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Each year, MLB Pipeline rolls out their top prospect lists. They do an overall top 100 and a top 30 by team. The White Sox Top 30 list was released today. 16 pitchers, 14 position players; ranging in age from 19 to 26. Eight acquired via trade, one via waivers, two via international free agency, 19 drafted by the White Sox. Born in the USA and four other countries – Dominican Republic, Cuba, Venezuela & Mexico. You've heard many of these names, but let's dig in and learn a thing or two about them.
Eloy Jiménez, OF
Jiménez was 0 for 10 in his first 3 games of 2018 (with Birmingham).
He was 0 for 7 in his last 2 games of 2018 (with Charlotte).
He hit .351/.394/.602 with 22 HR in the 103 games in between (combined Birmingham & Charlotte).
Michael Kopech, RHP
Kopech had a start with 8 walks and 5 wild pitches on June 14 for Charlotte.
In his final three starts of 2018 before being called to the Majors, he pitched 20 innings with 27 strikeouts and no walks.
Kopech's first career strikeout was Miguel Sanó, who happened to be the last batter Chris Sale struck out while pitching for the White Sox.
Dylan Cease, RHP
Cease's last 6 games of 2018 (with Birmingham) went like this:
0.29 ERA, 30.2 IP, 12 Hits, 12 Walks, 48 Strikeouts, 0 HR allowed.
Opponents had a .120/.214/.140 slashline
Luis Robert, OF
Robert struggled through thumb injuries during the 2018 season, where he went homerless in 50 games across three levels.
However, when he went to the Arizona Fall League, it was all business, turning in a .324/.367/.462 slashline with 2 HR and 5 SB in 18 games for the Glendale Desert Dogs.
Robert hit .401/.526/.687 with 12 HR in 53 games in his final season in the Cuban League (2016-17).
Nick Madrigal, SB/SS
Madrigal played 43 games across three levels for the White Sox in 2018. He had more HBP (7), more walks (7), more stolen bases (8) and more doubles (7) than he had strikeouts (5).
When Bill James listed the all-time top 100 at each position in his New Historical Baseball Abstract in 2003, his number one catcher (Yogi Berra) AND number one second baseman (Joe Morgan) stood 5'7" - just like Madrigal.
Dane Dunning, RHP
Dunning pitched 86.1 combined innings for Winston Salem (Advanced-A) and Birmingham (AA) in 2018.
In those 86.1 innings, he had 100 strikeouts and only 2 home runs allowed.
Luis Alexander Basabe, OF
In the 2018 Futures Game, representing the World team, Basabe send a 102.3 MPH pitch from Reds prospect Hunter Greene for a home run.
The exit velocity was 104.8 MPH and the projected distance was 404'
Micker Adolfo, OF
Adolfo is still only 22, but did you know the White Sox signed him several months (July 2013) before they signed José Abreu (October 2013)?
His father played with Vladimir Guerrero (Sr.) in the Expos system in the ‘90s.
Blake Rutherford, OF
Rutherford tied for the Carolina League lead with 9 triples for Winston-Salem in 2018.
Whenever you can get an outfielder from the Yankees whose first name starts with B. and last name begins with RUTH, you gotta go for it.
Luis González, OF
González hit a combined .307/.368/.498 with Kannapolis & Winston-Salem in 2018.
He hit .356/.468/.564 in 155 games for the University of New Mexico from 2015-17, including a .500 OBP as a junior in 2017.
Steele Walker, OF
The Oklahoma outfielder drafted in 2018 who didn't win the Heisman Trophy.
Zack Collins, C
Collins led the Southern League with 101 walks in 2018. Nobody else had more than 82.
He had a stretch from April 24 to June 23 where he hit .310/.466/.523 with 52 walks in 52 games.
Then there's my favorite bit of birthday trivia, which I wrote about here
Jake Burger, 3B
Hit .339/.420/.620, 47 HR, 179 RBI in 176 games at Missouri State from 2015-17.
