I spend a lot of time wishing and dreaming that the White Sox will do the right thing (imo) in the off-season heading into the 2020 season and fill the team with respectable major league talent so that they can have a chance at competing if the young talent that is dominating the roster continues to improve. So far, the White Sox front office (with Rick Hahn pulling the levers) has upgraded the roster substantially with Yasmani Grandal and Dallas Keuchel and less substantially with Nomar Mazara and Gio Gonzalez. Right now, I materially expect the White Sox to use their available payroll as the capital that will fund this endeavor.
Believe me, I like the idea of trades, but other than the White Sox top 4 prospects or so (basically all of which will need to be big contributors with the White Sox in order for this “Rebuild” to work) the cupboard is fairly barren. Yea, I know, someone from FutureSox would come in here screaming and say, you didn’t watch player X play or player Y hit .345/.458/.570 in the month of June last year (please ignore those other pesky months), but let’s be fucking honest with ourselves the rest of that top 10 prospect list ain’t terribly desirable. Yea, you could trade them dudes, maybe to get a reliever or some shit, but when I (a non-prospect hound) look at the rest of the list, I see a bunch of “guys”. Could Dane Dunning be a back end starter, of course, but he’s already 25 years old. Couldn’t Zack Collins become a competent part time DH vs RHP, absolutely, but he’s also going to be 25 in 2020 and that’s also not exactly the most desirable profile….I still haven’t seen Eric Thames get a job and that’s pretty much what he does.
Not to try to make you channel your inner Jared Fogle, but other team’s GM’s want some young shit. They don’t want dudes who are already 25 years old, their orgs got a bunch of them, why would they give you anything for these dudes? You saw how little Steele Walker fetched. They want a young projectable player, who has done something but is still far enough away from the majors that A) there is more growth left, preferably with their development team and B) they don’t need 40 man roster protection anytime soon. The Fucking Yankees and Rays (not limited to them, just examples) of the world that are great at developing talent and also have 40 man rosters bustling with talent. So if you want to trade with one of those teams to grab a big piece for a playoff run, you need a player that won’t fuck their shit up too much.
Below is the White Sox Prospects Fangraphs list from the end of 2019, from THE BOARD.
I have highlighted those players that are 21.5 years old or younger. very strange that the White Sox have nobody on this 34 player list between the ages of 21.5 and 20.0 years old. It’s almost like they completely missed a year. Anywho….of the highlighted players, both Luis Mieses and Lenyn Sosa solidly fit my criterion for being young enough to grow up and be a good trade piece, however, both of them will need 40 man roster protection as soon as next season, so they aren’t ideal for this exercise. That leaves us with 6 players. Let’s take a look at them individually and see what kind of expectations we should have for them.
STORY – The White Sox employed a bit of an ALL-OR-NOTHING strategy in the 2019 draft that I absolutely fucking loved!! They spent well over-slot money for Thompson, Dalquist and Beard and then just drafted $10K College Seniors with their picks in rounds 5 thru 10.
Beef, WTF you talking about.
Oh, sorry, the MLB Draft has a cap, it’s not a hard cap, but it’s close to it, you can go a little bit over, but too far over and you get some draconian penalties. Anywho, sometimes, High School seniors can be a bit unsure if they want to go to College (which could include Junior College) or to the pros, so with a higher than normal bonus, they can be “convinced” to go pro. This isn’t a Tony Soprano style convincing, it’s just they know their price and if it gets met, they will go pro and if not, they’ll go to college. Depending on the player that could be 6 figs or if the talent is good enough even 7 figs. Thompson and Dalquist are of the 7 figs variety and the White Sox went for it, going really low bonuses to other players (College Seniors have no choice, they have no leverage, they are done with school, what are they gonna do go play 16 inch softball????).
Back to Thompson, RHP pitcher, projectable, athletic pitcher with a mid-90’s heater.
GOAL – I’d like to see him just dominate from a strikeout perspective. Let’s go retro, gimme Pat Mahomes (nope, not the Chiefs QB, his dad, who was a hot fucking pitching prospect when I was a youngin’) 17 year old season in Rookie Ball at Elizabethton….walks be damned.
STORY – Similar to Thompson, except Keith Law said in one of his chats (and I am paraphrasing) that Dalquist is the type of polished high school pitcher that if he went to college could pick up immediately as a freshman and possibly dominate and end up a top 10 pick by his Junior year.
GOAL – I know it’s tall timber, but I expect domination with control, so I’ll take Andy Pettitte‘s 19 year old season split between Rookie ball and Low A.
STORY – BY-CRACKY!! He’s a tool box, can run like the wind, I mean, you know how fast you run when you have true 80 grade speed? That’s Billy Hamilton speed, ALLEGEDLY. According to MLB Pipeline his high school competition was……NOT GOOD.
GOAL – Just don’t be a total Hawkins at the plate, trim that 39% K rate from Rookie ball in 2019 down to like 25% next season in 2020, that’s a good enough start to get other teams peaking in and thinking he can be Devon White instead of just Billy Hamilton.
STORY – He’s been a rollercoaster ride, he arrived in 2018, hit the shit outta the ball and everyone got excited like they were attending an NKOTB concert. Then he shows up in 2019, doesn’t hit for shit, allegedly gets the “Wild Thing” Ricky Vaughn treatment and finishes the season non-terribly.
GOAL – He already walks, which is great!! Just needs to strike out less (~32% last year at A ball). How about just do Jermaine Dye‘s 20 year old season at Macon in the Sally League, that should get teams giving him the side-eye.
STORY – Gladney is a draft pick from the White Sox ACE program, which used to be more of a symbolic thing, but it ain’t anymore. He’s young and he has huge power, but at 6’3″ 200 he still has some room to fill out a bit (and become a non-3b, but we’ll see).
GOAL – Former White Sox farmhand Chris Carter‘s 19 year old season at Great Falls / Kannapolis would be a big come-up-ance for the Chicago area kid.
If any of these kids can make hay with the listed goals, you’ll have an additional trade chip, an asset, that the White Sox can turn into more “RIGHT NOW” help, either at mid-season or in the 2020 off-season. With all the starts and stops of the tertiary prospects in this rebuild, it would be nice to see a little good luck run the White Sox way with a few of these kids. If it does, it might be the difference in how many playoff appearances the current White Sox core makes.