Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Chicago White Sox. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as our own observations. This is the fourth year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but we use that as a rule of thumb.
All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.
Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Carela, 22, was acquired from the Yankees at the 2023 deadline in exchange for Keynan Middleton. He’s a kitchen sink righty with a 90-92 mph fastball and a good cutter. He also had more strike-throwing success in 2023 than he’s had in the past and is a pretty high-floored spot starter type. McCullough had the most statistically successful season of any honorable mention prospect here. His excellent slider carries most of his profile’s weight, as he sits 91 and is a 40-grade athlete. Scolaro is a 25-year-old lefty with a good slider and a sneaky upper-80s heater. Adams sits 90-92, also has a good slider, and climbed three levels to Double-A last year. Murphy is 6-foot-5 and was drafted out of an Arizona JUCO two years ago. He’s a command-oriented, four-pitch lefty who sits just 89, but he still carved Low-A as a slightly old-for-the-level prospect in 2023.
Often this section of the list serves to anticipate players readers might want to know about even though we don’t think they’re prospects. Shewmake is a former first round pick who came over as part of the Aaron Bummer trade, which Eric wrote up here. We still like Rodríguez’s rotational athleticism and think he gets on top of some pitches that few other hitters can, but successful big league hitters don’t chase as much as he does, and the ones who do make up for it with in-zone contact skill that hasn’t followed Rodríguez to the upper levels. Vera looked like he’d have an 80-grade fastball when he first debuted in the U.S., but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy and has only been sitting 92 when he’s pitched the last couple years. Thompson and Simas may still be upper-level depth arms. Thompson was a low-90s/curveball dev project in high school and has never really gotten better. Simas was a mess in college and looked better upon his initial entry to pro ball, but he has since plateaued as a low-90s vertical fastball/curveball guy with below-average control. Kelley was a high-profile high school pick with a mature build and great changeup. His velo and command have backed up. Céspedes would still be on the main section of the list if we felt like he could play center field. His approach is too aggressive for him to get to his power. Kath was a second round pick from a couple years ago and has struggled adjusting to pro quality stuff.
Hernandez is a young catcher who has had two good statistical seasons in rookie ball. There isn’t a consensus as to whether or not he’ll be able to catch, and his scouting report has a lot of 40-grade tools besides his contact ability. That will be okay if he turns into a viable defender. Baldwin is a sweet-swinging switch-hitter who played all over the field in college. His defensive versatility and average bat-to-ball ability could earn him a multi-positional part-time role eventually. Camilletti and Nishida are wee little grinders who can handle the bat. They’re probably too small to hit for big leauge-worthy power.
Oppor is a well-built JUCO lefty with a 90-94 mph heater and a promising slider. Rodriguez is a 20-year-old, 6-foot-2 righty who dominated the 2023 DSL with an 88-90 mph fastball and an above-average curveball. LaCombe is a 6-foot-2 French righty drafted out of an Arizona JUCO in 2023. At times during his draft spring, he was up to 97. More often, though, he sits about 92 and has a promising two-plane slider. Collins began his college career at Arizona but followed Jay Johnson to LSU, where he struggled to throw strikes. He was sitting 94-96 and bending in a good curveball at Tread Athletics when the White Sox signed him during the offseason.
While this farm system still isn’t among the strongest in baseball, it’s significantly deeper than it was a year ago, strengthened by several key acquisitions at last year’s trade deadline, including Edgar Quero, Nick Nastrini, Jake Eder and Ky Bush. That trend will likely continue if the Sox trade Dylan Cease. Chicago has as many players with the potential for high-end impact — Colson Montgomery, Bryan Ramos, Noah Schultz, maybe Eder if his velo comes back — as a lot of the top systems, though all of those guys missed time due to injury in 2023.
New GM Chris Getz was promoted from within, so even though the org will likely change somewhat as it works to execute his vision for the club, expect more continuity here than typically accompanies a regime change. For instance, Getz told Eric at the GM Meetings that the White Sox would likely alter their approach to international scouting, which for the last many years has seen them save pool space to target Cuban players who hit the market late. For too long the White Sox have tied one metaphorical hand behind their back by largely ignoring amateur Dominican players, and it seems like that will soon change.
In the domestic draft, director Mike Shirley has now been in place for a couple of years. In addition to the White Sox targeting high-profile players from the Midwest during his tenure, they’ve prioritized pitching prospects with premium breaking stuff, drafted a lot of scrappy little college infielders in the middle rounds, and often found a way to mix a huge-framed power hitter in there somewhere. There has been no real pattern at the very top of Chicago’s last few drafts. Jacob Gonzalez is a model-friendly prospect because of his age and stats, while Montgomery (old for his class) and Schultz (a prep arm) were toolsy, projectable high schoolers. Schultz became the first high school arm the team had selected in the first round in over 20 years.
The White Sox pro department got to target players via trade last summer and again this offseason. Chicago has so far taken a quantity-first approach to this rebuild, perhaps more because this system is pretty thin and they feel like it’s a prudent way to get the ball rolling than as a reflection of some long-term strategy or overarching philosophy.
Ultimately, Jerry Reinsdorf is in charge. People in baseball consider him a bit meddlesome and think he is a bit more involved than is ideal, and sometimes believe his fierce loyalty prevents him from moving on from people or processes that aren’t helping the team. At times under Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams, it felt like there were too many cooks in this kitchen. Getz’s track record of developing players in his previous role was mixed, partly because the franchise was so far behind conceptually and technologically when they hired him, but some of the communication breakdowns and behind-the-scenes drama should go away now that the GM is a person who had to effectively communicate across a whole department as a core aspect of their job.