Now that Larry of South Side Sox has weighed in, it seems like high time to throw together the various prospect lists that have been made for the White Sox farm system by people who have actually carved out the time to watch Sox prospects in person.
Competent drafting has made things better for the Sox talent pipeline, and things have certainly progressed a bit from when a reliever was the best prospect in the system (AKA last year), but the impact players are still few and far away from the majors. The lack of consensus after the top few slots reflects the interchangeable nature of all those back-of-the-rotation and utility player candidates.
Placed against each other, some clear patterns emerge. Courtney Hawkins is the consensus top prospect in the organization, and the variance between Sanchez and Thompson can rely on how the author feels about the former’s MLB readiness and the latter’s remaining upside. Hurlers Scott Snodgress, Erik Johnson, and Andre Rienzo fill out the middle portion of the lists, with Rienzo falling back a bit due to his perceived future in the bullpen.
This chart that assigns a point value for placement in each list further displays how Keenyn Walker slides into the middle of most of the rankings, but it isn’t the most useful exercise ever, mainly because the MLB.com list exists on another planet and throws this small sample of lists off.
Not only is Mayo & Co. the only list of these to put Hawkins behind Trayce Thompson, but the placement of Charlie Leesman at No. 3, when no one else sees his immediate readiness to be a left-handed Dylan Axelrod deserving a ranking in the top ten, would give him more steam than 2nd round pick Christopher Beck placing at the back of most prospect lists. Mayo also has Nestor Molina at No. 4, when even John Sickels–who beat the drum for him as hard as anyone after the trade–backed him down to No. 11 after a troubled 2012 campaign. Andre Rienzo appears in all five other top 10 lists, is 18th in the organization for Mayo, behind Tyler Saladino and Kevan Smith.
So this list gives you a rough idea of the top seven or eight, and turns into guesswork from there, which in effect, mirrors the practice of trying to pick the best prospects out of this still very light White Sox system.
Also, in case it wasn’t clear, you should read these publications that are actually putting in the work and research. All the lists are linked to above.
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