Photo Credit: Southside Showdown
As we inch closer to Spring Training, the Chicago White Sox are in the midst of a full-scale rebuild. While casual fans do not spend much time following the minor league affiliates of their favorite team, the success of this year’s White Sox will be measured on the progress made in the farm system. With that being said, here is a quick introduction to some of the top players you will see during Spring Training and possibly some call-ups in September.
Yoan Moncada is easily the top prospect in the White Sox organization. After being signed by the Boston Red Sox out of Cuba in 2015, Moncada was a key piece in the trade that sent Chris Sale to the Red Sox. He is able to play just about anywhere in the field. With the issue of well established Brett Lawrie at his natural second base position, some scouts have recommended that Moncada be moved to center field to fill the gap left by Adam Eaton who was traded to the Washington Nationals. Rick Hahn has been asked on multiple occasions regarding how long the process will take to get Moncada into the big leagues, and from what it sounds like, unless Moncada has a big season, he will stay in Triple-A with the Charlotte Knights for majority of the 2017 season. In his 2 seasons with the Red Sox farm system, Moncada has shown promise of being a good big league hitter. He batted .287 with 23 home runs and 100 runs batted in in his minor league career.
White Sox first round draft pick Zack Collins is another prospect that the White Sox organization is excited about. As a catcher for the Miami Hurricanes, he showed scouts that he was able to hit. In 2016 with the Hurricanes, he batted .363 with 16 home runs and 59 runs batted in. After he was drafted, he spent time in the White Sox farm system. In the Carolina League, which is advanced Single-A baseball, he hit .258 with a .418 on-base percentage. The knock on him is that his fielding is not up to par. On the White Sox Talk Podcast, which is produced by CSN Chicago, he was asked about the possibility of moving to first base instead of catching. He insists that he is capable of being a big league catcher and that the organization is behind him. Spring Training will be a big showcase for Collins. He won’t see much time on the big league roster, so he will need to take advantage of the games he gets.
Lucas Giolito was brought in from the Nationals as a key piece in the Adam Eaton trade. He is one of the top pitching prospects in the White Sox organization and has a lot of upside. Over his 5 seasons in the Nationals farm system, he had a 2.73 ERA and 397 strikeouts. He was rated the #3 prospect according to Baseball America. At 22 years old, he has plenty of time to master his craft and will be a big part of the White Sox organization for years to come.
Carson Fulmer is a familiar face for White Sox fans. He was drafted by the team out of Vanderbilt University. As a pitcher in the White Sox farm system, he posted a 4.14 ERA with 130 strikeouts. He did make two big league appearances, but he had an ERA of 8.49. This year is a bridge season for Fulmer as he looks to break into the big leagues. He is probably going to get more time in the majors when it gets to September and 2018 could be a breakout season for Fulmer.
This is just a small look at one of the deepest farm systems in baseball. The White Sox have plenty of other players who will make great contributions going forward. Fans of the White Sox have plenty to look forward to this summer, as the new faces and young talent have both drive and determination, and many fans are wondering if they can be the group that brings another World Series championship to the South Side.