Ian Hamilton, RHP
When Hamilton made his MLB Debut on August 31, he became the first player in White Sox history born in New Hampshire. Carlton Fisk grew up there, but was born in Vermont.
Alec Hansen, RHP
Hansen really struggled in 2018. He had 8 more walks than he did in 2017 despite pitching 90 more innings.
He led the minor leagues in strikeouts with 191 in 2017, so the ability is definitely there.
Zack Burdi, RHP
On August 13, pitched an inning and struck out all three batters faced in a combined 7-inning no-hitter for the Arizona Rookie League White Sox.
Laz Rivera, SS
Laz Rivera is a shortstop from Miami who attended the U of Miami, much like Jon Jay & Yonder Alonso. If I wrote this a few weeks ago, you might be compelled to believe this is some kind of cryptic Manny Machado message.
Gavin Sheets, 1B
Gavin Sheets spent 2015-18 at Winston-Salem; 2015-17 in College (Wake Forest is located in Winston-Salem), 2018 in the minors (Winston-Salem Dash)
Jimmy Lambert, RHP
Lambert attended San Dimas High School in California. Hopefully his road to the Majors is an "Excellent Adventure." That was an attempt at a "pop culture reference." If you don't get it, then I'm old.
Konnor Pilkington, LHP
Listed as a left-handed batter and thrower. His Mississippi State bio says he's ambidextrous. Started & won for Mississippi State against North Carolina in the College World Series on June 19.
Bryce Bush, 3B
The Sox' 33rd round pick in 2018 is the youngest prospect on this list… by over two years. Born December 14, 1999. The next youngest is Konnor Pilkington (born September 12, 1997).
Seby Zavala, C
Twice Zavala homered in three straight games in 2018. The second time he did it, the third home run came on May 9th, Tony Gwynn's birthday. Zavala played at San Diego State University under coach Gwynn. Zavala has a #19 tattoo in honor of Mr. Padre.
José Ruiz, RHP
Ruiz was originally signed by the Padres as a catcher in 2011.
Zach Thompson, RHP
This top 30 list has a pair of players listed at 6'7" (Thompson & Alec Hansen) and one listed at 5'7" (Madrigal).
Had a 1.55 ERA in 75.1 IP across two levels in 2018.
Caleb Frare, LHP
Frare was one of five White Sox to make their first career MLB mound appearance in 2018, joining Ian Hamilton, Ryan Burr, Michael Kopech… and Matt Davidson. Frare (three batters), Hamilton (three batters), Davidson (three batters) & Burr (four batters) retired everyone they faced in their debuts. Kopech tossed two scoreless innings, but allowed three hits and a HBP. By the way, at one point, Matt Davidson was the #1 ranked White Sox prospect (2013), though more so for his hitting.
Lincoln Henzman, RHP
A 4th round pick in 2017, Henzman was born on the Fourth of July, his name is Lincoln (Garrett Lincoln Henzman, at least) and he was an All-American at Louisville. Thanks to @FutureSox for that one.
Jonathan Stiever, RHP
Had 39 strikeouts in 28 innings at Great Falls (Pioneer League) in 2018 after being selected in the 5th round of the draft out of Indiana University.
Stiever was born in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. The White Sox haven't had a pitcher born in Wisconsin start a game since Jim Magnuson in 1971. The first game in White Sox Major League history (1901) was started by a Wisconsin native (Roy Patterson).
Tyler Johnson, RHP
2018 with Kannapolis & Winston-Salem: 41 games, 89 K, 16 BB in 58.0 IP, 1.40 ERA, .486 OPS allowed, 0.879 WHIP. Good.
Jordan Stephens, RHP
Stephens looks to become the 3rd Major Leaguer to have attended Alvin High School in Alvin, TX. The others are Nathan Eovaldi and Nolan Ryan. He's also 34 days older than Bryce Harper.
Ryan Burr, RHP
Burr & Ian Hamilton were both in the White Sox bullpen from the end of August on. Yet not once did Hamilton & Burr both pitch in the same game. #History