox minor league affiliates (Kannapolis Cannonballers, Charlotte Knights and Winston-Salem Dash). In addition to writing about Sox prospects, Victor and his wife help support the minor leagues by serving as a host family for Kannapolis farmhands. He has written features for Notes from the Sally, South Side Sox, South Side Hit Pen (Sports Illustrated’s White Sox site), Future Sox, Ranger Ball, and Buc’s Dugout. In the past year he has interviewed Andrew Vaughn, Futures Game MVP Sam Huff, and Pittsburgh Pirates minor league player of the year Mason Martin.

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