The White Sox have restocked their system with quality depth. Here are a few names that may have something to prove this year.
The White Sox have some potentially very elite talent coming up through the system. Eloy Jimenez has eye-popping offensive talent. Luis Robert is a possible five-tool superstar. Michael Kopech has the most talked about fastball in the minors.
The talent of the aforementioned players is not questioned at this point. However, there are a few guys a little lower in the rankings that need to show some things this year. For some, it’s consistency, for others, it’s coming back from injury. Here’s a few to keep an eye on as the year develops:
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Charlie Tilson was the first piece added by trade in the rebuild. Rick Hahn traded Zach Duke to the Cardinals on July 31, 2016 for Tilson as the first of many trades to follow. Tilson subsequently tore his hamstring in his first game with the White Sox. This injury required surgery. The following February, while working out at Sox camp, he developed a stress reaction in his right foot. The same foot he had previously injured while a member of the Cardinals.
Tilson is a leading candidate for the starting center field job. However, this all depends on him proving he can stay healthy, first and foremost. Doing that, he’ll need to return to his pre-injury form on the field. But, if he can’t stay healthy this spring, he will quickly fall out of the future outlook
Jake Burger was the White Sox top draft pick in last June’s draft. He is the White Sox third baseman of the future. In his first year as a pro, he held his own against equal competition. In 51 games he averaged .263, with five home runs and 29 RBIs in Low-A ball.
Wherever Burger plays throughout the year, he’ll need to continue to show improvement both offensively and defensively. He will also need to show that he can maintain a high level throughout a long season. Last year he seemed to tire out a little towards the end of his season.
Finally, there is Micker Adolfo, who it seems has been in the Sox system forever. Adolfo was a 17-year-old phenom when the Sox signed him in 2013. Unfortunately, injuries plagued him the first three years with the organization. However, in 2017, he finally was able to play an entire season injury free.
With an entire season of Low-A ball last year, he finally showed the skills that had the Sox sign him originally. He has, possibly, the strongest arm in the minors and his offensive potential is exponential. This is the year Adolfo needs to make the next step forward and move up the prospect rankings. He’s still only 21 and could be a key piece to the Sox future
These three players have some things to prove. This is the year they need to take that next step in their development.