MiLB has concluded its actual baseball schedule for the 2019 season, and you know what that means: year-end rankings galore.
For fans of rebuilding clubs across the league, this time of the year offers an opportunity to reflect on the progress of their teams' notable prospects and gear up for an offseason of speculation. Earlier this week, MLB Pipeline gave White Sox fans a bit of news to chew on when its year-end Top 100 list had Luis Robert ranked No 3.
Well, last night Baseball America added to the discourse by releasing an updated Top 100 of their own, and once again Sox fans can expect to see some familiar faces ranked among the minor league's best. Four big-name White Sox prospects - Luis Robert (No. 3), Andrew Vaughn (No. 26), Michael Kopech (No. 29) and Nick Madrigal (No. 48) - all found themselves in the top half of Baseball America's list. Though BA agrees with MLB Pipeline that Robert is baseball's third best prospect, the site is lower on Vaughn, Kopech and Madrigal, who all registered higher ranks in Pipeline's Top 100.
To spin it positive, though, the Sox having four consensus top-50 prospects (from reputable outlets) waiting in the wings is great news, especially considering the strides many key pieces of the team's core made at the major league level this year. Lucas Giolito had a Cy Young caliber season, Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson are budding superstars, strong second halves for Eloy Jimenez and Reynaldo Lopez inspire great optimism, and Dylan Cease appears to be heading in the right direction as of late.
As for the minor league guys, Robert's statistical achievements have been well-documented, but 2019 also saw Vaughn and Madrigal offer a glimpse of what could be on the horizon for them. Vaughn, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 draft, slashed .278/.374/.449 and hit six home runs with 36 RBIs in 245 at-bats between Class-A and High-A this season. Though the power numbers were lower than expected, Baseball America calls him the "best pure hitter in the 2019 draft" and projects him as a potential middle-of-the-order bat down the line. Madrigal, meanwhile, showed improvement in his second year out of Oregon State, ascending from High-A ball to AAA with success at every level, raising his OPS from .701 to .792 and stealing 35 bases in year two. (That's all while striking out only 16 times all year, by the way.)
Kopech missed the entirety of the 2019 season, but maintains his status as one of the premier pitching prospects in the White Sox system - someone the organization is undoubtedly excited to eventually add to an already talented young rotation.
Additionally, Baseball America reported that the White Sox are sending nine of their top 30 prospects to the 2019 Fall Instructional League. You can view the full roster here, but the big names to watch are pitching prospects Matthew Thompson and Andrew Dalquist, the team's second and third round picks, respectively, from the 2019 draft.
Though the big league Whtie Sox will finish 2019 with their seventh consecutive losing season, it's hard not to get excited thinking about the future of the franchise.