White Sox: Catching up with each year’s top prospect this century

(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
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White Sox
White Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

White Sox top prospects: Luis Robert, OF, 2020

In the 2020 preseason, Cuban outfielder Luis Robert was the crown jewel of the Chicago White Sox organization and advanced to the majors last season. Robert signed with the White Sox as an international free agent in May 2017 and is signed through 2025 on a rather team-friendly deal that includes $20 million team options with $2 million buyouts for both 2026 and 2027.

Robert has contributed 1.8 Wins Above Replacement (Baseball-Reference) in just 56 big-league games, winning a Gold Glove last season and finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .233 with a .738 OPS in 227 plate appearances. He had eight doubles, 11 homers, 31 RBI and scored 33 runs.

The speedy Robert also stole nine bases in 11 attempts with a strikeout rate of 32.2% to go with a walk rate of 8.8%, numbers that will slow his development as a top-of-the-order hitter. But the walk rate was a huge improvement over the 5.1% he had across three levels of the minors in 2019. He entered the 2020 season at No. 2 on BA’s Top 100 list.

Other White Sox in top 100 in 2020: 1B Andrew Vaughn (No. 30), RHP Michael Kopech (No. 33), 2B Nick Madrigal (No. 48).

White Sox top prospects: Eloy Jimenez, OF, 2018 and 2019

Eloy Jimenez spent two seasons atop the White Sox preseason prospect rankings, one of only two players this century to do so. Jimenez initially signed with the Chicago Cubs out of Cuba in August 2013 and was traded to the White Sox in July 2017 along with Dylan Cease, Bryant Flete and Matt Rose in exchange for left-hander Jose Quintana.

Jimenez broke camp with the White Sox in 2019 and placed fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting that season after hitting .267 with an .828 OPS in 122 games and 504 plate appearances. He belted 31 homers with 79 RBI and scored 69 runs. Last season, he batted .296 and posted an OPS of .891 in 55 games and 226 plate appearances, crunching 14 doubles and 14 homers.

Settling in as the regular left fielder, Jimenez was a Silver Slugger winner last season and has contributed 0.4 WAR in two seasons. In 177 games, he has a career strikeout rate of 26.0% with a walk rate of 5.8%. He was ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball in the 2019 preseason and No 4 in 2018.

Other White Sox in top 100 in 2019: RHP Michael Kopech (No. 21), RHP Dylan Cease (No. 38), 2B Nick Madrigal (No. 43), OF Luis Robert (No. 76).

Other White Sox in top 100 in 2018: RHP Michael Kopech (No. 11), RHP Alex Hansen (No. 57), OF Luis Robert (No. 58), RHP Dane Dunning (No. 82).

White Sox top prospects: Yoan Moncada, 2B-3B, 2017

Infielder Yoan Moncada was the organization’s top prospect in 2017 after being acquired from the Boston Red Sox with Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victory Diaz in December 2016 in the trade that sent Chris Sale to Beantown. Moncada was the No. 2 prospect on Baseball America’s Top 100 that season.

He did not play in 2014 after leaving Cuba to establish residency in Guatemala, a very rare Cuban player who legally left the island nation to get to the major leagues. Boston signed Moncada in March 2015.

Moncada was called up by the White Sox in July 2017 after a seven-player trade with the New York Yankees left the club with an open spot on the roster. He played second base his first two seasons in Chicago before moving to third in 2019. In 2018, he set a new club record for strikeouts in a season with a league-leading 217 — fourth-most ever in a single season.

In 387 games for the White Sox, Moncada has produced 2.8 WAR while hitting .261 with a .787 OPS in 1,671 plate appearances. He’s got 82 doubles, 16 triples and 56 homers, belting 25 in 2019, when his average improved from .235 to .315, his OPS rose from .714 to .915 and his whiff rate dropped from 33.4% to 27.5%.

Other White Sox in top 100 in 2017: RHP Lucas Giolito (No,. 25), RHP Reynaldo Lopez (No. 31), RHP Michael Kopech (No. 32), C Zack Collins (No. 56).

White Sox top prospects: Tim Anderson, SS, 2016

While Tim Anderson was the top prospect the White Sox had in 2016, he ranked only 45th on Baseball America’s Top 100 list that year. He had been taken 17th overall by Chicago from East Central Community College in Mississippi in the 2013 draft.

Anderson made his big-league debut with the White Sox in June 2016 and did enough in 99 games to finish seventh in the Rookie of the Year voting. He’s been the regular shortstop for Chicago ever since and last season won his first Silver Slugger award while finishing seventh in the MVP race.

He was the AL batting champion in 2019, hitting .335, and led the league with 45 runs scored last season. In five seasons, he’s produced 11.2 WAR in 570 games, hitting .281 with a .751 OPS in 2,382 plate appearances. Anderson has 119 doubles and 74 homers, with 73 stolen bases in 91 attempts — including 26 in 2018 — and has scored 332 runs.

Patience is not Anderson’s virtue, however, as he has a career walk rate of 3.4% to go with a strikeout rate of 24.6% percent (welcome to early 21st century baseball).

Other White Sox in top 100 in 2016: RHP Carson Fulmer (No. 70).