Many of the Chicago White Sox’s top prospects will be ascending to the majors over the next year and one player looks pretty likely to fill their shoes and keep the organization’s farm system in pristine condition.
The Chicago White Sox boast one of the best systems in all of baseball currently with the help of four top 100 prospects according to MLB Pipeline in Luis Robert, Andrew Vaughn, Michael Kopech, and Nick Madrigal.
However, Robert is set to start the season at the major league level while Kopech and Madrigal will begin their seasons in Triple-A Charlotte, meaning their prospect statuses are likely to be gone soon.
Vaughn, 21, also might not be too far behind them after having a phenomenal spring training.
Once those four players reach the majors, the Chicago White Sox’s farm system could be significantly weakened, even if it would be for a positive reason.
However, there is one prospect that can become the next top prospect ready to make an impact in the South Side after those four ascend to the majors.
The organization’s fifth-round pick in 2018 and current fifth-best prospect, Jonathan Stiever, is ready to take that mantle.
Stiever, 22, has actually proven to get better as he’s moved up the ranks.
In 2019, the right-hander struggled at Low-A Kannapolis to the tune of a 4.74 ERA, 1.378 WHIP, 9.4 K/9, and 1.7 BB/9.
The last two numbers were likely the ones that helped convince the organization he was ready for a promotion and they were right to give him one.
In 12 starts at High-A Winston-Salem, Stiever registered a 2.15 ERA, 0.972 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, and 1.6 BB/9.
MLB Pipeline appears to think very highly of Stiever as well as they called him a potential “mid-rotation starter.”
"“Stiever operates with a 92-96 mph fastball, topping out at 98 and enhancing his velocity with run and sink as well as downhill angle that he creates with a high three-quarters arm slot,” the site notes.“He has a second plus pitch in his upper-70s spike curveball, which he controls better than most pitchers do. He can turn his curve into a harder slider when he wants and is gaining feel for his changeup as he uses it more often.”"
At the very least, those two plus pitches could make him a dominant reliever.
However, given the fact that he’s demonstrated such great control early on in his career and exhibited some ability to dominate as a starter, Stiever should be given every chance to live up to his projection.
In 2020, though, the right-hander could very well find himself becoming the organization’s top prospect and, if he pitches anything like he did in High-A, Stiever will almost assuredly rank on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects list.